• Did Jonathan Papelbon punch his ticket out of Philadelphia yesterday? After polishing off a Roberto Hernandez gem last night, the Philly closer addressed any potential trades involving him by saying “Some guys want to stay on a losing team? That’s mind-boggling to me. I think that’s a no-brainer.” Ouch. The team (and fantasy owners) would be wise to sell high if possible. While the 33-year-old owns a 1.24 ERA, his BABIP stands at a paltry .229, implying regression is likely around the corner. There’s also no guarantee that he remains in the closer role with a new team (although we have to admit, his “proven closer(TM)” track record helps). Manager Ryne Sandberg has previously said that Ken Giles and Jake Diekman would be the likely ninth-inning beneficiaries of Papelbon being unavailable (either through usage or, conceivably, trade) so both should be scooped up in all deeper leagues. The 23-year-old Giles and his 38% K% is the more intriguing pickup. Diekman has pitched much better than his 4.32 ERA would indicate, so he remains an option, but has some degree of platoon splits which could hurt him against good righty batters.
• After picking up a vulture win yesterday, Koji Uehara was not automatic in trying to finish off a Jon Lester start today. The Japanese righty was tagged with a 2-run homer that wrapped around Pesky’s Pole in right field on his way to blown save number two on the season. Uehara’s six homers allowed in 2014 are now already one more than he allowed all of last season (in 30+ more innings), a key reason why his FIP (not HR/FB independent) is 2.70 (compared to 1.61 last season). In addition to his HR/FB% being up, his actual number of liners plus fly balls (LD%+FB%) allowed is also up 6% in 2014, giving him the double whammy of more balls in the air, and more balls leaving the park. His per pitch numbers still look good (SwStr% is actually up), so there is no reason to panic and sell him off for Joe Nathan, but be aware we probably won’t see Koji circa 2013 ever again.
• Aroldis Chapman worked a scoreless inning in an extra inning game this afternoon, striking out a pair. Of note is that he’s thrown three days in a row and likely will be unavailable on Friday. His primary setup man, Jonathan Broxton also tossed today (giving up an earned run) and would likely get any save opportunity should one arise tomorrow. His ERA may be a sparkling 0.87 but don’t be fooled. Broxton remains the owner of a 4.37 xFIP and his 20/11 K/BB in 31 innings does not inspire tremendous confidence. Stream him in daily leagues if you need saves (or a cheap reliever) but Chapman owners can do better than merely handcuffing Broxton.
• Quick hits: Zach Britton notched another save today. I still find it hard to believe he can keep up a near 80% GB% but he keeps on doing the job in Baltimore. No save for the Cubbies today even though they won 6-4 on the road. Hector Rondon, Neil Ramirez, and Pedro Strop were all used in the extra inning affair, so Blake Parker pitched the last two innings to pick up the “W” and an invisible “SV” for himself. For what it’s worth, Rondon has gotten unlucky as his .352 BABIP and sub-3.00 xFIP/SIERA both indicate, but doesn’t have a ridiculously strong grasp on the ninth inning. Keep Ramirez (and maybe Strop) rostered if you are in deeper leagues where top tier setup men are gone.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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