Bullpen Report: April 18, 2018

• Something might be brewing in Milwaukee as Josh Hader recorded another six out save for his second of the year. Since his last two save opportunities came via the two inning variety, it’s still unlikely that he’s used as a traditional closer so consistent saves while Corey Knebel is on the shelf may be unlikely. But, things are still s trending in the right direction, especially if Matt Albers and Jacob Barnes are less than stellar. Regardless of save opportunties, Hader is becoming one of the most valuable relievers and on the season Hader has 25 strikeouts in 11.2 innings supporting a 61% K% and a 0.21 SIERA. Damn.

• After four straight scoreless appearances, Kenley Jansen gave up two runs last night to the Padres for his second blown save on the year. There has been velocity talk all year corresponding with Jansen’s early struggles, and he’s still not quite where he was last year. It’s hard to say that Jansen’s job isn’t safe, as we fully expect Roberts to give him the next save opportunity but his 8.10 ERA and 8.15 FIP leave a lot to be desired, obviously. His 3.87 SIERA paints a slightly better story suggesting a poor man’s Jansen is still useful but if he’s hiding an injury or continues to blow saves like this expect Josh Fields to be the leading candidate for saves. Also lingering is Pedro Baez who got all four outs last night via the strikeout and has a 1.04 ERA and 1.82 SIERA with a 36.4% K%.

• Although the Cardinals spent a ton of money to bring in Greg Holland, it’s Bud Norris who continues to see saves. Norris recorded the last five outs for his fourth save of the year and now has a 1.93 ERA, 0.77 SIERA and an impressive 17/1 K/BB early this season. The Cardinals are maintaining that Holland will likely be their closer but he gave up three baserunners and two runs without recording an out in the seventh inning tonight. The Cardinals were letting him get on track in non-save situations but he might have to figure this out in the minors or in low leverage innings. If he starts pitching better we can expect him to see the ninth but so long as Bud Norris is pitching like this he’s still far off from saves. Dominic Leone, Tyler Lyons and Jordan Hicks should all be in the mix setting up Norris with Luke Gregerson also factoring in. Gregerson was activated off the DL on Monday, and depending how he looks in his first few appearances will dictate his placement on the totem pole.

Ken Giles struggles this year hasn’t hurt owners ERA (like Jansen has) as he’s only allowed one run in five innings pitched, but it has hurt their save totals as he only has one on the year. While he might be the “closer” the Astros are looking to mix and match and Chris Devenski received and recorded his second save last night against the Mariners. I would still bet on Ken Giles end of season save total being the highest on the team but it’s pretty clear that owners who expected a closer on a top team may not get the amount of saves they originally expected.

Quick Hits: After a loss in his last appearances where he also struck out three batters, Doolittle recorded a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his third save of the year. Doolittle has been fantastic this year and should start to rack up more saves as the Nationals are starting to string a few wins together. Wade Davis also threw a perfect ninth for a save, his eighth of the year. With a recent history of some injury flare ups and now pitching in Colorado, I’d lean towards selling high on Davis this year but he has been better than expected in Colorado thus far. Shane Greene struggled early this year but he recorded his third save last night and has been scoreless in his last five appearances.

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

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago

Never thought I’d see the day when Jansen was yellow.

Jackie T.
4 years ago
Reply to  srriley84

In mid April.

Alex Trebek
4 years ago
Reply to  srriley84

That day comes for all of us, my friend.