Bullpen Report: August 4, 2013

Hard to believe we’re already into August…

• Well now look who is getting saves in Seattle. A few nights after Tom Wilhelmsen imploded in a non-save situation against the Boston Red Sox, Danny Farquhar earned save number two as (apparently) the Mariners’ new closer du jour. Farquhar has actually been quite impressive this year once you look past the abysmal 5.09 ERA; a “unlucky” .359 BABIP and 53% LOB% are what is keeping that number so far away from his sparkling 2.13 xFIP.

Dave Cameron put together a great piece on Farquhar just a few days ago (eerie premonition?), so I urge you to go check it out. Interestingly, while we don’t have a ton of data points on the diminutive (sub 6-foot, at least) righty, his velocity is up almost four mph from his first go-around in the big leagues two years ago (although some of that may be classification issues as BIS now breaks his repertoire into fastball, cutter, curveball as opposed to fastball, slider). Needless to say, Farquhar needs to be owned in all leagues; he almost certainly isn’t going to continue putting up a 2.13 xFIP, but if he keeps pitching like he has been, he could conceivably hold onto the ninth inning for the remainder of 2013.

• The Blue Jays gain a reliever, the Blue Jays lose a reliever. A few days after getting Sergio Santos back on the active roster, news hit that feel-good-story Steve Delabar was hitting the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. His velocity had been trending down over his last few outings, so it’s unlikely this was an acute issue. The all-star righty had been enjoying a brilliant 2013, posting a 3.11 xFIP with a 35% K%. Any arm injury is a concern with him, but at least it isn’t his elbow. While I’d try and hold him in holds leagues if you have the room, shoulder injuries are tricky, so he’s droppable in redraft leagues if you need stats now.

Santos rejoined the team Thursday and quickly was thrust into action, tossing two innings while allowing a run (no strikeouts, no walks). Of note, his velocity was pretty off (93 mph on the fastball after working 95-97 the last three years). Even though he supposedly has a clean bill of health, he bears watching going forward. He’s also solidly behind Casey Janssen for the ninth, so we’re a ways away from a controversy north of the border. Plenty of other handcuffs I’d rather have than him.

• It may be a bit of a surprise to see Drew Smyly took a blown save in Detroit this afternoon. Jim Leyland gave usual closer Joaquin Benoit the day off after he appeared in back-to-back games. Biggest point of interest here for fantasy owners may be that Jose Veras isn’t the slam dunk number two behind Benoit. This was also just a hiccup for Smyly; he actually posted his best month (peripherally) in July (1.98 xFIP, 32% K%, no walks).

Bobby Parnell remains unavailable with what essentially appears to be a stiff neck. The team clearly doesn’t believe this to be a disabled list type of injury, but David Aardsma (who blew a save Friday covering for Parnell) or LaTroy Hawkins may get a shot at a save or two early in the week if the Mets’ closer’s injury doesn’t subside.

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 Mitchell Boggs Rafael Betancourt
Detroit Joaquin Benoit Jose Veras Drew Smyly
Houston Jose Cisnero Wesley Wright Josh Zeid
KC Greg Holland Aaron Crow Kelvin Herrera
LAA Ernesto Frieri Dane de la Rosa Kevin Jepsen Ryan Madson
LAD Kenley Jansen Ronald Belisario Paco Rodriguez 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) Bobby Parnell LaTroy Hawkins David Aardsma Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Justin De Fratus 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 Tom Wilhelmsen Yoervis Medina Carter Capps
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.

18 Responses to “Bullpen Report: August 4, 2013”

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  1. Tim says:

    Any thoughts on how close Frieri is to losing his role? I thought about putting a bid in on Kohn in my AL-Only but I see he isn’t listed in your chart.

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    • Frieri did bounce back and get a save last night.

      The situation is still tenuous, because one bad outing sends this into a full-blown committee, but if Frieri loses the job, it’s unlikely one guy gets named “the closer” as his replacement, so I’d kick a couple bucks at Jepsen, de la Rosa, Kohn, etc. but I wouldn’t break the bank.

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      • majnun says:

        But he blew another one on the fourth. I have no clue who the replacement would be, but the last two days combined (the save and the blown save) make for a net loss IMHO

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  2. Feeding the Abscess says:

    Farquhar’s BABIP looks deserved when you take a gander at his 27.3% LD rate. His zone% is solid at 50%, but his first pitch strike% is very low, at 53.3%. He can obviously throw the ball over the plate, so it seems as though he just needs to do it early in the count rather than late in the count.

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    • Eggs says:

      That assumes preventing line drives is a repeatable skill. I think you’re just describing the same phenomenon with two different stats. A high BABIP implies lots of solid contact from hitters, but it would be quite rare for a player with mid-90s heat and exceptional strikeout stuff to be prone to such a high rate of solid contact. I think hard contact is an expression of the “bad luck.”

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      • Feeding the Abscess says:

        He’s frequently falling behind in counts, and he’s struggled when behind in the count (check his splits page for the carnage). He clearly has the ability to miss bats, and he can throw strikes, as evidenced by his zone%. He just hasn’t gotten first pitch strikes at the moment, and until he does, he probably will allow a higher rate of hard contact than would be expected.

        If he were getting crushed while up 0-1 or 1-2, I’d be inclined to call it bad luck. But he’s not. He’s been making his own bed, so to speak.

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      • Eric Dykstra says:

        Even if the BABIP stays higher than average, it will still go down, as will his strand rate. With his strikeout, walk, and home run rates all good to fantastic, he’s by far the best choice the Mariners have in the bullpen.

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  3. shapular says:

    Can I trust Farquhar? I added Medina yesterday, but I saw that Farquhar got the save today and thought about switching, but that ERA makes me uneasy. My rotation is already not spectacular, so I can’t really afford to have my relievers giving up a lot of hits and runs too.

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  4. Nodlew says:

    Farquhar threw 8 of his 9 pitches in last nights save for strikes. In his 4 out save Saturday, he threw 13 pitches 10 were strikes. So hes pounding the zone right now.

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  5. Handcuffer says:

    You mention that there are handcuffs you like better than Santos. Which ones in the AL? Desperate here.

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  6. supershredder says:

    No mention of Farquhar’s pep talk with Henry Blanco?

    From Rotoworld news feed:
    Danny Farquhar credits his new approach to a pep talk from 41-year-old catcher Henry Blanco.
    “He was like, ‘Man, with your stuff you need to start pounding hitters in,” said Farquhar. “And I really took it to heart and started applying it. I think a lot of my success is due to Henry talking to me.” The right-hander owned an embarrassing 7.61 ERA on July 19, but he’s looked spectacular over his last five relief appearances, tossing 9 1/3 shutout innings with a 15/4 K/BB rate. He’s allowed two hits and a .245 opponent’s OPS in that time.
    Source: Seattle Times
    Aug 2 – 11:20 AM

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  7. Dancing Homer says:

    If I have Farquhar and Wilhelmsen, should I cut Wilhelmsen? He’s taking up a pretty valuable roster spot. I know its a volatile situation in Seattle, but I figure if Farquhar can’t last, that Medina would get the next shot.

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    • SKob says:

      Medina’s control scares me. If Farquhar can’t handle it, I don’t want anybody in that pen right now!

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    • mikeincmn says:

      I think it will be safe to drop Wilhelmsen by the end of the week. A couple more good outings by Farquhar and I think he will have a decent hold on the job.

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  8. Roger says:

    Rebuilding team in a 5×5 dynasty league… would you rather have Farquhar or Strop?

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    • HunterPants says:

      Farquhar. All the supporting #’s are there, and he definitely passes the eye test. Check out his perfect 3 innings vs Boston a few days ago if you can – 4k’s, no BB. Looks nasty.

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  9. BenFranklin17 says:

    I’m in need of a setup man in my 16 team league that has a Holds category: K-Rod, Scheppers, or Tazawa?

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