Bullpen Report: May 25, 2014

• Buck Showalter tells you it’s a committee in Baltimore, but it sure looks a lot like Zach Britton is the guy he is leaning towards at the moment. The Baltimore lefty nailed down the second save of his career with a 1-2-3 inning on Sunday. Britton’s 3.03 xFIP is not quite as sparkly as his ERA (0.70) but his SIERA splits the difference (2.03). Why the discrepancy? SIERA takes into account his batted ball profile and the southpaw is inducing grounders at a ridiculous 80% rate. Is that sustainable? Probably not, but if he can keep the ball on the ground, he’ll help make up for the fact that he has a below-average (for a late-inning reliever, at least) strikeout rate.

OK, should we be ready to anoint Britton the next big thing? Maybe not and here’s why. Of some concern is the fact that Britton has never been good against righties. While he has been better this year by wOBA against (.247 vs. RHB), a 0.154 BABIP is masking the fact that his 15.8% K% and 12.3% BB% are subpar. And that’s just looking at his 2014 numbers, his career marks are even worse. What does that all mean? Well, I’m a little worried a big trio of righties (let’s say Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, for example) could rake against Britton. Of course, a ninth inning like that would be a perfect setup for the side-arming righty who struggles against lefties (Darren O’Day) but playing those platoons might make too much sense. Own Britton everywhere but don’t see the ERA and think you’ve found the next big thing. Yet.

Ronald Belisario stunk up the joint yesterday. It wasn’t just a run-of-the-mill blown save, either, it was a downright ugly one (so much for John Danks eight-inning gem!). Robin Ventura came out on Sunday morning and reiterated to the Chicago Sun-Times that Belisario was his guy, although, honestly, his endorsement was tepid. “I think we’re at a point where we’ve got other guys that have the ability to do it.(..) It’s not the time to do that right now. [Belisario] was throwing strikes. It’s not like he was walking guys.” That doesn’t sound like “he’s my guy, he’s got the stones for the ninth!”

It’s tough to put full trust in Belisario, but he’s been a better pitcher than his recent results would indicate. A 2.63 SIERA is nothing to sneeze at and his 52 LOB% indicates a bit of rebound in the stand luck department might be on the horizon. I’ve said it before, Daniel Webb may have the best pure stuff in this pen. Unfortunately, until he figures out how to throw strikes with a high degree of consistency, he might not even be the backup plan here.

• Quick hits: Ernesto Frieri picked up the save this afternoon. His usage over the last few games indicates that he’s all but fully reclaimed his closer gig. At least until his next series of hiccups. Jenrry Mejia picked up another save for the Mets. He’s going to keeping getting opportunities as long as that slider keeps getting swings and misses. Casey Janssen remains perfect on the season and is locked in as the Blue Jays stopper. That said, his velocity is down and he’s struggling to get swings-and-misses. He bears watching.

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 Ryan Webb 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 Brian Wilson
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 Dellin Betances Adam Warren Shawn Kelley
Oakland Sean Doolittle Luke Gregerson Jim Johnson
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Mike Adams Antonio Bastardo
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Carlos Martinez Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Joaquin Benoit Alex Torres
SF Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt Jean Machi Santiago Casilla
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Grant Balfour Jake McGee Joel Peralta
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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There are few things Colin loves more in life than a pitcher with a single-digit BB%. Find him on Twitter @soxczar.

21 Responses to “Bullpen Report: May 25, 2014”

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  1. Richie says:

    How sure are you on Shaw > Allen? Badly need a third closer, and I can bid on Allen. Or Belisario. But I’ll probably have to go pretty high to get Belisario, and maybe Allen too.

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    • TBo45 says:

      im pretty sure Shaw has worked in front of Allen in like his last 3 appearances, id put Allen ahead but one more bad outing might flip it

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    • Not at all sure. I’ll cop to not checking the usage the last few days, but like TBo45 said, the bullpen is still so close now that one bad outing by Allen will probably flip any advantage he has.

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      • lowcountryjoe says:

        There had been no usage to report on. Shaw had not been used since the 21st and Allen the 22nd.

        Today’s Indian’s game was instructive, though. Shaw was brought in today in during the 6th inning; his team was down by one with two runners on and one out [the previous reliever was brought in to face one batter and got Dunn to K]. Shaw gave up two run scoring singles to the number 6 and 7 hitters (and a SB) before striking out the #8/9 hitters to end the self-imposed threat.

        It didn’t seem like the kind of usage and outing you’d expect from the team’s closer. Food for thought.

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  2. matlock says:

    guys, In a keeper 18 teamer obp league, castellanos for dom brown and britton

    who wins?


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    • Richie says:

      Depends entirely on how badly you need Britton and his saves right now.

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      • matlock says:

        thank you for your input..much appreciated

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      • Rufus T. Firefly says:

        Yeah. Really seems unlikely Britton holds the job all year, too. Does he get 12 saves?

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      • Also depends on whether or not you need HR (Brown should get you a few more) or AVG (Castellanos).

        I elucidated my concern with Britton upthread; I don’t know if I’d put all my eggs in a basket if that basket thinks he’s BAL’s closer going forward. Treat him more like a lottery ticket for now which has the potential to pay off down the road (but also the potential to move back to a setup role).

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      • matlock says:

        thanks everyone for taking the time to reply; much appreciated!

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  3. Mike W says:

    Any preference between Britton or Mejiaa? I own Britton, picked him up just last week as I was in need of a 3rd Closer, I like Britton for a variety of reasons, mostly the fact I think he could get a lot more chances than Mejiaa due to the difference in the quality of teams they each pitch for even if Mejiaa probably is more talented. Should I look at switching these two out if I can or stand pat?

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    • I’d rather have Mejia. I think he’s less susceptible to platoon splits but also has an easier path to holding the gig long-term.

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    • Tommy says:

      I just analyzed this myself and went with Mejia. O’s are in a tough division for home parks, so there’s a lot of potential to blow up. Don’t worry about good vs. bad teams, because even crappy teams win by small margins. Mejia could put up 15-20 saves from here out if he doesn’t turn into a pumpkin. Who knows what happens when Hunter returns, esp. if Britton starts coughing up leads.

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  4. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    I kind of wonder whether the Cubs situation is still yellow?

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    • Funny, since people bristled when I moved it from red to yellow last week.

      I think another week or so of Rondon in the ninth will lock this up. The problem is the Cubs never named him the closer — this raises the concern that a couple bad outings may give them an out to try someone new.

      I like Rondon, but I haven’t locked him into an RP slot long-term on any of my squads yet. I hope I can keep him there, but I’m not relying on him as a lynchpin closer.

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  5. FamousMortimer says:

    Melancon got the save over Grilli again today. Still feel that Grilli is a green light? I liked Grilli getting the save in his first game back on Friday, but the usage of Melancon over Grilli today seemed weird.

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    • David says:

      I own Grilli and am also worried about this situation.. The only reason I can think is that it was a tie game going into the 9th and Melancon was already warming up to pitch.

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      • Dave K says:

        I think they’re just easing Grilli back in. That said, I’m holding onto Melancon for a bit.

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  6. mcdizzle says:

    i’m waiting for Jake McGee or the artist formerly know as Leo Nunez to get in there for Balfour. Either by injury or removal, he isn’t pitching well.

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  7. justin says:

    hey guys…saves and holds league

    cody allen has not done anything in 2 weeks!

    can i drop him for loup wilson deabar fien petricka peralta or belisario?

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