A light(er) and (less) important load today with a few teams off, but some bullpen notes for your reading pleasure below.
• Chris Perez isn’t joining the Indians quite yet, but he’s set to start throwing in a few days. In his place closing games for the Indians has been Vinnie Pestano and although he hasn’t pitched all that well this year (5.57 FIP) he’ll still get the ball in the ninth. Setting him up has been and will continue to be Joe Smith, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen. Mr. Allen might be the farthest away from getting a save but he’s also the most effective reliever in Cleveland, leading the bullpen in WAR(0.5), FIP (2.49) and K/9 (11.92). The Indians lost today against the Yankees, but Cody Allen finished the seventh inning with Joe Smith pitching a scoreless eighth. Whether it’s in a winning or losing effort, that distribution should continue for the Indians with everyone entering the game a little earlier once Chris Perez returns.
• In that same game, Mariano Rivera closed his 20th door of the season, keeping his shirt tucked in for the 628th time of his career. After blowing his first save of the year against the Mets on Friday, Mo has converted his last two save chances. We’re obviously running out of things to say about the guy but even when he’s not pitching particularly well, he still can hit his spots with consistency.
• Aroldis Chapman struck out the side while issuing one walk tonight against the Rockies for his 15th save of the year. Aroldis now has 15.92 K/9 on the year which is actually better than what he did last year but his control has faltered a little bit, standing at 4.15 BB/9 after posting 2.89 BB/9 in 2012. Still, minor control issues aside, Aroldis remains a top three option in fantasy baseball.
•Edward Mujica hadn’t pitched since Wednesday (after recording a save in four consecutive games) and came in to pitch a scoreless ninth inning tonight in a non-save situation. In 25 innings pitched Mujica has now allowed a mere five runs, one walk and 13 hits leading to a sparkling 2.44 FIP and 0.60 WHIP. Every Day Edward won’t maintain a .188 BABIP all season but don’t be fooled into thinking this is completely a mirage as Mujica’s become one of the better relievers in the game. Always known for his incredible control, Mujica’s swinging-strike rate (13.5%) now ranks among the top 20 of qualified relievers while his stirke-out-to-walk ratio (22.0 K/BB) unsurprisingly sits in first. On the Cardinals, Mujica should receive more save opportunities than most and with the way he’s pitching, you’ll struggle to find many better options for your fantasy bullpen.
As I gush about Mujica, I should also give a few words about Trevor Rosenthal, who is arguably pitching even better. Although he blew his chance to become closer after Boggs’ struggles earlier this year, Rosenthal now supports a 2.07 FIP and a 13.33 K/9. He also throws over 97 mph and since April 27, spanning 13 games and 12.1 innings, Rosenthal hasn’t given up an earned run. In the words of Larry David, that is prettay, prettay good. Mujica will have to pitch particularly bad for an extended period of time or get hurt for Rosenthal to see the ninth inning, but as a set up man Rosenthal is still a must own for most fantasy leagues.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]