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