Bullpen Report: April 30, 2014

Four rainouts and a few blowouts leave us with just a few items to discuss in this evening’s Bullpen Report.

Greg Holland dished a (pretty) clean ninth-inning to notch his seventh save of the season in a 4-2 Royals victory over the Blue Jays tonight. He induced two quick outs off the bats of Josh Thole and Jose Bautista before surrendering an Edwin Encarnacion double to deep center. But Dioner Navarro flied out to left stranding Encarnacion at the keystone sack and ending Toronto’s comeback bid. The Royals’ closer ends April a perfect 6-for-6 in save situations with a 2.70 ERA (1.68 xFIP).

Hector Rondon looked ready for his second save opportunity this season until the Cubs inexplicably tallied four runs — thanks to a few hits and a Joey Votto error — in the top of the ninth frame in Cincy. Rondon trotted to the mound in the non-save situation anyway and finished off the Reds on 18 pitches. Cumulatively, Rondon owns a 0.68 ERA (2.83 xFIP) in 12 trips to the bump (13.1 IP) with a 28.3% K% (7.5% BB%). Knowing that the right-hander’s last two appearances have each been in the ninth-inning — albeit both were non-save situations — and ended in victories for Chicago, I’d guess that he gets the ball the next time the Cubs are looking for a save. We know the Cubs are rarely in save situations — they have logged the second fewest save chances in the league (6), just one more than Tampa’s five — but Rondon is owned in just 18% of Y! leagues at the moment, making for a nice flier for those chasing saves.

-For the few of you that may follow me in my other endeavours either here at RotoGraphs or my own site, you probably are aware of how many times I recommend rostering middle relievers. It’s not for everyone, but middles are typically a good source of ratio support, they can pad your strikeouts, grab a scab win and even sneak in a save when a team’s regular closer is resting up.

When looking for middle relievers to consider, I simply do a sort of qualified relievers by K%. Entering tonight, three of the top six relievers in K% were non-closers and could be a fine add to your roster depending on your team’s needs. Dellin Betances (3% owned in Y!), Jordan Walden (5% owned in Y!) and Wade Davis (3% owned in Y!) are fanning 43.4%, 40.5% and 40.4% of the batters they face respectively. Walden owns the best ERA of the bunch (1.74) while Betances leads the trio in WHIP (0.98). Davis and Betances each have a win under their belt and Walden has picked up a save. None of them are perfect, but each of them have the ability to give your pitching staff some support if and when you need to run them out there. Definitely a strategy to consider if you’re pitching staff is weak or a bit banged up.

Quick Hits: Just as I was about to click publish, Kenley Jansen recorded his 10th save while cleaning up a mess created by Paco Rodriguez.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed J.J. Putz Brad Ziegler
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden David Carpenter
Baltimore Tommy Hunter Darren O’Day Brian Matusz
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Edward Mujica
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Justin Grimm Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Matt Lindstrom Daniel Webb Ronald Belisario Nate Jones
Cincy Jonathan Broxton Sam LeCure J.J. Hoover Aroldis Chapman
Cleveland John Axford Cody Allen Bryan Shaw
Colorado LaTroy Hawkins Adam Ottavino Rex Brothers
Detroit Joe Nathan Al Alburquerque Joba Chamberlain
Houston Raul Valdes Chad Qualls Josh Fields Jesse Crain
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Aaron Crow
LAA Joe Smith Ernesto Frieri Kevin Jepsen Dane de la Rosa
LAD Kenley Jansen Chris Perez Brian Wilson
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jim Henderson Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Kyle Farnsworth Daisuke Matsuzaka Jose Valverde Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) David Robertson Shawn Kelley Adam Warren
Oakland Luke Gregerson Sean Doolittle Jim Johnson
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Mike Adams
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Justin Wilson Jason Grilli
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Carlos Martinez Kevin Siegrist Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Joaquin Benoit Alex Torres
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Grant Balfour Heath Bell Joel Peralta
Texas Joakim Soria Alexi Ogando Jason Frasor Neftali Feliz
Toronto Sergio Santos Steve Delabar Brett Cecil Casey Janssen
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Drew Storen

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

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In addition to contributing to the RotoGraphs blog, you can find Alan at his own site, TheFantasyFix.com and follow his nonsense on Twitter @TheFantasyFix.

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Rex Brothers is dead to me.