• Fantasy owners have probably been a little miffed Aroldis Chapman hasn’t seen a ton of save opportunities as the season begins to wear down. After not pitching in eight days, Chapman finally got the call tonight and didn’t disappoint. The Reds lefty sat over 102 (touched 104.2) mph with the fastball, en route to absolutely blowing away the Cardinals. The Cuban’s walk rate has ticked back up over 10%, so his fielding independent predictors (xFIP, SIERA, etc.) aren’t quite as good as they were last year, but, let’s be honest, going from a 1.33 SIERA to 1.84 isn’t exactly falling off the face of the Earth. And perhaps the biggest positive? Chapman’s fastball velocity is not only up over 2012, but it seems to be holding relatively steady. Recall he fatigued down the stretch last year, only sitting around 95 mph with the heater in some late August/early September outings. Not so in 2013.
• There was some chatter a couple weeks ago that Rafael Soriano might be in danger of getting yanked from the closer role. Washington’s high-priced reliever seems to have put some of those concerns to rest over the last few outings. He tossed a scoreless ninth today, although not perfect, giving up a single and a walk before inducing a game-ending double play. Soriano’s 4.02 xFIP leaves much to be desired. His BB% is way down (to a sparkling 5.4%) but it doesn’t help if you’re fastball velocity, swinging strike rate, and K% all fall, too. Soriano isn’t a bad pitcher, but he certainly hasn’t been elite in 2013 and he’s trending the wrong direction heading into an offseason where he’ll celebrate his 34th birthday. The Nats paid big bucks for him, so he’s has some “dollar” job security, but he’s sliding down my keeper rankings.
• Jason Grilli was activated from the disabled list today but he was not tossed right into the fire as Mark Melancon tied down a one-run win against the Brewers (Jim Henderson took the loss, albeit in a non-save situation). Manager Clint Hurdle said the plan is to “transition him back into the closer’s role” so there doesn’t appear to be any ninth inning controversy brewing in Pittsburgh. However, Grilli’s injury was not quite as simple as a stubbed toe and Melancon gives you excellent rates in either the eighth or the ninth; both Pirates relievers should be owned across the board.
• Quick hits: Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel are very good at what they do. Keep running them out there. Chris Perez almost coughed up a four-run lead in a non-save situation tonight. His walk rate is up and strikeout/fastball velocity down, so he’s not trending the right way in 2013. He has a lot of job security, especially since we are in the last month of the season, but, like Soriano, he’d be well down in my preliminary 2014 rankings. Speaking of Cleveland, Vinnie Pestano is back from Triple-A. He’s well down in the pecking order, so don’t bother with him.
• More quick hits: Mariano Rivera notched save number 40 tonight. At 43, he’s not quite vintage Rivera, but he’s not far off, either. Glen Perkins blew a save today. 2.53 xFIP. Not worried. Cardinals called up Carlos Martinez. Like Kevin Gausman, he’s a guy with the potential to put up elite rates in a SP/RP slot on your fantasy team. Grab him and try to add some K’s while helping your ERA/WHIP.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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