Bullpen Report: May 23, 2019

Wade Davis went on the IL yesterday with an oblique strain. Thankfully the injury is not considered to be too severe but in his place for saves will be Scott Oberg. Oberg has been an effective set up man this year with a 1.77 ERA but under the hood tells a different story with a 4.70/4.91/5.31 FIP/xFIP/SIERA. Oberg has thrown 20.1 innings and only has 13 strikeouts with 11 walks. His SwStr% suggests a few more whiffs may be coming but the overall profile looks like someone who might get a few saves but hurt your ratios. Behind him is Carlos Estevez and Bryan Shaw. Shaw has the “experience” but he’s carrying a 5.70 ERA this year with Estevez looking like the most promising option of the three but Oberg will be getting the first crack at saves. Estevez has a 3.27 ERA and solid peripherals with a fantastic 15.6% SwStr% and 29 strikeouts against 8 walks in 22 innings. It’s tough to trust a reliever in Colorado that isn’t getting saves but Oberg might not have a long leash if he struggles so I would keep an eye out for Estevez as well.

Shawn Kelley has been off of the IL for two days and he’s closed two doors in that time, getting another save last night against the Mariners, striking out a pair for his 4th save this year. Jose Leclerc’s return to saves is likely imminent but until then Kelley should see the save chances. Regarding Leclerc, he’s been so up and down but in his last four appearances he has 5.1 innings pitched with 11 strikeouts and no walks and a 19.7% SwStr%. Leclerc’s velocity has been fine all year but he was struggling with missing bats and his control, if the last few outings show anything he might be back to where he was. He will likely never be a control artist but if he’s getting whiffs again he should provide solid value here on out, assuming he takes over the closer’s chair soon.

• There was no save situation for the Cubs but Steve Cishek pitched a scoreless 9th to hold a four run lead last night. He has taken the closer’s job in full with Strop on the IL and should continue to see save chances. The Cubs are one of several competing teams who could upgrade their bullpen this summer so the Cishek’s save total might not be grand this year. With that said, the return on a trade is likely minimal so I would hold on to squeeze as many saves as I could.

Sean Doolittle has essentially been the only acceptable reliever for the Nationals this year but he blew up in big fashion last night, allowing four runs without recording an out. The Nationals pen is such hot garbage that Doolittle’s job is as safe as anyone’s in baseball but the only concern would be if there is a potential injury, given his history. Doolittle’s velocity was in line with his season so unless I hear something I’m going to assume this was just a bad outing that everyone has. However, with another loss for the Nationals they are standing at 19-30 and 9 games back of the division lead. While Doolittle might be fine and with a secure job, he would also be a coveted trade piece if the Nationals were to do a mini-reset at the deadline.

• After blowing the lead earlier this week Sergio Romo secured his 8th save last night against the Tigers. The Marlins were flirting with a committee for a while but Romo has taken the job. The Marlins won’t win a lot of games and Romo likely won’t help your ERA too much but with more teams using committees, a full time closer is an increasingly rare breed.

• Speaking of committees (as always), the Red Sox went with Marcus Walden who blew the save last night against the Blue Jays. Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes picked up holds in the 7th and 8th but they also gave up an earned run each so everyone deserves a little blame. Matt Barnes is still the Red Sox most valuable reliever but Workman, Ryan Brasier, and Marcus Walden could all see opportunities as Barnes navigates the tougher outs.

Quick Hits: Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless 9th for his 13th save of the year, lowering his ERA to 1.83. Kirby Yates added to his league lead in saves with his 20th. Remember how we were a little nervous about him after he blew a save or two? Me neither. Josh Hader got 5 outs for his 12th save. If the Brewers don’t add another reliever Hader could have an all time fantasy season as a closer. Something like 85 innings, 150 strikeouts and 30 saves is possible although I suspect they will add to pen. Scott Barlow has been a fun story for the Royals but he gave up four runs last night in 1.2 innings. On the year he still has a nice looking line and could be the best option down the road for the Royals but let’s see how he rebounds in his next outing.

Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Bullpen Report — 5/23/2019
Team Closer First Up Second Up Minors/DL
ARI Greg Holland Archie Bradley Yoan Lopez
ATL Luke Jackson Sean Newcomb Jacob Webb A.J. Minter
BAL Mychal Givens Shawn Armstrong Paul Fry Nathan Karns
BOS Matt Barnes Brandon Workman Ryan Brasier Brian Johnson
CHC Steve Cishek Brandon Kintzler Brad Brach Pedro Strop
CWS Alex Colome Kelvin Herrera Evan Marshall
CIN Raisel Iglesias David Hernandez Amir Garrett
CLE Brad Hand Nick Wittgren Adam Cimber
COL Scott Oberg Carlos Estevez Bryan Shaw Wade Davis
DET Shane Greene Joe Jimenez Victor Alcantara
HOU Roberto Osuna Ryan Pressly Hector Rondon Collin McHugh
KC Ian Kennedy Jake Diekman Scott Barlow
LAA Hansel Robles Ty Buttrey Cam Bedrosian
LAD Kenley Jansen Pedro Baez Dylan Floro
MIA Sergio Romo Adam Conley Tayron Guerrero Drew Steckenrider
MIL Josh Hader Junior Guerra Jeremy Jeffress
MIN Blake Parker Taylor Rogers Trevor May Trevor Hildenberger
NYM Edwin Diaz Robert Gsellman Jeurys Familia Seth Lugo
NYY Aroldis Chapman Adam Ottavino Zack Britton Dellin Betances
OAK Blake Treinen Lou Trivino Joakim Soria
PHI Hector Neris Pat Neshek Adam Morgan David Robertson
PIT Felipe Vazquez Kyle Crick Francisco Liriano Keone Kela
STL Jordan Hicks Andrew Miller John Gant
SD Kirby Yates Craig Stammen Trey Wingenter
SF Will Smith Tony Watson Reyes Moronta
SEA Roenis Elias Brandon Brennan Cory Gearrin Hunter Strickland
TB Jose Alvarado Diego Castillo Emilio Pagan
TEX Shawn Kelley Jose LeClerc Chris Martin
TOR Ken Giles Joe Biagini Tim Mayza Ryan Tepera
WSH Sean Doolittle Wander Suero Kyle Barraclough

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

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
3 years ago

Great work, as always. Really appreciate this as a regular column this year, it’s been really helpful!