Bullpen Report: August 20, 2014

  • The dreaded “closer in a non-save situation” …and Casey Janssen strikes out 2! The Blue Jays are only 4.5 games back from the Wild Card and Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez was up to start the inning so manager John Gibbons appropriately went all out. Janssen struck them both out, even though he only induced one whiff in seven swings total for the inning. Still, 12 of of his 15 pitches were thrown for strikes/fouls.
  • “Put it in the (anxiety-inducing) Books” says (thinks) Howie Rose. With Jenrry Mejia unavailable due to his back and not his hernia supposedly, Jeurys Familia relieved Vic Black in the 8th after he loaded the bases. While he walked Sam Fuld forcing in run, he struck out Andy Parrino and got Josh Donaldson to ground out to shortstop. He got away with two things in the innings: the third strike to Parrino was a bit outside and the breaking ball on a full-count to Donaldson was a bit of a hanger although IMO it needed to be a breaking ball. At least it was thrown for a strike. A Stephen Vogt double after a Derek Norris strikeout in the 9th was the only other damage to give Familia the 5-out save. In any case, I think if he can continue to locate the fastball running outside on a lefty, he could be effective to all handedness. I’m a fan of the 3-pitch Fastball-Slider-Sinker repertoire that induces enough swinging strikes (12.4%) and ground balls (56%). We’re seeing it already in the outcomes and on the pitch level: According to Baseball Pro’s Pitchf/x Leaderboard, Familia has the 12th fasted RP velocity on the Fastball; 7th best whiff rate (51.43%) and 9th best GB/FB rate (3.2) on the slider; and 6th best whiff rate on the sinker (22.37%) which balances the fact that it only induces a 3.33 GB/FB ratio on it. If he can control the BB-rate, he should be successful and consume closing duties for at least the remainder of this year based on Mejia’s ailments. P.S. I’m a Mets fan so I apologies for the longevity associated with this run-on.
  • Mark Melancon picks up the win (+1K) with a perfect inning in the top of the 9th vs. the Braves due to a Justin Upton error on a routine fly ball that allowed Jordy Mercer to score on a sac fly in the bottom of the 9th.
  • Neftali Feliz hasn’t let up a run since August 3rd (only 6 appearances since). On this day, he had a 100% HR/FB ratio as Marcell Ozuna and Jarrod Saltalamachhia both went deep.
  • A Bullpen Report where I don’t get to talk about Ken Giles or Brad Boxberger is a report I don’t enjoy writing nearly as much. Luckily, Ken Giles struck out Chris Denorfia, Logan Morrison and Dustin Ackley – all swinging in the 8th. To date, for relievers (200 pitches minimum), Giles has the 6th fastest FB velocity (97.72 MPH) with a top 15 whiff rate (26.7%). He also has a top 15 whiff rate on the slider (50.6%).
  • The 8-9 punch of Darren O’Day and Zach Britton continues to ensure wins for the AL East leading O’s. O’Day strikes out both batters he faces and Britton strikes out 1 in a perfect 9th. O’Day threw 8/10 pitches for strikes: 4 whiffs, 3 looking, and only 1 time did the bat make (foul) contact with an O’Day offering. But Zach Britton! Whose ballsiest forecast had him at a 2.00 ERA and 30 saves?! a 77+% (77!!!) ground ball rate (11% flies and 12% liners) backs up the elite .222 BABIP right now. Nothing else on him screams elite, but the balls in play breakdown verifies the 2.04 ERA through a sub-2.00 SIERA.
  • Quick Hits:

  • Rafael Soriano only need 13 pitches (10 strikes/4 whiffs/1K) for a perfect 9th and the win.
  • The Astros win by 3, but who winds up with the save? Jose Veras gets the opportunity, throws half of his 26 pitches for strikes and walks one for his first save of the year. I can’t imagine more than .005% of fantasy owners profited. Sorry Yankee fans.
  • Thank you Rick Porcello (CG Shutout): I don’t have to write about a Tigers blown save/blow-up.
  • Prior to the season, I didn’t think there was a chance for a Trevor Rosenthal displacement, however, Pat Neshek continues to dominate with a 15:0 K/BB (only 4 hits/1 HR) in August. Rosenthal notched a 2-out save tonight due to runners on base inherited from Carlos Martinez, but he walked Jay Bruce and induced 0 whiffs (9 strikes/17 pitches).
  • The Cassey Janssen of the National League from a K/BB ratio but worse, LaTroy Hawkins notches another no-K save for his 19th SV of the season. The 4.3% HR/FB ratio for him on the Rockies is incredible even incorporating past prevention rates.

I won’t change anything in the grid other than highlighting the Mets’ row in Red. An overall good season and a perfect inning in Santiago Casilla’s last outing (2K), has me keeping the Giants’ row in Yellow:

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed Brad Ziegler Oliver Perez
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden David Carpenter Shae Simmons
Baltimore Zach Britton Tommy Hunter Andrew Miller
Boston Koji Uehara Edward Mujica Junichi Tazawa
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Neil Ramirez Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Jacob Petricka Zach Putnam Matt Lindstom
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jonathan Broxton Sam LeCure Sean Marshall
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Scott Atchison
Colorado LaTroy Hawkins Adam Ottavino Rex Brothers
Detroit Joe Nathan Joba Chamberlain Al Alburquerque Joakim Soria
Houston Chad Qualls Tony Sipp Josh Fields
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Jason Frasor
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Jason Grilli
LAD Kenley Jansen Brian Wilson Brandon League
Miami Steve Cishek Bryan Morris A.J. Ramos
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Will Smith Brandon Kintzler Jim Henderson
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jenrry Mejia Jeurys Familia Vic Black Bobby Parnell
NY (AL) David Robertson Dellin Betances Adam Warren
Oakland Sean Doolittle Luke Gregerson Dan Otero
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Ken Giles Jake Diekman Mike Adams
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Jared Hughes
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Pat Neshek Seth Maness Jason Motte
SD Joaquin Benoit Kevin Quackenbush Dale Thayer
SF Santiago Casilla Jeremy Affeldt Sergio Romo
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Dominic Leone
TB Jake McGee Brad Boxberger Grant Balfour
Texas Neftali Feliz Neal Cotts Shawn Tolleson
Toronto Casey Janssen Aaron Loup Brett Cecil
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Drew Storen

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

Daniel Schwartz contributes for RotoGraphs when he's not selling industry leading thermal packaging. You can follow him on twitter @RotoBanter

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You guys gotta take the yellow highlight off the Rockies. Hawkins’ job is not in jeopardy even slightly. Strategically, why would the Rockies give saves to arbitration eligible pitchers? And there is totally nothing in his performance to justify it, other than his lack of strikeouts.

Since the Rockies like his groundball ability more than K’s, it is a non-factor.