Bullpen Report: April 24, 2017

Brad Brach had his 10th scoreless appearance tonight getting his fourth save on the year. Brach most likely will give up a run this year and he won’t run a .063 much longer but his FIP/xFIP is currently at 1.50/2.96, proving he’s pretty damn good and not just benefiting from some batted ball luck. Brach will continue to close while Britton is on the DL with Darren O’Day and Mychal Givens setting up. O’Day has been more effective in his last couple of appearances but has been shakier than normal this year. He’s been a staple in the O’s pen for so long that I think Showalter will give him a pretty long leash but if he keeps struggling, Givens could leapfrog him on the totem pole. In between blaming Dustin Pedroia for not controlling his teammates, Britton can be found playing catch and should be back in Baltimore soon. Brach is certainly worth owning even if he’s not seeing the ninth inning, and so long as Britton is on the shelf he’s a near top tier option for saves.

• Speaking of scoreless appearances, Brandon Kintzler had his 9th consecutive this evening getting his fifth save. Given Kintzler’s strikeout rate last year I tabbed Ryan Pressly as a draft target but Kintzler’s hot start gives him a longer leash. For what it’s worth, Kintzler still has a scary 5/4 K/BB ratio in 9.1 innings this year but his scoreless start is forcing me to change this situation to green. As far as a green is concerned though I would keep a keen eye on this situation, if things start taking a down turn it could move fast in Minnesota. Kintzler has never missed bats but historically has posted a great Ground Ball Percentage (career 58.3%)  but even that has dropped to 47.8% this season. Kintzler’s BABIP will rise from .174 and once that starts we might move the situation for yellow but for now he is safe. If/when regression occurs Ryan Pressly and Matt Belisle are waiting in the wings.

•  As the weather warms on the east coast and the flowers bloom, it’s time to change a couple of colors on the grid. I’ve downgraded Washington’s situation to red as Koda Glover has seen a couple of save chances of late. He didn’t start the ninth inning in either save chance but Shawn Kelley has had some injury concerns and this is somewhat of a committee still as nobody ever truly knows what’s in the head of Dusty Baker. Kelley and Glover are still must owns. Additionally, while Matt Bush had a little injury concern with his shoulder, he’s the best reliever in Texas and is pitching in the ninth. Also, as he recently pitched on back-to-back days, there isn’t much concern that the Rangers won’t use him as a standard closer. It’s possible that Sam Dyson wins some brownie points whenever he returns but I’ve upgraded Bush to yellow.

• We currently have Corey Knebel as second in line in Milwaukee but it might be time to consider a change. Knebel allowed four baserunners and a run in the eighth inning tonight and Jacob Barnes pitched the ninth allowing an unearned run and striking out two in a non-save chance. I’m going to keep this situation as is for now but it’s worth focusing on moving forward. Knebel has been effective this year but after tonight’s appearance he now has a 5.79 BB/9, which is a little worrisome. Neftali Feliz is very much the closer but the Brewers have been known to pawn off their relief at the deadline, so when the rumors heats up the Knebel/Barnes order in Milwaukee might be of some importance.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Fernando Rodney JJ Hoover Archie Bradley
Atlanta Jim Johnson Arodys Vizcaino Jose Ramirez Mauricio Cabrera
Baltimore Brad Brach Darren O’Day Mychal Givens Zach Britton
Boston Craig Kimbrel Matt Barnes Heath Hembree Carson Smith
CHI (NL) Wade Davis Pedro Strop Koji Uehara
CHI (AL) David Robertson Nate Jones Dan Jennings
Cincy Raisel Iglesias Michael Lorenzen Drew Storen
Cleveland Cody Allen Andrew Miller Bryan Shaw
Colorado Greg Holland Adam Ottavino Mike Dunn
Detroit Francisco Rodriguez Justin Wilson Shane Greene
Houston Ken Giles Luke Gregerson Will Harris
KC Kelvin Herrera Joakim Soria Peter Moylan
LAA Bud Norris Blake Parker Jose Alvarez Cam Bedrosian
LAD Kenley Jansen Sergio Romo Pedro Baez Grant Dayton
Miami A.J. Ramos Brad Ziegler Kyle Barraclough
Milwaukee Neftali Feliz Corey Knebel Jacob Barnes
Minnesota Brandon Kintzler Ryan Pressly Matt Belisle Glen Perkins
NY (NL) Addison Reed Jerry Blevins Jeurys Familia
NY (AL) Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances Tyler Clippard
Oakland Santiago Casilla Sean Doolittle Ryan Madson
Philly Hector Neris Joaquin Benoit Jeanmar Gomez
Pittsburgh Tony Watson Daniel Hudson Felipe Rivero
St. Louis Seung Hwan Oh Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist
SD Brandon Maurer Ryan Buchter Brad Hand Carter Capps
SF Mark Melancon Hunter Strickland Derek Law
Seattle Edwin Diaz Nick Vincent Evan Scribner Steve Cishek
TB Alex Colome Danny Farquhar Austin Pruitt Brad Boxberger
Texas Matt Bush Jeremy Jeffress Jose Leclerc Sam Dyson
Toronto Roberto Osuna Jason Grilli Joe Biagini
Wash. Shawn Kelley Koda Glover Blake Treinen

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

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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

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King Donko of Punchstania
King Donko of Punchstania

Any insight on SF/Hunter Strickland? Derek Law showed up in the 8th last night. Thanks in advance.

Ben Kaspick

As a Giants fan, all I can say is that was baffling. Strickland has been great, Law has been bad, yet Bochy foregoes Strickland in the 8th with a one-run lead. Total head-scratcher. And it was Kontos in the 7th. Strickland’s role is totally unknown (but I would keep him on the chart, as he’s their second best reliever).


As a fellow Giants fan, I just think it’s because Bochy’s use of bullpen guys isn’t consistent. He’s not one of those managers who’s set in stone on bullpen roles, like this guy 100% of the time gets the 7th, this guy the 8th, etc. He only sets a closer in stone. He usually likes to mix and match leading up to the closer, primarily based on right- or left-handedness. IMO he’s way too obsessed with right- or left-handedness in general, he often sits guys with good reverse splits solely because of a righty or lefty pitcher. So, I wouldn’t expect him to always use the same guy to get all three outs in the 6th/7th/8th, just Melancon will always close.