• Mariano Rivera got the day off today after a recent stretch that’s seen him blow his last three saves in a row. Trying to finish off a 2-0 gem by Hiroki Kuroda, Boone Logan came in to start the ninth and put a runner on first with one out for David Robertson. Even with a two-run lead, Robertson didn’t make things easy on himself, walking Mike Trout and giving up a bloop double to Josh Hamilton. With Trout acting as the tying run on third, the Yankees setup man intentionally walked Erick Aybar to load the bases before making Mark Trumbo and Chris Nelson look absolutely foolish on swinging strikeouts to end the game.
While tonight was a bit rocky, D-Rob is the heir apparent in New York following Rivera’s already-announced retirement at the end of the season. His 2.33 SIERA is right in line with his last two years and his BB% has continued to trend downwards. His K% has taken a bit of a hit this year, but his velocity isn’t way off and his SwStr% is right in line with his career norms so there isn’t a whole lot to worry about. There are no setup men I’d rather have in keeper/dynasty formats. If you are out of the race and have some pieces to auction off as you retool for next year, he makes an excellent acquisition target.
• Casey Janssen came in in a non-save situation (tie game) and, boy, he wasn’t a fan. After taking the bump in the top of the ninth of a 1-1 contest, Janssen didn’t head back to the dugout until the Athletics had scratched four runs across to take what eventually was confirmed to be an insurmountable lead. Janssen’s 2.89 SIERA is not quite as good as last year’s 2.42, but it’s plenty predictive of an above-average closer. A quick glance at the splits doesn’t raise any serious red flags — his xFIP is up and K’s are down a bit in August, but we’re talking four innings of sample size. His velocity (while more erratic than the average pitcher) seems fairly stable, even if it is down a bit from last year. I’m still not worried from a peripheral standpoint, especially since main competition Sergio Santos is still working back after his latest elbow injury, but don’t forget that Janssen himself is dealing with a shoulder that’s “not at full strength.” It’s something to watch as the season drags into its last couple of months.
• Is Aroldis Chapman back? After hitting a stretch from mid-June to the beginning of August that saw him put up a 5.84 ERA with a sub 3:1 K:BB ratio, Chapman has turned on the jets. After a 1-2-3 ninth with three punchouts tonight, the Cuban lefty has now recorded 12 of his last 15 outs via the “K” while not walking a single batter during that timeframe. Chapman’s 1.83 SIERA (coming into tonight) is not quite as good as it was last year, but a sub-2.00 mark combined with the same number of strikeouts as some starters keeps him planted squarely with Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen in my top tier of ninth-inning relievers.
• The Rays acquired middle reliever Wesley Wright for cash considerations early Monday. Moving to a better team, Wright should see a slight uptick in value in holds leagues, but will be leaving a bullpen where he at least had a chance to scab some saves. Perhaps the biggest fantasy implication is that Josh Fields and Josh Zeid have one less warm body to battle with in the mess that is the ‘Stros pen.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]