• Danny Farquhar is no longer perfect. Seattle’s new closer had an absolutely brutal ninth inning against the Rays tonight, allowing five batters to reach without recording an out. His blowup today aside, he still possesses a 2.16 xFIP and is a nice option going forward. Of course, managers are a finicky bunch (and don’t worship luck-neutral peripherals) so hopefully this was just a blip in the road for the 26-year-old. With Tom Wilhelmsen in the minors, Yoervis Medina seeing a decline in leverage usage, and Carter Capps still not pitching like Carter Capps should, Farquhar should get the next save opportunity. Just keep the finger closer to the waiver trigger in case he falters again.
• I was tempted to put Chia-Jen Lo as closer on Monday (after the Wesley Wright trade) since it appeared Houston had (at least temporarily) soured on Josh Fields after a few blowups. Of course, I talked myself off the speculation train. Well, lo (har!) and behold, it looks like the ‘Stros have a new primary option. The good? He throws hard, with a fastball clocked in the mid-90’s. The bad? Well, we just don’t know a lot about him. He’s only faced 25 major league batters and hasn’t been the most durable professional pitcher, only throwing 134 innings in his five year major/minor league career. He’s had OK strikeout and walk rates in the minors, although the majority of those came below AA. He’s worth a pickup if you are desperate for saves (especially if you jumped on Fields last week), but this year’s Astros are kind of like last year’s Cubs. Unless you reallyreallyreally need the saves, it’s best not to throw darts and risk hurting your rates.
• Oh, Jim Johnson. The American League leader in the “BS” category (no, not that one — Luke Scott has that one covered) extended his lead today, serving up a game-tying single to Aaron Hill (who eventually victimized starter-turned-reliever Bud Norris for a game-winning single). Johnson’s xFIP has now climbed to 3.85, continuing an unsettling trend of moving northward about 0.20 points per season (for the last four years, at least). JJ actually bumped his strikeout rate a bit this year, but has seen his BB% climb and his GB% fall, both big negatives for a guy with a career SwStr% south of 8%. Johnson hasn’t quite imploded enough to be a bonafide yank, but with the Orioles seemingly in freefall in the American League East, it’s possible a (temporary, at least) switch may be growing closer. If I had the space, I’d roster Francisco Rodriguez or Tommy Hunter, at least until Johnson gets a couple of clean saves under his belt.
• With Casey Janssen having thrown a lot of pitches the last couple days, Brett Cecil (not Sergio Santos) got the save opportunity for the Jays tonight and promptly blew it, giving up a two-run tater to Mike Napoli. It wasn’t even just a rogue homer, he loaded the bases after that before Brad Lincoln was able to put out the fire. Janssen has slumped a bit in a few outings over the last month, but still has a grasp on the ninth inning job north of the border. Cecil and his 3.17 xFIP remains a good option in holds leagues, but I wouldn’t count on him getting the next scab save chance when it arises.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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