Bullpen Report: May 26, 2017

While there was no shortage of saves Friday night, there weren’t any performances that threatened to shake up any team’s bullpen order. That was not the case on Thursday, when Edwin Diaz received his first save opportunity since being removed from the closer’s role, just nine days earlier. He successfully preserved the Mariners’ 4-2 lead over the Nationals, allowing just a single in his inning of work. Even so, manager Scott Servais told MyNorthwest.com he was not ready to make Diaz the official closer just yet, saying he “just happened to be the guy at the end today.”

It’s understandable that Servais may want to see a little more consistency from Diaz, given the he threw nine of 18 pitches for strikes and walked two batters in the inning he pitched against the Nationals on Wednesday. Still, it’s hard to imagine that someone with Diaz’s swing-and-miss stuff won’t reclaim the job.

Padres manager Andy Green is also having commitment issues, though for entirely different reasons. He went to Brad Hand to close out a game for the second night in a row against the Mets, and the lefty responded by getting the save, though he did allow a run this time. Green told MLB.com he wanted to use Hand in the highest-leverage situations, regardless of the inning.

Then again,  that’s what Craig Counsell said about Corey Knebel, and he has not pitched in any inning other than the ninth since the Brewers’ manager made that pronouncement. On Friday night, Knebel blew his first save since becoming a closer, as a 2-1 lead evaporated when Chris Iannetta took a 98 mph fastball over the fence in center field.

I don’t see much risk in counting on Hand or Knebel for saves for the foreseeable future. The Padres are making Hand available for a potential trade, but as long as he’s in San Diego, he is the reliever to target in fantasy. As with Diaz in Seattle, both Hand and Knebel are the best relievers in their respective ‘pens, so it makes sense for their managers to lean most heavily on them for saves.

The biggest jolt to a bullpen on Friday night occurred in Miami, where Mike Scioscia brought Bud Norris in for the bottom of the eighth with the Angels trailing the Marlins by five runs. Norris was taken out after just three pitches, and after the game, Scioscia said his closer had a sore right knee. Blake Parker, David Hernandez and Jose Alvarez have all been working in the setup role, but it seems unlikely that any of them would pick up more than a save or two. Norris could be back within a matter of days, and meanwhile, both Huston Street (lat, shoulder) and Cam Bedrosian (groin) are working their way back from injuries. Street is currently on a Triple-A rehab assignment and could be back as soon as sometime next week. Especially given the uncertainty around who might get the next save, it’s best to just avoid this situation for now.

There were 10 saves in all on Friday, though a few did not require much work. Raisel Iglesias, Roberto Osuna, Koda Glover and A.J. Ramos all entered games in which another pitcher started off the ninth inning but got into trouble. While Iglesias wound up facing three batters, Osuna, Glover and Ramos each faced a single hitter, making five, four and one pitch(es), respectively.

Saves roundup: Ken Giles (14), Craig Kimbrel (13), Fernando Rodney (13), Alex Colome (13), Kelvin Herrera (10), Jim Johnson (10), Iglesias (9), Osuna (8), Ramos (5) and Glover (4).

Other closer activity: Norris, Santiago Casilla and Matt Bush pitched in non-save situations.

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 Carl Edwards Jr. Hector Rondon
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 Shane Greene
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 Josh Fieldsn
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 Fernando Salas Paul Sewald 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 Brad Hand Brandon Maurer Ryan Buchter Carter Capps
SF Mark Melancon Derek Law Hunter Strickland
SEA Edwin Diaz James Pazos Tony Zych
TB Alex Colome Ryne Stanek Jose Alvarado 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.]

Al Melchior has been writing about Fantasy baseball and sim games since 2000, and his work has appeared at CBSSports.com, BaseballHQ, Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster and FanRagSports. He has also participated in Tout Wars' mixed auction league since 2013. You can follow Al on Twitter @almelchiorbb and find more of his work at almelchior.com.

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Will Lofton
Will Lofton

Thinking that Harris has probably surpassed Gregerson as first in line for saves at this point were Giles to go down.