UPDATE: Right after publishing, Arodys Vizcaino was placed on the IL with shoulder information. Vizcaino’s shoulder issues were documented throughout the early going of the season but he seemed to be OK. Clearly that’s not necessarily the case with Vizcaino now on the IL. We don’t know how long Vizcaino will be on the shelf for, whether it’s rest or something larger. In his place, A.J. Minter is the clear first option with Chad Sobotka, Jesse Biddle, Wes Parsons and really everyone else in the back of the Braves pen behind them.
• After using Ian Kennedy to preserve the win on Friday the Royals turned to Wily Perlata in the 9th last night for the save, his first of the year. Ian Kennedy threw a perfect 8th inning with two strikeouts setting up Peralta and this remains a no doubt committee. It’s hard to tell who the favored option is on any given day with Brad Boxberger in the mix as along with Jake Diekman as a lefty also throwing high leverage innings. Ian Kennedy was used in the 6th and 7th innings on 4/10 but since then he’s been used in the 9th and 8th innings in back-to-back appearances. Brad Boxberger has the most traditional closer stuff and background but he’s allowed three runs in his last two appearances, and overall hasn’t been particularly effective. We still have him atop the grid given his background but he’s code red with Kennedy and Peralta right behind. Kennedy’s ability to be used for longer outings might preclude him from being a typical late inning option but he’s been the best reliever in their pen so far and at some point the cream will rise to the top, or the closer role in this case.
• When it feels like everyone is using a committee, it can be nice to see one situation possibly be breaking free, which brings us to Minnesota. Blake Parker got his third save in the 9th, with Taylor Rogers setting him up in the 8th. Earlier this season it seemed like Rogers was in the middle of a committee but he hasn’t seen a save opportunity since the start of the year and Parker might be cementing himself as the main guy to own here, at least for now. I can’t fully shed the committee label yet, since Parker’s last appearance was in the 7th and 8th innings. Once the Twins string a few save opportunities in a row we should have a better idea if the committee is still in play. Additionally, it’s worth noting that Parker has a poor 3/3 K/BB in his five innings this year, where one poor appearance can throw him behind Rogers and Trevor May in the pecking order. For now I would bet on Parker receiving the next saves but this situation could change fairly rapidly even as it seems like it’s calcifying.
• No save situation in Baltimore’s win over Boston but Mychal Givens got the last five outs, striking out four in the process. Givens also finds himself in a committee but it’s clear he’s their preferred high leverage option. While throwing in the 7th or 8th has him miss out on save opportunities, longer outings like last night could help recoup some value. It’s obviously quite early but Givens has a career high 62.5% GB% in the early going. If he’s able to kill more worms in Baltimore, it will help his ERA get in line with the peripherals that he has shown throughout his career.
• The Yankees had a four run lead so Aroldis Chapman didn’t get a save but pitched a perfect 9th nonetheless. Chapman’s velocity has been a little down to start the year but he was at 100 last night. He remains somewhat of an injury risk but if his owners were getting nervous with his earlier performances now would be a good buy low. Chapman’s strikeouts are down to start the year but he’s also avoided walks at a higher rate. If his velo trends up and his control maintains, he should be back in his familiar role as a top notch closer. Also of note in the Yankees pen was Domingo German, who threw two perfect innings with four strikeouts. He should see the rotation again and fairly soon but he will also likely be yo-yoing between both roles all season to keep his workload in check. The unknown role can be frustrating but a positive consequence would be improved ratios.
• The Mets lost to the Braves last night but Robert Gsellman pitched the last two innings for the Mets, allowing a homer but also striking out four batters. On the year Gsellman has a 4.00 ERA but a .444 BABIP isn’t sustainable and he has 12 strikeouts in 9 innings. The back of the Mets pen outside of Edwin Daiz has been mediocre to start the year and Gsellman is pitching better than his ERA suggests with a 2.71 SIERA. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him throwing multi-innings in games with a lead in the future rather than behind like last night.
• Quick Hits: Cody Allen got the last four outs for his 4th save of the year. While he may not be an elite ratio guy, he’s one of only a couple handfuls of main closers and he should continue to rack up saves free of any committee restraints for the Angels. Ken Giles struck out a pair for his 4th save of the year. Like Allen, Giles isn’t in the class of the elite and as we have seen in the past with him he could have a poor ERA, but in a world of committees Giles still ranks among the better options. Everyone in the Nationals pen might be struggling but Sean Doolittle still has a shiny 0.00 ERA and after throwing a clean 9th against the Pirates, his first save of the season. With Will Smith getting a night off, Sam Dyson received the save opportunity and recorded his first of the year. Mark Melancon and Tony Watson were used heavily the previous days so it looks like Dyson still isn’t in the pecking order in San Francisco. We have been touting Adam Conley for a while in these parts but he gave up three earned last night and now supports a 8.44 ERA. Sergio Romo and Drew Steckenrider certainly remain ahead of him on the grid. Raisel Iglesias pitched around a hit and a walk for his 2nd save. Kirby Yates struck out three last night for his 9th save. He won’t bat 1.000 all year on save chances but he’s definitely among the elite closing options with a 1.94 SIERA and 42.5% K% in the early going. Roberto Osuna threw a perfect 9th for his 6th save on the year. Ryan Pressly set it up with his 3rd hold, Pressly and Osuna is one of the better late inning combos in baseball and they will continue to pick up saves and holds moving forward. Junior Guerra is starting to find a home for himself in Milwaukee out of the pen as he received a two-inning save last night. His ratios leave a lot to be desired but those in NL-only or Hold leagues can take note as he should continue to get some higher leverage innings on the days Hader can’t go.
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