• Well, the closer merry-go-round in Los Angeles seems to be getting more interesting by the day. Less than 24 hours removed from Kenley Jansen‘s minor meltdown while trying to hold a close lead, he struggled in the eighth again. This time, Brandon League was called upon to try and put out the fire while wrapping up a multi-inning save. He did neither, allowing both inherited runners to score and allowing two of his own to cross the plate. LA Time beat writer Dylan Hernandez insinuated after that game that, had League snuck out of that jam, Matt Guerrier would have pitched the ninth, although it’s unlikely that was the plan before League entered.
Regardless, League continues to own an extremely pedestrian 10.6% K% and 4.57 xFIP and appears to be slowly losing his grip on the closer role. The high-upside Jansen probably could have ripped it away with a few good performances but this week’s bump in the road came at an inopportune time. Given his gaudy strikeout rates and sub-3.00 xFIP, I still think Jansen is far-and-away the guy to own in this bullpen but it’s a full-on red situation right now. If you are in anything deeper than a 14-teamer and love speculating, you could always grab Ronald Belisario and Guerrier, too.
• Steve Cishek got pulled mid-save situation today, ceding to southpath Mike Dunn who (after a walk of his own) induced a game-ending groundout from A.J. Pollock. The run Cishek allowed was actually charged to Ricky Nolasco, who gave up a leadoff double before Miami’s closer was summoned. All bow before “the curse of the closer not starting his own inning.” Cishek is not in any imminet danger of losing his closing gig, but I continue to be very concerned with his platoon splits. His wOBA LHH/RHH splits in 2013 (.408/.135) are even uglier than his career marks (.326/.230). The sidearming righty is currently being exploited by pinch-hitting lefties, and if the trend continues, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a guy like Dunn get some opportunities similar to the Scott Downs/Ernesto Frieri platoon from the middle of last year. As with the Dodgers middle relievers, both Dunn and A.J. Ramos should be owned in deep leagues.
• Aroldis Chapman gave up not one, but two home runs in an ugly outing in Philadelphia today. The appearance caused his xFIP to “balloon” to 2.89 and today’s two taters represent more than 20% of the career round-trippers he has allowed. There remains little reason to be concerned about Chapman; his K% is down a tick and his BB% is up from last year, but there are no pitchers (outside of Craig Kimbrel) who can reproduce his 2012. His velocity looks very similar to what it was last year, and, if he follows last year’s trajectory, looks to increase slightly as the months warm up. He’s still fantasy’s number two closer.
• Ryan Cook finished off the Royals this afternoon. It wasn’t the easiest of saves, however, with Kansas City putting the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second before Cook induced a Mike Moustakas groundout to end the game. He’s the clear handcuff in Oakland, but don’t get too excited; Grant Balfour was just getting a day off after working the previous two days. He’ll be back in there when the next opportuntiy arises.
• Andrew Bailey will be reinstated from the 15-day disabled list tomorrow. Pick him up in all leagues. He should take over the ninth inning immediately.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
Print This Post