Bullpen Report: May 15, 2015

• After some struggles this year, Addison Reed’s (7.20/3.64/4.43 ERA/FIP/xFIP) hold on the closer’s role has loosened. While Chip Hale thinks that Reed will get the job back, he will be used in earlier innings for now as he works through “mechanical changes.” Expect Brad Ziegler to get the first save opportunity that arises, so if he’s available on the wire be sure to get in your claims ASAP. Additionally, Dan Hudson could see some higher leverage work as well with Reed displaced and everyone moving up a step. Hudson is kind of toiling in between relieving and possibly starting but he struggled today, allowing two runs, ballooning his ERA to 6.00. Evan Marshall who figured to play a more prominent role in the pen is now pitching in AAA. Other intriguing names are Randall Delgado who looks a bit better out of the pen and Enrique Burgos, who’s control might prevent him from being trusted much but has massive swing and miss stuff, showing it off today with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings. Oliver Perez blew the lead and received the loss today, but with his 6.52 ERA he’s still likely more of a LOOGY long term.

• As you all know, Kenley Jansen has been on the shelf all year. Still, as Joel Sherman notes, the Dodgers bullpen has been pretty darn good without their closer. The Dodgers’ bullpen ERA (2.24) is fourth in the majors, they have the highest K/9 (10.44) and the highest WAR total (2.4). Kenley Jansen was activated today which should only strengthen what is already a top pen. While Jansen might be eased back into the role, it will surely be his before too long. If you could buy low-ish on him as an injury risk or not assured the closing gig I would pounce.

Hector Rondon struck out two batters in the ninth today but allowed a run as well to the Pirates, blowing his second save of the season. With a 2.79 FIP and 2.92 xFIP and 17 strikeouts in as many innings, Rondon’s job is safe and remains a solid second tier closing option. On the Pirates side of things in this game, there was no save opportunity but Mark Melancon pitched around four base runners for two scoreless innings. Melancon has struggled this year and isn’t the pitcher he once was but looking on the bright side of things, his ERA dipped below 4.00! Tony Watson is probably the best of the bunch in the Pirates pen, but Melancon will continue to see the save opportunities.  Also of note, Jared Hughes gave up a few runs in his two innings today, which could help cement Arquimedes Caminero as the preferred right handed setup man in Pittsburgh.

• Quick Hits: Luis Garcia threw two scoreless innings for his first save for the Phillies. Ken Giles is the man to own if/when Papelbon is moved but Garcia could see more higher leverage opportunities. Huston Street picked up two strikeouts and his 12th save for the Angels. After dealing with some back spasms, Grilli seems back on track, throwing a perfect ninth for his 10th save of the year. A.J. Ramos‘ stock is up after recording a save last night and with Bryan Morris and Mike Dunn giving up runs today. Glen Perkins pitched around a couple hits for his 12th save as well.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Brad Ziegler Daniel Hudson Addison Reed 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 Jake McGee Kevin Jepsen
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.]

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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Mike W.
Mike W.

Given the choice between owning John Axford or Brad Ziegler, who would you go with? I’m leaning Ziegler, even with the lack of K’s and seemingly less job security than Axford, but not totally sold yet either way.

Ben D
Ben D

Ziegler? Delgado, Burgos and Hudson a threat, and Reed could have the job back in a month. Axford only has to worry about Betancourt and Hawkins; the former has been inconsistent lately.

Mike W.
Mike W.

True that Ziegler has a tougher road to keep the job, but my thinking is that Ziegler is much less likely to ruin your ratio’s for the week with a total blow up and could give you some saves in the short term. While I agree that Axford has less competition, every time he comes out for a save chance he scares the death out of me of him ruining my WHiP and ERA ratio’s in the pursuit of saves.