Bullpen Report: August 1, 2020

The 2020 version of Bullpen Report includes six different sections, as well as the closer chart, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

      1. Notable Workloads: Primary closers or valuable members of a closer committee who have been deemed unavailable or likely unavailable for the current day due to recent workload.
      2. Injury News 
      3. Outlier Saves: Explanation for a non-closer earning a save during the previous day.
      4. Committee Clarity: Notes on a closer committee that clarify a pitcher’s standing in the group.
  1. Losing A Grip: Struggling closers who could be on the hot seat.
  2. Reliever On The Rise: Non-closer who is quickly moving up the depth chart based on potential and recent performance.

The “RosterResource” link will take you to the corresponding team’s RosterResource depth chart, which will give you a better picture of the full bullpen and results of the previous six days (pitch count, save, hold, win, loss, blown save.)

Notable Workloads

Wade Davis, COL: 29 pitches on Friday. | RosterResource

Davis pitched back-to-back games only a handful of times in 2019, so doing so after a 29-pitch night and a blown save is unlikely. Jairo Diaz (21 pitches on Friday) and Carlos Estevez are the leading candidates for a save chance on Saturday against the Padres.

Alex Colome, CHW: 3 of last 4 days; 16 pitches on Friday. | RosterResource

Colome is likely available after an easy outing, which followed a day off. Aaron Bummer and Steve Cishek are well-rested if he’s not available.

Greg Holland and Trevor Rosenthal, KCR: Back-to-back days; 3 of last 4 days; both had 13 pitches on Friday. | RosterResource

Ian Kennedy could finally get his first save chance of 2020 on Saturday after taking a back seat to Holland and Rosenthal for the first week of the season.

Kirby Yates, SDP: 28 pitches on Friday. | RosterResource

Yates can’t be ruled out after his 28-pitch night, considering he hadn’t pitched over the five previous days. A day off, however, could be necessary after a rough outing on Friday. If the Padres don’t want to pitch Drew Pomeranz on three consecutive days (12 pitches on Friday; 7 pitches on Thursday), Emilio Pagan and Javy Guerra are the likely candidates for a save chance.


Injury News

Aroldis Chapman, NYY: Cleared to return to team after two negative COVID-19 tests; no word on when he’ll be ready for game action.
Tommy Kahnle, NYY: Placed on 45-day IL with a UCL injury. RosterResource

Shortly after news broke that Chapman is closing in on a return, the Yankees got some bad news regarding one of their best setup men. Kahnle, who had a 3.67 ERA, 12.9 K/9, and 27 holds in 2019, is expected to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Outlier Saves

Chris Martin, ATL | RosterResource

Instead of going with Shane Greene, who threw just one pitch on Thursday, manager Brian Snitker opted for Martin to close out a wild 11-10 victory over the Mets. If you’re surprised by this decision, you’re not alone. Martin did not realize he was pitching the ninth inning.

Andre Scrubb, HOU
 | RosterResource

The Astros bullpen has been short-handed with both Chris Devenski and Ryan Pressly unavailable due to elbow soreness. But it’s not clear, at least at this moment, why closer Roberto Osuna was not brought in to pitch with his team up by three in the ninth inning of Friday’s game. He was being brought along slowly after reporting late to camp, but he has pitched 4.1 scoreless innings over three appearances and had a day off on Thursday.

But it was the 25-year-old Scrubb who got the save chance in only his second major league appearance. He allowed a walk and a single, but pitched a scoreless inning to close out a 9-6 win over the Angels. Even if Pressly returns soon and the 43-year-old Fernando Rodney, who recently inked a minor league deal, still has something left in the tank, the Astros are going to need some of their young pitchers to step into a high-leverage role. Scrubb answered that call on Friday.

•Drew Pomeranz, SDP | RosterResource

After Yates’ last two appearances (1.1 IP, 4 ER, 3 H, 4 BB, K), Pomeranz could soon find himself, at the least, in a co-closer role. On Friday, though, he was just bailing out Yates, who did not seem confident that he would get out of Coors Field with a save.


Committee Clarity

Cole Sulser, BAL | RosterResource

If the manager calls for you in a save situation a day after blowing a ninth inning lead to a division rival, it means he has confidence in you. It probably means that you are the closer and not part of a committee. A day after Aaron Judge beat him with a go-ahead home run, Sulser pitched a perfect ninth (2 K) to close out a 6-3 win over the Rays and pick up his second save in three chances. Further clarifying the situation, Mychal Givens pitched the eighth and Richard Bleier was traded to the Marlins after the game.

Dellin Betances and Seth Lugo, NYM | RosterResource

Betances and Lugo each had a chance to establish themselves in the battle for a wide-open closer’s job, but it was further muddied after Friday’s game. On to protect a 10-6 lead in the eighth, Betances retired only one of five batters faced (2 H, 2 BB). Lugo entered with the Mets still up by two, but he allowed a bases-clearing, go-ahead double to Travis d’Arnaud. At this point, Betances has probably fallen out of the committee — his fastball velocity has been about 3 MPH less than where it was prior to the injuries that derailed his 2019 season — while Lugo will probably have to share the job with Justin Wilson and Jeurys Familia.

Taylor Williams, SEA | RosterResource

Thus far, the Mariners’ committee has consisted of one save chance for Dan Altavilla and two for Williams, who picked up his second save with a scoreless inning against the Athletics on Friday.


Losing A Grip

Craig Kimbrel, CHC | RosterResource

Back in action for the first time since his disastrous 2020 debut, Kimbrel entered the game with a 6-1 lead over the Pirates in the ninth inning. He promptly allowed back-to-back homers to Josh Bell and Colin Moran before quickly setting down the next three in order (0 K). The 32-year-old has now allowed 11 homers in 22 innings since joining the Cubs.

It’s hard to see manager David Ross trusting him in a close game right now, although in fairness to Kimbrel, he hadn’t pitched in four days. After Kimbrel’s implosion in Monday’s game, Ross thought he might’ve been rusty because he hadn’t pitched in six days. So, maybe get him back in a game within a day or two and see if he’s any better? Or else, it’s getting pretty close to Jeremy Jeffress or Rowan Wick time.

•Wade Davis, COL | RosterResource

Davis’ tenure with the Rockies has been filled with ups and downs, so we can’t assume his job is safe because it was just one bad outing (0.2 IP, 4 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, BS) in the most hitter-friendly stadium in the game. Jairo Diaz was very good in the closer’s role to end the 2019 season and Carlos Estevez is also capable, not to mention having the perfect name for the job. And, of course, there’s Daniel Bard, who is still throwing in the upper nineties. If Holland and Rosenthal can get saves in 2020, so can Bard.

Hansel Robles, LAA | RosterResource


•Kirby Yates, SDP | RosterResource

Giving your closer five days off and then throwing him into a save situation at Coors Field doesn’t seem like the best strategy. In any case, Yates was not good and manager Jayce Tingler might not feel comfortable going back to the 33-year-old until they return home on Monday. While many of the team’s other top relievers have also struggled, Pomeranz has not. Even if Yates gets every chance to get back on track in his familiar ninth inning role, Pomeranz could be used in save opportunities on occasion depending on the matchup.


Reliever On The Rise

Gregory Soto, DET | RosterResource

The Tigers are off to a surprising 5-3 start, in part because of a very effective late-inning relief crew with closer Joe Jimenez and setup man Buck Farmer both getting the job done. But the hype is starting to build around Soto, a 25-year-old left-hander who can touch 100 MPH and has eight strikeouts while not allowing a run or a hit in 4.2 innings. More importantly, he hasn’t walked a batter.

Debuting in the majors as a starting pitcher last May, he was clearly not ready. It didn’t matter that he threw in the upper nineties. Big league hitters were teeing off. Ten games into the season, including seven starts, Soto had an 8.69 ERA. The Tigers stuck with him in a relief role, though, and it paid off as he posted a 2.83 ERA over his final 23 appearances. But in 28.2 innings over that span, he walked 20 while striking out only 23.

Thus, the zero walks is an indication that he’s much more in control in his second season. If he can paint the corner with a 99 MPH fastball, there’s not much a hitter can do about it.


Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Bullpen Report — 7/31/2020
Team Closer First Up Second Up Injured List
ARI Archie Bradley Junior Guerra Andrew Chafin
ATL Mark Melancon Shane Greene Luke Jackson Will Smith
BAL Cole Sulser Mychal Givens Miguel Castro Hunter Harvey
BOS Brandon Workman Matt Barnes Heath Hembree
CHC Craig Kimbrel Jeremy Jeffress Rowan Wick
CWS Alex Colome Aaron Bummer Steve Cishek
CIN Raisel Iglesias Amir Garrett Michael Lorenzen
CLE Brad Hand James Karinchak Nick Wittgren
COL Wade Davis Jairo Diaz Carlos Estevez Scott Oberg
DET Joe Jimenez Buck Farmer Gregory Soto
HOU Roberto Osuna Ryan Pressly Cy Sneed
KC Greg Holland Trevor Rosenthal Ian Kennedy
LAA Hansel Robles Ty Buttrey Keynan Middleton
LAD Kenley Jansen Blake Treinen Pedro Baez
MIA Brandon Kintzler Brad Boxberger Yimi Garcia
MIL Josh Hader Corey Knebel David Phelps
MIN Taylor Rogers Sergio Romo Trevor May
NYM Seth Lugo Justin Wilson Jeurys Familia
NYY Zack Britton Adam Ottavino Chad Green Aroldis Chapman
OAK Liam Hendriks Joakim Soria Yusmeiro Petit
PHI Hector Neris Tommy Hunter Adam Morgan David Robertson
PIT Nick Burdi Michael Feliz Richard Rodriguez Keone Kela
STL Kwang Hyun Kim Giovanny Gallegos Ryan Helsley
SD Kirby Yates Drew Pomeranz Emilio Pagan
SF Trevor Gott Tony Watson Shaun Anderson Reyes Moronta
SEA Taylor Williams Dan Altavilla Matt Magill Austin Adams
TB Nick Anderson Jose Alvarado Oliver Drake
TEX Jonathan Hernandez Edinson Volquez Nick Goody Jose LeClerc
TOR Anthony Bass Jordan Romano Rafael Dolis Ken Giles
WSH Daniel Hudson Tanner Rainey Sean Doolittle

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Kylo Hondrocks
Kylo Hondrocks

In the chart that ends each of these articles, should the right-most column be called “Minors/IL”, since it’s no longer called the Disabled List?