Archive for Closers

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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Bullpen Report: June 29, 2015

Koji Uehara entered ninth in a 3-1 game tonight, and closed the door against the Blue Jays for his 17th save. Uehara has had a few hiccups this season but he’s still putting in a fine year with a 3.00/2.50/3.45 ERA/FIP/xFIP line in 27 innings pitched. In spite of his advanced age and a 86.9 mph fastball, Uehara still gets well tons of swinging strikes (18.7%) to get over a strikeout per inning (10.00 K/9). He’s not quite the top tier of closer any more but expect him to continue to put up good numbers and saves for the Red Sox. It’s expected that the Sox could be sellers at the deadline, but there are no imminent deals lined up and trading the contracts of Pablo Sandoval and/or Hanley Ramirez could prove problematic. Uehara would be a nice addition to any bullpen and it wouldn’t shock me to see him moved even though he’s still owed $9 million next season. This trade might not be as likely as Jonathan Papelbon (who also has an expensive contract in 2016) changing teams but keep an eye on the rumors.

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Talent Versus Opportunity in the Bullpen

Many a fantasy article has pointed out that opportunity is a major factor in a player’s fantasy value, sometimes moreso than their actual talent level. I would argue this applies more to fantasy football than it does to fantasy baseball. In fantasy football, one guy for each team throws passes. One guy generally gets the bulk of the rushing attempts. Simply being in that role will allow a player to accumulate fantasy points and thus have value, even though that player might not actually be that good. Read the rest of this entry »


Bullpen Report: Tuesday, June 23, 2015

• There is no word on who the next closer in Toronto will be as a save situation did not present itself tonight but we do know that Brett Cecil is officially outSteve Delabar entered the game in the ninth inning down by a run. He proceeded to allow a homer to Asdrubal Cabrera and a walk to Brandon Guyer but then retired the next three batters. Tonight’s outing likely won’t play a role in Delabar’s role in the pen and although there might be a current committee in Toronto without a closer announced, I’m still buying more stock in Roberto Osuna.

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Bullpen Report: Monday, June 22, 2015

• After losing the closing gig earlier this year, we figured that Addison Reed could have regained his role with improved performance in lower leverage innings. However, since then he’s only struggled and has now been demoted to AAA. It stands that Reed could theoretically still regain his familiar role in the ninth, but he’s far off the radar as of now. With Reed’s demotion comes Enrique Burgos‘ return from the 15-day DL. Burgos has nasty stuff, generating tons of strikeouts and is in someways the antithesis of current closer Brad Ziegler who has a paltry 4.50 K/9. Ziegler is converting the opportunities he’s given though, and his grasp on the job is fairly secure. Once Burgos gets a few innings under his belt, he could leapfrog Dan Hudson in the pecking order.

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Factoring Bullpens Into DFS Decisions

About three or four times each week I create projections and player rankings for DFS contests. As an example, you can find my breakdown of tonight’s DFS action here ($). My projections start with the rest-of-season ZiPS projections, which I break down to a per-game basis. I then adjust each projection for matchup and ball park.

For hitters, the matchup adjustment is based on the wOBA allowed by the starting pitcher they will be facing against hitters of the same handedness since the start of the 2014 season. When small sample sizes apply, I manually set the matchup adjustment. But it recently occurred to me that adjustments for matchup should probably include the strength of the opponent’s bullpen. To date, starters are pitching an average of 5.88 innings per game this year, meaning my matchup adjustment is ignoring roughly a third of each hitter’s plate appearances. Read the rest of this entry »


Bullpen Report: June 16, 2015

• A quick recap from last night: Greg Holland entered a non-save situation up six runs but ended up handing Wade Davis a save opp after allowing five baserunners and three earned without recording an out. Jeurys Familia has been quite good this year but he blew his second of the year. Similarly, Brett Cecil couldn’t hold onto the lead in the same game, blowing his second save chance as well. Cecil, unlike Familia, has not been particularly great this year and also hasn’t been handed many save opportunities, even with Toronto’s recent winning ways. A.J. Ramos (9), Jason Grilli (17), Shawn Tolleson (9) and Luke Gregerson (16) all recorded saves. Kevin Siegrist received and nailed down his second save of the year as Trevor Rosnethal was unavailable due to “tightness”.

• For the second game in a row Kevin Siegrist received a save opportunity and for the second game in a row he recorded a save. The tightness in Rosenthal was “a little sore after Saturday” but a DL trip is not likely at the moment for Rosenthal. We will take Matheny’s word and Rosenthal is said to be progressing but any injury to a pitcher is worthy of concern and I would pick up Siegrist in even shallow leagues. At worst you waste a roster spot vulturing for a save, but if Rosenthal’s arm doesn’t improve you could be picking up a high quality closer.

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