A few teams are off tonight but you still get 100% of the Bullpen Report (I think)…
• Greg Holland picked up the clean save tonight, striking out two for his 13th save of the year. Since his struggles earlier on in the season Holland has been great and in his last eleven appearances, Holland has thrown 11.0 scoreless frames with 16 strikeouts against only three walks. On the year Holland now has a 1.96 ERA supported by a fantastic 1.33 FIP and 2.13 xFIP. Holland’s control (3.91 BB/9) isn’t perfect, but he makes up for it with a fantastic 13.70 K/9, backed by an equally fantastic ability to miss bats (14.3% SwStr%). Holland hasn’t received as many save opportunities as some other relievers (I’m looking at you Mr. Jason Grilli) but not many pitchers have Holland’s ability to get K’s and he should be one of the better options out of the pen, whether it’s real life or fantasy this season.
• Joe Nathan recorded his 20th save of the season, pitching a perfect ninth against the Indians, and is now 20/21 on save opportunities on the year. Nathan’s velocity is down to 91.8 mph from 94 mph last season and his strikeout rate has gone down with it, falling from 10.91 K/9 in 2012 to 8.89 thus far in 2013. However, while Nathan is likely not as splashy as his 1.78 ERA would suggest, his peripherals are still plenty good, leading to a 3.19 FIP. Also, when you add in the fact that Nathan pitches for one of the better teams in baseball, Nathan should continue to receive plenty of save opps, strike out his fair share of batters and remain one of the top closers in fantasy baseball.
• Fernando Rodney pitched one and two-thirds innings tonight, throwing 33 pitches against the Red Sox. Rodney wasn’t terribly effective either, letting three men reach base and allowing two runs to score. Rodney’s ERA now stands at 4.94 and although he’ll remain closer for the Rays, teams looking for a sneaky save opp should look Joel Peralta‘s way, if Joe Maddon decides to rest Rodney after his 33 pitch workload this evening. Rodney’s walk-rate gets mentioned a lot around these parts but it certainly is worthy of repeated views. After walking two batters tonight, Rodney’s walk-rate stands at a ridiculous 7.24 BB/9 which isn’t sustainable if you want to remain closer all year, unless your name is Mitch Williams or Carlos Marmol and even they didn’t last too long closing games with a BB/9 over seven.
Rodney is missing bats and striking out batters at a higher frequency than he has previously leading to a 3.84 xFIP which certainly could be worse, but so long as he’s walking batters left and right, Joel Peralta must at least be monitored, if not owned.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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