Bullpen Report: July 9, 2015

• As Alan intimated last night, Huston Street did indeed tweak something at the end of yesterday’s 299th career save. The Angel closer is probably done for this weekend’s set against the Mariners with a groin strain. Ouch. While the team seems to think it is minor (and that he should be back following the all-star break), Joe Smith is a must grab if you need saves and have the room. Aside from the fact that he could scab a “SV” or two over the next couple of days, groin injuries can be a tricky thing — especially with pitchers. Smith’s 2015 hasn’t been quite as sparkling as his 2014, but still the owner of a sub-3.00 SIERA, he’d be a fine choice to hold down the ninth if needed. A concern with the low-arm-slot reliever has been platoon splits, but his versus LHB xFIP was 3.71 in 2014 and is 4.06 this season. Neither are good, but given that he’s been great against righties, neither seems like a death sentence. I’m stashing where I can until Street is back and proves he is healthy for a couple outings.

Cody Allen was the second “Cody A.” to pitch for the Indians today, but importantly for fantasy owners, he was the one who sealed the deal and notched another in the saves column. It seems like yesterday owners were doing a lot of hand-wringing over the Cleveland righty’s start, but Terry Francona has been rewarded for sticking by his guy, as Allen continues to force his ERA (and other peripherals) downward. After owning only a 10% K%-BB% in April, that number has been 25%, 47%, and 50% in May, June, and July, respectively. His xFIP has been below 1.00 since the end of May, and he appears near the top of almost all “last month” pitching leaderboards. Hope you bought low (or at least, didn’t sell low) because there’s no reason to think he won’t be a top-10 option for the rest of the season.

• Speaking of “last month” pitchers — sitting 5th on the xFIP board is Mark Lowe. Mark Lowe? The 32-year-old had an xFIP in the 5.00 range over the last three years, so you can forgive fantasy owners in even the deepest of dynasty leagues for completely ignoring him on draft day. But now the Mariner righty has 2.64 xFIP (2.42 SIERA) on the season, and he’s looked better lately, with that mark hovering around 1.50 since the start of last month. So what gives? Well, for starters, his fastball velocity has surged more than two-and-and-half miles per hour, and he’s now sitting above 95 with the heater. Correspondingly, his SwStr% sits at a healthy 13% and his K% has skyrocketed to 33% (27 IP), which is well above his career 20% mark (and that includes 2015). Whether he can suddenly keep up these seemingly magical gains is up for debate, but if you are hurting for rates in deeper leagues where non-closing RPs are gone, feel free to give him a look and see if he’s one of these guys that really has “found it” later in his career.

• Quick hits: There was some chatter in last night’s comment section that Evan Scribner could be on the skids in Oakland. He has given up the long ball recently, but I don’t see Billy Beane tossing in the towel on a guy with a sub-2.50 SIERA if you combine 2014 and 2015. Brandon Finnegan is back (at least for now) for Kansas City. His velocity is actually up this year, and I feel some of his “regression” in the peripherals department may stem from the team trying him as a starter for a while in Triple-A. If he settles in as a full-time reliever for the Royals, he could hold value, especially as a SP-eligible guy in some leagues. Also returning from minor league exile is Danny Farquhar. I’m less bullish on him than Finnegan, as the Seattle stopper has seen year-over-year decreases in SwStr% and fastball velocity the last two years. His 6.49 ERA (to date) has been unlucky, but I’m also not holding out hope we’ll see a sub-3.00 ERA anytime soon.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson Enrique Burgos Addison Reed
Atlanta Jason Grilli Jim Johnson Arodys Vizcaino
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Junichi Tazawa Alexi Ogando
CHI (NL) Jason Motte Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Rafael Soriano
CHI (AL) David Robertson Jacob Petricka Zach Putnam
Cincy Aroldis Chapman J.J. Hoover Ryan Mattheus Tony Cingrani
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Zach McAllister
Colorado John Axford LaTroy Hawkins Boone Logan
Detroit Joakim Soria Bruce Rondon Al Albuerquerque Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Pat Neshek Josh Fields Chad Qualls
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Fernando Salas
LAD Kenley Jansen Pedro Baez Juan Nicasio Yimi Garcia
Miami A.J. Ramos Carter Capps Steve Cishek
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jeremy Jeffress Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Blaine Boyer Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Bobby Parnell Carlos Torres Jenrry Mejia
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Justin Wilson
Oakland Tyler Clippard Evan Scribner Drew Pomeranz Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Ken Giles Luis Garcia
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Jared Hughes
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist Seth Maness Jordan Walden
SD Craig Kimbrel Brandon Maurer Joaquin Benoit
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Hunter Strickland
Seattle Carson Smith Fernando Rodney Mark Lowe
TB Brad Boxberger Jake McGee Kevin Jepsen
Texas Shawn Tolleson Tanner Scheppers Keone Kela Neftali Feliz
Toronto Roberto Osuna Steve Delabar Brett Cecil Miguel Castro
Wash. Drew Storen Casey Janssen Matt Thornton Aaron Barrett

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

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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Can someone provide some insight on jeffres vs smith if krod is traded?


Everyone seems to think it will be Smith, but usage/recent effectiveness seems to point to Jeffress. But trying to predict what a manager is thinking is hard.


Smith being lefty as well can’t help. Anyone else have any input?


Think Jeffress is the guy to own. He’s appeared in the 8th inning in four straight games and has not given up a run in his last nine appearances.


My thoughts, which have very little basis in facts:

– KRod won’t be traded because he’s signed through 2016
– Jeffress is most likely to close if KRod does get traded because Smith is left-handed, and Smith is a trade candidate himself.
– Knebel will be the closer in 2017