Bullpen Report: May 13, 2013

Edward Mujica recorded his 10th save of the season tonight, throwing a perfect ninth inning against the Mets. In 15 innings pitched Mujica has struck out 15 batters and continued his strike throwing ways by only issuing one free pass, good for a 15.00 K/BB. Not bad. It goes without say that there is regression coming for Mujica as he won’t maintain a .172 BABIP or a 96.8% Left On Base Percentage all year, but you can’t deny he’s pitching quite well with a particularly strong grip on the roll at the moment. Behind Mujica for saves is the young Trevor Rosenthal, who after struggling earlier this season has brought his ERA down to 2.84 and after two strikeouts tonight, he now has 27 in 19 innings pitched with only five walks.  As the eighth inning guy in St. Louis, Rosenthal is a great source for holds who can help your ratios and strikeout totals, and if anything were to happen to Mujica, he’d see the ninth inning again.

• Although Don Mattingly said today that Brandon League is still his closer for now, the fact that he had to address the situation means that League’s job is in big trouble. It also doesn’t help when you have a 6.28 ERA with nine earned runs in your last nine appearances or end the vote of confidence with a “for now.” It probably should have come to this point sooner than it has but it seems like it’s now closer to a matter of when not a matter of if League will lose his job to Kenley Jansen. League’s ugly ERA isn’t a result of some bad luck either as his non existent strikeout ability (4.40 K/9) has led to a disappointing 5.79 FIP. League likely isn’t this bad and should regress closer to his career norms, but Jansen’s always been the better pitcher. To the surprise of no one, Jansen’s had a great year pitching to a 2.29/2.49/2.35 ERA/FIP/xFIP and a 35.1% K%. League’s next blown save might be his last and I’d pick up Jansen if he’s available or look for a more competitive league next year.

• After struggling with soreness on his left side and missing the last few games, Perkins was apparently available to pitch  yesterday and would have pitched tonight, but the Twins scored four runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning removing the opportunity for a save. It looks like Perkins is back but if he were to miss any more time, Jared Burton will continue to be next in line for ninth inning duties in Minnesota.  Glen Perkins 3.55 ERA might seem pedestrian but he has an absurd 40% K% leading to a fantastic 2.05 FIP. I’d like to think it’s because he reads FanGraphs, but no matter the reason Glen Perkins remains a great closing option both in the Twin Cities and on fantasy teams.

• Not that anyone was losing any sleep over Frank Francisco‘s rehab, but Frank2 was “diagnosed with mild strain of flexor pronator in right elbow.” Francisco will require 72 hours of rest before he will continue his rehab but whenever he’s finally able to return to pitch, including in Queens, Bobby Parnell looks to remain as closer.

Closer Grid:


Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Heath Bell David Hernandez Matt Reynolds J.J. Putz
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Eric O’Flaherty Jordan Walden
Baltimore Jim Johnson Darren O’Day Pedro Strop
Boston Junichi Tazawa Koji Uehara Andrew Miller Andrew Bailey
CHI (NL) Kevin Gregg Carlos Marmol James Russell Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Addison Reed Jesse Crain Matt Thornton
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton J.J. Hoover
Cleveland Chris Perez Joe Smith Bryan Shaw Vinnie Pestano
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Wilton Lopez Matt Belisle
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Al Alburquerque
Houston Jose Veras Wesley Wright Hector Ambriz
KC Greg Holland Kelvin Herrera Tim Collins
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Jerome Williams Ryan Madson
LAD Brandon League Kenley Jansen Ronald Belisario
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Chad Qualls
Milwaukee Jim Henderson John Axford Michael Gonzalez
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 Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Carter Capps Charlie Furbush
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Jason Frasor Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Casey Janssen Steve Delabar Darren Oliver 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

15 Responses to “Bullpen Report: May 13, 2013”

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  1. Jonathan Sher says:

    Indians’ close Chris Perez had a sore shoulder Sunday and was not available to pitch. It may be nothing but it’s worth watching. Setup man Vinnie Pestano may be off the DL by week’s end and a bullpen arm that intrigues me is Bryan Shaw, who has become a 1-pitch pitcher with an excellent cutter and hopes to follow, even distantly, in the footprints of Mariano Rivera.

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    • I saw this earlier today and forgot to mention it in the BR, apologies for that but thanks for bringing it up.

      Chris Perez appears to be fine, but if something were to happen Shaw is definitely a name to keep in mind. Pestano (when healthy) and Smith have been pitching later innings but Shaw momentarily received save opps ahead of David Hernandez last year in Arizona and maybe the same would happen in Cleveland. I’d still have Pestano and Smith ahead of him on the chart but Shaw’s pitching well and would have to be in any conversation if something serious were to happen to Perez.

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  2. Jabronies says:

    Fujikawa is back now off the DL

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  3. deezy333 says:

    Fujikawa or Hernandez for soonest closer opportunity?

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  4. skip says:

    still believe marmol and axford are next in line? think either has a realistic shot in the near future?

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    • Thanks for the Fujikawa mention, I’ll fix that tonight.

      With Fujikawa back I’d have him ahead of Marmol. Maybe not RIGHT away as he returns from injury but that certainly seems like the plan in Chicago. FWIW Marmol pitched the ninth tonight, with a nine run lead.

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  5. S. Urista says:

    What do we make of Tyler Clippard? His ERA is now back down to a more respectable 3.29 after ballooning in early April (3 hits, 3 runs allowed vs the White Sox on Apr 9). And his WHIP is so-so, 1.17, pretty much where it was last year (1.16), although higher than 2011 (under 0.90).

    But his walk rate is way up (over 6.5/9) and his K/9 is down (8.5, vs over 10 the last couple of years). Even if we remove his worst game for BB (3 allowed in 0.2 innnings in early April) it’s still over 4.5/9, including two walks last week….

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    • Clippard should continue to get some holds and potential vulture wins in Washington. He’s pitched more innings than any other reliever over the last few years, which is certainly concerning. But, even though his K/9 has decreased he’s actually getting more swings and misses than last year and his velocity is the same.

      His control is obviously the real issue here. If it doesn’t regress closer to 3.5 BB/9, Clippard may not be a great option and if it does, then consider him as you have over the last several years.

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  6. Jim Henderson says:

    Do you not love me? What more do I need to do to get the green light of confidence?

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  7. chri521 says:

    Should goggles Gregg get closer to yellow next update? Anointed closer and pitching ok.

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  8. twagshot says:

    I can’t remember the closer chart ever being so stable (i.e. mostly green).

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  9. fei says:

    what is your ETA on Rosenthal and Jansen getting the closer’s gig? Mid-June perhaps?

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    • Jansen could get the gig this week. Brandon League is on thin ice – he’ll be red tomorrow.

      Rosenthal is a completely different situation as Mujica has been fantastic. Mujica will have to struggle for Rosenthal to take over, and predicting when that would ever happen would be foolish. I suppose if Rosenthal continues to be lights out as he has recently, Mujica could have a shorter leash than someone else, but Mujica’s hold on the job is strong (i.e. Green)and I can’t necessarily predict if Rosenthal will get the gig, let alone when.

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  10. rubesandbabes says:

    Using any ‘metric,’ advanced or just regular, this Jason Grilli fellow seems to have discovered how to play baseball at 35.

    Fangraphs articles attached to him identify a increase in fastball velocity in his mid-thirties.

    This is one particularly easy example of what it looks like – pay attention, please, even if it hurts your feelings to do so.

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