Bullpen Report: August 25, 2021

NEW FEATURE ALERT! We have added an upgraded version of RosterResource’s Closer Depth Chart to FanGraphs. Read more about it here.

We will always include a link to the full Closer Depth Chart at the bottom of the Bullpen Report each day. It’s also accessible from the RosterResource drop-down menu and from any RosterResource page. Please let us know what you think.

  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.
  5. Losing A Grip: Struggling closers who could be on the hot seat.

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

Liam Hendriks, CHW: 39 pitches on Tuesday. | RosterResource

Craig Kimbrel should be in line to close on Wednesday if the White Sox lead.

Andrew Kittredge, TBR: 26 pitches on Tuesday. | RosterResource

JT Chargois and Collin McHugh should both be available Wednesday, assuming Kittredge isn’t.

Kenley Jansen, LAD: 24 pitches on Tuesday. | RosterResource

Blake Treinen is the top choice to close on Wednesday if Jansen is out.

Injury News

Tejay Antone, CIN: Activated from the 10-day IL (forearm strain) on Tuesday.

It was almost two months on the sidelines for Antone, who had been out since July 26th. He’s been brilliant when healthy, with a strikeout rate of just over 33% and a grounder rate pushing half of all batted balls.

And yet, it may all be for naught, unfortunately. Antone left the game with a trainer after throwing just five pitches, saying after the game he “felt something” in his elbow. It’s not yet clear if this is a new injury or a recurrence of the existing strain.

Outlier Saves

Hansel Robles, BOS | RosterResource

The Red Sox had to pull the plug on Matt Barnes early on Tuesday after he faced three batters, retiring none of them. Robles had the unenviable task of trying to get out of the mess, protecting a two-run lead with two runners on. The Twins didn’t make it particularly easy on him, forcing their former teammate to throw 21 pitches, but they also bailed him out by swinging at pitches outside the zone a few times, and Robles ultimately stranded both runners. It was his 11th save of the season, and his first since the Red Sox acquired him on Deadline Day.

Michael Fulmer, DET | RosterResource

Fulmer’s no stranger to closing this season, with Tuesday’s four-out save his eighth of the season. But Gregory Soto had taken hold of the role and been getting the lion’s share of the save chances for over a month now, so this is an outlier save nonetheless. Soto threw 38 pitches Sunday and 32 Friday, so he was evidently getting two days off after the Tigers didn’t play on Monday. Soto should be back in action on Wednesday if needed, but the hard-throwing Fulmer is right there with José Cisnero for secondary save chances.

Wandy Peralta, NYY | RosterResource

Aroldis Chapman (more on him below under “Losing A Grip”) had another rough outing on Tuesday, loading the bases and only being able to record two of the three outs necessary to earn the save while also allowing a run to put Atlanta within just one score. Peralta entered to try to get out of the mess, and it was no easy task with Freddie Freeman due up. An excellent, nine-pitch battle ensued, but Peralta won out, inducing a fly ball to left to end the game. It was Peralta’s fifth save of the season, third with the Yankees.

Chris Stratton, PIT | RosterResource

It’s hard to gauge the Pirates’ closing situation, just as it is for the Cubs, who also traded their rock-solid closer at the deadline. At any rate, David Bednar has probably emerged as the top choice, which leaves Stratton, Chasen Shreve, et al. fighting for secondary saves (which are going to be few and far between in Pittsburgh). It was Stratton substituting for Bednar on Tuesday, and he made quick work of the Diamondbacks for his second save of the season. Chad Kuhl is another dark horse for save opportunities as long as he stays in the bullpen.

Committee Clarity


Losing A Grip

•Matt Barnes, BOS | RosterResource

It was yet another outing to forget for Barnes, who allowed a leadoff homer to Josh Donaldson before walking the next two batters faced, throwing just four of 12 pitches for strikes. Even though neither of the walks ultimately came around to score, Barnes’ ERA has gone up from 2.30 to 3.91 this month, as he’s allowed ten earned runs in nine appearances, spanning just 5.1 innings. Barnes has had horrible luck, with a .571 BABIP in August, but he’s also walked five batters and given up three homers, so this can’t all be pinned on defense or flukiness.

Barnes may well need a reset, and if he does, Adam Ottavino, Hansel Robles, Josh Taylor, Garrett Whitlock and Hirokazu Sawamura are all options for saves.

•Aroldis Chapman, NYY | RosterResource

Tuesday represented Chapman’s third appearance off the Injured List, and while he threw a clean inning in his one non-save chance, both of his chances to close a tight game have ended with another reliever coming in to bail him out. As such, he wasn’t charged with a blown save in either appearance, but he’s been incredibly shaky regardless.

If the Yankees need to back off of Chapman as their closer for a bit, they’d probably use a piecemeal approach with Chad Green, Jonathan Loaisiga, Wandy Peralta and Lucas Luetge all factoring in.

Click HERE to view the full Closer Depth Chart.

Not Very Stable
Hot Seat

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8 months ago

What was the upgrade to the Closer Depth Chart?

And if there was one addition I would make, it would be including some kind recent gmLI column. What I look at is previous 14 days gmLI for each pitcher in the context of their buillpen mates, to see which pitchers are being used in the highest leverage situations.