Kenley Jansen proves he deserves the ninth inning and Papa Grande proves why he didn’t have a job on Opening Day. Your Bullpen Report starts now!
• After being named the closer yesterday, Kenley Jansen was given a save opportunity last night and unsurprisingly converted the save, his third of the season. Jansen pitched a perfect ninth while striking out two batters and as the full-time closer in Los Angeles, this is something we should get used to seeing. Jansen has been a dominant reliever for a while now and it will be business as usual just with the extra bonus of saves, delighting Jansen owners everywhere. Jansen’s actually posting the lowest strikeout rate of his career but 12.55 K/9 is certainly nothing to sneeze at and it’s come with the best walk rate of his career (1.64 BB/9). Considering Jansen’s still striking batters out an an elite rate, increased control at the expense of a few strikeouts is a trade he, the Dodgers and his fantasy owners would make any day.
• Papa Grande (aka Jose Valverde) blew a save this afternoon against the Royals on a two-out, 0-2 pitch to Lorenzo Cain who tied the game on a two-run homer. Valverde’s numbers are basically right where we would expect them to be which isn’t necessarily a good thing. On the year Valverde now has a 4.14 ERA and 5.89 FIP. Valverde has been the victim of some bad fortune with the long ball (21.7% Hr/FB%) but his xFIP (4.03) basically mimics his ERA which means to say that we can’t really expect Valverde to pitch any better than he has. No change has been made but Valverde might be danger of losing his job and either way, Joaquin Benoit‘s stock certainly rises with each poor Valverde outing. However, any change that could take place may not come internally as the Tigers could look outside the organization for some relief help and we’ll be sure to update you with any trade rumors on this space.
• Greg Holland picked up the vulture relief win today and now has a 1.23 FIP and 13.88 K/9 to go with two wins and 13 saves in 15 tries. I talked about him on Monday and there isn’t much to add except to stress the fact that Holland is one of the best relievers, both in real life, fantasy and the land in between.
• Luke Gregerson entered the ninth inning today to close out the game but wasn’t able to finish, giving up a run on two hits in two-thirds of an inning. Nick Vincent recorded the final out for the first save of his career but he shouldn’t be considered as an option in anything but the deepest NL-only leagues. Gregerson should still receive save opportunities in San Diego while Huston Street is on the DL, but teams in need of saves could take a peak at Dale Thayer who struck out both batters he faced today in the eighth.
• After blowing the save in his last appearance on Monday, Andrew Bailey came back today and pitched around a leadoff single for his seventh save of the season. As we all know, Bailey’s health will always remain a question he’s been effective this year with a 2.21 ERA and 3.46 FIP. Bailey’s shown an elite strikeout rate (12.84 K/9) thanks to an ability to miss bats (12.9% SwStr%) and although you would like to see more control Bailey’s 3.98 BB/9 is a little skewed due to walking three batters in his poor outing last time out. If/when something happens to cause Bailey to miss time this year, Junichi Tazawa will fill in for saves but until then, consider Bailey a solid closing option on one of the better teams in baseball.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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