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(Belated) Bullpen Report: July 10, 2018

A quick apologies on a belated Bullpen Report going over Monday’s games.

• Monday’s doubleheader was quite interesting for Phillies reliever Victor Arano. Arano pitched in the 10th inning of a tie game in the first game but his outing didn’t last long as Wilmer Flores hit a walk off homer for the Mets. Seranthony Dominguez pitched a perfect two innings in the 8th and 9th which still establishes him as the leading closer candidate, even if Kapler might play the matchups or use Dominguez for multi-inning outings.

In the second game, Arano found himself pitching in the ninth inning and only needed one out to get his 3rd save of the year. Tommy Hunter got the previous 5 outs for the hold. With Dominguez unavailable after his heavy workload in the previous game, Arano was available to get the last out. Edubray Ramos is also in the setup mix with Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek, but it seems that only Arano and Dominguez are in any committee for saves.

• There was no save situation last night for the Giants as the game was tied but Tony Watson threw in the 7th, Mark Melancon in the 8th and Will Smith in the 9th. With Smith picking up the last few saves his place on top of the closing totem pole seems safe with Melancon and Watson behind him. Melancon’s salary suggests he might sneak in for saves but he will need to prove it on the field and so far Smith has been outstanding with a 1.03 ERA, 1.11 FIP and 2.02 SIERA. He may be a lefty but he’s getting everyone out and has a fairly strong grasp on the 9th.

Blake Treinen continued his all-star season with another scoreless inning, dropping his ERA to 0.79 for his 23rd save.  Treinen historically was a hard thrower and worm killer but this year his posted his worst GB% at 47.3% but is having by far his best year with a 18.5% swinging strike rate, far higher than last year’s 13.1%. Treinen still doesn’t allow too many fly balls, throws 97 mph and gets whiffs among the elite as only Josh Hader has a higher swinging strike rate among qualified relievers this year. Add it all up and he’s an elite closing option. Of other interest in Oakland is the guy setting up Treinen – Lou Trivino who threw two perfect frames in the 7th and 8th while also striking out three batters. His 14.7% SwStr% is far below Treinen but still ranks 22nd among qualified relievers. On the year he has a 1.34 ERA, 3.05 FIP, and 3.15 SIERA. A 28.7% strikeout rate is nothing to sneeze at either and it actually might see some growth considering all of the whiffs he’s able to get. Treinen’s job is super safe, but if something happens to him Trivino is the obvious replacement.

•  Fernando Rodney danced in and out of a little trouble, getting his 20th save on the year. His Age + Twins Record = Trade Rumors and he’s been linked with the Red Sox the last I heard. He will probably get traded this summer and likely would lose his closing gig wherever he went. If he ends up getting moved, expect Trevor Hildenberger to get the first crack at saves with Addison Reed and Zach Duke behind him.

• The Royals situation is a mess but Kevin McCarthy and Brandon Maurer are likely in the committee with Wily Peralta still in charge. As we discussed when Kelvin Herrera was first moved, if you need saves and snagged Peralta off the wire then you still need saves. I would almost recommend moving off of this situation entirely as neither pitcher is particularly good and save totals can’t really be expected moving forward outside of a handful.

• Nobody is perfect, not even Josh Hader has he blew the lead for the Brewers against the Marlins, allowing two homers in 1.2 innings. Drew Steckenrider blew the lead for the Marlins in the 8th and Brad Ziegler received a win in the 10th after Corey Knebel gave up the game winning run. In between Kyle Barraclough threw a scoreless 9th in a tie game. Barraclough is starting to regress a tad, having given up hits and run sin his previous outings but his job is still very safe, so long as he’s still on the Marlins. In Milwaukee, Knebel’s job as closer is still green as well with Hader picking up innings, strikeouts and holds ahead of him.

•  Quick Hits: Raisel Iglesias got the last two outs for his 18th save against the Indians. Sergio Romo “blew” the save last night but also recorded four outs without giving up a run – he still looks like the closer (or the closest approximation of one) in Tampa. Felipe Vazquez recorded his 19th save, pitching around two hits in the 9th. It’s been 11 appearances since he’s allowed a run as he’s put his terrible end of May behind him. Zach Britton closed the first game against the Yankees helping his trade value. In the second game Giovanny Gallegos got a three inning save in a blow out and I might bet the under on another save on the Yankees for the rest of his career.

Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Bullpen Report — 7/10/2018
Team Closer First Up Second Up Minors/DL
ARI Brad Boxberger Archie Bradley Yoshihisa Hirano
ATL Arodys Vizcaino A.J. Minter Dan Winkler
BAL Zach Britton Brad Brach Mychal Givens Darren O’Day
BOS Craig Kimbrel Matt Barnes Joe Kelly
CHC Brandon Morrow Pedro Strop Justin Wilson
CWS Joakim Soria Jace Fry Juan Minaya Nate Jones
CIN Raisel Iglesias Jared Hughes Amir Garrett
CLE Cody Allen Neil Ramirez Oliver Perez Andrew Miller
COL Wade Davis Adam Ottavino Jake McGee
DET Joe Jimenez Alex Wilson Louis Coleman Shane Greene
HOU Hector Rondon Ken Giles Chris Devenski Joe Smith
KC Wily Peralta Kevin McCarthy Brandon Maurer
LAA Blake Parker Justin Anderson Hansel Robles Keynan Middleton
LAD Kenley Jansen Scott Alexander Daniel Hudson Josh Fields
MIA Kyle Barraclough Drew Steckenrider Brad Ziegler Tayron Guerrero
MIL Corey Knebel Josh Hader Jeremy Jeffress
MIN Fernando Rodney Trevor Hildenberger Zach Duke
NYM Jeurys Familia Anthony Swarzak Robert Gsellman
NYY Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances David Robertson
OAK Blake Treinen Lou Trivino Ryan Buchter
PHI Seranthony Dominguez Victor Arano Tommy Hunter
PIT Felipe Vazquez Kyle Crick Tyler Glasnow
STL Bud Norris Jordan Hicks Greg Holland
SD Brad Hand Kirby Yates Craig Stammen
SF Will Smith Tony Watson Mark Melancon Hunter Strickland
SEA Edwin Diaz Alex Colome James Pazos
TB Sergio Romo Jose Alvarado Diego Castillo Chaz Roe
TEX Keone Kela Jake Diekman Jose Leclerc Chris Martin
TOR Tyler Clippard Seung Hwan Oh John Axford Roberto Osuna
WSH Sean Doolittle Kelvin Herrera Ryan Madson

Bullpen Report: July 3, 2018

• With Shane Greene on the DL, Joe Jimenez was called on for  his first save last night and proceeded to blow the lead in the ninth, allowing three walks and a hit but only one run. Jimenez was handed a win when the Tigers scored in the 10th with Blaine Hardy securing his first save of the year. Right now we currently have Alex Wilson and Louis Coleman ahead of Hardy on the grid as they have been relievers all season and have pitched in the set up innings. Hardy has made 15 appearances overall this year with 8 of them as starts. It sounds like the Tigers are making him a full time reliever which might place him on the grid if this usage continues. However, since he’s transitioning from the rotation, the Tigers might use him for multi-innings than as a 7th inning set up. Either way, one blown save won’t move Jimenez as the closer while Shane Green remains on the shelf.

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Bullpen Report: June 26, 2018

Edubray Ramos was placed on the DL and in a corresponding move the Phillies recalled Hector Neris from AAA. Hector Neris threw two innings in the minors, striking out two while issuing a walk. While we can’t clean much from that performance he pitched better in the majors than his ERA would suggest with a 2.96 SIERA not matching his 5.79 ERA. Neris pitched in the 7th inning last night, striking out two batters in a perfect inning. Although he won’t lead the saves committee in Philly, I put him back on the grid with Seranthony Dominguez and Tommy Hunter ahead of him. As you know, it’s hard to tell how Kapler will run the bullpen on any given day but Neris should have a chance to make some noise again.

• When Kelvin Herrera was hurt I went through almost every reliever in Kansas City except Wily Peralta. So naturally Peralta gets the save chance last night, getting his first save and striking out two in the process. I’m going to put Peralta in the lead for saves with Kevin McCarthy next in line as he pitched a perfect 8th. As for the last slot, it’s between Tim Hill and Brandon Maurer but for now I will keep Hill on the grid, as a lefty he might see high leverage innings against lefty heavy lineups. While it looks like Peralta could run away with the job if he pitches well, he’s not likely to rack up a ton of saves on the Royals. I would pick him up if you need saves, but I wouldn’t consider the category safe because you have Peralta now.

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Bullpen Report: June 25, 2018

Arodys Vizcaino was placed on the DL with right shoulder inflammation and it looks as if the Braves are going to proceed with a two-headed committee in Dan Winkler and AJ Minter. Last night, Dan Winkler took the 8th inning, pitching a scoreless inning (1 HBP) for his 14th hold and Minter pitched in the 9th but there was no save situation as the Braves scored two runs in the bottom half of the 8th.  Winkler and Minter have both been very solid this year putting up 2.46 and 3.49 SIERAs respectively and although this is a committee, since Minter got the first chance we will put him first on the grid. There were rumblings about Vizcaino becoming a committee earlier in the year, so if Minter or Winkler runs away with this while Vizcaino is on the shelf, I’m not entirely sure he grabs full ownership whenever he returns.

• As we all know, Brad Boxberger has struggled quite a bit of late. In his previous 8 June appearances, Boxberger has allowed 7 earned runs with three homers, which has been a problem for him. On the year he has a 20.8% HR/FB% which should regress but we are also heading to summer in Arizona and he’s never shown the ability to really limit the homers either, although his career high 50.8% GB% is a good start. Anywho, in spite of his recent struggles, Box threw a scoreless ninth, allowing just a base hit. While it would be nice for Boxberger owners to see a three stirkeout, shutdown inning, we will take a clean save to hold off the calls for Archie Bradley.

Ryan Tepera entered the game yesterday in the 8th but allowed inherited runners to score leading to a blown save. Luckily for his owners though, he pitched a scoreless ninth and received a win for his troubles. Tyler Clippard closed the game for his 4th save and has his spot in the pecking order fairly firm. The Blue Jays will be sellers not buyers so while Tepera’s job is safe in Toronto, he garnering trade interest. As Jon Morosi notes, he’s not a Free Agent for a few years so the Blue Jays are in no rush to trade him, but by that same token, they would get a bigger haul for him. We have already seen Alex Colome and Kelvin Herrera traded before July and as we get closer to the deadline we will only see more trades leading to closing carousels.

• The ageless Fernando Rodney struck out the side for his 17th save on the year and now owns a 2.73 ERA and a K/9 approaching 10 (9.91). Every year before the draft, everyone (myself included) targets the Rodney handcuff and every year he keeps them at bay. At 41 I don’t know how much longer he can do this but his job is green and he will continue to rack up saves for the Twins. Trevor Hildenberger received his 9th hold pitching a perfect 8th and if something were to happen to Rodney, he would definitely be the man to own.

• While we all wait for Kyle Barraclough’s ERA to regress he keeps on putting up clean innings and getting saves, picking up his 7th save yesterday and dropping his ERA to 1.05. As mentioned his 3.40 FIP /3.70 SIERA and .093 BABIP (!!!) lead you to believe a few runs might be crossing the plate soon but his job is secure. Brad Ziegler pitched a scoreless 8th and Adam Conley a scoreless 7th, striking out a pair in the process. We have mentioned Conley before and it’s worth noting him again even if he’s far from saves at the moment. In 14.2 innings in relief he has a 17/4 K/BB, a 2.61 SIERA, 14.6% SwStr% and a 95.4 mph heater which is up from 89.9 last year. Stuff usually plays up in relief and after a few middling years as a starter it looks like Conley might have found a home. Conley might be more of a play for saves/high leverage innings in 2019 but he could help ratios and strikeouts from the pen this year.

•  Brad Hand blew the save last night, allowing two hits and a walk, raising his ERA to 2.82. He’s in trade rumors but on a good contract so the Padres could elect to hold onto him. Craig Stammen threw a scoreless 7th with two strikeouts, and Kirby Yates a scoreless 8th and 9th. Stammen is under contract next year as well with Yates a free agent, which might make him the most likely candidate to be moved. If Hand is to be moved, teams will obviously want to make sure he’s pitching well, as he’s blown his last two opportunities and has allowed runs in three of his last four outings.

Quick Hits: The Brewers lost yesterday but Corey Knebel struck out three while issuing a walk. Seranthony Dominguez blew the save in the 8th last night. You never know how Kapler will use his pen and but I would still consider Dominguez the leader of the group. Sean Doolittle got his 21st save and so long as he’s pitching well he shouldn’t be too worried about Kelvin Herrera behind him.

Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Bullpen Report — 6/25/2018
Team Closer First Up Second Up Minors/DL
ARI Brad Boxberger Archie Bradley Yoshihisa Hirano
ATL A.J. Minter Dan Winkler Shane Carle Arodys Vizcaino
BAL Zach Britton Brad Brach Darren O’Day Richard Bleier
BOS Craig Kimbrel Joe Kelly Matt Barnes
CHC Steve Cishek Justin Wilson Pedro Strop Brandon Morrow
CWS Joakim Soria Xavier Cedeno Jace Fry Nate Jones
CIN Raisel Iglesias Jared Hughes Amir Garrett
CLE Cody Allen Neil Ramirez Oliver Perez Andrew Miller
COL Wade Davis Adam Ottavino Harrison Musgrave
DET Shane Greene Joe Jimenez Buck Farmer
HOU Hector Rondon Ken Giles Chris Devenski Joe Smith
KC Tim Hill Brandon Maurer Justin Grimm
LAA Blake Parker Justin Anderson Noe Ramirez Keynan Middleton
LAD Kenley Jansen Josh Fields Scott Alexander Tony Cingrani
MIA Kyle Barraclough Drew Steckenrider Brad Ziegler
MIL Corey Knebel Josh Hader Jeremy Jeffress
MIN Fernando Rodney Trevor Hildenberger Zach Duke
NYM Jeurys Familia Anthony Swarzak Robert Gsellman
NYY Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances Chad Green
OAK Blake Treinen Lou Trivino Yusmeiro Petit Santiago Casilla
PHI Seranthony Dominguez Edubray Ramos Tommy Hunter Pat Neshek
PIT Felipe Vazquez Kyle Crick Edgar Santana
STL Bud Norris Jordan Hicks Greg Holland
SD Brad Hand Kirby Yates Craig Stammen
SF Sam Dyson Tony Watson Mark Melancon Hunter Strickland
SEA Edwin Diaz Alex Colome Ryan Cook
TB Sergio Romo Jose Alvarado Chaz Roe
TEX Keone Kela Jake Diekman Chris Martin
TOR Ryan Tepera Tyler Clippard John Axford Roberto Osuna
WSH Sean Doolittle Kelvin Herrera Ryan Madson Brandon Kintzler

Bullpen Report: June 19, 2018

• Instead of waiting until the deadline to improve their bullpen, the Nationals went out and got Kelvin Herrera from the Royals for three minor leaguers. While Herrera was the closer for the Royals (and pitching quite well) he will likely be a setup man in Washington. However, with the lefty Sean Doolittle and now Herrera the Nationals could have a two-headed closing monster as they work towards October. Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler (when he’s back from injury), and the recently  dominant Justin Miller should all help as well in the setup innings.

As far as Kansas City’s new closer is concerned, the  names to consider are Kevin McCarthy, Brandon Maurer, Jason AdamTim Hill, and Justin Grimm. In no particular order, let’s go through the options with a few indicators:

  • Kevin McCarthy: 30.1 innings pitched, 3.86/3.49/3.38/3.31 ERA/FIP/xFIP/SIERA, 15.7 K%, 5.8 BB%, previously used in the 10th, 7th, and 7th innings. Saved games in the minors.
  • Brandon Maurer: Only 5.1 innings pitched, 13.5/12.65/5.96/4.77 ERA/FIP/xFIP/SIERA, 17.9 K%, 10.7 BB%, previously used in the 8th and 8th innings. Closing at AAA this year and the previous two years in San Diego
  • Jason Adam: 15.1 innings pitched, 4.70/7.26/4.73/3.53 ERA/FIP/xFIP/SIERA, 25.0 K%, 6.3 BB%, previously used in the 9th on 6/13. No closing experience.
  • Tim Hill: 21.1 innings pitched, 4.89/2.81/3.19/3.08, ERA/FIP/xFIP/SIERA, 24.2 K%, 8.4 BB%, previously used in the 8th/9th, 6th, and 8th. Saved games in the minors.
  • Justin Grimm: 9.2 innings pitched, 16.76/7.44/7.10/6.57 ERA/FIP/xFIP/SIERA, 13.7 K%, 19.6 BB%, previously used in the 7th, and 8th/9th.

Based on previous experience, Brandon Maurer would be the leading candidate for saves. Looking at production this year, Kevin McCarthy would be the likely candidate. But if one looked at strikeouts and a mixture of the other indicators, Jason Adam and Tim Hill could be in line as well which leads to a total free for all/committee until we see how it plays out.

If I had to rank them I would go McCarthy, Mauerer, Hill, Adam, Grimm but I don’t have much confidence in either that rank or anyone being a particularly good closer moving forward. The Royals are likely to get worse with additional trades so there won’t be too many save opportunities and none of the relievers mentioned, at least at this time, look like potential ace relievers either.

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Bullpen Report: June 12, 2018

• As Al mentioned yesterday, Zach Britton was activated from the DL yesterday. While he won’t see save chances right away, at his best he’s the best reliever in the bunch and if he’s healthy in the ninth it only helps his trade value. The Orioles are a cool 25 games back in the division and as Al also mentioned, the other relievers will certainly be on the block as well. It’s hard to construct a closer grid with so much turmoil between a returning ace closer, relievers closer to saves but likely on the move (Brad Brach, Darren O’Day) and relievers possibly further from saves today but closer in the 2nd half in Mychal Givens and Richard Bleier. It’s worth mentioning that the Orioles only have 13 saves all season and while saves are saves, there likely won’t be many going around in Baltimore after the dust settles whether it’s Mychal Givens, Richard Bleier, or someone like Brad Brach who isn’t moved.

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Bullpen Report: June 5, 2018

Justin Anderson received the last save opportunity for the Angels on Sunday, walking three batters but nonetheless securing the save. Blake Parker had pitched in the previous days so the speculation was he was still in the lead for saves and that remained true with Parker getting the call last night, pitching a scoreless ninth for his 4th save on the year. Parker walked and struck out a batter and now has a 2.86 ERA, 3.36 FIP, and 3.43 SIERA, which is good stuff considering how his season started.  Parker’s SwStr% of 11.5% is behind his impressive 13.8% last year and his 28.9% GB% is far below last year’s mark of 47% which should cause some apprehension for anyone thinking he will run away with this, especially with Mike Scioscia at the helm.  The Angels are currently 4 games back in the Wild Card, and if they are in the race in late July it’s possible an outsider will be brought in but among his peers in the pen in LA, Parker looks to be in the lead.

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Bullpen Report: May 31, 2018

• On one hand, Brad Ziegler is 9/10 on save opportunities. That’s pretty good! On the other hand, he has a 7.83 ERA and 5 losses. That’s pretty bad! Ziegler entered last night’s contest in a 2-1 game in the bottom of the ninth and walked Franmil Reyes to start the inning. Raffy Lopez flied out for an out, then Freddy Galvis hit a double. With runners on first and second, Ziegler walked Manuel Margot to face Hunter Renfroe who hit the game winning, two RBI single.  After the game, Don Mattingly said “you want to get something dependable at the end of the game.” At the moment, it’s clear that isn’t the case. Whether someone else sees the next save chance we don’t know, but Miami is on red alert. I would run to pick up Kyle Barraclough with Tayron Guerrero and Drew Steckenrider behind him. Barraclough has a pretty 1.48 ERA but a 4.06 FIP and 4.07 SIERA suggest some regression might come.  Barraclough’s SwStr% and K% are essentially matching last year’s numbers but they’re also down from his 2016 when he was a whiff monster. A 5.55 BB/9 may not hold for too long in the ninth inning, so despite Steckenrider’s inflated 5.01 ERA he’s also someone to keep an eye on as his ERA indicators are a bit bteter with a 3.12 FIP and 2.98 SIERA, along with Guerrero ahd his 3.55 FIP/3.40 SIERA and 98 mph heater.

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Bullpen Report: May 22, 2018

• After missing out on previous save opportunities, Hector Neris saw the night inning last night and threw a perfect frame for his 9th save on the year. Seranthony Dominguez got the call before Neris in the eighth and pitched a scoreless inning allowing one hit and a strike out for his fourth hold, keeping his ERA at a pristine 0.00. Edubray Ramos had last pitched on Thursday, so he would have been available in this game, suggesting that Dominguez and Neris are ahead of him in the pecking order. We’re still considering this a committee but it looks like Neris is back in action after a rough outing on May 11th. Additionally, although he’s only a rookie getting his first sip at the majors, Dominguez might be the best of the bunch with a 16.2% SwStr% and 8 strikeouts and 0 walks in his 7.2 innings this year. If/when Neris falters again, I would expect Dominguez, with a little more seasoning under his belt, to leapfrog  Ramos and the other committee members for save opportunities.

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Bullpen Report: May 15, 2018

• After experiencing elbow pain again, Keynan Middleton is back on the DL with “damage to the ulnar collateral ligament.” This certainly isn’t good news and it likely means Middleton days of closing this year are gone. Even if he does return to the team, it’s likely an internal or external option would have a more secure handle on the ninth inning. With a save situation last night, Mike Scioscia turned to Justin Anderson who pitched around two hits and a walk for a scoreless ninth and his first save on the year. Jim Johnson had been seeing the ninth previously and Cam Bedrosian is still around as well. All three look to be in a committee of sorts for the time being. However, with the Angels tied for the division lead and looking to make the playoffs this year, I can’t imagine they’re going to finish the year hoping this trifecta of relievers will be enough in October. If you need to chase saves, by all means pick up or hold onto Johnson and Anderson but the team leader in saves this year probably is not on the Angels yet.

The new-ish Wild Card format keeps teams in the race longer and it’s only mid-May but some of the current bottom feeders have relief options that might be available this summer. Brad Hand, Kelvin Herrera, Raisel Iglesias, Zach Britton and others could certainly be on the block soon and I fully expect the Angels to be calling.

UPDATE: I foolishly left Blake Parker out of the write-up and the grid. I added him below. He has been the best reliever of late for the Angels and was also unavailable last night. It’s of course hard to tell the pecking order here but consider Parker as much of a possibility as Johnson and Anderson, and since he’s pitching the best if he gets an opportunity maybe it sticks longer than his first stint at the start of the year.

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