Bullpen Report: May 18, 2013

Since 2010, the Atlanta Braves bullpen owns a major league best 2.95 ERA (3.21 FIP) with 1,628 strikeouts. They’ve been worth 19.1 WAR over that same time frame, placing them behind only the Colorado Rockies who’ve accumulated 19.8 WAR. Additionally, Atlanta’s ‘pen saved 152 games since the beginning of ‘10 — third-best in the bigs — as well as earning the league’s fourth-most holds, 276.

Largely to thank for this success are Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters, who’ve combined for 447 (!) appearances and 5.7 WAR since the beginning of the twenty-ten campaign. And what do these two relievers have in common besides leading the same bullpen to it’s recent success? They’ve both been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in their pitching elbows in the past week. Venters went under the knife on Thursday — his second bout with Tommy John — and will miss the remainder of the 2013 and some of the 2014 season. O’Flaherty’s MRI confirmed a tear of the UCL prompting a visit to Dr. James Andrews — the same doctor who repaired Venters’ UCL, as well as most of the other hurlers in baseball who undergo similar procedures — sometime in the next week. A timeline has yet to be announced for EOF, but one may assume it will be the “typical” 12-15 month recovery that TJ requires.

For fantasy baseballers in leagues that reward holds, Cory Gearrin and Luis Avilan appear to be two of the favorites (from within the organization) to assume set-up duties in Atlanta. Gearrin and Avilan are currently owned in 0% and 1% of Yahoo! leagues, respectively.

Don Mattingly signaled for Kenley Jansen to relieve Chris Capuano in the bottom of the eighth frame in Atlanta tonight. Jansen, a hot topic as-of-late in the fantasy analyst community, was asked to face Evan Gattis with an inherited runner on second. Naturally, Jansen surrendered a two-run moonshot to “El Oso Blanco,” and for an encore, gave up a solo-shot to Andrelton Simmons. Craig Kimbrel entered in the top of the ninth with a two-run lead and sat down the Dodgers in order — including two strikeouts — for his 13th save on the season. Kimbrel now has two consecutive saves after blowing three of the previous five.

One of the more underrated — or less discussed — closers, Casey Janssen is a perfect 10-for-10 in save opportunities with a 0.69 ERA and a 0.21 WHIP so far this season. More interesting is that Janssen has struck out 30% of the batters he’s faced without surrendering a walk in 13 appearances. Early next week, the bullpen team here at RotoGraphs will be reranking relievers for the rest of the season, and Janssen appears primed for a top 15 ranking (for me, anyway).

Ernesto Frieri (8), Huston Street (10) and Jim Henderson (8) also earned saves this evening, while Chris Perez and Jim Johnson each blew save chances.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Heath Bell David Hernandez Matt Reynolds J.J. Putz
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Cory Gearrin Luis Avilan Jordan Walden
Baltimore Jim Johnson Darren O’Day Pedro Strop
Boston Junichi Tazawa Koji Uehara Andrew Miller Andrew Bailey
CHI (NL) Kevin Gregg Kyuji Fujikawa Carlos Marmol
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 Tanner Scheppers Jason Frasor
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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In addition to contributing to the RotoGraphs blog, you can find Alan at his own site, TheFantasyFix.com and follow his nonsense on Twitter @TheFantasyFix.

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“More interesting is that Janssen has struck out 30% of the batters he’s faced without surrendering a walk (0% BB%) in 13 appearances.”

The droids have won. No walks implies 0% BB.