Bullpen Report: July 7, 2013

• What is this Adam Jones wizardry? Baltimore’s center fielder took Mariano Rivera deep for a two-run shot in the ninth this afternoon, hanging a “BS” on the future-hall-of-famer’s box score line. The blown save was only his third since the end of 2011. I know there has been some chatter here and there about Rivera not being Rivera-like this year, but I find it tough to make that argument. His K% is down a tick from his career average, but he’s also walking slightly fewer hitters. His 10.9% SwStr% is plenty good enough to keep inducing whiffs and his fastball velocity has actually nudged up a bit in his age 43 season. The only real negative that stands out is a jump in LD% rate (26% in 2013, 17% career average) which may imply hitters are making better contact. Even so, I am not selling Mo high in redraft leagues unless I get a sweet offer.

• Jim Johnson wrapped up the post-Jones-tater win for the Orioles, retiring the Yankees 1-2-3. There have been some rumblings lately than Johnson might be on the hot seat. He’s not a favorite of this Bullpen Report (at least, this author) because of his generally pedestrian strikeout rate, so the fact that he’s hit a prolonged bump in the road is not terribly surprising.  However, it sounds like manager Buck Showalter is not ready to make a move, citing Johnson’s ability to work multiple days (proven closer!) as one key reason he’s pitching the ninth. Those in deeper leagues should keep rostering Tommy Hunter (and maybe Darren O’Day) but don’t be overjoyed that a change is imminent.

• What is this Starling Marte wizardry? I mean, he took Kevin Gregg deep in the ninth today, too, and Gregg is kind of like Rivera. Well… uh… they both have more than 50 career saves? Even if Gregg isn’t in the same zip code as Rivera, he still has been surprisingly effective this year, so even a run-of-the-mill blown save is actually kind of surprising. Gregg continues to get better results than his peripherals project thanks to a .240 BABIP and 90% LOB% but his 3.28 xFIP makes it clear that he’s actually been quite productive this year. Eno covered how Gregg has made some modifications to his delivery this year — in particular, how he is starting with his feet farther apart in the stretch.

I’m still selling Gregg if I can, however. It’s not because I think he’s a candidate for significant regression (although it wouldn’t surprise me if he relaxed a bit more towards his career norms, especially in the K% department). Instead, it’s because I think the Cubs will sell him off before July 31st and if they do, it’s highly unlikely he goes to a team where he’ll get to close. His value is certainly near it’s apex.

• Other news and notes… Edward Mujica keeps on pleasing owners with saves, finishing off today’s game even after working the previous three days in a row. The Cardinals are off tomorrow, but it wouldn’t be out of the question for Mujica to get back-to-back days off, so if you really want to speculate, grab Trevor Rosenthal for a potential one-off save chance on Tuesday. Vinnie Pestano’s troubles continued, as he gave up three runs (five baserunners) to cough up a three-run lead in the eighth today. Now with Chris Perez back, there’s little reason to own Pestano in most standard leagues, even as a handcuff. The Red Sox fear that Andrew Miller may have suffered a Linsfranc injury while trying to cover home yesterday. The Red Sox are performing more tests over the coming days, but those in holds leagues should expect to be without the southpaw for an extended period of time. He’s already been placed on the DL.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Heath Bell J.J. Putz David Hernandez
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden Cory Gearrin
Baltimore Jim Johnson Tommy Hunter Darren O’Day
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Andrew Bailey
CHI (NL) Kevin Gregg James Russell Blake Parker
CHI (AL) Addison Reed Matt Thornton Nate Jones Jesse Crain
Cincy Aroldis Chapman J.J. Hoover Sam LeCure Sean Marshall
Cleveland Chris Perez Vinnie Pestano Joe Smith
Colorado Rafael Betancourt Rex Brothers Wilton Lopez
Detroit Joaquin Benoit Drew Smyly Al Alburquerque
Houston Jose Veras Hector Ambriz Wesley Wright
KC Greg Holland Aaron Crow Tim Collins Kelvin Herrera
LAA Ernesto Frieri Scott Downs Robert Coello Ryan Madson
LAD Kenley Jansen Brandon League Ronald Belisario
Miami Steve Cishek Mike Dunn Chad Qualls
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jim Henderson John Axford
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Brandon Lyon LaTroy Hawkins Frank Francisco
NY (AL) Mariano Rivera David Robertson Joba Chamberlain
Oakland Grant Balfour Ryan Cook Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Justin De Fratus Mike Adams
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
St. Louis Edward Mujica Trevor Rosenthal Fernando Salas Jason Motte
SD Huston Street Luke Gregerson Dale Thayer
SF Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt Jean Machi Santiago Casilla
Seattle Tom Wilhelmsen Yoervis Medina Oliver Perez
TB Fernando Rodney Joel Peralta Jake McGee
Texas Joe Nathan Tanner Scheppers Jason Frasor
Toronto Casey Janssen Steve Delabar Brett Cecil Sergio Santos
Wash. Rafael Soriano Drew Storen Tyler Clippard

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

We hoped you liked reading Bullpen Report: July 7, 2013 by Colin Zarzycki!

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There are few things Colin loves more in life than a pitcher with a single-digit BB%. Find him on Twitter @soxczar.

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Why the red still for K-Rod? Seems like he has earned some security as closer. Also, do you think he fits the same mold as Gregg, i.e. solid closer on bad team who could get traded and lose value as he moves to a set-up role?