Bullpen Report: August 12, 2013

• Mariano Rivera got the day off today after a recent stretch that’s seen him blow his last three saves in a row. Trying to finish off a 2-0 gem by Hiroki Kuroda, Boone Logan came in to start the ninth and put a runner on first with one out for David Robertson. Even with a two-run lead, Robertson didn’t make things easy on himself, walking Mike Trout and giving up a bloop double to Josh Hamilton. With Trout acting as the tying run on third, the Yankees setup man intentionally walked Erick Aybar to load the bases before making Mark Trumbo and Chris Nelson look absolutely foolish on swinging strikeouts to end the game.

While tonight was a bit rocky, D-Rob is the heir apparent in New York following Rivera’s already-announced retirement at the end of the season. His 2.33 SIERA is right in line with his last two years and his BB% has continued to trend downwards. His K% has taken a bit of a hit this year, but his velocity isn’t way off and his SwStr% is right in line with his career norms so there isn’t a whole lot to worry about. There are no setup men I’d rather have in keeper/dynasty formats. If you are out of the race and have some pieces to auction off as you retool for next year, he makes an excellent acquisition target.

• Casey Janssen came in in a non-save situation (tie game) and, boy, he wasn’t a fan. After taking the bump in the top of the ninth of a 1-1 contest, Janssen didn’t head back to the dugout until the Athletics had scratched four runs across to take what eventually was confirmed to be an insurmountable lead. Janssen’s 2.89 SIERA is not quite as good as last year’s 2.42, but it’s plenty predictive of an above-average closer. A quick glance at the splits doesn’t raise any serious red flags — his xFIP is up and K’s are down a bit in August, but we’re talking four innings of sample size. His velocity (while more erratic than the average pitcher) seems fairly stable, even if it is down a bit from last year. I’m still not worried from a peripheral standpoint, especially since main competition Sergio Santos is still working back after his latest elbow injury, but don’t forget that Janssen himself is dealing with a shoulder that’s “not at full strength.” It’s something to watch as the season drags into its last couple of months.

• Is Aroldis Chapman back? After hitting a stretch from mid-June to the beginning of August that saw him put up a 5.84 ERA with a sub 3:1 K:BB ratio, Chapman has turned on the jets. After a 1-2-3 ninth with three punchouts tonight, the Cuban lefty has now recorded 12 of his last 15 outs via the “K” while not walking a single batter during that timeframe. Chapman’s 1.83 SIERA (coming into tonight) is not quite as good as it was last year, but a sub-2.00 mark combined with the same number of strikeouts as some starters keeps him planted squarely with Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen in my top tier of ninth-inning relievers.

• The Rays acquired middle reliever Wesley Wright for cash considerations early Monday. Moving to a better team, Wright should see a slight uptick in value in holds leagues, but will be leaving a bullpen where he at least had a chance to scab some saves. Perhaps the biggest fantasy implication is that Josh Fields and Josh Zeid have one less warm body to battle with in the mess that is the ‘Stros pen.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler J.J. Putz David Hernandez
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden Scott Downs
Baltimore Jim Johnson Francisco Rodriguez Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Craig Breslow Andrew Bailey
CHI (NL) Kevin Gregg Pedro Strop Blake Parker
CHI (AL) Addison Reed Nate Jones Matt Lindstrom
Cincy Aroldis Chapman J.J. Hoover Jonathan Broxton Sean Marshall
Cleveland Chris Perez Joe Smith Cody Allen Vinnie Pestano
Colorado Rex Brothers Matt Belisle Wilton Lopez Rafael Betancourt
Detroit Joaquin Benoit Jose Veras Drew Smyly
Houston Josh Fields Josh Zeid Chia-Jen Lo Jose Cisnero
KC Greg Holland Aaron Crow Kelvin Herrera
LAA Dane de la Rosa Ernesto Frieri Kevin Jepsen Robert Coello
LAD Kenley Jansen Paco Rodriguez Ronald Belisario Brian Wilson
Miami Steve Cishek Mike Dunn Chad Qualls
Milwaukee Jim Henderson John Axford Michael Gonzalez
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) LaTroy Hawkins David Aardsma Scott Rice Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Justin De Fratus Jake Diekman Mike Adams
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Justin Wilson Tony Watson Jason Grilli
St. Louis Edward Mujica Trevor Rosenthal Randy Choate Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt Santiago Casilla
Seattle Danny Farquhar Yoervis Medina Oliver Perez Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee Jesse Crain
Texas Joe Nathan Tanner Scheppers Jason Frasor
Toronto Casey Janssen Sergio Santos Brett Cecil Steve Delabar
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Craig Stammen Drew Storen

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

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There are few things Colin loves more in life than a pitcher with a single-digit BB%. Find him on Twitter @soxczar.

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Ziegler seems to have at least earned a yellow-line distinction. I get that he’s 2-3 bad outings away from being replaced, and likely always will be this year. Yet in the 13 games pitched since his 1st save as the “closer,” he’s 1-0, 7-for-7 in save chances, 0.00 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 7/3 K/BB. Yes, he doesn’t strike out a lot of guys, but he doesn’t walk many at all either and he just seems to know how to “get the job done.” His seasonal L/R splits aren’t that drastic either. He dominates righties and he’s prolly slightly above average against lefties. Plus, it’s not as of Putz or Bell has been lights out exactly this year.

I have more confidence in Ziegler than I do in a situation like Milwaukee, Toronto, or Cleveland. I look at it as how many bad games it would take for the guy to lose his job. And then combine that with whose behind the guy. JJ Putz and Heath Bell are both not very good pitchers at this point. Putz is streaky and injury prone. Bell is flat out awful(though he does seem to have some immeasurable amount of grit). At least in Toronto, Santos is a former closer who was pretty dominant when healthy; Cleveland hopes is Cody Allen is their future closer. Plus Perez is average at best. And in Milwaukee, Axford has looked good at times.

Ok, I’m done ranting. 

Feeding the Abscess
Feeding the Abscess

He blew a save as you were typing that. lol