Bullpen Report: May 23, 2013

It was a slow day on the diamond with just five games on the schedule, so here are just a few bullpen notes to hold you over…

Jason Grilli’s early season ninth-inning heroics vaulted him to the number seven slot in the Bullpen Report’s “Updated Consensus Closer Ranks,” and this afternoon’s 14-pitch effort did nothing but solidify that ranking. The Pirates closer faced the minimum in the ninth and struck out the final two Cubbies to remain a perfect 19-for-19 in save chances this year. The two looking strikeouts — courtesy of Luis Valbuena and Welington Castillo — inflated the right-handers whiff rate to 41.4% on the year, which as of tonight, is a major league best. In addition to the fantastic strikeout rate, Grilli lowered his ERA and WHIP to 1.25 and 0.74 WHIP on the year respectively.

To be fair, Jason Grilli isn’t the only story coming out of the Pirates ‘pen these days. Twenty-eight-year-old Mark Melancon owns a 0.72 ERA, 0.80 WHIP a 27.4% K%, a 1.1% BB% and has notched a league-leading 16 holds in 25 trips to the hill. Yes, those numbers are real. Parlay those ratios and whiffs with a scab win here, a scab save there and you could have yourself a top 100 player. Melancon is owned in just 20% of Y! leagues, but at this point, he’ll be more than useful in all 12-team and deeper mixed formats.

Papa Grande shook hands for the fifth time this season as the Tigers closed out the Twins, 7-6. Valverde sat down the Twinkies in order — including two via the strikeout — to raise his strikeout rate to 25% on the season. In 11 appearance since rejoining the Tigers, Valverde is 4-of-4 in save chances with a 0.82 ERA and a 0.54 WHIP. Today’s save pushes Jose Valverde’s career save total up to 282, placing him 28th on the all-time career saves list and only behind Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan and Francisco Rodriguez among those still in the game. Watch out Mo, Jose is just 343 saves away!

There are seven middle relievers that have earned four or more holds in the past two weeks. Joel Peralta (6) notched the most of the bunch, while Trevor Rosenthal and David Robertson are the only two with a minimum of four holds and ten strikeouts. Four of the seven — Jesse Crain, Sean Doolittle, Jake McGee and Trevor Rosenthal — own a perfect 0.00 ERA. And what do you get when you add Rosenthal, McGee and Doolittle’s efforts together over that time? A 2-0 pitcher who sports a glistening 0.00 ERA and a 7.6 K/BB. Yes, that’s Chris Sale territory. Moral of the blurb? If the top 20 starting pitcher you’re looking to acquire continues to elude you, simply stack a few elite middle relievers and get close to the same result — if you have the roster spots.

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 Andrew Bailey Junichi Tazawa Koji Uehara
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 Vinnie Pestano Joe Smith
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Rex Brothers Wilton Lopez
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Phil Coke
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 Mike Dunn 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 Phillipe Aumont Antonio Bastardo Mike Adams
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 Jeremy Affeldt Jean Machi Santiago Casilla
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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Frieri’s 6.97 BB/9 is finally coming back to haunt him. 4 ER in his last 3 appearances with 4 K/6 BB and he got pulled from his save opp tonight after letting up two runs. He looked real bad out there. If Madson didnt have another setback then he would be looking good right now. I dont know who Scioscia would go with if Frieri continues to struggle.


Looked like Coello last night and the rookie’s been decent no? It’s not Jerome anymore in there, is Richards a candidate?


Coello has been more than decent. 23Ks in his last 12 inn at AAA where he was closing. 12Ks in 7.1 inn so far in the bigs. BBs were an issue in the past, but no walks so far. He’s not a rookie. Pitched 6 innings for TOR last year. 12Ks.

That forkball has a chance to be something special. He’s mesmerizing hitters right now. Ironically could be this year’s Frieri. I picked him up. Scioscia might just promote him to get a reaction out of his team (like Frieri’s promotion last year).