Bullpen Report: May 25, 2021

The 2021 version of Bullpen Report includes five different sections, as well as the closer chart, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

  1. Notable Workloads: Primary closers or valuable members of a closer committee who have been deemed unavailable or likely unavailable for the current day due to recent workload.
  2. Injury News 
  3. Outlier Saves: Explanation for a non-closer earning a save during the previous day.
  4. Committee Clarity: Notes on a closer committee that clarify a pitcher’s standing in the group.
  5. Losing A Grip: Struggling closers who could be on the hot seat.

The “RosterResource” link will take you to the corresponding team’s RosterResource depth chart, which will give you a better picture of the full bullpen and results of the previous six days (pitch count, save, hold, win, loss, blown save.)

Click HERE to view the full Closer Depth Chart.

Notable Workloads

César Valdez, BAL: Back-to-back days; 13 pitches on Monday. | RosterResource

Paul Fry and Cole Sulser are likely candidates for a save chance on Tuesday if Valdez isn’t available.


Injury News



Outlier Saves

Carlos Estévez, COL | RosterResource

With Daniel Bard likely unavailable after pitching back-to-back days, including a 27-pitch outing on Sunday, we got to find out who is the Rockies’ current “next in line” at the closer spot.

Considering that primary setup man Mychal Givens has struggled as of late (5.2 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 8 BB, 6 K over last seven appearances), it was no surprise that Estévez got the call after an impressive return from the Injured List on Saturday (1.1 IP, 0 R). The 28-year-old also picked up a save in late April prior to landing on the 10-Day IL and had not allowed a run in seven scoreless innings coming into Monday’s game.

Entering Monday’s game with a 3-2 lead and a runner on first — starting pitcher Austin Gomber allowed a homer and single to begin the inning — Estevez retired three straight, including a swinging strikeout by James McCann to end the game on a 98-MPH fastball.

Bard has recovered since a rough stretch a few weeks back, allowing just one earned run over his last nine innings with four walks and 13 strikeouts. As a result, his job as the closer is safe for now. But if Estévez continues to pitch well, the Rockies could have a capable replacement if Bard struggles again.

Dylan Floro, MIA | RosterResource

Yimi García had pitched three of four days between Wednesday and Saturday, so it’s possible that manager Don Mattingly wanted to give him a second consecutive day of rest on Monday. It’s also possible that he had enough faith in Floro to record the final out of the game with the tying run on deck and two outs after the Phillies had scored four runs off of Shawn Morimando to cut the lead to 9-6.

The 30-year-old Floro got Rhys Hoskins to ground out, picking up his first career save in 167 major league appearances.


Committee Clarity

Emmanuel Clase, CLE | RosterResource

James Karinchak had pitched back-to-back games, including a disastrous outing on Sunday (walk, homer, walk) that resulted in his first loss of the season, making Clase the obvious candidate for a save chance on Monday. And, as usual, he made things interesting.

With his team leading 6-5 over the Tigers in the ninth inning, he allowed a walk and a single with one out. After retiring the next batter for the second out, he intentionally walked the bases loaded before Eric Haase lined out to right field for the final out.

The 23-year-old Clase now has eight saves, but is likely behind Karinchak on the closer depth chart. I have them listed as co-closers, but with Karinchak likely on his way to securing the job at some point. Despite extending his scoreless innings streak to 7.1 innings on Monday, Clase has eight walks over that span. He’s still highly effective, but not as trustworthy as Karinchak.

Keynan Middleton, SEA | RosterResource

A day after Kendall Graveman was placed on the Injured List for undisclosed reasons, the Mariners showed their late-inning relief cards by going with Rafael Montero in the seventh, Erik Swanson in the eighth, and Middleton for the save in the ninth to close out a 4-2 win over the Athletics.

The 27-year-old Middleton, who now has three saves on the season, should remain the team’s primary closer option until Graveman returns.

Jordan Romano, TOR | RosterResource

There was no save situation on Monday, but Romano pitched the bottom of the ninth inning with the game tied at five versus the Rays. Not only is this usually the spot where a home team deploys their closer with a save situation no longer possible, the 28-year-old Romano certainly pitched like a closer. And it was probably the closest he’s come in 2021 to resembling the dominant pitcher he was last season. Three batters faced, three batters down swinging.

Combine this with Dolis’ poor first outing after returning from the 10-Day IL and Chatwood’s disastrous first save chance on Sunday and I’d guess that Romano is in the driver’s seat to take hold of the closer’s job.

Losing A Grip

•César Valdez, BAL | RosterResource

On Monday, Valdez blew his fourth save in 12 chances, allowing three runs on three hits in the eighth inning of an eventual 8-3 loss to the Twins. His ERA ballooned from 2.50 to 3.93, but the 36-year-old is still one of the team’s most reliable relief pitchers. Removing him from the closer’s role now, however, would likely take off some pressure and allow some of the younger options to see if they can succeed in the role.

Any change in the immediate future would likely involve lefty Paul Fry (2.50 ERA, 18 IP, 26 K, 6 Holds) and possibly Cole Sulser, who has a 2.08 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 17.1 innings. Hunter Harvey, who was a leading candidate for the closer’s job prior to landing on the Injured List to open the season, threw two innings in his first rehab appearance on Sunday. He could also be in the closer’s mix within weeks.


Click HERE to view the full Closer Depth Chart.


Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Bullpen Report — 5/25/2021

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Jason B
Jason B

Jordan Romano, the only Toronto reliever who didn’t light himself on fire this weekend. I can’t even begin to say how shitty shitty shitty the bullpen was in that four-game set. Just an utter train wreck. Clutch rating, on a scale of 1-10, was -234934850. Turning wins into losses, close games into blowouts, all weekend long. You can’t win a division in May, but you damn sure can make it waaaaay harder on yourself.


I like that this reads as a true fan would say it. Reminds me of all the sports radio callers last year in the Boston area where I live. I vividly recall thinking that any inning, 1 through 9, was open to getting blown up in. The pitching staff last year was horrible… sorry to hear it’s having all sorts of bumps for the Jays these days.

Jason B
Jason B

Oh it’s definitely written as a fan, rather than from a roto perspective.

An utterly dejected and thoroughly disgusted fan.

They are a fun team and the bullpen on the whole is not “this bad” (as bad as it looked the last four days) – it simply can’t be, as a month of that would have the entire ‘pen waived, released, or outrighted to AAA.