Bullpen Report: August 12, 2015

– It’s not 100% clear that tonight helped sort out Detroit’s bullpen quagmire at all. Up 7-4, the Tigers called upon Bruce Rondon (not Alex Wilson) to try and finish off the Royals this evening. After inducing a groundout, things got hairy for Brad Ausmus, as the burly righty hit Alex Rios and then walked Omar Infante to bring the tying run to the plate. This got Wilson (who hadn’t pitched yet) quickly to his feet and warming behind Rondon. To Rondon’s credit, he punched out the noodle-batted Drew Butera and got Alcides Escobar to fly out to end the thread and garner “SV” number 2.

Assuming Wilson and Rondon are the two top candidates in this pen, ERA tells us that Wilson (1.72) should easily be the anchor over Rondon (5.60). However, the peripherals tell a different story. Rondon owns an elite 34% K% and has been bitten by a .381 BABIP and 61% LOB%, both on the wrong side of league average. Meanwhile, Wilson has been as lucky as Rondon has been unlucky, owning a .257 BABIP and 81% LOB%. The end result is that Rondon has a 2.22 SIERA and Wilson’s sits at 3.76. Aside from the rates, Rondon has the fire, with his fastball sitting at 98 mph this season (Wilson is at 93 mph). So what do the tea leaves say? Well, Rondon got tonight’s save, has the better DIPS predictors, and can blow hitters away late in games. I’d reckon that gives him the leg up at the moment, even if his control could be an Achilles’ heel. That said, in deeper leagues, I don’t see the harm in speculating on Wilson or Al Alburquerque since it feels this bullpen could always flip on one bad outing.

Hector Rondon blew his first save since “re-becoming” the Cubs closer tonight, although he only gave up a single hit while striking out the side. While an error by Addison Russell wasn’t his fault, (the other) Rondon didn’t necessarily help his cause with a couple wild pitches. Rondon’s usage by Joe Maddon has been someone baffling this year, as the righty not only owns a sterling 2.85 SIERA, his ERA is even better, sitting at 1.71 after tonight. With Jason Motte’s velocity dipping, he’s out of the picture. Pedro Strop and Tommy Hunter are always lurking, but Rondon really should have a pretty tight grip on this job. Of course, he’s not green-lit because Joe Maddon runs this ship and Joe Maddon has never been one to use closers conventionally.

– The Red Sox didn’t have a save situation today, but Ryan Cook certainly isn’t taking advantage of a shaky back-end of the bullpen. The former closer gave up four runs while only recording a single out against the Marlins today. With his velocity down a couple miles per hour and his walk rate the worst it has been since 2011, it’s possible he’s burning through his remaining chances at the big league level. After Junichi Tazawa’s third blown save in his last four outings yesterday, it appears Jean Machi is the guy to own for now. That said, the Red Sox pen is enough of a dumpster fire that it may not be worth investing unless you really think a few SV are going to be the difference in your roto league.

– Quick hits: David Robertson blew a save tonight, preventing the White Sox from topping the Angels in regulation. Of course, the BS probably should go to Jose Abreu, who botched a play miserably by removing a force during an attempted game-ending DP, which allowed the tying run to sneak in the back door. Robertson hasn’t been elite-elite in the second half, but his rates remain fantastic and Chicago has a ton of cash invested him. Jake McGee worked the eighth and Brad Boxberger worked the 9th (dancing around a couple free passes). The pecking order remains McGee-Boxberger, but McGee’s rates remain superior and he could still vulture the occasional save. We’ll keep this pen yellow for now. Cody Allen and Ken Giles notched multi-inning saves and continue their climb up the “rest of season” closer board. For this in deep holds leagues, Joel Peralta to the DL and Yimi Garcia is back (again). Tanner Scheppers is out on a rehab assignment, but it’s looking more and more like the 2013 version of him is gone forever.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson Addison Reed
Atlanta Arodys Vizcaino David Aardsma Jason Frasor Jason Grilli
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Brad Brach
Boston Jean Machi Junichi Tazawa Alexi Ogando Koji Uehara
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Tommy Hunter Rafael Soriano
CHI (AL) David Robertson Jacob Petricka Zach Putnam
Cincy Aroldis Chapman J.J. Hoover Ryan Mattheus
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Zach McAllister
Colorado Tommy Kahnle Rafael Betancourt Justin Miller
Detroit Bruce Rondon Alex Wilson Al Albuerquerque Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Pat Neshek Chad Qualls
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Fernando Salas
LAD Kenley Jansen Jim Johnson Pedro Baez
Miami A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn Bryan Morris Carter Capps
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jeremy Jeffress Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Kevin Jepsen Trevor May
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Tyler Clippard Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Justin Wilson
Oakland Edward Mujica Fernando Rodriguez Drew Pomeranz Sean Doolittle
Philly Ken Giles Luis Garcia Jeanmar Gomez
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Joakim Soria Tony Watson
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist Steve Cishek Jordan Walden
SD Craig Kimbrel Joaquin Benoit Shawn Kelley Brendan Maurer
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Hunter Strickland
Seattle Carson Smith Fernando Rodney Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Brad Boxberger Jake McGee Steve Geltz
Texas Shawn Tolleson Sam Dyson Jake Diekman Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Roberto Osuna Aaron Sanchez Brett Cecil
Wash. Jonathan Papelbon Drew Storen 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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Jim S.
Jim S.

Tommy Hunter is unlikely to do much closing for the Cubs because his numbers against lefty hitters are so poor. Right-handed closers face a higher percentage of left-handed hitters than a righty setup guy.