Archive for Closers

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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Assessing the Potential New Closers

One of the most fun parts of trade season is the trickle-down effect of the departed players and because relievers are the most easily moved assets, that generally leads to closers having the most turnover once the trade dust settles. We’re still a day away from the deadline, but this week’s flurry of action has already changed four situations in the ninth inning. Let’s assess the candidates to assume those newly opened closer’s roles in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Oakland, and Detroit.

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Bullpen Report: July 27, 2015

• Continuing in their trade deadline reboot, the Oakland A’s have traded closer Tyler Clippard (and $1 million) to the Mets in exchange for 20 year old starting pitcher Casey MeisnerEno Sarris and Kiley McDaniel provided insta-analysis of the trade so we will just stick to how this affects the bullpens. Clippard’s ERA is similar to what we have come to expect but his 3.89 FIP is more pedestrian than Clippard’s recent years and his 5.31 xFIP is potentially worrisome. Either way, Clippard should still help the Mets bullpen’s depth. Jenrry Mejia hasn’t allowed a run since he’s returned but his suspension prohibits him from joining the playoff roster, if the Mets were to make it there. So, while the Mets will use the options that best help them win games, I expect Clippard to have a more prominent setup role than Mejia moving forward, and have changed the grid accordingly with Familia still safe on top.

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Bullpen Report: July 20, 2015

Jonathan Papelbon closed out a rare Phillies win for his 16th save of the season tonight against the Rays. With Ken Giles throwing in the previous two games, the Phillies went  Jake Diekman –> Luis Garcia –> Jeanmar Gomez for the bridge to Papelbon. However if/when Papelbon is traded, Ken Giles is ready to become the closer. There are no strong trade rumors at the moment and the deadline is approaching, but I’d still expect Papelbon to change teams. He’s not particularly cheap next year but it’s not a long term commitment and he’s proving to still be quite effective pitching to a 1.72/2.95/3.18 ERA/FIP/xFIP line. Throw in the fact that he’s vocally expressed a preference to change teams and I would be a bit optimistic if I were a Giles owner.

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Bullpen Report: July 7,2015

• No save situation for the Cubs this afternoon, but they had to bring in their closer Jason Motte to get the last two outs of the game. Every day that goes by seems to cement Motte’s role in the ninth. The Cubs bullpen use could be Maddon-ing to Hector Rondon owners, but moving forward expecting Motte to receive the lion’s share of saves.

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Bullpen Report: July 6, 2015

A slow news day for the bullpens which is probably similar to everyone’s production at work after a holiday weekend…

Rafael Soriano was moved to Double-A today and he was impressive in his first outing, striking out three batters on 16 pitches for the Smokies. With a few more appearances in the minors, Soriano could be in Chicago after the All-Star break.  However, rather than firm up any of the bullpen roles, Soriano’s addition is only adding to the confusion. He will help the bullpen’s depth and Maddon has seen Soriano close out games first hand on the Rays, but for now Jason Motte is getting the saves. The Motte bar isn’t a tough bar to clear necessarily but he also has Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and possibly even more outside help. The latest Cubs rumors involve starting pitching and an OF bat so I think whoever will get saves moving forward is currently on the roster.

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Bullpen Report: June 30, 2015

A few bullpen notes as we leave the month of June and officially enter the trade deadline season…

• The Cubs are making me bite my tongue a bit as Jason Motte was called on for the save again, converting his third of the season. Hector Rondon entered the game in the seventh, throwing a perfect inning himself with Pedro Strop also perfect in the eighth. Stubbornly, I’ll still call Rondon the best reliever in their pen but since it’s been almost two weeks since he’s received a save opportunity, it looks like Motte leapfrogged him in the pecking order. To make matters even more confusing, the Cubs could still look outside the organization for more relief options, not to mention Rafael Soriano working his way into form in the minors. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Rondon back in the chair but I’d go Motte then Rondon for now.

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