Bullpen Report: May 13, 2015

• Well, we suspected that A.J. Ramos was the odds on favorite for saves in Miami, and he got the first crack at the ninth inning in the post-Steve Cishek era. It went swimmingly, with Ramos fanning two of the three batters he faced in a perfect final frame. Ben covered these guys in depth last night, but Ramos’ 2.78 2015 xFIP paints the picture of a guy who can certainly take the ninth inning and run with it. The one possible chink his armor has always been control, but so far, in his small sample size 2015, the righty has cut his BB% from 16% (2014) to 9% (2015). I’d start to worry if the free passes came back, but as long as he’s pounding the strike zone, he’s as good an option as the Marlins have. He’ll stay red for another few outings, but he has the potential to go green fairly quickly in this pen. Further helping matters (at least for savvy owners who snagged Ramos) are reports that Miami is apparently out on the Rafael Soriano bidding (is it bidding if no one will pay for your services?).

• As far as blown saves go, it’s really, really tough to imagine a worse one than Addison Reed‘s this afternoon versus the Nationals. The righty was tasked with polishing off an easy three-run a one-run lead, but it was anything other than a walk in the park (what do you call a walk in Chase Field?). Reed got a quick out to open the ninth, but gave up single, single, walk, which set the stage for Michael Taylor’s go-ahead grand slam. His peripherals were better than his actual stats last year, but 2015 hasn’t gone nearly as well. The former White Sox stopper has seen his strikeout rate plummet, in large part due to the fact that he can’t induce swings and misses right now (7% SwStr% compared to 13% last year). His velocity is off only a hair, so it’s tough to pin his issues on that. Interestingly, both his fastball and slider have seen nearly equal ~5% SwStr% decreases; his slider has lost some horizontal bite, but his fastball is moving more than ever. So one has to wonder if command could be an issue.

While Reed is not out of the role, his iffy start to the season has him on the hot seat. If Evan Marshall could pitch like he did last year, he’d be a great sleeper for the ninth gig, but he’s trying to get his K% straightened out in Triple-A. Good news for him, his stuff still looks good, so hopefully he’ll be back up soon. The obvious backup plan is Brad Ziegler, the sidearming righty who racked up a few saves in 2013. While his ERA is shiny, the 35-year-old’s strikeout mark is at a career low, and platoon splits will always be a concern given his arm slot. While Ziegler’s first in line, I wouldn’t sleep on the forgotten Daniel Hudson. While Hudson’s xFIP is a middling 4.14, his velocity is up 3 mph from when he started (pre-Tommy John days) and his SwStr% is an above-average 11%. To add a little more fuel to Hudson being used in high-leverage situations, Chip Hale was quoted as saying “We don’t know where we’re going to be with our roster next year. We’ve talked about Daniel being the starter, a setup guy, a closer” He’s not first up in this pen, but Hudson could be a worthwhile flier in NL-onlies and dynasty leagues.

• Rehab trail: Jake McGee has now thrown in six rehab games (after tonight) and, assuming he feels OK tomorrow, seems like a lock to be activated this weekend. Brad Boxberger picked up another save this evening and has been lights out for the Rays, so don’t expect McGee to ride in and re-steal the job anytime soon. That said, Boxy owners might want to ‘cuff with McGee just in case — Joe Maddon might be gone, but the Rays still have some of the more novel bullpen usage in baseball. Sean Doolittle is a few weeks behind McGee, but will start a rehab assignment tomorrow. The lefty is coming off a somewhat troubling shoulder injury, but should he regain the form that allowed him to post a ridiculous 1.53 SIERA in 2014, he’ll jump right back into owner’s good graces. Shallow leaguers probably have the luxury of waiting for reports from down on the farm, but if he’s available in your deep league, now is the time to stash and hope for the best. Owning the least worrisome injury of the trio here is Kenley Jansen, who will be activated from the disabled list Saturday. Jansen’s foot has healed enough for him to rejoin the big club, and while Don Mattingly has hinted he won’t get his closer job back right away, it is only a matter of time before he reassumes the gig. He’s likely been stashed in the vast majority of fantasy leagues, but doesn’t help to double check the wire, just in case.

• Quick hits: Jonathan Papelbon is now the all-time leading saves man for Philadelphia and Boston. The righty’s velocity continues to drop, but a high SwStr% is keeping his peripherals from totally going in the tank. His owners wouldn’t mind a mid-season trade to a contender. Neftali Feliz only needed five pitches for his save tonight. His 4.10 xFIP is “meh” but his pedigree and the lack of a real standout option in Texas (although Shawn Tolleson is a nice pickup in holds leagues) keeps his leash somewhat long. Cody Allen looked crisp in pitching a ninth inning that most fans had hoped belonged to Corey Kluber instead. His stuff hasn’t gone away, but his walk rate has been shoddy this year. His owners are opening today portends better things ahead.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson Evan Marshall
Atlanta Jason Grilli Jim Johnson Cody Martin
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Alexi Ogando Junichi Tazawa
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Jason Motte
CHI (AL) David Robertson Jacob Petricka Zach Duke
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jumbo Diaz Tony Cingrani Sean Marshall
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Scott Atchison
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 Vinnie Pestano
LAD Yimi Garcia Chris Hatcher Pedro Baez Kenley Jansen
Miami A.J. Ramos Bryan Morris Mike Dunn Steve Cishek
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jonathan Broxton Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Brian Duensing Blaine Boyer Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Carlos Torres Sean Gilmartin Jenrry Mejia
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Esmil Rogers 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 Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Carson Smith
TB Brad Boxberger Kevin Jepsen Ernesto Frieri Jake McGee
Texas Neftali Feliz Shawn Tolleson Keone Kela Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Brett Cecil Roberto Osuna Steve Delabar Miguel Castro
Wash. Drew Storen Aaron Barrett Tanner Roark Casey Janssen

[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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Reed entered the ninth with a 1 run lead, not a 3 run cushion. Which becomes more obvious when you see the final score after Taylor’s grand slam (9-6).