Bullpen Report: August 23, 2014

  • White Sox at Yankees: David Robertson furnished save #34. D-Rob has only blown 2 saves all year this year and has done an awfully good job displacing Mariano Rivera. In fact, as a closer, Mariano Rivera never reached a 30% K-Rate and his career contact rate was 79.7%. D-Rob has a sub-70% contact rate this year and could be even better next year assuming the luck stats (BABIP based on his inflated line drive rate this year; HR/FB and LOB%) all take a step forward next year. It will be interesting to see where D-Rob lands next year considering he deserves a big payday and the Yankees still have another dominate K%(39.9%)/Contact%(70%) reliever in Dellin Betances. D-Rob got the 10th best K%-BB% in baseball right now: 28.5% tied with Koji Uehara.
  • Rays at Blue Jays: Casey Janssen has offset an awful K-rate with the best BB-rate of his career, but he walked Wil Myers tonight to start the 9th and blew a save after a couple of singles. Brad Boxberger pulls an Armando Benitez and gives up a 2R-HR to Dioner Navarro and a double to Colby Rasmus. We were getting pretty spoiled with Boxberger: 8 scoreless innings since August 10th with a 13:1 K:BB ratio and only 3 hits. Between Koji Uehara yesterday as well as Boxberger and Ken Giles today, the R2M (Regression to the Means) Monster hit me hard this weekend.
  • Cardinals at Phillies: Ken Giles received the loss and his line looked ugly: 1.1 IP; 1ER; 1H; 3BB, but the 1 hit was a Peter Bourjos infield after a sacrifice that moved Descalso over. The run was also scored by a sacrifice fly. 65% of his pitches were still for strikes. I’ll chalk this one up to good Cardinals’ discipline, small ball and luck. Jonathan Papelbon on the other hand kept the game scoreless in the 9th with 2K’s. Trevor Rosenthal got his 38th save in a clean 12th with 1K. Still, he only induced 2 whiffs off 9 swings. This isn’t a huge issue in a vacuum, but I noted that last Wednesday, he also didn’t induce a whiff (albeit only 6 swings). Let’s keep watching this. Since August 6th, he’s got a 8.00+ ERA; 8:6 BB:K ratio; 83.0% contact rate and a 6.7% swinging strike rate relative to his 2014 74% contact and 12.3% swinging strike rates.
  • O’s at Cubs: No saves or holds really worth noting, but Neil Ramirez is worth watching for next year. With 30 IP as the qualifier, he has the 24th best K%-BB% at 23% prior to today. The K-rate is backed up by his contact/swinging-strike rates. He was activated from the DL on 8/10 and hasn’t pitched too often since. He didn’t induce any whiffs on 9 strikes t0day, but didn’t have any issue with his control (9/12 pitches for strikes) and struck out 2 in his last outing on 8/18 so hopefully the right tricep won’t effect him moving forward.
  • Giants at Nationals: Lincecum got shellacked early so the giants went to their long relief man, Yusmeiro Petit who has been bad as a starter but excellent as a reliever due to his curveball (Top 20, 43.75% whiff/swing rate according to Baseball Pro’s Pitchf/x leaderboard). He should probably nix the cutter though. The Giants went with Santiago Casilla in the 9th in a non-save (down by 4) situation, and he pitched a scoreless inning striking out Ian Desmond, getting Harper to groundout and getting Ramos to fly out. The relatively important Nat bullpen arms were not needed as Jordan Zimmermann went 8 innings (107 Pitches). Matt Thornton got the 1 Inning 4-run differential non-save.
  • Astros at Indians: Cody Allen gets the win and 2K in a scoreless 9th. Allen is one of the more undervalued closers in baseball right now IMO. In his last 22.1 IP, he has a 28:8 K:BB ratio with a 0.40 ERA (1 ER); only 11 hits and 9 saves (0 Blown). For the season, 50 IP as the qualifier, Allen has the 17th best K%-BB% (22.1%) in baseball right now, including the 11th/12th best Swinging-strike/Contact rate.

Quick Hits:

  • Mets at Dodgers: Jenrry Mejia pitched for the first time in 5 days. Down by 3, he pitched a scoreless 8th with a 2:1 GB/FB ratio. Kenley Jansen and his glorious Cutter earned the save. The lucky BABIP (I’ll call it) continued by a Kirk Nieuwenhuis double to start the 9th, but the Cutter induced 2 swinging strikeouts to end the game.
  • Angels at Athletics: Sean Doolittle is elite. He struck out Josh Hamilton and earned his 20th save. He owns the #1 K%-BB% in the bigs with a 36.5% (3rd best BB-rate and 6th best K-rate).
  • Padres at Diamondbacks: Kevin Quackenbush was called upon to hold a 2-2 lead in the 8th. Instead, a walk and a single prior to a 3-run Didi Gregorius HR earned him the loss. Addison Reed struck out 2 to earn his 30th save of the season.
  • Tigers at Twins: Joe Nathan continues to help your Saves total while negatively effecting your ERA. Today it was via a Brian Dozier RBI double. Luckily, Joakim Soria should be back soon – perhaps as soon as Monday.
  • Marlins at Rockies: Steve Cishek keeps the K’s coming, but he gave up a monster HR to Corey Dickerson to blow the save. He went on to 3.00 WHIP inning. LaTroy Hawkins blew the lead in the top of the 9th but provided some value striking out 2.
  • Braves at Reds: Aroldis Chapman is back (for me to post on). He’s now stuck out 9 in his last 4 IP. He earned his 27th save tonight striking out Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Chris Johnson. In total: 15 pitches; 10 strikes; 8 swings; 5 whiffs i.e. Dominating.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed Brad Ziegler Oliver Perez
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden David Carpenter Shae Simmons
Baltimore Zach Britton Tommy Hunter Andrew Miller
Boston Koji Uehara Edward Mujica Junichi Tazawa
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Neil Ramirez Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Jacob Petricka Zach Putnam Matt Lindstom
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton Sam LeCure Sean Marshall
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Scott Atchison
Colorado LaTroy Hawkins Adam Ottavino Rex Brothers
Detroit Joe Nathan Joba Chamberlain Al Alburquerque Joakim Soria
Houston Chad Qualls Tony Sipp Josh Fields
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Jason Frasor
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Jason Grilli
LAD Kenley Jansen Brian Wilson Brandon League
Miami Steve Cishek Bryan Morris A.J. Ramos
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Will Smith Brandon Kintzler Jim Henderson
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jenrry Mejia Jeurys Familia Vic Black Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) David Robertson Dellin Betances Adam Warren
Oakland Sean Doolittle Luke Gregerson Dan Otero
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Ken Giles Jake Diekman Mike Adams
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Jared Hughes
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Pat Neshek Seth Maness Jason Motte
SD Joaquin Benoit Kevin Quackenbush Dale Thayer
SF Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt Sergio Romo
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Dominic Leone
TB Jake McGee Brad Boxberger Grant Balfour
Texas Neftali Feliz Neal Cotts Shawn Tolleson
Toronto Casey Janssen Aaron Loup Brett Cecil
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Drew Storen

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



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Daniel Schwartz contributes for RotoGraphs when he's not selling industry leading thermal packaging. You can follow him on twitter @RotoBanter


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Jonny Newman
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Jonny Newman

Doolittle apparently felt some pain in his side after capturing his 20th save; if he were to miss some time, do you think the A’s would still go with Gregerson given the recent success of Ryan Cook?

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