Bullpen Report: June 8, 2015

Before we talk tonight’s news and notes, please check our updated consensus rankings for Relief Pitchers.

• I’m upgrading the Cubs situation to Def Con 3, also known as red, as Joe Maddon says he is not locked on one closer for the ninth. We might be entering semi-official committee status in Chicago. Hector Rondon will still be a major fixture in the back of the bullpen, he did pitch the eighth inning last night, but it doesn’t look as though he will consistently see the ninth as he had previously. Pedro Strop will also see save situations, and should be picked up in all leagues. Jason Motte is also an intriguing option for those in need of saves but I would expect Strop or Rondon to be called on next. Strop and Rondon have been similarly effective out of the bullpen this year, with Strop exhibiting more swing and miss stuff (17.4% SwStr%!) than Rondon, even though it’s Rondon who actually throws harder. Consider this situation fluid, but whoever can record a few clean innings in the upcoming games could end up providing save totals for your fantasy team.

Jason Grilli was presented with a save chance this evening but blew the save, his second on the season. Grilli isn’t the best reliever (he only ranked 23rd in our consensus rankings) but he’s maintained a full mph of increased velocity (94.1 mph) since last year and generates enough whiffs (12.10 K/9) to be helpful to a fantasy team in spite of his saves. The biggest threat to Grilli’s job would be injury or a trade. The Braves have been better than terrible so far this year but they’re still expected to be sellers at the deadline, and Grilli would be a decent option for any team looking for a bullpen upgrade. There are no rumors yet including Grilli, but we will keep you up to date, now that the draft is over team’s should focus on trades and if they’re buying or selling.

Greg Holland notched his 10th save of the season throwing a perfect ninth with one strikeouts against the Twins. Owners expecting a fantastic season out of Greg Holland have been treated to a B-Grade version instead. Holland missed some time earlier this year on the DL and although his ERA dropped to 1.88 after tonight’s outing, his strikeouts have fallen from  12.99 K/9 to a meager 7.43 K/9 and it hasn’t been offset with increased control either as Holland’s walks have ballooned to 5.40 BB/9.  It’s never a good sign to see decreased velocity and Holland’s is still down over 2 mph since last year. However, it’s possible Holland just has to work himself back to form and tonight was a step in the right direction with Holland hitting 95.4 mph on his fastball.

Aroldis Chapman is another top tier closer that has had less than stellar results this year. Chapman gave up two walks and an earned run tonight en route to his 11th save. A disappointing year from Chapman is still better than most and we ranked him 5th but he will have to start throwing some shutdown innings to provide the value that owners had to pay for him on draft day. And since we were talking about under performing closers, we have to mention Kimbrel who threw a perfect ninth for his 14th save, lowering his ERA to 4.09. Kimbrel has had some poor batted ball luck this year but otherwise seems to be pitching quite fine. He should be a top five closer here on out.

Closer Grid:

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

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





When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias

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Richard
Guest
Richard

Jepsen nails down 3 saves in a row with Box out…Id think he’s second behind Box, and a little more “soreness” away from being the main guy

fothead
Guest
fothead

Yeah, dont think Cash wants to use a LH closer.

Norm
Guest
Norm

I don’t think it matters because Kevin Cash plays match ups and Jepsen’s 3 saves were just match up opportunities. It doesn’t help that McGee is their most effective lefty weapon.

Like that last Save this past Sunday, McGee was brought in, in the 8th to face the bottom of the order including Seth Smith, a lefty. But after Smith is Nelson Cruz who is batting an obscene .472 against lefties and has had success against McGee but a .125 BA against Jepsen.

Richard
Guest
Richard

So you don’t think that someone speculating for saves should pick up Jepsen, a righty, over McGee, a lefty, when his manager is playing match ups in the 9th? Also 3 saves in succession speaks for itself if were putting people in order, as this table is…

Norm
Guest
Norm

Just saying the order doesn’t matter much now in TB especially speculating for saves because 1) barring health Boxberger is still the closer. 2) If Boxberger isn’t the closer then it’s going to be a committee. 3) McGee is still the better pitcher than Jepsen. Cream rises to the top especially when Cash realizes McGee’s platoon splits aren’t that bad.

Saves in succession don’t mean anything depending on context. Burgos got 2 saves in succession after Reed was deposed and everyone ran to pick him up and even had some fantasy experts anoint him as Arizona’s next closer. Zeigler had just happened to be unavailable that weekend after throwing 30+ pitches.

If you want to speculate, grab Soriano now that he’s signed with the Cubs. He was Maddon’s closer before and the timing is very coincidental given what happened this weekend plus he has a lot of bonuses in the contract.

Adrian S
Guest
Adrian S

Jepsen has no closer experience, doesn’t have the mental make up for it.

KobraCola
Member
KobraCola

Good thing mental make-up is irrelevant.

Adrian S
Guest
Adrian S

Blowing 14 out of 23 save opportunities in his career says otherwise.

KobraCola
Member
KobraCola

Yeah, it says SSS.