Bullpen Report: May 21, 2017

There wasn’t too much noteworthy bullpen activity on Saturday, besides Addison Reed’s high-wire act against the Angels, which he and the Mets ultimately survived. Sunday was much the same, save for a few relevant items:

  • Koda Glover was the first man out of the Nationals bullpen, and it came with the Nats leading 3-2 with two outs and the tying run on second base in the eighth inning. Despite the fact that lefty Nick Markakis was due up, and left-hander Oliver Perez was getting loose along with Glover, manager Dusty Baker went with the righty and the decision paid off. Glover fanned Markakis on a 96 mph fastball, then, with the same score in the bottom of the ninth, Glover came back out to the mound. He surrendered a leadoff single, but then induced a double-play lineout and a game-ending popup. It was the 24-year-old’s third save of the season, and it came just two days after Shawn Kelley, who was seemingly first in line for saves in a beleaguered Nationals bullpen, pitched in the seventh inning of a tie game. As such, the bullpen situation in Washington remains highly volatile and red. Glover slots into the closer’s spot on the chart for now, but that is subject to change at any moment. Expect future save opportunities to go to one of the two, at least, though neither is a clear long-term favorite.

  • Greg Holland kept his streak of perfection alive on Sunday, as he secured his 19th save in 19 chances for the first-place Colorado Rockies. Holland has been nothing short of brilliant as the Rockies closer: he boasts a 37.5% strikeout rate, a 7.8% walk rate, and he has yet to allow a home run. He has a sparkling 0.96 ERA/1.23 FIP/2.49 xFIP that’s even more impressive when his home ballpark is taken into consideration. Holland boasts a career-best 52.8% ground ball rate, which, along with his high strikeout rate, explains why he has been able to prevent home runs thus far. Fantasy owners who were savvy enough to take a chance on Holland, coming off Tommy John surgery and moving to the least pitcher-friendly park in baseball, have been rewarded in great measure. Time will tell if Holland can continue to prevent the long ball, which has plagued so many Rockies pitchers historically, but at least so far, he’s been an overwhelming success and is an early front-runner to win the Comeback Player of the Year Award.
  • Keone Kela — not Matt Bush — finished off the Rangers’ 5-2 victory over the Tigers on Sunday Night Baseball. Bush labored through his last appearance, a 33-pitch save on Friday in which he allowed two hits and a walk. Perhaps the Rangers wanted Bush to have another day of rest, and they felt comfortable enough to bypass him with a three-run lead. While the move was a little curious, Bush should resume his role as the team’s closer in their next series in Boston, which gets underway on Tuesday.
  • Also of note from the Rangers-Tigers game: Sam Dyson made his first appearance in a week, and it was by far his best outing of the season. Amazingly, Dyson had gone nine appearances, spanning 8.2 innings, without recording a strikeout, but tonight he had three in 1.2 innings in which he only allowed one hit. Dyson’s numbers on the season still look dreadful, but he finished the seventh and pitched the entire eighth with the Rangers leading by two runs. Jeremy Jeffress has had difficulties of his own for the Rangers, who are in need of someone to take on high leverage innings along with Kela and Bush. Dyson will undoubtedly look to use tonight’s outing as a springboard, and it seems Banister is still willing to use him in high leverage innings if he looks sharp. Stay tuned.
  • Dellin Betances was sensational in securing a four-out, one-run save against the Rays on Sunday. On just 16 pitches, 11 of which were strikes, he struck out three and induced a popup. While Betances has walked 16% of batters this season (10.2% in his career), he boasts a ridiculous 44.6% strikeout rate to go along with a 50% GB%. Betances has allowed just one earned run this season, and it came on April 8 in his second appearance of the year. Yankees president Randy Levine’s opinion aside, Betances is one of the best relief pitchers in baseball, worth owning in all but the shallowest fantasy formats whether or not he’s seeing save opportunities. Primary Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will have his injured shoulder re-evaluated in New York on Monday, so Betances has a clear path to save opportunities for at least a couple more weeks.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
ARI Fernando Rodney JJ Hoover Jorge de la Rosa
ATL Jim Johnson Arodys Vizcaino Jose Ramirez
BAL Brad Brach Darren O’Day Mychal Givens Zach Britton
BOS Craig Kimbrel Matt Barnes Heath Hembree Carson Smith
CHC Wade Davis Hector Rondon Koji Uehara
CWS David Robertson Tommy Kahnle Anthony Swarzak Nate Jones
CIN Raisel Iglesias Michael Lorenzen Drew Storen
CLE Cody Allen Andrew Miller Bryan Shaw
COL Greg Holland Adam Ottavino Jake McGee
DET Justin Wilson Alex Wilson Francisco Rodriguez
HOU Ken Giles Luke Gregerson Will Harris
KC Kelvin Herrera Joakim Soria Mike Minor
LAA Bud Norris David Hernandez Blake Parker Cam Bedrosian
LAD Kenley Jansen Pedro Baez Luis Avilan
MIA A.J. Ramos David Phelps Kyle Barraclough
MIL Corey Knebel Jacob Barnes Neftali Feliz
MIN Brandon Kintzler Matt Belisle Taylor Rogers Glen Perkins
NYM Addison Reed Hansel Robles Fernando Salas Jeurys Familia
NYY Dellin Betances Tyler Clippard Adam Warren Aroldis Chapman
OAK Santiago Casilla Ryan Madson Liam Hendriks Sean Doolittle
PHI Hector Neris Joaquin Benoit Pat Neshek
PIT Tony Watson Felipe Rivero Daniel Hudson
STL Seung Hwan Oh Trevor Rosenthal Matt Bowman
SD Brandon Maurer Brad Hand Ryan Buchter Carter Capps
SF Mark Melancon Derek Law Hunter Strickland
SEA James Pazos Tony Zych Edwin Diaz
TB Alex Colome Danny Farquhar Chase Whitley Brad Boxberger
TEX Matt Bush Keone Kela Jeremy Jeffress Jose Leclerc
TOR Roberto Osuna Joe Smith Jason Grilli
WSH Koda Glover Shawn Kelley Matt Albers

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

Ben Kaspick is the host Locked On Giants, a daily podcast focused on the San Francisco Giants. He began writing for FanGraphs' RotoGraphs in 2016, and also contributes for SB Nation's Beyond the Box Score. Follow him on Twitter @BenKaspick.

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Francis C.
Francis C.

According to the box score on MLB.com, Kenley Jansen gave up 1 ER on a HR.