Archive for Bullpen Report

Bullpen Report: July 16, 2018

The final day of games before this year’s All-Star break was a busy one for bullpens…and for fantasy owners looking to make a surge in the saves category in the second half.

St. Louis was one site where there was intrigue, as brand-new interim manager Mike Shildt had a save situation to handle in his very first game as the Cardinals’ skipper. It seemed he would have had Bud Norris at his disposal, as his appearance in the final inning of the Cardinals’ 8-2 loss to the Reds on Saturday was his first in a week. That’s why it was especially curious that Shildt went with Jordan Hicks for the save on Sunday. For his part, Hicks continued his recent struggles, allowing a run on two hits, but it was enough for a 6-4 Cardinals win and the rookie’s second save of the season. It was Hicks’ fourth straight appearance in which he had allowed at least one run.
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Bullpen Report: July 15, 2018

Heading into Saturday’s two-inning save opportunity, Blake Parker had spun eight scoreless appearances with a 4/0 K:BB ratio over 7.1 IP. Unfortunately, the good times came to an end for him, but the Angels still scratched out the win over the Dodgers.

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Bullpen Report: July 14, 2018

During a freaky Friday the 13th, handcuffs to the closer emerged as focal points of interest with three different relievers garnering saves last night. Starting in Pittsburgh, where Felipe Vazquez had worked in five of the previous six game, Kyle Crick notched his second save of the season allowing two hits in 1.1 innings with a strikeout. He’s in the midst of a 13 game scoreless streak dating back to June 15th limiting hitters to a .167 batting average against within it. Crick’s also recorded seven holds and two saves without a blown save. As for Vazquez, a well earned day of rest but he’s converted his last 11 save chances in 13 straight scoreless outings as well with a 1.02 ERA his last 17 games and 32 strikeouts his last 17.2 innings.

Ground ball machine Scott Alexander locked down his first save as a Dodger in spite of yielding two hits. Alexander’s worked in three consecutive games but the team decided to rest Kenley Jansen on Friday, who worked the the two prior games and threw 29 pitches on Thursday. As for Alexander, he’s not given up a run in 6.2 innings to start July with seven strikeouts against two walks. On the season, his 74.3 ground ball rate and 20.4 hard hit percentage against make him a valued reliever in real life, plus, Alexander’s converted all 12 holds provided him this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Bullpen Report: July 13, 2018

Over the last 30 days, one of the top two relievers in Roto value (per ESPN’s Player Rater) is not even a regular closer. Tying Felipe Vazquez for top honors is Lou Trivino. Incredibly, he ranks one spot ahead of Blake Treinen — the pitcher he normally sets up for.

Trivino built on his strong string of performances on Thursday, filling in for Treinen (who threw a combined 37 pitches on Monday and Tuesday) in a save situation against the Astros. The rookie responded with a 1-2-3 inning, preserving the Athletics’ 6-4 win for his fourth save of the season and his third in the last 16 days.
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Bullpen Report: July 12, 2018

While fantasy owners lament when Brandon Morrow does not receive a save opportunity, it’s time for them to adjust to his usage going forward. Morrow received three days off after working in consecutive outings this weekend. On the season, Morrow’s pitched in back-to-back games five times all season. He’s 20-for-22 in save chances with a terrific 1.57 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, but the Cubs will continue to handle him with care with an eye on the playoffs. Roster limitations can affect attempting to handcuff this bullpen so it’s time to adjust to the situation at hand instead of hoping it evolves going forward. Of course, missing out on saves stinks, but having Morrow healthy during the second half outweighs fantasy implications.

With at least three members of the Marlins bullpen linked in trade rumors, racking up extra inning games does not help limit usage. Kyle Barraclough allowed three hits while striking out the side to keep the game tied last night but has surrendered nine hits his last six innings after holding hitters to six hits his first 30 games. Regression to the mean happens all the time in baseball, so noting Barraclough’s 1.31 ERA accompanies a 3.61 FIP along with a 92.4 left-on-base percentage hints more could be on the way.  Drew Steckenrider blew his third save giving up two hits and two earned runs with a walk while striking out two. After recording 19.2 straight scoreless innings, Steckenrider’s allowed runs in back-to-back games on four hits and two walks. Read the rest of this entry »

Bullpen Report: July 11, 2018

This escalated pretty quickly.

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(Belated) Bullpen Report: July 10, 2018

A quick apologies on a belated Bullpen Report going over Monday’s games.

• Monday’s doubleheader was quite interesting for Phillies reliever Victor Arano. Arano pitched in the 10th inning of a tie game in the first game but his outing didn’t last long as Wilmer Flores hit a walk off homer for the Mets. Seranthony Dominguez pitched a perfect two innings in the 8th and 9th which still establishes him as the leading closer candidate, even if Kapler might play the matchups or use Dominguez for multi-inning outings.

In the second game, Arano found himself pitching in the ninth inning and only needed one out to get his 3rd save of the year. Tommy Hunter got the previous 5 outs for the hold. With Dominguez unavailable after his heavy workload in the previous game, Arano was available to get the last out. Edubray Ramos is also in the setup mix with Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek, but it seems that only Arano and Dominguez are in any committee for saves.

• There was no save situation last night for the Giants as the game was tied but Tony Watson threw in the 7th, Mark Melancon in the 8th and Will Smith in the 9th. With Smith picking up the last few saves his place on top of the closing totem pole seems safe with Melancon and Watson behind him. Melancon’s salary suggests he might sneak in for saves but he will need to prove it on the field and so far Smith has been outstanding with a 1.03 ERA, 1.11 FIP and 2.02 SIERA. He may be a lefty but he’s getting everyone out and has a fairly strong grasp on the 9th.

Blake Treinen continued his all-star season with another scoreless inning, dropping his ERA to 0.79 for his 23rd save.  Treinen historically was a hard thrower and worm killer but this year his posted his worst GB% at 47.3% but is having by far his best year with a 18.5% swinging strike rate, far higher than last year’s 13.1%. Treinen still doesn’t allow too many fly balls, throws 97 mph and gets whiffs among the elite as only Josh Hader has a higher swinging strike rate among qualified relievers this year. Add it all up and he’s an elite closing option. Of other interest in Oakland is the guy setting up Treinen – Lou Trivino who threw two perfect frames in the 7th and 8th while also striking out three batters. His 14.7% SwStr% is far below Treinen but still ranks 22nd among qualified relievers. On the year he has a 1.34 ERA, 3.05 FIP, and 3.15 SIERA. A 28.7% strikeout rate is nothing to sneeze at either and it actually might see some growth considering all of the whiffs he’s able to get. Treinen’s job is super safe, but if something happens to him Trivino is the obvious replacement.

•  Fernando Rodney danced in and out of a little trouble, getting his 20th save on the year. His Age + Twins Record = Trade Rumors and he’s been linked with the Red Sox the last I heard. He will probably get traded this summer and likely would lose his closing gig wherever he went. If he ends up getting moved, expect Trevor Hildenberger to get the first crack at saves with Addison Reed and Zach Duke behind him.

• The Royals situation is a mess but Kevin McCarthy and Brandon Maurer are likely in the committee with Wily Peralta still in charge. As we discussed when Kelvin Herrera was first moved, if you need saves and snagged Peralta off the wire then you still need saves. I would almost recommend moving off of this situation entirely as neither pitcher is particularly good and save totals can’t really be expected moving forward outside of a handful.

• Nobody is perfect, not even Josh Hader has he blew the lead for the Brewers against the Marlins, allowing two homers in 1.2 innings. Drew Steckenrider blew the lead for the Marlins in the 8th and Brad Ziegler received a win in the 10th after Corey Knebel gave up the game winning run. In between Kyle Barraclough threw a scoreless 9th in a tie game. Barraclough is starting to regress a tad, having given up hits and run sin his previous outings but his job is still very safe, so long as he’s still on the Marlins. In Milwaukee, Knebel’s job as closer is still green as well with Hader picking up innings, strikeouts and holds ahead of him.

•  Quick Hits: Raisel Iglesias got the last two outs for his 18th save against the Indians. Sergio Romo “blew” the save last night but also recorded four outs without giving up a run – he still looks like the closer (or the closest approximation of one) in Tampa. Felipe Vazquez recorded his 19th save, pitching around two hits in the 9th. It’s been 11 appearances since he’s allowed a run as he’s put his terrible end of May behind him. Zach Britton closed the first game against the Yankees helping his trade value. In the second game Giovanny Gallegos got a three inning save in a blow out and I might bet the under on another save on the Yankees for the rest of his career.

Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Bullpen Report — 7/10/2018
Team Closer First Up Second Up Minors/DL
ARI Brad Boxberger Archie Bradley Yoshihisa Hirano
ATL Arodys Vizcaino A.J. Minter Dan Winkler
BAL Zach Britton Brad Brach Mychal Givens Darren O’Day
BOS Craig Kimbrel Matt Barnes Joe Kelly
CHC Brandon Morrow Pedro Strop Justin Wilson
CWS Joakim Soria Jace Fry Juan Minaya Nate Jones
CIN Raisel Iglesias Jared Hughes Amir Garrett
CLE Cody Allen Neil Ramirez Oliver Perez Andrew Miller
COL Wade Davis Adam Ottavino Jake McGee
DET Joe Jimenez Alex Wilson Louis Coleman Shane Greene
HOU Hector Rondon Ken Giles Chris Devenski Joe Smith
KC Wily Peralta Kevin McCarthy Brandon Maurer
LAA Blake Parker Justin Anderson Hansel Robles Keynan Middleton
LAD Kenley Jansen Scott Alexander Daniel Hudson Josh Fields
MIA Kyle Barraclough Drew Steckenrider Brad Ziegler Tayron Guerrero
MIL Corey Knebel Josh Hader Jeremy Jeffress
MIN Fernando Rodney Trevor Hildenberger Zach Duke
NYM Jeurys Familia Anthony Swarzak Robert Gsellman
NYY Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances David Robertson
OAK Blake Treinen Lou Trivino Ryan Buchter
PHI Seranthony Dominguez Victor Arano Tommy Hunter
PIT Felipe Vazquez Kyle Crick Tyler Glasnow
STL Bud Norris Jordan Hicks Greg Holland
SD Brad Hand Kirby Yates Craig Stammen
SF Will Smith Tony Watson Mark Melancon Hunter Strickland
SEA Edwin Diaz Alex Colome James Pazos
TB Sergio Romo Jose Alvarado Diego Castillo Chaz Roe
TEX Keone Kela Jake Diekman Jose Leclerc Chris Martin
TOR Tyler Clippard Seung Hwan Oh John Axford Roberto Osuna
WSH Sean Doolittle Kelvin Herrera Ryan Madson

Bullpen Report: July 9, 2018

Sean Doolittle was named to his first National League All-Star team on Sunday (he was also an American League All-Star with Oakland in 2014), and he’s clearly been worthy of the distinction in both the real and fantasy worlds. He has compiled a 1.45 ERA, 0.54 WHIP, 22 saves and 49 strikeouts to date and ranks as the top reliever in terms of Roto value in the NL (per ESPN’s Player Rater).

Not all of the news for Doolittle was positive on Sunday. Earlier in the day, reports surfaced of Doolittle having a strained toe. By multiple accounts, the injury is minor, and he may even have been able to pitch in the series finale against the Marlins. It was a moot point, as the Marlins won in a 10-2 laugher.
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Bullpen Report: July 8, 2018

It’s no secret many players push through nagging injuries with the All-Star break fast approaching. Aroldis Chapman’s no exception and left Saturday’s game early when the tendinitis in his knee flared up after striking out Randal Grichuk. With a four run lead, there was no need to push him. However, the recurrence of this injury means it’s something fantasy owners remain cognizant of going forward. Chapman’s been terrific this year converting 24 of his 25 save chances with a 1.42 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 38 innings, including 24 over his last 14.2 innings. Working three games in a row to start the month could have prompted this flareup. As for his backup, it’s unlikely Dellin Betances sits on a waiver wire. He’s in the midst of a tremendous stretch during which he’s recorded 18 straight scoreless outings, spanning 17.2 innings, allowing three hits and 11 walks with 30 strikeouts against 67 total batters faced.

Trying to predict the machinations of Gabe Kaplar and how he will deploy the bullpen remains confounding. Eight different Phillies pitchers have notched a save this year as this hierarchy continues to evolve. It seemed like Seranthony Dominguez could emerge as the ninth inning option with four saves his previous four outings leading up to yesterday. But, Dominguez pitched the eighth inning for his 10th hold giving up a hit and striking out two. Victor Arano recorded his second save, in consecutive outings, also allowing a hit and striking out two. Philadelphia’s beat writers did not broach the subject suggesting a clear cut closer exists on the team. Delving into the batters faced, Dominguez faced Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Colin Moran and Elias Diaz, hitters two through five in the Pirates order. It remains to be seen if Dominguez was used in the highest leverage spot, regardless of role or if Arano’s moving up in the pecking order. For now, leaving Dominguez atop the committee but also promoting Arano to second on the list. Read the rest of this entry »

Bullpen Report: July 7, 2018

It seemed like Kenley Jansen would close out his 22nd straight save with a two strike count against Shohei Ohtani in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. However, Ohtani battled back drawing a walk, then stole second base during which an errant throw allowed him to move to third. A single by David Fletcher tied the game, then a single to right field by Ian Kinsler eventually scored Fletcher after a bobble and an overthrow to home let the winning run score. On the surface, it’s tough loss. Jansen owned not backing up home on the play which resulted in the winning run scoring, saying and I quote, “That’s my fault.” The blown save is Jansen’s first since April 17th when he fell to two-for-four in saves with an inflated 8.10 ERA. Since then, Jansen whittled his ERA down with a 1.06 ERA over 34 outings converting 21 straight saves, until last night.

However, when targeting a closer at Jansen’s average draft position, it’s to own an elite closer with strong ratios. Jansen’s accrued 23 saves so far this year but with a 2.40 ERA, 3.01 FIP and 0.97 WHIP. Very good, but not in the upper echelon of closers this season. Perhaps it’s his losing a tick off of his velocities on his fastball and cutter or it’s the cumulative effect of pitching in the postseason each of the last five years including into the World Series last season. He’s only blown three saves but the strikeout percentage drop of over 16 percent, Jansen’s swinging strike percentage decrease of almost six percent along with his contact allowed up over nine percent. Getting the All-Star break off could help Jansen but due to his peripheral statistics lagging compared to past performance, he will be fine going forward, just not his to his usual elite status from seasons prior. Read the rest of this entry »