Bullpen Report: August 11, 2013

• What has gotten into Mo? Mariano Rivera blew his third consecutive save on Sunday, serving up solo jacks to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Like Friday, the Yankees were able to come back and win after the fact, but there is no denying Rivera is in an uncharacteristic funk; the three “BS”s in a row are something the 43-year-old has never done. There are not a tremendous amount of red flags in Rivera’s rates right now; his 3.11 xFIP (after today) is higher than his career 2.99 average, but not outlandishly so. His velocity has bounced back after a so-so 2012 (and is not trending down), and his K% and BB% are right in line with his old, dominant self. His LD% has jumped nearly 10 points this year to 24%, although liners don’t tend to stabilize until around 650 balls in play, so that’s not as big of a red flag as it might seem. His days of putting up a sub-2.00 ERA might be long gone, but his peripherals imply he should still be a valuable fantasy closer down the stretch. Don’t panic; I may even consider tossing the Rivera owner an offer in redraft leagues — maybe he doesn’t read Fangraphs.

• Ernesto Frieri has been “demoted” from the closer role in Los Angeles. I’ve been concerned about his wildness all season, but, while he’s walked four over his last eight outings (5.2 innings), the bigger issue has been the .571 BABIP. There’s some unfortunate breaks there, but combining a proclivity for free passes, some bad batted ball luck, and Mike Scioscia as your manager seems to be a combination for getting yanked from the role.

It sounds like Dane de la Rosa will get the bulk of the opportunities while Frieri works out his kinks in lower leverage situations. de la Rosa isn’t a whiff-master (21.7% K%) but his BB% is a welcome (even if non-elite) 8.3%. He boasts a mid-90’s heater and a >50% GB% so he has a chance to be very effective in the ninth. If you are hurting for saves, make sure someone else has claimed him — he could end up garnering the majority of the opportunities for the Halos down the stretch.

• Rex Brothers notched another save in lieu of the injured Rafael Betancourt, marking the third day in a row he’s been summoned to the bump (two saves, and one “get some work” appearance on Friday in a 10-1 game). Brothers continues to outpitch his peripherals (1.49 ERA, 3.71 xFIP) and, as Alan covered in last night’s Bullpen Report, Betancourt is making slow but steady progress in rehabbing after his appendectomy. There is nothing signaling “DANGER” about Brothers’ peripherals — you can still be a quasi-effective closer with a mid-3.00’s xFIP — but the combination of his xFIP-ERA split and Betancourt’s impending return may make him a nice sell-high candidate as we approach trade deadlines in most leagues.

Since Brothers is likely to be unavailable tomorrow, those really scrounging for saves might want to look at Matt Belisle (leads Rockies in non-closer gmLI over the last thirty days, but has also thrown two days in a row) or Wilton Lopez (worse rates and lower leverage use, but fresher arm) as single day streamers.

• It certainly looks like LaTroy Hawkins is the new closer in New York, even if Terry Collins won’t come out and say it. Hawkins racked up another save yesterday and pitched a scoreless ninth with a four-run lead today (not an official save situation, but the correct usage). David Aardsma, his main competition for saves, pitched the seventh inning of an 8-4 game, although it should be noted that he was warming up when it was still 5-4. Therefore, he wasn’t in consideration for any hypothetical save chance, anyway. Hawkins is enjoying his highest SwStr% in almost a decade (2004, Cubs) and the combination of his groundball tendencies and low walk rate should serve him well as fill-in closer until Bobby Parnell is able to return (if Bobby Parnell is able to return). Make sure he’s scooped up in even shallow leagues.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler J.J. Putz David Hernandez
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden Scott Downs
Baltimore Jim Johnson Francisco Rodriguez Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Craig Breslow Andrew Bailey
CHI (NL) Kevin Gregg Pedro Strop Blake Parker
CHI (AL) Addison Reed Nate Jones Matt Lindstrom
Cincy Aroldis Chapman J.J. Hoover Sam LeCure Sean Marshall
Cleveland Chris Perez Joe Smith Cody Allen Vinnie Pestano
Colorado Rex Brothers Matt Belisle Wilton Lopez Rafael Betancourt
Detroit Joaquin Benoit Jose Veras Drew Smyly
Houston Josh Fields Wesley Wright Josh Zeid Jose Cisnero
KC Greg Holland Aaron Crow Kelvin Herrera
LAA Dane de la Rosa Ernesto Frieri Kevin Jepsen Robert Coello
LAD Kenley Jansen Paco Rodriguez Ronald Belisario Brian Wilson
Miami Steve Cishek Mike Dunn Chad Qualls
Milwaukee Jim Henderson John Axford Michael Gonzalez
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) LaTroy Hawkins David Aardsma Scott Rice Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Justin De Fratus Jake Diekman Mike Adams
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Justin Wilson Tony Watson Jason Grilli
St. Louis Edward Mujica Trevor Rosenthal Randy Choate Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt Santiago Casilla
Seattle Danny Farquhar Yoervis Medina Oliver Perez Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee Jesse Crain
Texas Joe Nathan Tanner Scheppers Jason Frasor
Toronto Casey Janssen Sergio Santos Brett Cecil Steve Delabar
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Craig Stammen Drew Storen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

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There are few things Colin loves more in life than a pitcher with a single-digit BB%. Find him on Twitter @soxczar.

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Colin, who would you rather for the rest of this year and possibly the future? De la Rosa or Farquhar?


I’m not Colin but this leaderboard has your answer.

Feeding the Abscess
Feeding the Abscess

Farquhar. Elite Ks