• Go see if Kenley Jansen is still on your wire (perhaps you’re league is full of lackadaisical old chaps who had a slow-pitch softball game this evening). Right now. Stop reading and do it. I’ll wait. OK, back? Alright, well even after Jansen picked up a save last night (during a game where Brandon League didn’t even warm), Don Mattingly is still holding his cards close to the vest, saying he won’t name Jansen his closer. Of course, he was also quoted as saying “in that game, I had to go with the guy who’s throwing the ball best; as much as anything he’s been throwing the ball better than anybody.” That doesn’t seem like a guy who just pitched one of the league’s top relievers on a whim. Don’t drop League, but it’s hard not to salivate at the possible (dare I say, likely?) changing of the guard in Dodgertown. If Jansen is indeed the new ninth inning man, he and his 36% K% immediately become a top-5 option for the rest of the season.
• Jose Veras did his best to blow his team’s lead against the Tigers; walking two, hitting one, and giving up a bases-loaded smash to Miguel Cabrera which required a nifty leaping catch at the wall by Brandon Barnes to preserve the win. Veras has been nothing other than mediocre this year, posting a boring 4.33 xFIP that lines up well with his 4.20 career mark. The fact he is closing in Houston speaks to their real dearth of options in the ninth. In fact, coming into today, Veras actually had the lowest xFIP on the team, with the rest of his bullpen mates posting marks 4.12 or higher. Wesley Wright (14% K%, 4.05 xFIP after today) is probably the best handcuff in this pen, but unless I’m in a very deep league, I don’t honestly want much to do with it.
• By the time you read this, Andrew Bailey should have tossed a simulated game and, if all goes well, he will be sent out on a rehab assignment this weekend before being activated Monday. Upon his return, Bailey should usurp the closer role back from Junichi Tazawa (who has been awarded exactly zero save opportunities since Joel Hanrahan was placed on the DL) and return to his status as a top-15 mixed league option. Bailey’s SwStr% is back up into double digits (nearly 14%) and it has helped his K% rebound to the highest rate of his career. As long as he’s healthy, he should be a solid option at the back end of the Boston pen. Scoop him up if someone dropped him, he’s available in 37% of Yahoo! leagues.
• Apparently, the “Ryan Madson Experience” is not coming to southern California. Yet, anyways. While rumors were circulating he’d be ready to make his first major league appearance in almost a year and a half next week, the team appears set to send him on a two-week tour of Triple-A to get his feet back underneath him. Madson has the potential to be an elite closer when healthy, but it’ll be interesting to see how close he is to the Madson of 2010-2011. I’d still roster him in deeper leagues as Ernesto Frieri‘s elevated BB% concerns me.
• Francisco Rodriguez is back in the majors. He has posted xFIPs of 3.08 and 3.71 the last two seasons, so he’s not as bad as some people make him out to be. There’s a very real chance he works his way into some high leverage situations. I’m still not tripping over myself to snag him off the wire, though. If John Axford doesn’t get the closer gig back, Jim Henderson should be elite enough to hold onto the job.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]