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Bullpen Report: July 22, 2012

• The Brett Myers trade finally went down, with Myers headed off to the South Side in exchange for a couple of minor leaguers and a player to be named later. White Sox general manager Kenny Williams clarified that Myers and his 3.83 xFIP is expected to be a setup man, not the new closer for Chicago. This comes as no surprise, as Robin Ventura has stuck with current closer Addison Reed even though he hasn’t exactly been the model of a shutdown reliever this year (four blown saves and six meltdowns). Reed possesses a solid K% (23.6%) and his 8.3% BB% isn’t awful so he should continue to grow into the position with time. Myers should only be held by owners in need of holds and is droppable in most redraft leagues.

• A side effect of the Myers trade is the birth of a new closer in Houston. I briefly touched on this in Friday’s Bullpen Report, but in going with Francisco Cordero over Wilton Lopez as their new closer, the Astros are essentially taking a pitcher with inferior peripherals and giving him the ninth inning gig due to his extensive track record as a major league closer. Cordero’s 4.64 xFIP isn’t awful enough that he’s an implosion waiting to happen every time out, but it’s also not foretelling of tremendous success, especially on a team which struggles to win games. Lopez (2.69 xFIP, 7.25 K/BB) is by far the better pitcher, but it’s possible that — given the fact that the Astros aren’t contending this year — the team is keeping him out of the ninth inning to curtail his innings after his elbow problems earlier this season. Letting him work in a setup role allows the team to be more judicious in their use of him going forward which might help both his development and healing in 2012. Either way, Cordero should be owned in all leagues just because he’s a warm body with a gig but owners certainly shouldn’t be expecting elite production.

Joaquin Benoit wrapped up the save for Detroit this afternoon, finishing off a two-run lead against the Chicago White Sox. Before you rush to the wires to snag him, just know it was because Jose Valverde is battling a sore back, not because Jim Leyland has covertly pulled him from the closer’s role — even though Valverde has an ugly 5.24 xFIP (which exists in large part to a subpar 1.45 K/BB). Benoit, meanwhile, has used his mid-90’s fastball and 30.6% K% to put up a much more palatable 3.08 xFIP. Papa Grande will almost certainly get the next save chance he is healthy for, but the longer his peripherals remain mediocre, the more likely it is he’ll run into a stretch that could call his job into question. Benoit should be owned in deep leagues by save vultures or Valverde owners looking for a handcuff — he’s also worth keeping an eye on in shallower leagues just in case the status quo changes down the line.

Javy Guerra had a save opportunity this afternoon after Kenley Jansen had worked the previous two nights. Guerra didn’t convert, allowing a run in the bottom of the ninth to let the Mets force extra innings (the Dodgers won 8-3 in 12; Ramon Ramirez had a bad inning). Guerra’s xFIP is now all the way up to 4.60 and he’s walking too many batters (10.6%) to be an elite bullpen arm. Those still holding onto Guerra should only be doing so if they desperately need holds — Jansen isn’t giving the job back (barring injury) this year and Guerra isn’t providing a whole ton of value behind him, either.

Sean Doolittle also got a save (the first of his career) Saturday, impressively striking out three Yankees in the process. Alas, owners in need of saves, Doolittle was merely giving Ryan Cook a rest, but the converted infielder now has an impressive 1.98 xFIP for the 2012 season. If Cook were to falter during the second half of the season (and his 14.6% career BB% implies that’s not out of the realm of possibility), Doolittle has a good shot to be the new guy in Oakland. Deep leaguers shouldn’t hesitate to pick him up — even if he doesn’t get another save for the rest of the season, he’ll provide a nice boost in rates and strikeouts.

For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here is a matchup you may be able to exploit.

A Pitcher for Tomorrow: David Hernandez (ARI) vs. COL

Hernandez is whiffing an impressive 13.2 K/9 as Arizona’s top setup man. They get the Rockies (not in Coors) tomorrow night with Ian Kennedy taking on the recently deposed Jonathan Sanchez. That might sound like a blowout waiting to happen, but Hernandez also hasn’t pitched since last Thursday and might need some work. If he gets the call, you can almost bank on a whiff or two to add to your collection.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second Off 25-Man
Arizona J.J. Putz David Hernandez Bryan Shaw
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Eric O’Flaherty Jonny Venters
Baltimore Jim Johnson Pedro Strop Darren O’Day
Boston Alfredo Aceves Andrew Miller Mark Melancon Andrew Bailey
Chicago (NL) Carlos Marmol James Russell Shawn Camp
Chicago (AL) Addison Reed Brett Myers Matt Thornton
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Sean Marshall Jose Arredondo
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Tony Sipp
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Matt Belisle Rex Brothers
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Octavio Dotel
Houston Francisco Cordero Wilton Lopez Wesley Wright
KC Jonathan Broxton Greg Holland Aaron Crow
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Kevin Jepsen Jordan Walden
LAD Kenley Jansen Javy Guerra Ronald Bellisario
Miami Steve Cishek Heath Bell Edward Mujica
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez John Axford Jose Veras
Minnesota Jared Burton Glen Perkins Alex Burnett Matt Capps
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Jon Rauch Ramon Ramirez Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Rafael Soriano David Robertson Boone Logan
Oakland Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle Grant Balfour
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Jake Diekman
Pittsburgh Joel Hanrahan Jason Grilli Juan Cruz
St. Louis Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Eduardo Sanchez
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Javier Lopez
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Brandon League Charlie Furbush
Tampa Bay Fernando Rodney Kyle Farnsworth Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Mike Adams Robbie Ross
Toronto Casey Janssen Brandon Lyon Darren Oliver
Wash. Tyler Clippard Drew Storen Sean Burnett

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

The Woodstock of Baseball, the 2nd Annual Sabermetrics, Scouting and the Science of Baseball Seminar will be held on the campus of Boston University on August 4th and 5th. This seminar  is bringing together speakers who are experts on scouting, player development, advanced statistics, sports medicine, science, psychology and sports writing, all to benefit The Jimmy Fund. Speaking at the seminar are Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, Bench Coach Tim Bogar, Dir of Professional Scouting Jared Porter, Dir of Baseball Information Systems Tom Tippett, ex-GM Mike Port, Dan Brooks of Brooks Baseball, Mitchel Lichtman, Kevin Goldstein, Steve Goldman, Michael Silverman, Jon Rish, Andy Andres and many more. This is a great opportunity to interact with some of the best minds in baseball and to increase your knowledge of the game we all love. There will also be a live demonstration of the Trackman Ball Tracking System. Come see why there will be representatives of four other MLB teams in the audience. Tickets are only $125 for adults and $65 for students. Because all of the speakers are donating their time and covering their own expenses, 100% of the proceeds go to The Jimmy Fund. For more information, please visit http://saberseminar.com