Bullpen Report: April 15, 2015

• Couple interesting developments after Ben clicked “publish” last night. Adam Ottavino (aka, one of my sleeper “not a closer but maybe a closer” candidates heading into 2015) picked up save number one. It wasn’t dull, either, with “number zero” whiffing all three Giants hitters he faced. Maybe I can get #KOttavino trending. The righty now holds a ridiculous 0.23 SIERA in an admittedly small sample size, and looks even more polished than last season. After the game, Walt Weiss saved fantasy owners the headache, too, naming Ottavino his ninth inning man. I’m going to yellow light him until he notches a few more, but he absolutely needs to be owned across the board. If you want more gratuitous information overload about the Northeastern University grad, check out Eno’s in-depth piece here.

• In addition to Ottavino’s coronation, Fernando Rodney’s arrows missed the target last night, an occurrence happening with great frequency so far in 2015. It’s only been 3.1 innings, but “Captain Crooked Hat” is the owner of a decidedly unsexy 1/4 K/BB ratio and a 16.20 ERA (6.71 SIERA). His velocity is still there (95 mph), so don’t go and cut him yet, but this isn’t a bad bullpen to speculate in. Brett Talley touched on this situation in depth in a full Rotographs post this afternoon, so I don’t have to. I recommend you give it a click. I personally like Danny Farquhar as a secondary option in this pen — he has great rates (2.23 and 2.60 SIERAs the last two seasons) and, remember, a few years ago he got some of that good ol’ fashioned closing experience(TM). Yoervis Medina could also be an option, and keep an eye on Dominic Leone who recently got called back up to the big club, although the latter’s velocity was down in his first appearance the other night.

Joakim Soria is already up to four saves on the young season, finishing off today’s game with a perfect ninth inning. The former Royal/Ranger has picked up right where he left off last season, putting up decent whiff numbers (4/17 batters have struck out) while limiting the free passes (none so far). His velocity is up a touch, too (relative to early last season), a possible result of being that much further removed from his Tommy John surgery. Apparently, Brad Ausmus has said (paraphrasing) “Joe Nathan is still my guy when he comes back,” but I wouldn’t bet drink money on that being a likely scenario. Soria should be able to run with the job and has top-10 closer upside going forward. I’m not selling unless I either have plenty of saves or get bowled over.

• In the middle reliever department, a couple under-the-radar guys showing interesting stuff early in the season. Arquimedes Caminero has suddenly picked up four mph on his fastball. Not exactly sure where it came from, but he’s flirting with triple-digits easy now. Yeah, he’s only faced 18 batters, but he’s got a near 20% SwStr%. With Mark Melancon’s velocity down, he’s an intriguing long-term speculative play in this pen. At the very least, he may be ready to help you with holds and rates right now. Cody Martin missed out on a rotation spot earlier this year, but was able to crack Atlanta’s Opening Day roster as a member of the bullpen. His stuff is apparently playing up; even though the righty is only armed with an 89-mph fastball, he’s shown wipeout stuff so far in 2015, striking out over half of the 17 batters he has faced. With Atlanta going nowhere fast, it’s easy to envision him working his way into high-leverage innings if he can sustain even a fraction of his peripheral gains so far.

• Quick hits: Glen Perkins finally got his first save of the season. I’m not averse to tossing out a lowball offer in case his owner is annoyed with the lack of SV during the first week and a half. Trevor Rosenthal picked up a save, although it wasn’t easy — he allowed a run on a couple baserunners. His stuff looks good this year, but his control continues to be spotty like it was in 2014 (three walks with 18 batters faced). He’ll need to tame the walks if he wants to become an elite-elite ninth inning option again. Like Rosenthal, Zach Britton also picked up a save in slightly sloppy fashion. The lefty has already pitched in five games this year, but looks just as good as the pitcher we saw last year.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed Evan Marshall Brad Ziegler
Atlanta Jason Grilli Jim Johnson Luis Avilan
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Edward Mujica
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Neil Ramirez
CHI (AL) David Robertson Zach Putnam Zach Duke Jacob Petricka
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jumbo Diaz Tony Cingrani Sean Marshall
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Scott Atchison
Colorado Adam Ottavino Rafael Betancourt LaTroy Hawkins John Axford
Detroit Joakim Soria Al Alburquerque Joba Chamberlain Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Chad Qualls Pat Neshek
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Vinnie Pestano
LAD Joel Peralta Chris Hatcher Pedro Baez Kenley Jansen
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jonathan Broxton Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Brian Duensing Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Carlos Torres Jerry Blevins Jenrry Mejia
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances David Carpenter
Oakland Tyler Clippard Eric O’Flaherty Dan Otero Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Ken Giles Jake Diekman
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Jared Hughes
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Jordan Walden Seth Maness
SD Craig Kimbrel Joaquin Benoit Dale Thayer Kevin Quackenbush
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Yoervis Medina
TB Brad Boxberger Kevin Jepsen Grant Balfour Jake McGee
Texas Neftali Feliz Shawn Tolleson Keone Kela Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Brett Cecil Miguel Castro Aaron Loup Steve Delabar
Wash. Drew Storen Aaron Barrett Blake Treinen Casey Janssen

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

There are few things Colin loves more in life than a pitcher with a single-digit BB%. Find him on Twitter @soxczar.

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Cason Jolette
Cason Jolette

Think Cecil is the closer again? Havn’t read anything saying as much and the Jays used him in a blow out tonight. Either way, just dropped him for #KKKOttavino last night, so I feel good regardless.

Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu

As you should! Otto looks specatular…


The Jays tried to use Castro against the heart of the TB battting order rather than saving him for the 9th. It didn’t work out but still a good idea!

With huge bullpens and three man benches, it makes sense to use your relief ace against the heart of the other team’s linep, since even in the 9th, they have almost no pinch hitters for their weaker hitters.

It bears watching. If they stick with this strategy, it really will be a committee. But only useful against teams with virtually no pinch hitters on the bench.


Let us know if #KKKOttavino catches on.