Bullpen Report: May 20, 2014

Matt Lindstrom was placed on the 15-day Disabled List with an ankle injury. We will know more soon about his recovery timeline but in the meantime, Javy Guerra was called up from AAA. The White Sox haven’t anointed a closer as replacement so this is going to be by committee until Lindstrom returns or someone else runs away with it. In the committee should be Daniel Webb, Ronald Belisario, Scott Downs and maybe even Zach Putnam and Jacob Petricka. In tonight’s game, Petricka pitched a clean seventh, and Downs and Frank Francisco had a forgettable eighth inning that Putnam came in to clean up. Eno Sarris pointed us in Belisario’s direction earlier in the day and I happen to agree with his assessment. I would look to add Belisario first if he’s still available in your league and grab Webb as a consolation prize. Unless you are in the deepest league or in dire straits for saves I might stop there as the third or fourth option for saves in Chicago might not be worth the roster spot. Even after throwing two innings last night Belisario is warming up for the save this evening. Published before game ended.

Trevor Rosenthal has struggled this season, specifically in the control department, where his BB% ballooned from 6.4% last year to 14.4% thus far in 2014. His velocity has dipped a tad from last year, but at 96.3 mph with a 12.9% SwStr%, he still has the goods to be an elite closer if he can keep his walks down. Rosenthal hasn’t been perfect (13/15 on saves) and his job isn’t in danger but he will have some exta company looking over his shoulder with Jason Motte being activated from the DL today. Motte hasn’t pitched since 2012 and he will have to prove himself on the major league level but if Rosie’s struggles continue, he could enter the picture. Kevin Siegrist is still an important piece in the Cardinals bullpen, especially from the left side, but I’m removing him from the grid for Motte.

• Some readers yesterday were smart to mention Neil Ramirez as a figure in the Cubs bullpen in the comments section. He’s been outstanding thus far in 9.1 innings pitched this season, striking out 15 batters against just two walks. Ramirez and Justin Grimm have both been pitching in the eighth inning for the Cubs of late but Grimm actually entered tonight’s game to get the final out of the sixth while Ramirez entered the ninth up five runs. Brian Schlitter pitched a scoreless seventh and although he has a nice ERA with peripherals it’s tough to get excited about a guy with a K/9 > 5. James Russell started and finished the eighth tonight and Jose Veras could also in the mix for setting up but he will probably need some time to regain lost trust after his dismal April. Hector Rondon‘s grasp on the ninth inning is tightening but we will be sure to update the grid as the Cubs settle on a more regular rotation. Published before game ended.

Jason Grilli is on the road back to Pittsburgh, pitching in rehab games this week and could be activated before the week is finished. Mark Melancon has filled in admirably for Grilli (6/8 saves) and carries an impressive 2.52/2.62/3.48 ERA/FIP/xFIP line on the year. However, Grilli wasn’t on the shelf for too long where he would have to work to get his job back and I imagine he will reclaim the role once he returns to Pittsburgh, which should be soon barring a setback.

Tommy Hunter entered tonight’s ballgame with a lead but it was in the seventh inning up five runs, his exile from the ninth inning in Baltimore is continuing. He did pitch a scoreless frame but needed a double play to end the inning after allowing two base hits. Zach Britton entered the game in the eighth inning and pitched one and third scoreless handing the ball off to O’Day with two outs in the ninth who finished the game. Although it wasn’t a close game or save situation, Showalter managed this game as if it was and it looks like O’Day and Britton will be splitting duties depending on the matchup moving forward.

• Quick hits: After allowing back to back singles to start the ninth, Casey Janssen held on for his fourth save of the year. Papelbon was sloppy, allowing three base runners and a run for his 12th save of the year. No save situation in Cleveland but Bryan Shaw pitched a perfect seventh and eighth and Cody Allen pitched a perfect ninth. This still looks like a committee between the two and both should remained owned. Luke Gregerson pitched around two base runners in the eighth and Doolittle finished the ninth for his third save and according to Bob Melvin he’s the closer now.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed Brad Ziegler Oliver Perez J.J. Putz
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel David Carpenter Luis Avilan Jordan Walden
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Andrew Miller
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Neil Ramirez James Russell Pedro Strop
CHI (AL) Ronald Belisario Daniel Webb Jacob Petricka Matt Lindstrom
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton Sam LeCure
Cleveland Bryan Shaw Cody Allen Scott Atchison
Colorado LaTroy Hawkins Adam Ottavino Rex Brothers
Detroit Joe Nathan Joba Chamberlain Al Alburquerque Joel Hanrahan
Houston Chad Qualls Kyle Farnsworth Josh Zeid Jesse Crain
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Aaron Crow
LAA Ernesto Frieri Joe Smith Michael Kohn Dane de la Rosa
LAD Kenley Jansen Chris Perez Chris Withrow
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Will Smith Brandon Kintzler Jim Henderson
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jenrry Mejia Jose Valverde Jeurys Familia Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) David Robertson Shawn Kelley Adam Warren
Oakland Sean Doolittle Luke Gregerson Jim Johnson
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Mike Adams Antonio Bastardo
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Justin Wilson Jason Grilli
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Carlos Martinez Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Joaquin Benoit Alex Torres
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Grant Balfour Joel Peralta Jake McGee
Texas Joakim Soria Alexi Ogando Jason Frasor Neftali Feliz
Toronto Casey Janssen Brett Cecil Steve Delabar Sergio Santos
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

14 Responses to “Bullpen Report: May 20, 2014”

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  1. cole hamels says:

    Article says Britton and O’Day will be splitting matchups but Hunter is still listed as the closer?

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    • My error, thanks and fixed!

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      • Sarge6 says:

        Articles out of Baltimore that I’ve seen say Showalter is completely non-committal. Are we certain that it’s Britton with Hunter dropping to third in line?

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      • No, we’re not certain. I think moving forward we’ll try to note on the grid when it’s a committee to avoid any confusion. If you read the BR daily you’ll know but if you come across the grid every now and then you wouldn’t. O’Day Britton and likely even Hunter are still in the mix for saves. I’d keep eyes on Hunter and if he pitches well in the non-ninth, he could regain his job.

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  2. Mike W says:

    With Grilli coming back would you hold onto Melancon or should I chase Belisario or Mejia both being still on my waiver wire?

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    • FeslenR says:

      I’d hold onto Melancon, because Grilli might get hurt again. However, if you need saves that much, pick up the other guys because Melancon will probably still be available.

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    • That’s a tough one, I’d probably lean towards holding Melancon since I believe he’s the best pitcher and neither Belisario or Mejia are locks for tons of saves moving forward. However, if you need saves I’d look to see what else you could possibly drop for Belisario or Mejia. Also, fwiw if those guys are still on the wire, are saves more easily acquired in your league?

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  3. Joe Nathans Dead Arm says:

    Another bad outing for Hawkins? Thoughts on the COL bullpen situation? Brothers or Ottavino?

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    • Milad says:

      Ottavino I’d say, pretty confidently. Funny how baseball works, with LaTroy getting a W after pitching atrociously.

      Just dropped Balfour to grab Ottavino in a league. Risky? Sure. But I gotta practice what Fangraphs preaches. FIP FTW!

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    • I’d lean Ottavino as he’s consistently been pitching in the eighth inning of late, and pitching quite well. Brothers has been good of late too, throwing 7.1 scoreless innings but he’s a lefty and I believe Ottavino has leapfrogged him.

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  4. Andrew says:

    This is a complete nitpick of excellent work, but given the total state of flux in the White Sox bullpen I’d have that situation in neon red. Otherwise good to see the Grid updated in some key areas. Thanks Ben.

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  5. Hoigaard says:

    Maybe a tweak to the grid would be to add a color to signify true committees? Keep the Green/Yellow/Red for what they are now, but when a team publicly goes to a committee, whichever names in the committee go blue or grey or something?

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  6. Kickball expert says:

    Shawn Kelley has been shut down for a while, probably want to update that too.

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