Bullpen Report: May 3, 2017

In a largely boring night in Closerville, one of the more notable developments occurred in a non-save situation. Twins manager Paul Molitor decided to bring Brandon Kintzler in with a four-run lead in the top of the ninth against the A’s, and the closer got himself into a bases-loaded, no-out situation. Matt Joyce brought in a run with a single, keeping the bases loaded, but Kintzler prevented further damage by getting a force out at home, followed by a double play ball.

It’s not this near-meltdown that is significant, but rather the problems with Kintzler that this outing highlighted. Though he doesn’t profile as a typical closer, Kintzler has had success in the past due to good control and strong ground ball tendencies. He has had neither this season, at least not consistently. Meanwhile, he has allowed oodles of contact, sporting a 5.3 percent swinging strike rate.

It is only a matter of time before Kintzler gets into another jam, and he can’t count on getting out of the next one. Ryan Pressly does not appear to be part of the late-inning mix anymore, and I have moved him out of the grid. Molitor treated this game the same way he did the Twins’ last save situation (on April 30 at the Royals), as he brought Taylor Rogers in the seventh inning and Matt Belisle in the eighth. He also brought Belisle in to start the eighth in the save situation before that, though he yanked him in favor of the lefty Rogers for Alex Gordon with two outs and a runner on second.

This pattern suggests that Belisle is the Twins’ closer-in-waiting to target. He, like Kintzler, has not been getting grounders at his typical rate, but Belisle has been throwing strikes and getting whiffs at a more respectable 10.6 percent rate. In leagues where saves are scarce, Belisle should be a priority target.

The A’s closer situation has been one of the more complicated ones, and with Sean Doolittle going on the 10-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain, it got a little cloudier. Santiago Casilla is still the team’s primary closer, but Doolittle and Ryan Madson each have a save to their names this season. Manager Bob Melvin has favored Ryan Dull in setup situations more than Madson of late, but when Casilla needed a breather, it was Madson who got the save opportunity on April 22 against the Mariners. He would seem to be a better bet than Dull to be next-in-line to Casilla.

Shawn Kelley has not pitched since he threw an inning in a non-save situation April 29 against the Mets, but he did not appear to preserve the Nationals’ 2-1 lead at Arizona. Instead, Jacob Turner finished the game out with four innings of two-hit shutout ball. Dusty Baker told reporters that Kelley had been unavailable for the last two games due to illness. Turner was initially a candidate to start on Saturday at the Phillies, but now it would appear that assignment will go to A.J. Cole. Just maybe, though, Baker has found in Turner his answer to Chris Devenski.

Saves roundup: Craig Kimbrel (10), Cody Allen (7), Wade Davis (7), Aroldis Chapman (6), Mark Melancon (6), Edwin Diaz (5). All of the saves were scoreless one-inning performances, except for Diaz, who pitched an inning, but allowed a solo home run to Kole Calhoun.

Other closer activity: Roberto Osuna, Tony Watson, Raisel Iglesias and Kenley Jansen all pitched a scoreless inning in a non-save situation.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Fernando Rodney JJ Hoover Jorge de la Rosa
Atlanta Jim Johnson Arodys Vizcaino Jose Ramirez Mauricio Cabrera
Baltimore Zach Britton Brad Brach Darren O’Day
Boston Craig Kimbrel Matt Barnes Heath Hembree Carson Smith
CHI (NL) Wade Davis Hector Rondon Koji Uehara
CHI (AL) David Robertson Nate Jones Tommy Kahnle
Cincy Raisel Iglesias Michael Lorenzen Drew Storen
Cleveland Cody Allen Andrew Miller Bryan Shaw
Colorado Greg Holland Adam Ottavino Jake McGee Mike Dunn
Detroit Francisco Rodriguez Justin Wilson Shane Greene
Houston Ken Giles Luke Gregerson Will Harris
KC Kelvin Herrera Joakim Soria Peter Moylan
LAA Bud Norris Blake Parker David Hernandez Cam Bedrosian
LAD Kenley Jansen Pedro Baez Luis Avilan
Miami A.J. Ramos Brad Ziegler Kyle Barraclough
Milwaukee Neftali Feliz Corey Knebel Jacob Barnes
Minnesota Brandon Kintzler Matt Belisle Taylor Rogers Glen Perkins
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Addison Reed Jerry Blevins
NY (AL) Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances Tyler Clippard
Oakland Santiago Casilla Ryan Madson Ryan Dull Sean Doolittle
Philly Hector Neris Joaquin Benoit Jeanmar Gomez
Pittsburgh Tony Watson Felipe Rivero Daniel Hudson
St. Louis Seung Hwan Oh Trevor Rosenthal Kevin Siegrist
SD Brandon Maurer Ryan Buchter Brad Hand Carter Capps
SF Mark Melancon Hunter Strickland Derek Law
Seattle Edwin Diaz Nick Vincent Evan Scribner Steve Cishek
TB Alex Colome Danny Farquhar Austin Pruitt Brad Boxberger
Texas Matt Bush Jeremy Jeffress Jose Leclerc
Toronto Roberto Osuna Joe Biagini Joe Smith
Wash. Shawn Kelley Blake Treinen Joe Blanton Koda Glover

[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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Turd Furgeson
5 years ago

whats the % chance a carter capps stash earns a save by june 3rd?

CarMars Favoritemember
5 years ago
Reply to  Turd Furgeson

He hasn’t pitched for El Paso since Sunday. Hopefully he pitches tonight or tomorrow and gets a call for this weekend. WHO KNOWS??

Pirates Hurdlesmember
5 years ago
Reply to  Turd Furgeson

Pretty low, Maurer has been fantastic and Capps has struggled with control in his AAA rehab. Not really sure why Maurer is still yellow.

Turd Furgeson
5 years ago

thanks for the update/input guys.