Bullpen Report: April 14, 2015

• As some of you brilliant readers noticed last night, Mark Melancon was missing several mph off of his fastball. While I don’t believe his job is in danger due to performance, his decreased velocity could signal struggles to come, in which case Tony Watson and co. could replace him in the ninth inning. After averaging 92 mph on his fastball last year, Melancon sat at 89 mph last night. That’s obviously not a good sign but doesn’t signal a changing of the guard quite yet. Melancon will have ample opportunity to remain closer but closer monitoring of his velocity, coupled with any struggles could signal a future change.

Andrew Miller has received the save opportunities early on this year but Girardi hasn’t indicated that he’s the closer yet. Actions certainly speak louder than words, and while two saves doesn’t signal Miller as the closer, if the trend continues it will be hard to ignore the roles in the Yankees pen, in spite of what Girardi says.

• We speculated last night that with news of Koji Uehara’s return, the Red Sox would look to go to Tazawa in the eighth inning, in lieu of Edward Mujica, and that’s what happened with Tazawa picking up the last two outs of the eighth and handing the ninth to Uehara. Alexi Ogando threw in the seventh, so the exact order might still be a work in progress but Ogando and Mujica figure to set up Tazawa and Uehara here on out. Uheara almost blew a save with a near home run that was ruled foul but ended up throwing a clean ninth inning for his first save of the year.

• After Brett Cecil’s struggles at the start of the season, the Blue Jays closing situation has been in a state of flux. Miguel Castro seemingly had the role, after successfully picking up two saves in both opportunities, but he entered the game with two outs in the seventh inning tonight in a tie game. He blew the lead in the eighth, aided by a Russell Martin error on a steal by Steven Souza but ended up finishing the inning. Without word from the manager, it’s tough to glean what exactly this means for the Blue Jays pecking order, but it’s safe to say that Castro isn’t locked to the ninth inning. Expect Cecil to have a chance to regain the role, along with fellow young pup Roberto Osuna to continue to see meaningful innings in Toronto.

• It hasn’t been all fun and games with Jeurys Familia but he saved another game tonight, his third of the year.  It hasn’t been all fun and games as he allowed a homer to Jeff Francoeur this evening after struggling with his control last night but with few options behind him at the major league level, his job is still safe.

Brad Boxberger has done quite well filling in for saves but he got the night off and Kevin Jepsen was called on for the ninth inning. Jepsen did his job and secured his first save of the season. While the Rays hinted at a committee approach before the season, the job eventually evolved into Boxberger’s. Jepsen is a solid option in his own right, but I don’t see him stealing full time saves from Boxberger with Jake McGee still on the shelf.

Quick Hits: After a Alejandro De Aza fielding mishap extended the eighth inning, Buck Showalter called on Zach Britton for a four out save, which he converted for his second save. Joakim Soria threw a perfect ninth for his third save of the year. Even if Joe Nathan comes back soon, it’s unlikely Soria lets go of the job. David Robertson struck out the side for his second save and first Kimbrel of the year.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed Evan Marshall Brad Ziegler
Atlanta Jason Grilli Jim Johnson Luis Avilan
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Edward Mujica
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Neil Ramirez
CHI (AL) David Robertson Zach Putnam Zach Duke Jacob Petricka
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jumbo Diaz Tony Cingrani Sean Marshall
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Scott Atchison
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Adam Ottavino John Axford LaTroy Hawkins
Detroit Joakim Soria Al Alburquerque Joba Chamberlain Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Chad Qualls Pat Neshek
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Vinnie Pestano
LAD Joel Peralta Chris Hatcher Pedro Baez Kenley Jansen
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jonathan Broxton Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Brian Duensing Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Carlos Torres Jerry Blevins Jenrry Mejia
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances David Carpenter
Oakland Tyler Clippard Eric O’Flaherty Dan Otero Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Ken Giles Jake Diekman
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Jared Hughes
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Jordan Walden Seth Maness
SD Craig Kimbrel Joaquin Benoit Dale Thayer Kevin Quackenbush
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Yoervis Medina Dominic Leone
TB Brad Boxberger Kevin Jepsen Grant Balfour Jake McGee
Texas Neftali Feliz Shawn Tolleson Keone Kela Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Miguel Castro Brett Cecil Aaron Loup Steve Delabar
Wash. Drew Storen Aaron Barrett Blake Treinen Casey Janssen

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

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When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias

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Is Watson the guy to grab? Or could you see caminero leap frogging him?