Bullpen Report: April 8, 2015

• Man your FAAB stations! Well, if you have rolling waivers and Joakim Soria was available before today. Detroit closer Joe Nathan was sent to the DL with a right flexor strain. That the 40-year-old Tommy John veteran is experiencing issues related to elbow ligaments seems to be a big problem. Even if it is purely a mild strain with no UCL involvement, it seems unlikely Nathan will require the minimum 15-day absence. In walks Joakim Soria, the Tigers’ new closer. Soria got beat up a few times last year, but actually posted a 2.32 SIERA — the best of his entire career. Never one to have an overwhelming fastball, the righty also posted a career-best BB% last year. The free pass stinginess didn’t harm his strikeout rate, allowing Soria to fly under-the-radar as one of baseball’s top relievers. With the aging Nathan sidelined, there seems to be a significant probability Soria can run away and hide with the closer gig as long as he can stay healthy himself. I’d immediately vault him into the top-15 closers with the potential to be in the second tier after the elites.

LaTroy Hawkins is old. LaTroy Hawkins doesn’t really strike a lot of people out. LaTroy Hawkins continues to hang onto a closer gig. All of these things are true, which makes the Colorado Rockies bullpen somewhat frustrating from a fantasy standpoint. Bullpen Report mancrush Adam Ottavino tossed another scoreless inning today, but Hawkins was unable to pin down a Rockies victory, giving up two earned runs (on four hits) in the ninth. Hawkins has actually showed good velocity on his fastball the last couple nights (picking up a save yesterday), and he’s not too far off where he’s been the last five or six years in that department. Unfortunately, his fastball is relatively straight and therefore doesn’t garner many swings and misses. Hence his 14% K% last year. Brett Talley even projects him to have negative value in roto leagues, even with a healthy dose of saves. I can’t change his color from green yet, because last year showed he has leash (and he wasn’t that terrible peripherally), but he’s one closer I’d peddle hard if I owned.

Luckily for fans in the Mile High City, the Rockies were still able to pull out a victory. Because Wilin Rosario jacked one in the top of the 10th, Hawkins actually scabbed a win. Picking up the save? None other than everyone’s favorite mustache, John Axford. The righty actually looked competent doing it, tossing a 1-2-3 inning while fanning one. Axford has always had the stuff to succeed, but his last few seasons have been marred by poor control. He does have a bit of Giants’ every other year thing going on — double-digit BB% in even years, but (barely) single-digit BB% in odd years. Hey, less walks and he could be viable, even in thin air. I’m going to leave him behind Ottavino on the depth chart now, just because I think Ottavino is a better pitcher and manager Walt Weiss talked him up in the preseason, but Axford has the “proven closer(TM)” tag and is probably worth a speculative own in NL-only or deep mixed leagues where saves are at a premium.

Aaron Loup technically took the loss in New York tonight, but Brett Cecil helped by allowing all three of his inherited runners to score in painful fashion (there were walks, singles, wild pitches, hit-by-pitches…). Even with the clunker, Cecil’s job should be relatively safe given his sparkling rates the last couple years. He was already going late in drafts — I wouldn’t shy away from tossing a lowball offer out and seeing if you could get him for something cheap. Speaking of the Jays, the much-talked-about 20-year-old relievers (Roberto Osuna and Miguel Castro) both had scoreless outings in this game. Neither player has given up an earned run (admittedly small sample size) this year and both bring big heat. They should be fun to watch.

• Quick hits: Andrew Miller got the save after Dellin Betances pitched the eighth (the latter giving up an unearned run, but picking up the win thanks to the aforementioned no-good Blue Jays inning). Miller was likely owned in most leagues due to the potential for elite rates, but scoop him up even in shallow formats as he gets some ninth inning shots while Betances works out some kinks. Betances’ velocity wasn’t terrible tonight (sat 95, touched 98) so I wouldn’t panic just yet if I drafted him (although I’d be a little annoyed I likely overpaid a touch). Greg Holland picked up save number one. No strikeouts, though, so you’ll have to make due with just the SV tonight. Ditto on the door-slamming for Brad Boxberger and Drew Storen. Jonathan Papelbon was used for four outs to polish off his former team. He did give up a fly ball to Hanley Ramirez that would have been a grand slam if it was 20 degrees warmer in Philly, but details, details. Jason Grilli tossed again and was clean. Not counting on a ton of saves in Atlanta, but hopefully you grabbed him Sunday.

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 Edward Mujica Junichi Tazawa Alexi Ogando Koji Uehara
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 LaTroy Hawkins Adam Ottavino 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 Chris Hatcher Joel Peralta 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 Rafael Montero 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 Dominic Leone
TB Brad Boxberger Kevin Jepsen Grant Balfour Jake McGee
Texas Neftali Feliz Shawn Tolleson Keone Kela Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Brett Cecil Aaron Loup Roberto Osuna 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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How concerned are we about Ken Giles?


There were really poor conditions in Philly last night. Rain, wind, cold. Not exactly great conditions for anyone, let alone a short reliever.

He also threw quite a few pitches, granted mostly resulting from his own doing, but he definitely had to work.

The AB to Ortiz and Betts(should have been a looking K on three pitches) looked quite good. The velo was there for the first 20 pitches or so. Had a hard time getting on top of the ball as he missed up and in to righties many many times. At the end he couldnt have walked the pitch to the strike zone.

We all knew control may be an issue, and if you counted on anything much less than 4 k/9 you probably were unrealistic.

But yeah I think you guys should all trade him right away. One cold April night is certainly reason to panic.