Bullpen Report: August 3, 2020

The 2020 version of Bullpen Report includes six different sections, as well as the closer chart, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

      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.
  1. Losing A Grip: Struggling closers who could be on the hot seat.
  2. Reliever On The Rise: Non-closer who is quickly moving up the depth chart based on potential and recent performance.

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

Mark Melancon, ATL: 21 pitches on Sunday. | RosterResource

Melancon has already pitched back-to-back days this season, throwing nine pitches last Wednesday and 15 pitches on Thursday. There’s little doubt that he’d pitch if there is a save opportunity on Monday as the Braves try to complete a four-game sweep versus the Mets. If not, Chris Martin could get the chance.

Liam Hendriks, OAK: Back-to-back days; 21 pitches on Sunday. | RosterResource

Hendriks pitched three consecutive days only twice in 2019. The first time, he had yet to claim the closer’s job and was only called on to get the final out of the seventh inning. The second time was his final appearance of the regular season in late September. He allowed two earned runs, including a walk-off double to J.P. Crawford in a 4-3 loss to the Mariners.

Joakim Soria had Sunday off after throwing 28 pitches on Saturday, but he could be a more likely choice than giving Hendriks the ball for a third consecutive day against Seattle.


Injury News

Wade Davis, COL: Placed on 10-Day IL with a strained shoulder. No timetable for return. | RosterResource

Instead of having to make a tough decision on whether Davis would continue to be the closer, manager Bud Black now has no choice but to go in another direction. He says he’s comfortable with either Jairo Diaz or Carlos Estevez, who have each had short stints as the Rockies’ closer.

After a long absence recovering from Tommy John surgery, Diaz returned to the majors last May. He finished the season as the closer, saving five of six games in September.

Estevez had 11 saves in 12 chances from June 11 through July 28 during his rookie season in 2016. He struggled throughout the remainder of the year, however, and had trouble staying healthy until a 71-appearance season in 2019.

Roberto Osuna, HOU: Placed on 10-Day IL with elbow soreness. No timetable for return. RosterResource

Injuries to Justin Verlander (forearm), Austin Pruitt (elbow), and Jose Urquidy (undisclosed) had already weakened the Astros’ bullpen because Josh James and Framber Valdez were forced to step in as starters. Already without Brad Peacock (shoulder), the bullpen has continued to lose key pitchers with Joe Biagini (shoulder), Chris Devenski (elbow), and now Osuna going down over the past week. The only non-rookie remaining in the 11-man bullpen is Ryan Pressly, who was sidelined until yesterday with elbow pain. During his outing, he dealt with a cut on his thumbnail cuticle during his outing.

Needless to say, the Astros are searching for answers. As long as he’s healthy enough to be on the roster, Pressly should be the primary closer. Fernando Rodney could help at some point — he’s currently in the player pool — although it’s not certain how much he has left in the tank. Cy Sneed and Blake Taylor have been reliable, while Andre Scrubb picked up a save in his second big league appearance. He also walked two of the three batters he faced on Sunday.

Bryan Abreu, who was impressive last September (8.2 IP, ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 13 K), could jump into the mix once he shows some more control. While he hasn’t allowed a hit in 2.2 innings, he has four walks and two hit batters.


Outlier Saves



Committee Clarity

•Jairo Diaz and Carlos Estevez, COL | RosterResource

With the Rockies up 9-2 with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game versus the Padres, Estevez was brought in to face Wil Myers, who hit a bases-clearing triple. He retired Jurickson Profar on a groundout to end the threat, then stayed in to pitch the ninth. After Estevez allowed a leadoff triple and a two-out double to cut the lead to 9-6, Diaz came on for the one-out save. He retired Manny Machado on a fly out to right, picking up his first save of 2020 and his sixth since September 6.

Ty Buttrey, LAA | RosterResource

In the first save situation for the Angels since Hansel Robles likely pitched his way out of the closer’s job, Buttrey got the call to protect a 4-3 lead with one runner on and one out in the eighth inning versus the Astros. After successfully squashing a potential rally, he returned in the ninth for a potential five-out save. But three batters in, he had allowed a double and a game-tying single in what was his third blown save of the season.

Cam Bedrosian came on to pitch in the fourth inning. Keynan Middleton allowed a run in 1.1 innings while pitching in the sixth and seventh innings. It will be interesting to see how Felix Peña is utilized when he pitches again. He threw 31 pitches over two scoreless innings on Saturday.

Edwin Diaz, NYM | RosterResource

Pitching in the seventh inning with the Mets trailing the Braves by three runs, Diaz had his first successful low-leverage outing. He walked Adam Duvall to lead off the inning, but then struck out Austin Riley and got some good luck when Adeiny Hechavarria lined into a double play. When a pitcher is trying to regain confidence, he can use all the luck he can. If Diaz can string together at least two more of these, he could quickly move back into a high-leverage role.

Jonathan Hernandez and Edinson Volquez, TEX | RosterResource

There still hasn’t been a save situation for the Rangers since Jose Leclerc’s injury, but the top two closing candidates were both utilized in Sunday’s win. With his team up 9-5, Hernandez was impressive as he shut down the Giants in the seventh and eighth innings (0 R, 0 H, BB, 4 K). Volquez finished things off with a 1-2-3 ninth, including a strikeout of Mike Yastrzemski to end the game.

If I had to guess, I’d say Hernandez is the primary setup man and “closer of the future”, while Volquez is the closer right now.


Losing A Grip

Kirby Yates, SDP | RosterResource



Reliever On The Rise

Tyler Matzek, ATL | RosterResource

Three great comeback stories have already been mentioned in the Bullpen Report over the past week. Daniel Bard, Greg Holland, and Trevor Rosenthal are each making an impact in the late innings with their respective teams. Matzek’s story is every bit as good. It’s just not the same kind of “comeback” since he never really had much success.

When he debuted with the Rockies in 2014 at age 23, Matzek had already had his share of ups and downs in the minors. The 11th overall pick in the 2009 draft, he fought control issues over his first few seasons before finally getting his walk rate down to an acceptable level for a big league call-up. In twenty appearances as a rookie, including 19 starts, he had a 4.05 ERA, 3.4 BB/9, and 7.0 K/9 in 117.2 innings. That was an excellent starting point for the talented lefty. But things would unravel in 2015. He completely lost the strike zone and was out of a job after the 2016 season.

While several teams gave him a chance over the last few years – he signed minor league deals with the White Sox, Mariners, and Diamondbacks — it wasn’t until he signed with the Braves last August that he finally began to show some signs of becoming a major leaguer again. He only pitched in six games (one in Double-A; five in Triple-A), but he showed enough for the Braves to give him another chance in 2020.

Not only did he make the Opening Day roster, the 29-year-old lefty has pitched 5.1 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts thus far. He has not walked a batter. I repeat. The guy who walked 33 batters in 26.2 innings between High-A and Double-A in 2016 has not walked a batter in 2020. Matzek has also been recognized by the Pitching Ninja, which is a huge accomplishment for a pitcher in the year 2020.



Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Bullpen Report — 8/2/2020
Team Closer First Up Second Up Injured List
ARI Archie Bradley Junior Guerra Andrew Chafin
ATL Mark Melancon Shane Greene Luke Jackson Will Smith
BAL Cole Sulser Mychal Givens Miguel Castro Hunter Harvey
BOS Brandon Workman Matt Barnes Heath Hembree
CHC Rowan Wick Jeremy Jeffress Kyle Ryan
CWS Alex Colome Aaron Bummer Steve Cishek
CIN Raisel Iglesias Amir Garrett Michael Lorenzen
CLE Brad Hand James Karinchak Nick Wittgren
COL Jairo Diaz Carlos Estevez Daniel Bard Wade Davis
DET Joe Jimenez Buck Farmer Gregory Soto
HOU Ryan Pressly Cy Sneed Blake Taylor Roberto Osuna
KC Greg Holland Trevor Rosenthal Ian Kennedy
LAA Ty Buttrey Felix Peña Keynan Middleton
LAD Kenley Jansen Blake Treinen Pedro Baez
MIA Brandon Kintzler Brad Boxberger Yimi Garcia
MIL Josh Hader Corey Knebel David Phelps
MIN Taylor Rogers Sergio Romo Trevor May
NYM Seth Lugo Justin Wilson Jeurys Familia
NYY Zack Britton Adam Ottavino Chad Green Aroldis Chapman
OAK Liam Hendriks Joakim Soria Yusmeiro Petit
PHI Hector Neris Tommy Hunter Adam Morgan David Robertson
PIT Nick Burdi Richard Rodriguez JT Brubaker Keone Kela
STL Kwang Hyun Kim Giovanny Gallegos Ryan Helsley
SD Kirby Yates Drew Pomeranz Emilio Pagan
SF Trevor Gott Tony Watson Shaun Anderson Reyes Moronta
SEA Taylor Williams Dan Altavilla Matt Magill Austin Adams
TB Nick Anderson Jose Alvarado Oliver Drake
TEX Edinson Volquez Jonathan Hernandez Nick Goody Jose LeClerc
TOR Anthony Bass Jordan Romano Rafael Dolis Ken Giles
WSH Daniel Hudson Tanner Rainey Sean Doolittle

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3 years ago

In the case of Cole Sulser, he is so new to closing, that although he has the spot, wouldn’t it make sense to have a distinction that we don’t know how stable he holds the role? At least some indication to the readers, similar but distinguished from the unstable highlighting, his closer claim isn’t definitive as of yet, being only a recent development.