Bullpen Report: August 7, 2013

• As Dave Cameron predicted, Danny Farquhar has regressed and he’s now yet to allow a run in his last eight appearances, including tonight’s scoreless inning for his third save. Farquhar’s 4.95 ERA is certainly misleading as his 1.88 FIP and 2.04 xFIP paint a different picture. Although he’s barely warmed his closer’s seat, I’m going to go out on a limb and change the Mariners to yellow. Farquhar doesn’t have much of a track record in the majors but he has shown some great skills (13.62 K/9) and has done an admirable job in place of Tom Wilhelmsen. Also, considering Wilhelmsen is getting stretched out  to pitch in the rotation, I like Faruhar’s chances of holding onto the job over Yoervis Medina and Oliver Perez.

• Another change in the Astros bullpen today as Jose Cisnero was sent to AAA Oklahoma City for reliever Jorge De Leon. Of course, a day after I said Jose Cisnero is lurking behind Josh Fields for the ninth inning he gets demoted. I’d still consider Fields the Astros flavor of the month for the ninth inning, but it gets a little murkier who’s in line behind him. Wesley Wright should still see higher leverage innings, especially against any lefty heavy part of the lineup. Behind him, Josh Zeid (3.70 xFIP) could get some later inning looks as well. Although he gave up a home run tonight,  Zeid has a hard fastball (94.4 mph) and solid strikeout rates in his minor leagues, if the Astros revolving door keeps going he could be name to keep an eye on.

• It’s never good to lose your stud closer to injury but Mark Melancon has done a fantastic job filling in while Jason Grilli has been on the shelf with a strain flexor muscle in his right arm.  Melancon isn’t pitching any better than he has all year either it’s just that now, instead of getting a H after an outing he gets a S. That trend continued this evening as Melancon recorded his seventh save. With a 0.84/1.86/2.26 ERA/FIP/xFIP line, Melancon is an upper tier closer while closing games for Pittsburgh and if Grilli makes a return, he would still remain a good own, especially in holds leagues.

• Unmoved at the trading deadline, Kevin Gregg (4.27 xFIP) threw a perfect ninth inning tonight for his 21st save. Unexciting as he is, Gregg should remain as closer on the Cubs for the remainder of the year. Behind him is set up man Pedro Strop who struck out the side in his inning of work today. Strop obviously has more than just a dose of  Marmol in him (5.06 BB/9) but with a 3.55 xFIP and an ability to miss bats (11.5% SwStr%) he’s an intriguing guy to monitor, especially for any fantasy teams with an eye on 2014.

• In the competition for best closer in (fantasy) baseball, Aroldis Chapman (27) and Craig Kimbrel (36) each recorded a save tonight. Kenley Jansen and Greg Holland might like to argue but I would still say Kimbrel and Chapman are #1 and #2 if one were to rank fantasy closers. I’d still give the edge to Kimbrel in that battle. Chapman’s been a little unlucky with some fly balls going over the fence this year but he also gives up fly balls at a more uncomfortable rate (45.2% FB%) than Kimbrel (34.6%).

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 Josh Fields Wesley Wright Josh Zeid Jose Cisnero
KC Greg Holland Aaron Crow Kelvin Herrera
LAA Ernesto Frieri Dane de la Rosa 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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When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias

10 Responses to “Bullpen Report: August 7, 2013”

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  1. Naturally Josh Fields blows the save tonight.

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    • Jay29 says:

      Ridiculous bullpen right now. So who do you think gets the next Houston save opp?

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      • supershredder says:

        Astros fan here. I’m pretty sure Chia-Jen Lo will get another shot at a save opportunity. I expect a committee with Fields, Lo and maybe Zeid.

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    • BMac says:

      Yeah, you got that right. I am betting Fields gets one more shot. Zeid kinda blew it, too, but he was their triple-A closer, so he bears watching. As for the rest of them…

      Too bad you only have three colors to play with. This situation is more than volatile!

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      • Travis Snider's Pedo Stache says:

        Easy solution – just nuke the Astros’ row by making everything black.

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      • Giovani says:

        Is it really worth chasing a save here when we can reasonably expect the damage to WHIP and ERA columns will be at least as great as the benefit in the SVs column? I don’t see the point. Go out an get an elite middle reliever instead.

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  2. Jack says:

    Closer planning – I’m pretty sure I have a by in my H2H playoffs sealed up. Planning to get my team in a position for the playoffs 1 week each – starting 9/9. I have Henderson (who I think will be still closing then) and Melancon (who may be in jeopardy if Grilli comes back by then). Do either when Betancourt comes of the DL (no, Hold don’t count in our league)? What are the chances that Malancon keeps the job even after Grilli comes back?

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    • TeddyIsland says:

      No reason Henderson isn’t closing games in September. Once Grilli is ready to go, the job is his. But Betancourt/Brothers is interesting. Rex Brothers has been lights out since filling in and he’s undoubtedly the better closer. However, Betancourt is the vet and his injury wasn’t the arm, neck, etc. If he’s healthy, my gut [insert appendix joke here] says Betancourt but there’s a possibility Rexy keeps it.

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  3. Pigpen says:

    What about Lo? Does he have a shot in that Hou mess?

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  4. HeaterRicky says:

    I think everyone is writing off Wilhemsen much too quickly. His nasty curve hasn’t been as sharp this season and it appears they are giving him minor league innings to work it out. I’ll bet he has the closer role back before seasons end.

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