• Non-closing news: It looks like Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler are seeing some late inning action in Atlanta. Detwiler has been less successful than Jackson while on the Braves and has been pitching worse than he was last year as a full time reliever. Jackson has been decent in his first go around strictly in relief, pitching to a 3.13/3.44/4.10 ERA/FIP/xFIP line. As expected his velocity has ticked up a bit to 94 mph and although his swinging strike rate has shown some improvement, he’s yet to see an increase in his strikeout rate. There could be some future improvement in that category assuming he stays out of the rotation. I wouldn’t expect much moving forward this season from Jackson but he could see the ninth if/when Arodys Vizcaino needs a day off and it wouldn’t shock me to see Jackson be more effective next year, with more repetition out of the pen.
Vincent Velasquez saw some time earlier this season out of the rotation and although he wasn’t amazing, he showed solid potential. He’s likely to enter the rotation again next year but for the rest of 2015 he could be used primarily out of the pen. Velazquez threw two innings with three strikeouts (and one earned run) against the Yankees tonight and teams looking for ratio help and strikeout totals could look his way. He’s likely to see multiple innings each appearance and outings like tonight could be more common in September.
• It was a non-save situation but it’s still nice to see Cody Allen throw a perfect ninth. Allen’s had some struggles which is reflected in his 3.76 ERA but beneath that is still a terrific reliever. Allen has 80 strikeouts in 52.2 innings pitched with better fielding independent statistics (2.00 FIP/2.93 xFIP) than he even had last year. The only change is the .365 BABIP and 69.5% LOB% which has inflated his earned run average to the dismay of his fantasy owners. I expect this will correct itself moving forward and I would still rank Allen as one of the top closing options entering 2016 given his stirkeout ability.
• A. J. Ramos threw a scoreless ninth for his 22nd save tonight. Ramos has had a few yips since late July so his clean save is nice to see. In spite of the rough August (7.04 ERA/8.47 FIP) Ramos’ seasonal line is still pretty. Carter Capps, who is still feeling discomfort in his elbow, is still the most effective reliever on the Marlins when healthy but given Ramos’ success this season in the ninth the job should be his from the get go next year.
• Greg Holland is dealing with a stiff arm and was unavailable again this evening. When he’s right Holland is a premier closer but he’s been a bit shakier/nicked up than normal this season. Wade Davis slid into the closer’s again and nailed down his 12th save. When you combine his effectiveness as a set up with Holland’s discomfort, Davis is the most valuable non-closer in fantasy (after Dellin Betances). Since leaving the rotation Davis has allowed just 14 runs in his last 123.2 innings with a 1.63 FIP. Holland owners should be worried, justifying the yellow on the grid.
• Quick Hits: Tyler Clippard couldn’t quite finish the eighth inning and Jeurys Familia was called on for the four-out save (34). Huston Street was also needed for four outs, getting his 30th save on the year. David Robertson went 1-2-3 for his 26th save. Not everyone was perfect as Shawn Tolleson blew the save (2). This situation is still green and Tolleson should see several opportunities with the Rangers in the playoff race. Pitching around three hits, Latroy Hawkins picked up the win after he threw a scoreless 9th, lowering his ERA to .93 on the Blue Jays. It’s nice to see Hawkins throw well while pitching in meaningful innings in his swan song and final season. Roberto Osuna secured the win for his 15th save, continuing his fantastic rookie year.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias