Bullpen Report: June 17, 2013

Casey Janssen closed out a win for the Blue Jays tonight against the Rockies for his 15th save of the year but of more particular interest to us is Brett Cecil who go the last two outs in the eighth inning. Cecil recorded a win and is now 3-0  with a 1.53 ERA and 2.03 FIP on the year with a 4/1 strikeout to walk ratio. Brett Cecil came on to face two lefties in Carlos Gonzalez and Todd Helton but Cecil is more than just a LOOGY out of the pen with a .262 wOBA against right-handed batters this year. Cecil, along with Steve Delabar are the main set up options in Toronto to provide holds all year and if something were to happen to Mr. Janssen, don’t be surprised to see Cecil get a chance to see the ninth.

Greg Holland (15) and Aroldis Chapman (18) both picked up saves tonight and both have been top notch closers, even though they aren’t necessarily atop the leaderboards in saves. Among qualified relievers, Chapman ranks second in the majors with a 43.3% strikeout percentage, right ahead of Holland (40.0%) who ranks third. Aroldis, as we all know, speaks for himself but as Holland continues to pitch extraordinarily well (1.68 FIP), we will have no choice but to rank in the upper echelon of closers this year and on draft sheets for 2014.

Jonathan Papelbon blew his first save of the year tonight but was lucky enough to also get his first win of the year when the Phillies scored in the bottom half of the ninth inning. Papelbon remains one of the better closer options but it’s worth noting that his Ks have dropped a little this year to 8.39 K/9 after posting numbers in the double-digits the previous six seasons. After years of having a fastball velocity in the mid-90s, Papelbon was at 93.8 mph last year and only at 92.6 this year. However, even with the decreased velocity, Papelbon’s missing bats at the same rate (12.6% SwStr%) as last year, so an uptick in his strikeout rates could be in store. While teams looking  looking to bolster their bullpen might be better off targeting a Jesse Crain, Papelbon’s a quality reliever that could be moving at the deadline. We’ll be sure to update you with any rumors as they appear with Papelbon, Crain and any other move that can shake the bullpens as trade talk starts to heat up.

• Everyone is wondering if Jose Valverde or Joaquin Benoit will receive the next save opp for the Tigers, so naturally it’s Drew Smyly that gets the save tonight. However, this save was of the three inning variety and the regular ninth inning role is still up in the air between Papa Grande and Mr. Benoit. Smyly might be more valuable as a multi-inning reliever but his numbers this year (1.94 ERA; 2.22 FIP and 3.5 K/BB) could play anywhere. I still feel it’s between Valverde and Benoit, but Smyly’s name is worthy of the closer grid. If I was forced to choose between the two for who will receive the next chance, my guess would be Benoit but this situation is still undecided, Leyland has shown a lot of love for Valverde and I still have an inclination that someone from outside Detroit, whether it be by trade or a minor league call up (Bruce Rondon) could closing games later this year.

Closer Grid:


Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Heath Bell David Hernandez Matt Reynolds J.J. Putz
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden Cory Gearrin
Baltimore Jim Johnson Darren O’Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Andrew Bailey Junichi Tazawa Koji Uehara
CHI (NL) Kevin Gregg Carlos Marmol James Russell
CHI (AL) Addison Reed Jesse Crain Matt Thornton
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton J.J. Hoover Sean Marshall
Cleveland Vinnie Pestano Joe Smith Bryan Shaw Chris Perez
Colorado Rex Brothers Wilton Lopez Matt Belisle Rafael Betancourt
Detroit Jose Valverde Joaquin Benoit Drew Smyly
Houston Jose Veras Hector Ambriz Wesley Wright
KC Greg Holland Aaron Crow Kelvin Herrera
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Robert Coello Ryan Madson
LAD Kenley Jansen Brandon League Ronald Belisario
Miami Steve Cishek Mike Dunn Chad Qualls
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jim Henderson John Axford
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Brandon Lyon LaTroy Hawkins Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Mike Adams Antonio Bastardo
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
St. Louis Edward Mujica Trevor Rosenthal Fernando Salas Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt Jean Machi Santiago Casilla
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Oliver Perez Carter Capps
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Tanner Scheppers Jason Frasor
Toronto Casey Janssen Steve Delabar Brett Cecil Sergio Santos
Wash. Rafael Soriano Drew Storen Tyler Clippard

[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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Paul B.
Paul B.

Anyone out there concerned about Perez’s drug charges? If he’s found guilty, is it possible that the Indians would sit him for PR reasons?


I’m not a lawyer but I doubt it. MLB doesn’t test for it anyway. It was just marijuana