Archive for Closers

Bullpen Report: September 1, 2015

A quick rundown of the early games as we head into September.

• With Brad Ziegler in need of rest after a rough outing on Monday, the Diamondbacks went to Dan Hudson for the save against the Rockies. After two hits, two strikeouts and an earned run, Hudson netted his third save of the year. Ziegler’s worm killing ways (73% GB%) are still first in line but Hudson has cemented his role in the pecking order if anything were to happen to Ziegler.

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Bullpen Report: August 31, 2015

• After a throw back performance by Bartolo Colon (8 shutout innings, nine strikeouts, and five baserunners) Jeurys Familia was called on for the save. Familia wasn’t sharp, allowing three baserunners and an earned run but otherwise escaped with a 3-1 lead and his 36th save. Familia’s ERA has jumped since the first half but he’s actually pitching better of late with a higher K% and lower B% than he had earlier this season. On the year he has a 1.78/2.83/2.64 ERA/FIP/xFIP line and should continue to rack up effective saves over the last few weeks of the season.

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Bullpen Report: August 25, 2015

• Non-closing news: It looks like Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler are seeing some late inning action in Atlanta. Detwiler has been less successful than Jackson while on the Braves and has been pitching worse than he was last year as a full time reliever. Jackson has been decent in his first go around strictly in relief, pitching to a 3.13/3.44/4.10 ERA/FIP/xFIP line. As expected his velocity has ticked up a bit to 94 mph and although his swinging strike rate has shown some improvement, he’s yet to see an increase in his strikeout rate. There could be some future improvement in that category assuming he stays out of the rotation. I wouldn’t expect much moving forward this season from Jackson but he could see the ninth if/when Arodys Vizcaino needs a day off and it wouldn’t shock me to see Jackson be more effective next year, with more repetition out of the pen.

Vincent Velasquez saw some time earlier this season out of the rotation and although he wasn’t amazing, he showed solid potential. He’s likely to enter the rotation again next year but for the rest of 2015 he could be used primarily out of the pen. Velazquez threw two innings with three strikeouts (and one earned run) against the Yankees tonight and teams looking for ratio help and strikeout totals could look his way. He’s likely to see multiple innings each appearance and outings like tonight could be more common in September.

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Bullpen Report: August 24, 2015

• After Junichi Tazawa‘s rough night, he was given a day off but is expected to stay as closer. Even with the words of encouragement from the interim manager, this situation is still red. I expect Tazawa to stay as closer and as Scott Lauber mentions, with Dave Dombrowski now on board the team might prefer for Tazawa to “to get the longest look” given his track record of success setting up Koji Uehara. Said another way, there’s just not many other options to choose from in Boston. Rebuilding the pen will be on Dombrowski’s agenda this offseason but for now it’s Tazawa. If he continues to falter, expect Jean Machi (who was called on tonight) to get the look.

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Bullpen Report: August 18, 2015

Tommy Kahnle started off well closing in Colorado but after back to back putrid outings his job was on shaky ground. Today it seems like he’s lost the job. Walt Weiss had good things to say about former closer John Axford and it now looks like he’s reclaimed his familiar role in the ninth. This situation is still red on the grid below as Axford hasn’t pitched well or consistently well all year but nonetheless, it’s his job to lose.

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Bullpen Report: August 17, 2015

Before we start I just want to say that I spent the weekend in Cooperstown, New York for a bachelor party. If you’re a baseball nut, and I assume you are if you traffic these parts, I would highly recommend the location. While the Hall of Fame itself is obviously worth visiting, an entire town devoted to baseball is a site to see.

To the bullpens…

• It wasn’t in a save situation but Edward Mujica had another outing to forget on Sunday, allowing three earned runs off of two homers and five hits in only one inning. Mujica’s seasonal ERA has ballooned to 5.25 and he’s been pitching as bad on the A’s as he was with the Red Sox earlier this year. Pitching poorly in the fifth inning of a blowout game probably means that your days of closing are done. I have taken the liberty to remove Mujica from the grid all together. On the bright side of the A’s pen is that Sean Doolittle  is expected back “sometime on their next road trip that begins Aug. 24 in Seattle.” Given the competition, I would expect Doolittle to reclaim his ninth inning role immediately. Until then, Fernando Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz and/or Evan Scribner could see the next save chances but my guess is that it would be more fleeting.

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Bullpen Report: August 11, 2015

Our apologies on the delay but a few updates on the bullpens around the league:

• After hinting that Jean Machi would be closing for the Red Sox, it was Junichi Tazawa who received the save chance last night. Unfortunately for Tazawa owners he blew the save. This situation is red hot and according to Farrell now, Machi, Tazawa and Ryan Cook could all see save chances moving forward. At this point, all three are worth owning as the Red Sox sort out their back of the bullpen mess for the final two months. Tazawa  received last night’s chance due to matchups, and considering he blew it I’d go Machi over Cook and Tazawa for the next opportunity.

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Bullpen Report: August 10, 2015

• It was known that Koji Uehara wasn’t made of steal steel but it’s unexpected and unfortunate to see him fracture his wrist ending his season. The Red Sox expect Uehara to make a complete recovery, which would mean he will be the closer starting next year. However, while some Red Sox fans might have forgotten about 2015, fantasy owners are still on the grind. Junichi Tazawa should fill in for Uehara in the meantime. Normally I would make this situation yellow or even green as he’s an obvious replacement but he’s had a few bumps recently and John Farrell said that they wanted to limit Tazawa’s innings. Still, expect Tazawa to be the closer with Alexi Ogando and Jean Machi around in those situations where Tazawa is limited.

UPDATE: Ignore everything I just said as I missed the news that Jean Machi was named closer. This goes along with limits on Tazawa’s innings. Jean Machi had a nice run in SF but he’s been bad this year, put on waivers by the Giants and then claimed by Boston.He’s remained unimpressive on the Sox but saves are saves. Definitely pick up Machi  even though tamper your expectations as he hasn’t had the same results he did in 2013 and 2014.

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Bullpen Report: August 4, 2015

• Some brilliant loyal readers and Twins fans called to my attention Trevor May‘s recent bullpen usage on last night’s post, so I’ve added him to the grid below, replacing Casey Fien. May has some solid pedigree and if he moves to relief fulltime, his role could continue grow in the Twins bullpen. May’s ERA has been better in 11.2 innings out of the pen compared to his time in the rotation but his wOBA against and defensive independent pitching statistics are essentially the same. Either way, I’m placing May above Fien for the time being. I would still expect newly acquired Kevin Jepsen to see the ninth over May if something were to happen to Perkins, even if May is a more likely long term candidate.

Carson Smith was less than stellar again last night and he’s now allowed runs in four of his last five outings. Fernando Rodney has been a disaster all year but Smith can’t continue to pitch like this with no consequence to his role on the team. It’s still his job but I’ve placed Smith under code red, a situation very familiar to Seattle’s line on the grid this year.

• Everyone expected the Blue Jays to be players for Jonathan Papelbon at the deadline, but instead of replacing Osuna they simply beefed up their bullpen depth with Mark Lowe. Early returns suggests that it was the right move as Osuna’s continued his excellent play, pitching a scoreless ninth tonight for his 8th save on the year. At only 20 years of age, Osuna is pitching to a 2.22/2.51/3.43 ERA/FIP/xFIP pitching line with 53 strikeouts in 48.2 innings. The Blue Jays might have something special in the ninth here and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Osuna take a leap next year into a top tier closer.

Ken Giles might not still be closing on the next great Phillies team but he’s closing now and doing a nice job. Who knew pitchers don’t just crumble once they start an inning in the ninth and not the eighth? Giles actually earned a rare four-out save tonight, closing the door on the Dodgers for his third save on the year. Also, speaking of future top tier closers – a full season out of Giles with saves and not just holds could make him a top fantasy option next year, albeit with likely less save totals on the Phillies.

Quick Hits: If Maryland does crab cakes then Aroldis Chapman does perfect innings with multiple strikeouts as he had two whiffs tonight en route to save number 23. Steve Cishek threw a scoreless inning in a losing effort and has been pitching well of late. If something were to happen to Trevor Rosenthal, Cishek could be part of a Kevin Siegrist platoon for saves. Drew Storen is probably still peeved that the Nationals brought in Papelbon but at least he vultured a win tonight, his second of the year. Meanwhile, Papelbon saved the game for his 19th this season.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson David Hernandez Addison Reed
Atlanta Arodys Vizcaino David Aardsma Jason Frasor Jason Grilli
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Brad Brach
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Alexi Ogando
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Jason Motte Rafael Soriano
CHI (AL) David Robertson Jacob Petricka Zach Putnam
Cincy Aroldis Chapman J.J. Hoover Ryan Mattheus
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Zach McAllister
Colorado Tommy Kahnle Rafael Betancourt Justin Miller
Detroit Alex Wilson Bruce Rondon Al Albuerquerque Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Pat Neshek Chad Qualls
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Fernando Salas
LAD Kenley Jansen Jim Johnson Pedro Baez
Miami A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn Bryan Morris Carter Capps
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jeremy Jeffress Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Kevin Jepsen Trvor May
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Tyler Clippard Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Justin Wilson
Oakland Edward Mujica Fernando Rodriguez Drew Pomeranz Sean Doolittle
Philly Ken Giles Luis Garcia Jeanmar Gomez
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Joakim Soria Tony Watson
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist Steve Cishek Jordan Walden
SD Craig Kimbrel Joaquin Benoit Brendan Maurer
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Hunter Strickland
Seattle Carson Smith Fernando Rodney Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Brad Boxberger Jake McGee Steve Geltz
Texas Shawn Tolleson Jake Diekman Sam Dyson Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Roberto Osuna Aaron Sanchez Brett Cecil
Wash. Jonathan Papelbon Drew Storen Casey Janssen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

Bullpen Report: August 3, 2015

Carter Capps (and his jump throws) has been one of the best, if not the best, relievers in the majors on a per inning basis this year. But, as Darren mentioned last night, Capps had a MRI on his elbow and he’s now been placed on the DL. There is no major damage to the elbow and it’s expected that Capps will resume throwing soon and he could return around when his DL stint is over in two weeks. While that’s good news after a MRI, you obviously never like to hear about pitchers having elbow issues. I’ve moved Mike Dunn to the next-in-line and added Bryan Morris to the chart. A.J. Ramos has been shakier of late but with Capps going down, Ramos’ job should still be quite strong.

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