- FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy -

Bullpen Report: July 6, 2012

Drew Storen looked great in his first rehab outing today needing just eight pitches to complete his perfect inning. Tyler Clippard is still expected to hold onto the ninth inning duties for the Nationals, but Storen is on track to return to the Nationals after the break and is worth keeping an eye on if Clippard were to struggle.

Neftali Feliz is also rehabbing an injury  and is being stretched out to enter the Rangers rotation. Joe Nathan has been outstanding this year with a 2.24 xFIP while striking out over 11 batters every nine innings so a closing change wasn’t imminent in Texas, but Feliz’s former dominance in the bullpen could have been compelling for fantasy owners in need of holds and/or help with their ratios.

• Daniel Bard is not pitching well, at all, facing four batters in his last outing without retiring anyone. Alfredo Aceves has struggled at times this season but overall hasn’t been so terrible with a 3.74 xFIP, and with Bard struggling in AAA (8.78 ERA in 13.2 innings), it looks like Aceves’ job is safe.

• Giants closer Santiago Casilla wasn’t available tonight due to a blister and Sergio Romo came on and converted the save against the Pirates, his fifth of the year. Romo has put up great numbers this season for the Giants (2.68xFIP; 10.80 K/9) and should be considered an instant pickup for all teams in need of saves. Casilla has struggled recently and I still expect Bochy to give him a chance to close again once his blister heals, but Romo is a necessary handcuff for Casilla owners and has a chance to take over if Casilla continues to struggle.

Carlos Marmol had been pitching effectively of late for the Cubs but was very Marmol-esque tonight, walking three batters and giving up three runs in a non save situation in the ninth inning against the Mets. Marmol’s job isn’t in danger after this poor outing and he will still continue see the next save opportunities for the Cubs.

For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here is a matchup you may be able to exploit.

A Pitcher for Tomorrow:  John Axford (MIL) at HOU

Zack Greinke has been excellent this season (2.79 xFIP) and although he may not be pitching in the All-Star game this season, he should fare well against the Astros tomorrow, giving closer John Axford a chance to save a win for the Brewers. Axford has had an up and down season closing for the Brew Crew but his peripheral numbers tell a different story as a 3.06 xFIP and a 12.69 K/9 are nothing to sneeze at.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second Injured
Arizona J.J. Putz David Hernandez Bryan Shaw
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jonny Venters Eric O’Flaherty
Baltimore Jim Johnson Pedro Strop Darren O’Day
Boston Alfredo Aceves Andrew Miller Mark Melancon Andrew Bailey
Chicago (NL) Carlos Marmol James Russell Shawn Camp
Chicago (AL) Addison Reed Matt Thornton Hector Santiago
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Sean Marshall Jose Arredondo
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Tony Sipp
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Matt Belisle Matt Reynolds
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Octavio Dotel
Houston Brett Myers Brandon Lyon Wilton Lopez
KC Jonathan Broxton Greg Holland Aaron Crow
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Jordan Walden
LAD Kenley Jansen Josh Lindblom Shawn Tolleson
Miami Heath Bell Steve Cishek Edward Mujica
Milwaukee John Axford Francisco Rodriguez Jose Veras
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Alex Burnett Matt Capps
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Jon Rauch Ramon Ramirez Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Rafael Soriano David Robertson Boone Logan
Oakland Ryan Cook Grant Balfour Jerry Blevins
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Jake Diekman
Pittsburgh Joel Hanrahan Jason Grilli Juan Cruz
St. Louis Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Eduardo Sanchez
SD Huston Street Dale Thayer Luke Gregerson
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Javier Lopez
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Brandon League Charlie Furbush
Tampa Bay Fernando Rodney Kyle Farnsworth Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Mike Adams Robbie Ross
Toronto Casey Janssen Jason Frasor Darren Oliver Sergio Santos
Wash. Tyler Clippard Sean Burnett Henry Rodriguez Drew Storen

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