Bullpen Report: April 16, 2015

Just a couple of newsworthy bullpen tidbits from tonight’s short six-game slate in Major League Baseball…

Up five runs in the final frame, the Twins called on Brian Duensing to close out the Royals in a non-save situation. But after inducing a leadoff flyout off the bat of Alcides Escobar, Duensing surrendered a couple of consecutive doubles and a single that yielded two earned runs before being pulled in favor of closer Glen Perkins. Perkins started his outing with a wild pitch that advanced Eric Hosmer to second base, but induced two infield groundouts to secure his second save of the season and the Twins 8-5 victory over the Royals.

The season is still young, meaning the sample size isn’t all that great, but I think it’s worth noting that the velocity on Perkins’ offerings seem to be okay with the exception of the slider. Dating back to May and June of last season, the left-hander lost a few ticks on his slider from 85.58 mph to 83.76 mph — a pretty decent dip. And in this couple of weeks to start this season, the velocity on his slider is down another full tick to 82.77 mph. The good news is that the pitch is still inducing whiffs at a 33% clip in that same sample and opposing batters have yet to record a hit off that pitch. I really like Perkins going forward, but this is just something we could keep an eye on as the season progresses.

Nationals closer Drew Storen notched his third save in as many chances this evening in a 5-2 win over the Phillies. He surrendered one hit, but fanned one and induced a couple of ground balls in a 13-pitch effort. For those keeping track of holds, Matt Thornton picked up his third on the short season in just one-third of an inning. Aaron Barrett also earned his first hold of the season by working a clean eighth-inning that included one strikeout.

Brad Boxberger surrendered an earned run on one hit and a walk while striking out one en route to his fourth save of the year tonight. Boxberger needed 24 pitches to seal the deal — 14 of which were strikes — but the pitch count racked up a bit thanks to five foul balls. Kevin Jepsen scooped up his third hold of the season in a six-pitch eighth-inning effort for the Rays.

Like Boxberger, Jeurys Familia also locked down his fourth save of the ‘15 campaign this evening. Unlike Boxberger, Familia failed to allow a hit, walk or earned run and needed just 17 pitches to close out the Marlins in Flushing Meadows. Familia started 2-of-3 batters with first-pitch strikes and retired each of the three batters he faced in different fashions — one strikeout, one flyout and one groundout. The Rays’ and Mets’ closers are now in a four-way tie for the MLB lead in saves (4) with Joakim Soria and Jason Grilli. Carlos Torres of the Mets fanned two in an inning of work to pick up his fourth hold.

Bobby Parnell and Jake McGee each got some work in today as they recover from injuries. Parnell allowed two runs on two hits and a walk in a single frame, while McGee tossed an inning in an extended Spring Training game and “felt good.” Reports indicate that Parnell’s pitches had some movement, but seemed to be erratic at times. He’ll need to be able to pitch on consecutive days before being reinstated from the disabled list. A timeline for McGee’s next step sound like they’ll be determined soon.

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.]

In addition to contributing to the RotoGraphs blog, you can find Alan at his own site, TheFantasyFix.com and follow his nonsense on Twitter @TheFantasyFix.

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Are you assuming that McGee gets the job back when he returns? I haven’t heard much about the situation. Thanks!

Mike W.
Mike W.

I think it could turn into a bit of a co-closer role, where McGee gets the chances against lefty heavy lineups and Boxberger gets the chances against righty heavy line ups.

Cash could also keep Boxberger in the role because he wants the lefty McGee available to him in the 7th and 8th since the Rays bullpen is heavily right handed.

I think it all depends how Boxberger pitches until McGee is healthy, if he keeps locking down games with little real difficulty, I don’t see Cash changing that setup.

Detroit Michael
Detroit Michael

We don’t know.

Remember that Joe Maddon never named Jake McGee the closer in 2014 — it was a bullpen by committee situation with McGee getting most of the saves. Layer on top of that that Kevin Cash is now the manager and that there is a reluctance to have a LHP as closer and there is plenty of uncertainty in this bullpen.