Bullpen Report: March 25, 2014

Spring training is nearing its end (thankfully) and as managers finalize the end of their roster, the last bullpen spots are being decided. Here are a few items from today:

• We learned yesterday that Joakim Soria would be closing games in Texas and now we found out that Neftali Feliz was optioned to Triple-A. From GM Jon Daniels:  “He’s healthy and his work ethic has been solid, but he needs some work and the best place to get him that is in Round Rock right now. I expect he’ll be back as soon as he’s ready to help us.” When that will be I’m not entirely sure, and I don’t know if the Rangers are either. If Feliz is healthy as Daniels says and only throwing 91-93 MPH then he likely won’t be the force that he was the first time he was a closer in Texas. Feliz certainly doesn’t have to touch 100 MPH on his fastball to be effective, but this current version of Feliz isn’t the same pitcher we’re used to seeing. I don’t doubt that Feliz will be back in Texas but I also think that he’ll remain a set up option at best, with Soria holding closing duties for the duration of the season.

Matt Williams hasn’t decided on the Nationals’ fifth starter yet, but reliever Aaron Barrett has made the team. Barrett was the closer in AA last year and saved 26 games but more importantly pitched to a 2.15 ERA and 1.87 FIP in 50.1 innings, striking out 69 batters against just 15 walks. Spring training stats shouldn’t carry much weight but Barrett was great this spring, pitching 9.2 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts without a walk. Barrett has a few big names ahead of him before he’s receiving higher leveraged innings or consistent holds, but he’s definitely a name to keep in mind on the waiver wire.

Michael Pineda won the Yankees 5th starter job over David Phelps and Phelps is now looking at a swing man/long relief role in the Bronx. With the attrition rate of starting pitchers Phelps is very likely to see the rotation at some point this season. For those in very deep leagues/strict roster slots a SP/RP can hold some value and Phelps can help teams there. He’s essentially a league average pitcher (career 98 FIP-) but that could improve with a role in the bullpen.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed J.J. Putz Brad Ziegler
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden David Carpenter
Baltimore Tommy Hunter Darren O’Day Ryan Webb
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Edward Mujica
CHI (NL) Jose Veras Pedro Strop Hector Rondon Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Nate Jones Matt Lindstrom Ronald Belisario
Cincy J.J. Hoover Sam LeCure Logan Ondrusak Aroldis Chapman
Cleveland John Axford Cody Allen Bryan Shaw
Colorado LaTroy Hawkins Rex Brothers Matt Belisle
Detroit Joe Nathan Joba Chamberlain Al Alburquerque
Houston Chad Qualls Josh Fields Matt Albers Jesse Crain
KC Greg Holland Kelvin Herrera Aaron Crow
LAA Ernesto Frieri Dane de la Rosa Joe Smith
LAD Kenley Jansen Brian Wilson Paco Rodriguez
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Jim Henderson Francisco Rodriguez Brandon Kintzler
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Jose Valverde Jeurys Familia Vic Black
NY (AL) David Robertson Shawn Kelley Matt Thornton
Oakland Jim Johnson Luke Gregerson Sean Doolittle Ryan Cook
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Jake Diekman
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Carlos Martinez Kevin Siegrist
SD Huston Street Joaquin Benoit Alex Torres
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Grant Balfour Heath Bell Joel Peralta
Texas Joakim Soria Alexi Ogando Jason Frasor Neftali Feliz
Toronto Casey Janssen Sergio Santos Steve Delabar
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Drew Storen

[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

20 Responses to “Bullpen Report: March 25, 2014”

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  1. Eerock says:

    Blake Parker and Carter Capps have been sent to the minors.

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  2. RaiseJolly says:

    No mention of Manny Parra for Reds Closer? I dont understand why everyone just assumes JJ Hoover is 1st. Take a look at how he is currently pitching. Why would a contending team go to someone struggling in spring?

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    • Well, it’s only spring and Hoover has shown positive results in the majors the last couple of seasons. Also, he might be their third option with Aroldis and Broxton out.

      Manny Parra was quite good in his second season as a full time reliever last year but righties also had a .388 wOBA against him last year. For his career that number is .358. If you can’t get out righties consistently, you won’t be closing games.

      If Hoover’s struggling they’ll look to LeCure or Ondrusak but Parra could certainly sneak a left handed heavy save or two.

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  3. cavebird says:

    I am not sure how much we can trust the statement that Feliz is healthy. They can’t send him down for being hurt, so they have to say he is healthy. I would think he is pretty irrelevant this year, as he’ll likely spend most of it on the minor league DL, which the Rangers will do to save money and, more importantly, screw my fantasy team where he is locked in the lineup unless he is on the major league DL.

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    • Either Feliz is hurt/hiding something or the team is coming to terms with the newer, less effective Feliz. Either way, he should probably be avoided.

      It does sound like that league rule could really hurt your team.

      There remains a chance Feliz is just working himself into form but barring a spike in velocity he’ll likely be placed on the DL unearthing some hidden injury or just pitch less effectively.

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  4. Atreyu Jones says:

    Do people agree that Ogando is 2nd on the totem pole in Texas for the moment?

    Tie game on the road in the 9th inning, who is Ron Washington using?

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    • Knowing Washington, he’ll probably over use Ogando or make sure his closer isn’t used because it’s not a save situation.

      In all seriousness though I’ll go Ogando. He has his warts but Jason Frasor is probably the next in line and I’m betting Ogando gets the nod at first. This might change as the season goes on and we see what Ogando has in a relief role, but Wash will go to him first in that situation in my opinion.

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  5. fWAR says:

    What information causes Vic Black to be ahead of Valverde?

    Black seems like one those Enos Sarris Wishcasts– high velocity, high walk rate- that Managers won’t trust (e.g., Rondon, Capps). Managers’ve lived through the Carlos Marmol era; if forced to pick among limited alternatives, Managers will generally skip 100mph throwers with 5bb/9 in favor of soft tossing oldtimers like Street, Hawkins, and Valverde or even 1-pitch guys (Mujica collected far more saves last year than golden boy Rosenthal).

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  6. The Flaming FIPs says:

    Isn’t Neal Cotts the Rangers’ primary setup man?

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    • If something were to happen with Soria I suspect Ogando would be closing over Cotts. Cotts improvements should be noted in this space as he was essentially out of the league for a few years there and he might have more of claim on the grid than Jason Frasor.

      He’s a lefty but actually has reverse platoon splits so that may not apply. It’s still early speculation and Cotts will see important innings but we’ll have to see what Wash does the first week (and what all the managers do) before really figuring out who’s in line for saves.

      With that said, people are coming here now as they prepare for drafts, in which case I’d give Cotts a late round flier for ERA/Whip but not necessarily as a next in line for saves sleeper…yet.

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  7. Walkswith4Balls says:

    Hawkins or Hoover for fill in for Chapman?

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    • Good question. I would lean towards Hawkins. While he might not have the job all year long, Rex Brothers isn’t without faults and Aroldis will have the job when he’s back. In fact, Jonathan Broxton might lay some claim to the job when he’s back as well. Aroldis is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. So, will Hawkins lose his job by then? I’ll guess no, although he might provide lesser stats.

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