Bullpen Report: June 16, 2013

TWIB – This Weekend In Bullpens:

• Things are getting very interesting in Detroit. After Jim Leyland previously stated that Jose Valverde was their closer, Joaquin Benoit got the four-out save today, his fourth of the year. This time Jim Leyland said “I’m going to do whatever I think it takes for the Tigers to win the game, and today I felt like my best option was Benoit.” I’m sure all of Detroit and Benoit owners everywhere would agree Benoit was the best option, but whether or not Leyland will think Benoit is the best option next time, nobody really knows. If Leyland is going to do whatever it takes for the Tigers to win, Benoit will be the guy but he has a love affair with Valverde. There relationship is on the rocks and the moment and Leyland could look Benoit’s way but without an official word, we can’t say Valverde is out of the picture. I’d run to pick up Benoit and would consider this an unofficial closer-by-committee until we hear more from Leyland or can see how the next few games play out.

Kenley Jansen blew his first save of the year since taking over for Brandon League last week on Saturday. However, no closer is perfect (duh) and with Jansen a far better option than both League and anyone else in the Dodgers pen, his job isn’t in jeopardy. Expect continued save opportunities as they arise for Mr. Jansen and loads of Ks as well.

Vinnie Pestano recorded his first save of the year against the Nationals, a day after receiving a loss against them. Although he’s clearly not the relief ace that he was in years past (5.38 FIP) the ninth inning remains Pestano’s job while Chris Perez is recovering from injury. I’d argue that Joe Smith (3.64 FIP) and Cody Allen (2.43 FIP) are better options but Francona has chosen to stay with Pestano in lieu of Perez. Speaking of Perez, when he’s not busy pleading not guilty to marijuana possession charges, he can be found focusing on his return to the mound in Cleveland which could be by next week. It doesn’t sound like he’ll need a lengthy rehab stint and barring a set back I’d expect to see Perez replace Pestano as closer as soon as he’s able.

• Two batters reached base, but Rodney was able to shoot his invisible arrow in the sky yesterday for his 14th save of the year.  His up and down season continues, and while Joel Peralta is seemingly eternally a solid speculative add for saves it’s Rodney’s job. Still, a 7.06 BB/9 for ‘Nando doesn’t lend itself to continued success, or in this case continued maintaining of the closing job, so on the radar Peralta shall remain.

Kevin Gregg had pitched in the previous four games so the Cubs went with Marmol in the ninth to close out the game against the Mets. Marmol proceeded to confirm his reputation, blowing the game and receiving the loss after giving up four runs off of two home runs. Bobby Parnell pitched a scoreless ninth down by three and was the lucky recipient of a win, his fifth of the year.

• Just like last time, Jim Johnson and Jason Grilli again picked up saves and both lead the league with 25 a piece.

Mariano Rivera made things interesting by allowing three bloop hits and a walk in relief of David Robertson, but the Yankees held on as Mo breathed a sigh of relief, striking out Albert Pujols for his 24th save of the year. Rivera now has a 1.80 ERA and 2.50 FIP on the season and one could actually argue he’s been a tad  unlucky with a .360 BABIP. Rivera’s looked slightly un-Mo like of late, allowing a slew of base hits and a walk in each of his last four appearances but it’s just the ebbs and flows of a baseball season and Mo is still likely the best closer in fantasy after the likes of Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel.

Greg Holland is on some kind of tear right now. Say what you will about arbitrary end points, since May 12th in 13 appearances Holland has thrown 13 innings allowing one run with 18 strikeouts against just three walks while converting seven saves. Holland’s FIP is now at 1.70 with a 14.40 K/9. A tip of the cap to any Holland owner that bought low during his early season struggles.

• Back off the DL, Huston Street picked up two saves over the weekend. Street is in the middle of the worst year of his career with a  7.05 FIP suggesting that he’s been lucky to have his poor 4.43 ERA. Street has routinely posted Swinging-Strike Rates in the 13-14% range throughout his career but this year it’s dropped all the way down to a 8.2% SwStr% affecting his strikeout rate which is a less-than-mediocre 5.24 K/9. Needless to say, Street isn’t the best pitcher in the Padres bullpen but he’s still owner of the ninth and he should have a decent leash with a $7M price tag this year and next. Street’s always been a good reliever who’s main question was his health. This year his health is still in question and he’s not a great reliever, Luke Gregerson is back to his familiar set up role with Street back but he’s still worth owning for holds, ratios and the inevitable save chance again due to Street’s health and/or struggles.

Carter Capps pitched the ninth inning today except he entered with a seven run deficit and gave up two home runs. I never thought I’d say this, but while Tom Wilhelmsen is getting a temporary break from closing, you should be sure to pick up Oliver Perez. Yes, Oliver Perez. Normally I would say Ollie would get looks against lefties in the ninth but on Friday when he got the save he faced righy heavy lineup. Anywho, on the year Ollie now has a 1.11 ERA with a 2.90 FIP and 12.21 K/9 that support his comeback as a legitimate reliever. Perez still struggles with control as a 4.44 BB/9 is less than ideal but he’s managed a .263 wOBA against right-handed hitters this year and with Capps fumbling a bit, Perez should see the ninth for however long Wedge decides Wilhelmsen needs a break.

Closer Grid:


Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Heath Bell David Hernandez Matt Reynolds J.J. Putz
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden Cory Gearrin
Baltimore Jim Johnson Darren O’Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Andrew Bailey Junichi Tazawa Koji Uehara
CHI (NL) Kevin Gregg Carlos Marmol James Russell
CHI (AL) Addison Reed Jesse Crain Matt Thornton
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton J.J. Hoover Sean Marshall
Cleveland Vinnie Pestano Joe Smith Bryan Shaw Chris Perez
Colorado Rex Brothers Wilton Lopez Matt Belisle Rafael Betancourt
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Phil Coke
Houston Jose Veras Hector Ambriz Wesley Wright
KC Greg Holland Aaron Crow Kelvin Herrera
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Robert Coello Ryan Madson
LAD Kenley Jansen Brandon League Ronald Belisario
Miami Steve Cishek Mike Dunn Chad Qualls
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jim Henderson John Axford
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Brandon Lyon LaTroy Hawkins Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Mike Adams Antonio Bastardo
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
St. Louis Edward Mujica Trevor Rosenthal Fernando Salas Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt Jean Machi Santiago Casilla
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Oliver Perez Carter Capps
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Tanner Scheppers Jason Frasor
Toronto Casey Janssen Steve Delabar Brett Cecil Sergio Santos
Wash. Rafael Soriano Drew Storen Tyler Clippard

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

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When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias

17 Responses to “Bullpen Report: June 16, 2013”

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  1. Shawnuel says:

    I think I and others who did the same deserve a tip of the cap for NOT panicking and dumping Holland for Herrera in April and early May.

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    • Yes, you certainly do! Oftentimes the non-move is the best move of all.

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      • Sgt Hulka says:

        I’m not going to regret dumping League, right?

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      • @Sgt Hulka
        Closers can be fickle but I don’t think this was a temporary move. It’s Kenley’s job to lose and one blown save won’t do it.

        League’s thrown 2 scoreless innings since the switch was made but he still didn’t record a strikeout and let five guys reach base.

        At the moment, League is just bad.

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      • SKob says:

        When League was closing it could have been argued he was worth dumping. You can’t go wrong with that move!

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      • Sgt Hulka says:

        Thanks. I feel like League is just a poor pitcher.

        This is very true. League was a mess.

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    • majnun says:

      No, no tip of the cap for you. Not dropping a closer is easy. If you weren’t worried, or declined buy low trades, then you can have a tip

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  2. mikeincmn says:

    Any preference between Benoit or Rex Brothers? I know Brothers has the job, but it sounds like Betancourt is a week or so away from a short rehab stint.

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    • Jim Leyland may just be trying to soften the blow and ease Benoit in, but I can’t recommend him over someone who’s currently the closer. Even though Betancourt will be back soon, I don’t feel confident choosing Benoit over Brothers with what Leyland said post game.

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  3. deezy333op says:

    Pick up Benoit, Capps, or Oliver Perez?

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    • Oof, tough one. It’s between Ollie or Benoit. Ollie is getting saves at the moment which means he should be owned. However, it might just be temporary until Wilhelmsen is right, but who’s to say that’s a given? Meanwhile, Leyland hasn’t let go of Valverde closing necessarily.

      Benoit is the better pitcher I’d say and has a higher % chance of being worthy of ownership, but Ollie is more likely for saves in the near future.

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  4. Gregg Sanderson says:

    If we all think it hard enough, maybe Jimmy Leyland will install Benoit as closer, once and for all!

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  5. Gregg Sanderson says:

    Follow-up. I am a Bailey/Tazawa owner. Is it a smart move to drop Tazawa for Carter Capps? My sense is it’s better to lock up BoSox saves than speculate on Capps.

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    • I’d hold onto Tazawa. He’s ownable if he’s not in reach of saves, the same can’t be said of Capps. But, if you are desperate for straight saves, right this moment Capps is closer. Still, Bailey’s health is an eternal question mark.

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      • Gregg Sanderson says:

        Thanks! I think I’ll hold onto Tazawa (who hasn’t been pitching that well himself).

        Follow-up 2: Adams or Bastardo to grab before Papelbon gets dealt?

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      • This is a good one. Neither is pitching as well as we’d expect but Mike Adam is a righty and if it’s a toss-up you could do worse than choose the righty for speculative saves.

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      • Gregg Sanderson says:

        I thought you might get a kick out of my bullpen, which is the All-Volatile Bullpen, if you ask me. I could wind up with 5 guys getting saves, or none:

        Rex Brothers

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