Bullpen Report: August 18, 2013

• Deadbeat owners who had left J.J. Putz in their lineups were rewarded with his sixth save of the year and first since April 28th. It’s far from a definitive changing of the guard as the game was a 14-inning affair and current Diamondbacks closer Brad Ziegler tossed two scoreless innings (getting the win) immediately preceding Putz’s appearance. In early July, Eno Sarris gave Putz essentially a clean bill of health upon his return from an elbow injury, citing only a slight decline in fastball velocity as the only red flag. Well, the 36-year-old has certainly picked up heat since then, with his four-seamer now sitting 92-93 — fairly close to where it’s been the last couple of years. I’ve cited the issues with Ziegler as closer before (platoon splits, low K%, effective coming in mid-inning because of GB%), so readers know where I stand on this pen. It would not shock me if Putz reclaims the job in the next couple of weeks, so if you have the roster spot to burn and he’s sitting on the wire, go get him.

• Danny Farquhar jumped right back on the horse, nailing down a 4-3 win against the Texas Rangers this afternoon. It was nice to see a 1-2-3 inning, although Seattle’s closer was unable to ring anyone up via the punchout. Still, his two saves this series (one on Friday) were likely vital to him keeping a firm grasp on the job. Even though he is the owner of a sparkling 2.21 xFIP, managers are a finicky bunch, and another meltdown like the one he fell victim last Wednesday may have cost him his position as the hot hand. He’s still not lock-down safe, especially in a bullpen like Seattle that possesses some strikeout upside, but I also wouldn’t be teetering on the brink if I owned him.

The winning pitcher to Farquhar’s save? Yoervis Medina. Medina is probably gone in a lot of leagues thanks to his on-and-off status in the Mariners pen, but he’s MLB’s leader in holds over the last two weeks. He may walk too many batters (2.72 ERA over last month, but 4.25 xFIP due in large part to 15.7% BB%) but if you can stomach the WHIP hit, he could be a useful bulk holds and strikeouts source in league where you might need help in those areas.

• Farquhar was able to pick up the save because Joe Nathan coughed up a run in the top of the inning during a tie game situation. Nathan has been one of baseball’s top closers this year with a 1.63 ERA and 36 saves. The underlying metrics are not so pretty, however, as his xFIP sits at 3.75 after today’s outing, in large part thanks to a paltry 3.6% HR/FB% on top of a 47% FB% (only two homers). His SIERA (which takes batted ball profiles into account) is a slightly better 3.15, but still a run and a half higher than current ERA mark. Really ambitious owners who are doing well in saves and ERA/WHIP should probably dip their toe in the water as fantasy trade deadlines approach. Nathan has tremendous job security and should still be a top 10-15 reliever the rest of the way, but if you can sell him at his 1.63 ERA mark to help gain in other roto cats, you should strongly consider it.

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 Jonathan Broxton 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 Chia-Jen Lo Josh Fields 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.


10 Responses to “Bullpen Report: August 18, 2013”

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  1. deezy333 says:

    Ziegler in red :(

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  2. oilcanboy says:

    Kevin Chapman?

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  3. Whydidilose says:

    Does Melancon remain the closer when Grilli comes back?

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  4. Dane de la Rosa says:

    So should I go pick up Dane de la Rosa?

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  5. Phil says:

    Storen is back. Pitched the 7th and earned a hold.

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  6. surista says:

    I cashed in my big lead in saves this weekend, getting Beltran for Nathan, trading him to a team that I need to pick up saves to pick off the guy right behind me in the standings. Two birds, one stone etc…

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  7. surista says:

    Papelbon getting the save last night in Philly got the headlines, but what do we make of Rex Brothers coming out to pitch the bottom of the 8th inning last night in Philadelphia with the Rockies down 4-5? Is this a sign that Betancourt is back in the closer role?

    Rex has pitched quite well while in the closer role, including last night (a popup and 2 strike-outs vs the #3, 4 and 5 hitters). I’ve had him on my team the last couple of months but will need to drop him if he has reduced save opportunities…

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