• Jason Grilli was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list. The good news? Sounds like Grilli didn’t hear the dreaded “pop” signaling a serious acute injury. GM Neil Huntington has also apparently insinuated that the injury might not be as bad as first feared (season-ending). However, Grilli was clearly suffering from some degree of discomfort at least four pitches before he was eventually yanked — I question what exactly the trainers were looking at. Either way, keep Grilli rostered.
Mark Melancon successfully converted save number one tonight. It wasn’t easy, however, as he had to come in and put out the fire started by Justin Wilson who gave up a two-run shot to Jayson Werth‘s beard to turn a 4-0 game into a 4-2 save situation. Melancon’s 0.93 ERA is unsustainable, but with a 1.89 SIERA, he remains the seventh-best RP in baseball. He has been touted in this space before, but if you’re in a shallow league and he’s (for some odd reason) still sitting on the wire, go snag him.
• Ryan Cook nabbed a save tonight. Don’t get too excited, he only got the opportunity because Grant Balfour threw 29 pitches during his first blown save last night. Cook’s fastball velocity, SwStr% and K% are all down just a tick this year, but the BB% gains he made during the last half of 2012 appear to have stuck (7.3% in 2013), which bodes well for his potential to take over as A’s closer when Balfour eventually moves on. For this year, he seems relegated to a setup role, but he’ll vulture the occasional save or two and should provide some whiffs and holds for owners in leagues where middle relievers matter.
• Joe Nathan bounced back from last night’s blown save by recording the last out (and only the last out) of today’s tilt with the Yankees. Nathan has now thrown three games in a row, so expect Tanner Scheppers to get a save nod tomorrow if one should arise. Nathan has gotten pretty lucky so far this season (.218 BABIP, 84% LOB%, 4% HR/FB%) so he makes a good sell-high candidate if you can get top-5 closer value. That said, he has some of the best job security in baseball, so, providing he’s healthy, he’ll still rack up the SV even if those rates regress a little.
• Best non-closer xFIP (minimum 10 innings) over the last month? David Robertson. D-Rob lost a little bit of shine last year after he had a few hiccups trying to help out in the ninth inning in the wake of Mariano Rivera‘s outfield misfortune, but he has been just as good as ever in 2013, posting a sub-2.35 SIERA (so far) for his third consecutive season. Like a Mark Melancon, he has plenty of value in redraft leagues as a rates guy and saves handcuff, but really, make sure he is owned in keeper/dynasty leagues. He has the potential to be one of fantasy’s top five relievers starting next season.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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