Bullpen Report: August 6, 2014

• Double dip of closer results in the Minnesota/San Diego game. On the Minnesota side, Glen Perkins blew his fourth save of the season allowing the tying run to come around after a leadoff double, walk, and a few sacrifices. Don’t fear Perkins owners. Aside from being a fan of Fangraphs, Perkins continues to own a sparkling 2.11 SIERA, one of the best marks among major league relievers. Unfortunately, some of his fantasy value is sapped in that he doesn’t play for a powerhouse winner, although his 28 saves are 9th most in baseball. On the flip side, San Diego closer Joaquin Benoit made things a bit messy for himself in the after San Diego picked up the lead in the 10th, allowing the tying run to get to second (and the winning run to reach first) before getting Eduardo Nunez to pop out. While I don’t think it is probable, Benoit’s contract makes him a candidate to get moved before August 31st. Second-in-line Kevin Quackenbush picked up the win today by tossing a scoreless ninth inning, although he did walk a pair. He’s a nice saves handcuff and a decent holds play, but there are other high-end bullpen arms out there I like more if you just need rates.

Neftali Feliz bounced back from his first blown save by polishing off a 3-1 game against Chicago this afternoon. Interestedly, Neal Cotts was left in to face fellow lefty Adam Dunn before Feliz was called on to punch out the last couple batters. The two strikeouts are a positive, although Feliz’s velocity continued to be subpar. The fact that Cotts was allowed to face a batter in the ninth inning probably speaks more to this bullpen — Ron Washington may be inclined to play matchups a bit more than he would with a lockdown guy who starts every ninth inning. It also implies Cotts is the handcuff to own here if you believe Feliz is due to falter down the line.

Kyuji Fujikawa was activated from the disabled list today. The righty is working his way back from Tommy John surgery and almost certainly will be eased into a bullpen role over the next few weeks. Today was a good example as he tossed a scoreless sixth inning (no strikeouts, no walks) with his fastball sitting around 91-92 mph (a tick down from his pre-injury numbers). I’ve seen some chatter (on “the Twitter,” for example) about him being a viable option as Chicago’s closer. While I never tell people not to stash if they have the room, it seems like a longshot for the Japanese righty right now. While Hector Rondon did blow a save yesterday (BABIP!), his SIERA remains outstanding. He also has managed to hold the gig through more than a few hiccups, implying that the team is at least quasi-comfortable with him in the role, especially if they aren’t contending this year. Look for Fujikawa to possibly play a more vital role in 2015, but his 2014 value seems likely to be rather marginal.

• It is interesting to note that five of the top six relievers by “unlucky” ERA-FIP splits are deposed closers (Ronald Belisario, Josh Fields, Ernesto Frieri, Jim Johnson, Joakim Soria). Soria doesn’t really need explanation, and if he was dropped in your deeper league, go get him for rates and as Nathan insurance. Of course, Frieri and Johnson are only on that list because their defense independent predictors are marginally less terrible than their actual ERAs (but still terrible). Belisario never really got a fair shake as a closer, but could remain a marginal source of holds and rates going forward (even if he can’t strike anyone out). Josh Fields may be the most interesting name on the list. The righty’s 2.10 SIERA has been the best in Houston’s pen and, when healthy, he has been one of the best relievers in the American League this year. His strikeout numbers are up and a 12% SwStr% imply they might be sustainable. His biggest improvement centers around getting his BB% under 10%. Should he keep these rates up, there seems to be a good chance he’s in the mix for the Astros closer gig next spring. I’d stash him in dynasty leagues if I had the roster space. Worst case, he helps you down the stretch in a few categories, best case, you hit the lottery and end up with a keepable RP next year.

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 Junichi Tazawa Edward Mujica
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Kyuji Fujikawa Neil Ramirez
CHI (AL) Jacob Petricka Javy Guerra Ronald Belisario Matt Lindstom
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton Sam LeCure Sean Marshall
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw John Axford
Colorado LaTroy Hawkins Adam Ottavino Rex Brothers
Detroit Joe Nathan Joakim Soria Joba Chamberlain Joel Hanrahan
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 Ernesto Frieri
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Pat Neshek 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 Drew Storen Tyler Clippard

[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.

2 Responses to “Bullpen Report: August 6, 2014”

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  1. ABSkippers says:

    I’ve read before (I thought in another version of Bullpen Report) that Benoit’s contract makes it unlikely he would be moved in a waiver deal. That at $7.5 mil his salary is reasonable for a good reliever and less than what an arbitrator would award someone who racked up a bunch of saves, so that any number of teams would likely put in a claim on him, especially to block rivals from trading for him.

    And most of all, the Padres need to consider the potential impact to my fantasy team. I’m counting on Benoit as a closer going into my H2H playoffs in Sept, and I don’t have the roster space to carry Quakenbush as insurance. So what’s the story?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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