Although the trade deadline provided fantasy owners with the opportunity to mine saves, many overlooked a potential reliable source of them for the second half in Arizona. Archie Bradley secured his fourth save over his last five appearances. Bradley extended his scoreless streak to 14 games spanning 17.1 innings Monday night in the process. Within the streak, Bradley owns a 0.92 WHIP with 21 strikeouts against seven walks, a 2.19 FIP, 3.44 xFIP, 31.8 strikeout percentage and 10.6 walk rate. He’s limited hitters to a .155/.258/.190 slash line against yielding a 32.4 hard hit percentage and generating ground balls 48.6 percent of the time. There will be some migration to the mean, however, Bradley’s not been scored upon in 18 of his last 20 outings providing a stabilizing force in the Diamondbacks bullpen.
On the other end of the spectrum, Sean Doolittle held on for his 27th save giving up two earned runs on three hits and a walk versus the Reds. Phillip Ervin greeted Doolittle with a lead-off home run starting the top of the ninth inning. Then, Doolittle served up a single to Jose Iglesias, induced a pop-up to Jose Peraza and a fly-out to right field by Kyle Farmer. With two outs, Joey Votto hit a double off the fence to left-center field in a full count, just missing a game tying home run. An intentional walk to Eugenio Suarez paid off when Josh VanMeter fouled out to Anthony Rendon ending the game. It’s been a rough start to August for Doolittle allowing 10 hits, six earned runs and a walk with four strikeouts over 5.2 innings resulting in a 9.53 ERA and 1.94 WHIP. Fatigue could be a factor but his 4.86 xFIP for the season with a contact rate just below 80 percent and Doolittle’s swinging strike percentage down to 12.2 percent should be noted. Especially when seeing a quote like this:
Doolittle said he’s gassed and “started to feel it a little bit” lately. Said everyone is in mid-August. Just have to dig deep. He has made changes to his workout regimen and warmup routine to be more efficient as well.
— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) August 13, 2019
Doolittle had Iglesias on an 0-2 count and Votto at a full count prior to giving up hits. He’s struggling to put hitters away as evidenced by last night along with his spike in contact allowed. His next two outs recorded will match his output by innings from 2017 and Doolittle’s not surpassed 60 innings in a season since 2014, so some rest could do him wonders. Stay tuned.
For the second straight game, Brad Hand blew a save chance only to be bailed out by a Carlos Santana home run. Last night, Hand walked Mookie Betts with one out then recorded a strikeout of Rafael Devers. But, a double by Xander Bogaerts over right-fielder Tyler Naquin tied the game, it appeared to glance off Naquin’s glove. Hand then intentionally walked J.D. Martinez and retired Andrew Benintendi to end the inning. This results in Hand’s fourth blown save and his sixth win. Hand’s 29-for-33 in save chances this season but over his last three appearances yielded seven hits while issuing four walks leading to three earned runs in 3.1 innings. He’s shown the ability to overcome blips in the season before, so Hand remains a reliable source of saves but like Doolittle above, monitor his progress going forward. Boston’s Marcus Walden incurred his second loss coughing up the two out walk-off home run to Santana.
When the Yankees signed relievers Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino in the off-season it raised eyebrows but many overlooked how the team built its staff from the back to the front. In a sweep of the Orioles on Monday, New York’s bullpen depth paid dividends. Aroldis Chapman locked down his 32nd save, matching his total from last season, striking out one in a clean ninth in Game 1. After a rocky stint from June 24th to the end of July, Chapman’s surged in August with five straight saves striking out eight against one walk with a 0.60 WHIP in five innings of work. Britton secured his 24th hold in Game 1 giving up a hit with a strikeout in two-thirds of an inning. Britton’s 79.1 ground ball rate this year matches his career best from 2016 and he’s also saved three games. Ottavino recorded his second save in Game 2 working around a hit with a strikeout. He did allow two inherited runners score but closed out the win. He’s one of six Yankees relievers with at least two saves.
Quick Hits: Washington will try to catch lightning in a bottle again signing Greg Holland as a free agent. Holland fresh from his release by Arizona could find himself in high leverage soon for the Nationals, or at least in its bullpen for the stretch run. He did save three games for Washington in the second half last year…No updates on the status of Raisel Iglesias and his sore biceps, so owners will need to track his health going forward…Owning a second half ERA of 6.90, Atlanta hopes to gain some stability in its bullpen after a day off. Newly acquired Shane Greene, Mark Melancon and Chris Martin have combined to allow 23 hits, 14 runs and a 10.50 ERA in 12 innings with the Braves. In a fluid bullpen, as Al Melchior speculated in this column on Monday, Melancon should get the next save chance but stay tuned to see how this situation evolves.
Avid fantasy baseball player and writer. You can find my work here chasing the next save or as the lead fantasy analyst on Fantasy Alarm. Any questions, hit me up on the Twitter machine, @gjewett9