NL Closer Report: June 4

Strong Performers

Jonathan Broxton | Los Angeles Dodgers
The Comments: Broxton has offered a little bit of everything to this point: three wins, 13 saves, 1.11 ERA, and a strikeout rate of 12.95. Over the past week, he was worked hard and saved two games in as many tries over four games.

Heath Bell | San Diego Padres
The Comments: His trade value keeps going up but Bell is probably not going anywhere at this point. The closer has an excellent strikeout rate, a solid ERA and he’s third in the league in saves. He has just one save opportunity this past week and converted it.

Brian Wilson | San Francisco Giants
The Comments: Another closer with another hefty strikeout rate (13.30 K/9), Wilson has just one blown save this year. This past week, he converted his only opportunity.

Carlos Marmol | Chicago Cubs
The Comments: With 25.0 innings under his belt this season, Marmol already has 50 strikeouts (18.00 K/9) and the strikeout rate is not going anywhere. Marmol converted his only save opp this past week.

Billy Wagner | Atlanta Braves
The Comments: Wagner has posted some solid numbers this year and he finally has the saves total to show for it. The lefty recorded four saves this past week, which was more than Marmol, Wilson, and Bell combined.

Ryan Franklin | St. Louis Cardinals
The Comments: Franklin posted an 0.73 ERA in May, which was down from 3.60 in April. He hasn’t had many save opportunities lately, with his last coming on May 20. He’s worked two innings in each of his last three appearances. Franklin has walked just one batter all year.

Octavio Dotel | Pittsburgh Pirates
The Comments: Dotel’s xFIP of 3.83 suggests that he’s been a little unlucky with his 5.06 ERA. His strikeout rate is excellent at 12.66 K/9 and he added two saves this past week. He’s one of the best things about the Pirates right now; Bell is probably off the trading block but Dotel might be an interesting name come the end of July.

Leo Nunez | Florida Marlins
The Comments: The K/BB rate of 5.00 is certainly nice. His xFIP of 2.89 suggests that his success is well earned. He appeared in four games this past week and recorded three saves. He got touched up a bit in his last appearance and may have been over-worked a little bit.

Steady Performers

Francisco Rodriguez | New York Mets
The Comments: Rodriguez went 1-for-2 in saves this past week but he racked up a good number of strikeouts with seven in four innings. If he can find the command of his curve, it would really help his cause.

Francisco Cordero | Cincinnati Reds
The Comments: Surprise, surprise, a Dusty Baker pitcher is leading the closers in appearances… Cordero appeared in just two game this past week and nailed his only chance at a save. He failed to strike out a batter in either game, though.

Jose Contreras | Philadelphia Phillies
The Comments: Contreras made three appearances this past week and recorded a save in his only shot. He also gave up a run against Atlanta on June 2, which was the first time a player had scored against him since April 20. Brad Lidge is back now, so Contreras should see a decline in opportunities.

Manny Corpas | Colorado Rockies
The Comments: Like Contreras in Philly, Corpas may loss opportunities with the return of an injured pitcher in Franklin Morales. Corpas remains the favorite for the bulk of save chances, but Huston Street is also making good strides in his rehab, so monitor the situation closely.

Fallen on Hard Times

Chad Qualls | Arizona Diamondbacks
The Comments: The 15.79 H/9 is an ugly number. Qualls made two appearances this past week and blew his only save opportunity.

Matt Capps | Washington Nationals
The Comments: Capps continues to lead the Majors in saves but he notched just one this past week and blew saves in consecutive games against Houston on June 1 and 3. He gave up five runs last week but his ERA is intact because they were all unearned.

Matt Lindstrom | Houston Astros
The Comments: Lindstrom is in a funk. The right-hander has blown three of his last four save opportunities, including two against Washington. He’s fighting his command right now and has walked five batters in his last four games.

New to the Job

John Axford | Milwaukee Brewers
The Comments: Axford has been a breath of fresh air with a strikeout rate of 13.03 K/9 and a hit rate of just 5.59 H/9. The rookie hurler is 3-for-3 in save opportunities on the year and he nailed both his opportunities this past week.




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


2 Responses to “NL Closer Report: June 4”

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  1. philosofool says:

    Chad Qualls: Genuinely something wrong or horrible luck?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • anon says:

      I’d definitely say bad luck. his 2010 batted ball profile is in line with his career norms (21% LD, 50% GB, 29% FB), but the BABIP is sky high, as is the HR/FB ratio.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

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