San Diego’s record may preclude fantasy owners from realizing how strong the bullpen remains to be. Brad Hand notched his 13th save working 1.1 innings giving up his first hit to a left-handed hitter all year (a double to Corey Dickerson) with two strikeouts. This marks his 15th scoreless outing over his last 17 and lowered his ERA to 2.31 on the season. Kirby Yates recorded his seventh hold allowing a walk with two strikeouts. He’s only given up one earned run in his last 17 appearances comprising 15 innings of work, limiting hitters to a .140 batting average against with 20 strikeouts so far, but 11 in his last 5.2 innings.
Also underappreciated, Blake Treinen closed out his ninth save in a 1.1 inning outing with three strikeouts in Toronto. In May, he’s accounted for a win and converted all six save chances in eight games. During these 9.2 innings, Treinen’s yielded seven hits, one earned run and three walks with 11 strikeouts. He’s nine for 11 in save opportunities this year with five of them requiring him to record more than three outs along with having to pitch more than one inning in nine of his 16 outings this year.
While the Orioles await the return of Zach Britton, Brad Brach appears to have taken over the closer role. He did give up a hit and a walk during 1.1 innings on Friday night en route to his sixth save, and third this month. Brach’s righted the ship in May allowing one earned run (two runs total) in seven innings with eight strikeouts and three walks. Take note of his splits disparity this year though, Brach’s allowing left-handed hitters to slash .344/.432/.500 this year compared to a .214/.283/.286 line versus right handed batters.
Although fantasy owners crave the shiny new toy for closers, Brad Ziegler’s settling in for the Marlins. He notched his eighth save yielding a hit against the Braves. It’s Ziegler’s fifth save in May with a 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 6.2 innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Ziegler’s not exciting nor provides upside, but he’s been solid. Kyle Barraclough recorded his sixth hold of the year with a clean eighth inning. He’s only given up two earned runs over his last 16 outings for a 1.13 ERA and seems to be trading strikeouts for control. His last five outings have resulted in four holds but only three strikeouts against one walk. Underrated Nick Wittgren did not pitch on Friday, but owns a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings this year with his last 9.2 innings being scoreless and no hits to a right-handed batter in 14 at-bats.
Remember when Ken Giles may no longer close for Houston? He closed out his seventh save, in as many chances, on Friday night allowing two hits with a strikeout. Giles has turned in scoreless outings in 12 of 13 appearances this season without giving up a walk in 14.1 innings. Segue, Kelvin Herrera notched his ninth save with a strikeout in a clean inning. He’s nine-for-10 in save conversions, lowered his ERA to 1.08 (two earned runs in 16.2 innings) and has yet to walk a hitter this year as well. Herrera’s name will surface in trade discussions soon since he’s a pending free agent.
Trying to predict who the Angels will turn to for their next save proves difficult due to usage patterns and Mike Scioscia. Momentum suggest Justin Anderson since he’s recorded the last save for the team. However, his numbers in May: six innings, 9.00 ERA, 1.67 WHIP with nine strikeouts against three walks suggest volatility. Blake Parker worked 1.1 innings in a high leverage point on Friday trying to keep the game within reach. But it was not the ninth inning by any means. Parker’s not given up a run in May over 7.1 innings with a 0.68 WHIP and 11 strikeouts versus two walks. He’s been the best pitcher in the bullpen this month, but will it translate to saves? This could be a skills over role situation with Keynan Middleton out for the season. Or until the Angels trade for a reliever, see Herrera above.
After a hot start, it’s been a quiet month for Jeurys Familia. He did notch his 12th save by striking out the side on Friday night. He’s turned in 17 scoreless outing of his last 20 and only yielded one earned run in May, but in only five innings with a 1.80 ERA and 0.80 WHIP with seven strikeouts. Robert Gsellman recorded his fourth hold in a clean eighth inning. He’s tied for the major league lead with four wins as a reliever and has given up one earned run in his last 9.2 innings.
Quick Hits: Milwaukee’s bullpen continues to surge. Jeremy Jeffress worked 1.1 scoreless innings allowing a hit with a strikeout to lower his ERA to a minuscule 0.38 on the year and he’s in the midst of 19 straight scoreless outings (22 of 23 overall). Corey Knebel worked a clean ninth inning in a non-save appearance with two strikeouts. He seems primed to return to the closer role and should get the next save chance. Joakim Soria worked with the White Sox trailing in the top of the ninth, and incurred another rough outing. Soria allowed four hits, three runs (two earned) with two strikeouts. He’s given up runs in four of his last five games and continues to drift away from high leverage with a 12.46 ERA and 2.77 WHIP in 4.1 innings this month. It’s apparent Nate Jones and Bruce Rondon will continue to work the ninth inning, which one’s preferred remains open to interpretation. Edwin Diaz closed out his 15th save yielding a hit with a strikeout. His 39 strikeouts leads the American League and he’s second in the majors in total saves.
Avid fantasy baseball player and writer. You can find my work here chasing the next save or as the lead fantasy analyst on Fantasy Alarm. Any questions, hit me up on the Twitter machine, @gjewett9