Bullpen Report: June 4, 2013

Bobby Parnell gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth tonight, blowing the save against the Nationals. For Parnell it was his third blown save of the year and his second loss to go with his four wins on the season. Even after tonight’s outing, Parnell still has a 2.55 ERA on the season, backed by an impressive 2.30 FIP. Considering Parnell throws 95 mph, it would be nice to see a few more swings and misses (8.6% SwStr%; 8.39 K/9) but his worm killing ways (52.4% GB%) and better than average control make him a highly effective end game option. Before the season, Frank Francisco‘s name was mentioned as someone to keep an eye on, but the only news we have heard has been set backs, and at this point the Mets don’t really know when he’ll be back. With nobody lurking behind him Parnell’s job is very secure and although the name on the front of his jersey isn’t ideal for saves, he remains a solid fantasy and real life option.

• I wouldn’t necessarily use Brandon League and confidence in the same sentence, but he did notch his 12th save of the season last night, pitching around one walk for a scoreless ninth inning. Kenley Jansen‘s improved control (1.95 BB/9) to go with an already impressive skill-set will probably see the ninth inning at some point this season but if you need saves and can acquire League for some spare parts, it’s certainly something to consider.

• Before May 27th, Sean Doolittle had thrown 23 innings while only letting two runners score. However, in his last three appearances he’s allowed seven runs in only two innings pitched. Doolittle wasn’t pitching well enough to maintain a 0.78 ERA all year (not that anyone is) and his ERA is now more in line with his 2.67 FIP. Doolittle remains a strong set up option but mostly for holds and/or ratios as Ryan Cook is likely ahead in the pecking order for saves. Doolittle’s 8.53 K/9 isn’t too attractive but his swinging-strike rate of 13.0% is actually higher than last year (12.5%) when he had an impressive 11.41 K/9, so some positive regression could be in store there. I tend to believe this is likely more of a blip on the radar but as a converted hitter who basically only uses one pitch, major league hitters may finally be adjusting to Doolittle, let’s see how Doolittle adjusts back.

• With Rafael Betancourt on the DL, the Rockies turned to Rex Brothers and he pitched a perfect inning for his second save of the season. Betancourt isn’t expected to miss much more than the required DL time but Brothers should pick up a few saves in his absence. Brothers has always struggled a little bit with his control, and he still isn’t elite but his 4.21 BB/9 would still be the best mark of his career. He isn’t as good as his 0.35 ERA would suggest as a 96.7% LOB% isn’t close to sustainable but Brothers FIP is a solid 2.52 and he should remain an ownable worthy option even when Betancourt returns.

Jim Johnson recorded his 19th save of the season against the lowly Astros and has now pitched four consecutive scoreless innings, picking up four saves since his blow up on May 26th. Johnson will continue to have some bad outings, just like he did at times last year, but he has the confidence of his manager and should continue to groundball his way to saves in Baltimore.

Jim Henderson is currently on the DL with a strained hamstring but is confident he can return when he’s eligible on Sunday. Francisco Rodriguez has been effective in place of Henderson but I assume Henderson will reclaim his ninth inning role when he returns, which might be just around the corner.

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 Pedro Strop
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 Phil Coke
Houston Jose Veras Hector Ambriz Wesley Wright
KC Greg Holland Aaron Crow Tim Collins Kelvin Herrera
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Robert Coello Ryan Madson
LAD Brandon League Kenley Jansen Ronald Belisario
Miami Steve Cishek Mike Dunn Chad Qualls
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez John Axford Mike Gonzalez Jim Henderson
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 Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer Joe Thatcher Huston Street
SF Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt Jean Machi Santiago Casilla
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Carter Capps Charlie Furbush
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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I own Jansen in one league and have loved the ratio help he has given me, but someone offered me Jim Henderson for him. Am I crazy for considering this? I know Jansen is the better pitcher, but Henderson has been pretty good this year and actually appears to have the Closers job.

Atreyu Jones
Atreyu Jones

Once it’s clear that Henderson is back from the DL, I would take him for Jansen.