Bullpen Report: July 31, 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: Back-to-back days; 15 pitches on Thursday. | RosterResource

Melancon is likely available against the Mets on Friday, although the Braves might not want to push him on three consecutive days this early in the season. If that’s the case, Shane Greene (1 pitch on Thursday) could be in line for a save chance.

Brandon Workman, BOS: Three consecutive days; 15 pitches on Thursday. | RosterResource

Heath Hembree (24 pitches on Thursday) is a more likely candidate than Matthew Barnes (37 pitches on Thursday) for a save chance on Friday against the Yankees. If neither of the three is available, it’s possible that the Red Sox could go to Ryan Brasier, who began the 2019 season as the Red Sox closer.


Injury News

Jose Leclerc, TEX: Placed on 45-day IL with a strained teres major. | RosterResource

Leclerc was diagnosed with the same injury that sidelined teammate Corey Kluber, who he joins on the 45-day Injured List. The Rangers are now left to fill a long-term void with no obvious candidate to be the primary closer.

Jesse Chavez is the closest the Rangers have to an experienced closer. The 13-year veteran saved four games over the final month-and-a-half of the 2018 season while with the Cubs. It’s not much, but it probably makes him the safest pick. Jonathan Hernandez has “future closer” written all over him, but whether he can be the current closer is another question. Nick Goody executed the save opportunity on Wednesday after it was determined that Leclerc would not be available. Sticking to what worked in that game could be his best argument.

A committee is very likely, but manager Chris Woodward’s bullpen management during the weekend against the Giants could reveal which way he’s leaning. Or, just like in the olden days, he could just come out and say who his closer will be.

Outlier Saves

Pedro Baez, LAD | RosterResource

With Kenley Jansen and Blake Treinen getting a break on Thursday, the Dodgers went with Joe Kelly in the seventh, Brusdar Graterol in the eighth, and Baez in the ninth. The trio combined to shut out the Diamondbacks over those final three innings to preserve the 6-3 victory. The 32-year-old Baez, who recorded his first career save in 2019, now has two.


Committee Clarity

Cole Sulser, BAL | RosterResource

In his first appearance since notching his first big league save on Sunday, Sulser was called on in the ninth inning to secure a 6-5 lead over the Yankees. It did not go well, thanks to a go-ahead three-run homer by Aaron Judge. Instead of earning his second save in as many chances, which could’ve given him some separation from the other closer candidates, it’s likely back to an unsettled committee.

Trevor Rosenthal, KCR | RosterResource

If not for teammate Greg Holland (4 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB, 5 K, Sv) reviving his career with the team that won the World Series with him as the closer — he had 32 regular season saves before suffering a season-ending injury in September — Rosenthal’s own comeback story would be much bigger.

On Thursday, the 30-year-old right-hander picked up his first save since August 2017. At the time, he was on the verge of becoming one of the best relievers in the game. But Tommy John surgery soon followed, keeping him out of action until 2019. After walking 26 batters in 15.1 innings between the Nationals and Tigers, it was unclear if he would ever regain his pre-injury form. But after three appearances with Kansas City (3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K), the questions are no longer about whether he can still throw strikes. The main question is who is the closer, Holland or Rosenthal. It may be both.

Daniel Hudson, WSN | RosterResource

While Sean Doolittle works on his mechanics and Will Harris deals with a minor groin injury, the 33-year-old Hudson (3.2 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 5 K, Sv) has picked up where he left off in the post-season, leaving no doubt that the Nationals’ closer job isn’t a group project.


Losing A Grip

Craig Kimbrel, CHC | RosterResource


Hansel Robles, LAA | RosterResource

After a rough outing on Opening Day (1.1 IP, 2 ER, H, BB, 2 K), Robles bounced back the next day with a scoreless inning to pick up his first save of 2020. Five days later, he finally made another appearance. With his team trailing 3-2 in the ninth inning against the Mariners, he gave up a leadoff homer, followed by two walks, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single to chase him from the game. His final line (0.1 IP, 4 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 K) was ugly, as is his 20.25 ERA.

While this wasn’t a save opportunity and Robles was very good in that role last season, manager Joe Maddon can’t have much confidence in the 29-year-old right now. Between Cam Bedrosian, Ty Buttrey, and Keynan Middleton, the Angels have plenty of options with closing experience if Maddon has a quick hook with Robles.

Edwin Diaz, NYM | RosterResource

Pitching in the ninth inning with his team trailing 3-2, Diaz walked the leadoff batter, allowed a single, and then walked another to load the bases with nobody out. After striking out Rafael Devers, he hit a batter to force a run home. His night was over, as are his chances of remaining in the closer’s role.

Manager Luis Rojas would not commit to continue using him in high-leverage situations, which is fairly obvious at this point. The only question is whether they go exclusively with Seth Lugo or possibly Dellin Betances, or go with a committee that could consist of Lugo, Betances, Justin Wilson, and Jeurys Familia.


Reliever On The Rise

Brusdar Graterol, LAD | RosterResource

At age 21 and part of one of the deepest bullpens in baseball, Graterol’s rise to the top of the Dodgers’ bullpen might have to wait until Kenley Jansen’s contract expires after the 2021 season. Or will it?

Armed with a fastball that can surpass 100 MPH fastball and a 90 MPH slider, both with ridiculous movement, I imagine opposing hitters would rather face Jansen or Treinen or pretty much anybody else other than Graterol when they’re trying to overcome a ninth inning deficit.

Still, he’ll have to prove himself on a team that won 106 games in 2019 and went to the World Series the two previous seasons. But by the time the playoffs roll around, he’ll be a battle-tested 22-year-old who could make a huge impact in the late innings.


Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Bullpen Report — 7/31/2020
Team Closer First Up Second Up Minors/DL
ARI Archie Bradley Junior Guerra Andrew Chafin
ATL Mark Melancon Shane Greene Luke Jackson Will Smith
BAL Mychal Givens Richard Bleier Cole Sulser Hunter Harvey
BOS Brandon Workman Matt Barnes Heath Hembree
CHC Craig Kimbrel Jeremy Jeffress Rowan Wick
CWS Alex Colome Aaron Bummer Steve Cishek
CIN Raisel Iglesias Amir Garrett Michael Lorenzen
CLE Brad Hand James Karinchak Nick Wittgren
COL Wade Davis Jairo Diaz Carlos Estevez Scott Oberg
DET Joe Jimenez Buck Farmer Jose Cisnero
HOU Roberto Osuna Ryan Pressly Cy Sneed
KC Greg Holland Trevor Rosenthal Ian Kennedy
LAA Hansel Robles Ty Buttrey 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 Dellin Betances Justin Wilson
NYY Zack Britton Adam Ottavino Tommy Kahnle Aroldis Chapman
OAK Liam Hendriks Joakim Soria Yusmeiro Petit
PHI Hector Neris Tommy Hunter Adam Morgan David Robertson
PIT Nick Burdi Michael Feliz Richard Rodriguez Keone Kela
STL Kwang Hyun Kim Giovanny Gallegos Ryan Helsley
SD Kirby Yates Drew Pomeranz Emilio Pagan
SF Trevor Gott Tony Watson Sam Coonrod Reyes Moronta
SEA Dan Altavilla Taylor Williams Matt Magill Austin Adams
TB Nick Anderson Jose Alvarado Oliver Drake
TEX Jonathan Hernandez Jesse Chavez Nick Goody Jose LeClerc
TOR Anthony Bass Jordan Romano Rafael Dolis Ken Giles
WSH Daniel Hudson Tanner Rainey Sean Doolittle

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Drop Doolittle for Kahnle in net save & holds + k/9 league?


I hoe you didn’t – after you posted, Kahnle was put on the 10 day IL with right forearm tightness