Bullpen Report: May 12, 2016

For the first time since undergoing “core muscle repair in mid-March,” right-hander Brad Boxberger of the Rays took the bump in a live game during extended Spring Training. Boxberger surrendered two hits and a walk but fanned two batters in the 22-pitch outing. If he feels well tomorrow, Boxberger could head out on a rehab assignment as early as Monday and target a return to the Rays toward the end of this month or early June. Keeping the closer’s chair warm in Tampa has been 27-year-old Alex Colome. He’s a perfect 9-for-9 in save opportunities with a 1.80 ERA (1.88 SIERA) and a 29.1% K-BB%. His velocity is up a couple of ticks on each of his offerings and his swinging strike rate (13.9%) is currently a career best. Despite the stellar start for Colome, Rays’ skipper Kevin Cash indicated he’ll settle back into the eighth-inning setup role once Boxberger is deemed ready for the show. Box is only owned in 61% of Y! Leagues and should be added if available. Even with the “demotion,” Colome is one of those relievers I’d consider giving a roster spot given his ability to close, steady strikeouts and fine ratios. If you need the roster spot, I’d still hang with him for a week or two to make sure Boxberger transitions well back into his former gig.

Zach Britton dished a clean inning of work in the Orioles 7-5 victory over the Tigers in Baltimore. The save was Britton’s ninth of the season in as many chances. He now owns a 1.88 ERA (2.10 FIP) to pair with 11.3 strikeouts per nine in 15 appearances (14.1 IP) on the hill. He’s owned across the board in fake baseball formats, but I continue to believe that Zach Britton is one of the more underrated players in the game at his position. The strikeouts are up quite a bit so far in the early part of the season for Britton — and for the third consecutive season in-a-row dating back to ‘13. And heading into Thursday, the 28-year-old posted a career-best 20.9% SwStr% through 14 appearances, so the spike in strikeouts is relatively legit.

Jeanmar Gomez of the Phillies continues to be on this season’s first-half surprise stars for both real and fake baseball. The current Phillies’ closer notched his 13th save in 14 chances on the year tonight in Atlanta to seal a 7-4 victory for Philadelphia. Tonight’s effort lowered Gomez’s ERA to 2.61 one the season in 19 chances (20.1 IP), but both FIP and SIERA believed he’s more of a 3.64 guy heading into Thursday.

Quick Hits: Arodys Vizcaino of the Braves pitched a clean frame with two strikeouts in a tie-game situation. Jason Grilli surrendered a leadoff triple to Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera, plunked Andres Blanco and struck out Maikel Franco before being yanked in favor of Ian Krol. Krol proceeded provide Freddy Galvis with a free pass and give up a bases-clearing double to Cameron Rupp — leaving Grilli on the hook for the two runners he allowed. If you can stomach the infrequent save opportunities in Atlanta, Vizcaino is still available in close to 40% of Y! Leagues. Will Smith of the Brewers was cleared to throw off a mound tomorrow for the first time since injuring his knee in the Spring. Southpaw Ryan Buchter earned the first save of his career with the Padres due to Fernando Rodney shooting arrows the two previous evenings. Nothing else to see here.

This article ran prior to the completion of the late games. We’ll catch up on relevant notes from those contests on Friday or in the comments below. Cheers.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson Tyler Clippard
Atlanta Arodys Vizcaino Jason Grilli Hunter Cervenka
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Mychal Givens
Boston Craig Kimbrel Koji Uehara Carson Smith
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Justin Grimm
CHI (AL) David Robertson Nate Jones Zach Duke
Cincy Ross Ohlendorf Tony Cingrani Caleb Cotham Jumbo Diaz
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Zach McAllister
Colorado Jake McGee Chad Qualls Boone Logan Miguel Castro
Detroit Francisco Rodriguez Mark Lowe Justin Wilson Bruce Rondon
Houston Luke Gregerson Ken Giles Pat Neshek
KC Wade Davis Joakim Soria Kelvin Herrera
LAA Joe Smith Fernando Salas Jose Alvarez Huston Street
LAD Kenley Jansen Pedro Baez Chris Hatcher Yimi Garcia
Miami A.J. Ramos David Phelps Kyle Barraclough Carter Capps
Milwaukee Jeremy Jeffress Tyler Thornburg Michael Blazek Will Smith
Minnesota Kevin Jepsen Trevor May Fernando Abad Glen Perkins
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Addison Reed Hansel Robles
NY (AL) Aroldis Chapman Andrew Miller Dellin Betances
Oakland Ryan Madson John Axford Sean Doolittle
Philly Jeanmar Gomez Hector Neris David Hernandez
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Neftali Feliz
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist Seung Hwan Oh
SD Fernando Rodney Brandon Maurer Ryan Buchter
SF Santiago Casilla Hunter Strickland Javier Lopez Sergio Romo
Seattle Steve Cishek Joel Peralta Nick Vincent Joaquin Benoit
TB Alex Colome Erasmo Ramirez Xavier Cedeno Brad Boxberger
Texas Shawn Tolleson Sam Dyson Jake Diekman Keone Kela
Toronto Roberto Osuna Drew Storen Brett Cecil
Wash. Jonathan Papelbon Blake Treinen Shawn Kelley

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

In addition to contributing to the RotoGraphs blog, you can find Alan at his own site, TheFantasyFix.com and follow his nonsense on Twitter @TheFantasyFix.

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Just noting, in my continuing vendetta against your SF grid, that with a 2 run lead in the 8th, Bochy started with Osich, and when he walked his first batter, went to Gearin to finish the inning. And when Casilla got into trouble he brought in Lopez to get the last (lefty) out to finish the game. Strickland was nowhere to be seen in another late/close SF situation, much like the case over the last month, so why we should think he’d be the first option if Casilla went down remains a mystery.