Bullpen Report: May 4, 2023

The 2023 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

Keynan Middleton, CHW: Back-to-back days; 23 pitches on Wednesday. | RosterResource

Kendall Graveman is a likely candidate for a save chance on Thursday.

Carlos Estévez, LAA: Back-to-back days; 3 of last 4 days; 12 pitches on Wednesday. | RosterResource

Matt Moore is a likely candidate for a save chance on Thursday.

Kyle Finnegan, WSN: Back-to-back days; 3 of last 4 days; 10 pitches on Wednesday. | RosterResource

Hunter Harvey and Carl Edwards Jr. have also pitched back-to-back days and Mason Thompson pitched on Monday and Tuesday before getting a day off on Wednesday. Andrés Machado and Erasmo Ramírez are candidates for a save chance if the Nationals want to give the aforementioned pitchers a rest on Thursday.

 

Injury Report

José Quijada, LAA: Will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. | RosterResource

Quijada had emerged as Estévez’s co-closer before he was sidelined with elbow pain. Now, he’s out for the season and the Angels will have to lean on Estévez a bit more than they likely prefer. Matt Moore (1.17 ERA, 17 K in 15.1 IP) is a candidate to take on at least the occasional save chance, while Ryan Tepera is also back in the mix after a stint on the Injured List due to shoulder inflammation. The 35-year-old had a couple of rough outings early on, but pitched a scoreless 8th inning in his return to action during Wednesday’s win.

A few others to keep an eye on include Chris Devenski (3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, K) and Chase Silseth (5 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 K), who should both get high-leverage opportunities over the next few weeks. And, of course, there is hard-throwing Ben Joyce, who is an intriguing option at some point if he can throw strikes consistently. In five of his seven appearances with Double-A Rocket City, he’s been very good (5 IP, 0 R, H, 2 BB, 6 K). His other two outings were disastrous (1.2 IP, 8 R, 4 ER, H, 5 BB, 2 HBP). So, he’s still a work in progress.

Pete Fairbanks, TBR: Placed on 15-Day IL. | RosterResource

Even on an unpredictable Rays team, Fairbanks was the obvious choice to close out games whenever he was available. That is no longer the case, though, as he’s been placed on the Injured List due to elbow inflammation. The 29-year-old Fairbanks does not believe the injury, which is unrelated to the Raynaud’s syndrome symptoms that had sidelined for the previous three games, will require more than a minimal stint on the Injured List. If he’s right, he could be back in action on May 15. If it’s a long-term injury, the resourceful Rays will have to work their magic.

In the meantime, the Rays have another easy decision when it comes to save chances. Jason Adam is off to a great start after his breakout 2022 season (1.56 ERA, 8 Sv, 21 holds) and is clearly the team’s best relief pitcher on the active roster. He secured his first save of 2023 on Tuesday and should continue to be manager Kevin Cash’s top closer option until Fairbanks returns.

 

Outlier Saves

Chase Anderson, TBR | RosterResource

On Wednesday morning, Anderson was a member of the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. He last pitched on April 27 when he allowed four earned runs on six hits in three innings against the Iowa Cubs. In a stunning turn of events — but also not all that difficult to believe once you realize the Tampa Bay Rays were involved — he would close out a win and pick up his first major league save for the team with the best record in baseball later that evening.

In one of the most “Rays” things that could happen, they decided that Anderson was the pitcher they wanted to replace the injured Pete Fairbanks on the roster. Therefore, Anderson was acquired for cash considerations and added to the 26-man roster prior to Wednesday’s game against the Pirates. He took over for Shane McClanahan with a 6-1 lead in the 7th inning and recorded the next nine outs without allowing a run.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Anderson designated for assignment in the coming days. They’ve done so with four different relief pitchers since April 23. But it would’ve been, undoubtedly, a memorable stint with the likely World Series favorite.

 

Committee Clarity

Keynan Middleton, CHW | RosterResource

There haven’t been many bright spots on a White Sox team that lost 21 of its first 28 games. Even prior to a 10-game losing streak, their closer situation was murky. Reynaldo López picked up a save in three of the team’s first seven wins, but had an ERA over 6.00. Things only got worse as his ERA is now over 8.00 and he’s been sidelined since April 30 due to biceps discomfort. Therefore, who would be given the save chances if and when the White Sox started winning was not clear. But that was finally answered on Wednesday when the team won its third consecutive game.

Leading 5-4 in the 8th inning, the White Sox turned to Graveman to face the bottom of the Twins’ order. He pitched a scoreless inning to pick up his 6th hold and lower his ERA to 5.11. After the offense added a run in the bottom of the 8th, it was Middleton who was called on to face off against the 9-1-2 spots in the 9th inning.

Entering the game with a 3.24 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 8.1 innings, the 29-year-old would raise his K/9 rate to 16.4 after striking out three batters to close out the win and pick up his 14th career save. Whether Middleton continues to get the ball at the end of games will be up to manager Pedro Grifol, who only needs to picture Carlos Correa swinging and missing at a 96 MPH fastball to give his team its first three-game winning streak.

Brusdar Graterol, LAD | RosterResource

It’s become clear that Evan Phillips is much too valuable to keep him waiting until the 9th inning to be used. That doesn’t mean the Dodgers will always have a closer’s committee. It’s just a matter of someone stepping up and making a case to be the primary closer. On the current roster, there might only be one real candidate and that’s Graterol, who has been trending in that direction. Since allowing two runs in an outing on April 8, the 24-year-old had pitched 8.1 scoreless innings while picking up two saves. On Wednesday, he would get a chance for a third.

With a 6-5 lead over the Phillies, Caleb Ferguson followed up a scoreless 8th inning by retiring Kyle Schwarber to begin the ninth inning. Graterol was then summoned to face off against Trea Turner and Bryce Harper. After Turner grounded out, Harper singled and Nick Castellanos drew a walk. Bryson Stott followed with an RBI single to give Graterol the blown save. He did end up with the win after the Dodgers won it in the bottom of the 9th, but he could’ve really taken advantage of a golden opportunity to separate himself in the race to be the Dodgers’ closer.

Zach Jackson, OAK | RosterResource

For some reason, Jeurys Familia is still on the Oakland A’s despite allowing nine earned runs and 13 walks over his first 12.2 innings. And he also leads the team with two saves. Sure, there aren’t many other options, but it would appear that Jackson is the logical choice for save chances considering he has a 2.13 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 12.2 innings following a terrific rookie season in 2022 (3.00 ERA, 12.6 K/9, 26 holds). On Wednesday, he did get the call with his team ahead of the Mariners by a score of 2-1 in the 9th inning.

Unfortunately, Jackson allowed a game-tying homer to AJ Pollock, matching the total number of home runs he allowed in 48 innings last season. I wouldn’t expect this to change things too much for now. The 28-year-old Jackson should continue to be in the mix for save chances, even when Trevor May (began rehab assignment on May 2) returns from the Injured List.

José Alvarado, PHI | RosterResource

It’s true that an effective Craig Kimbrel allows the Phillies to deploy Alvarado prior to the 9th inning. It’s also true that an effective Gregory Soto allows the Phillies to save Alvarado for the 9th inning. On Wednesday, however, Soto was likely unavailable after throwing 26 pitches on Tuesday. Kimbrel, despite a rough outing against the Dodgers on Monday, had been dominant in his eight previous appearances (7.2 IP, 0 R, 3 H, BB, 13 K).

Therefore, with a 5-4 lead and three lefty batters coming to the plate in the 8th inning of Wednesday’s game, it seemingly made perfect sense to go with Alvarado. It didn’t work out, though, as the 27-year-old allowed a pair of runs on three hits as the Dodgers took the lead. After the Phillies tied the game against Graterol in the 9th, it was Kimbrel’s turn. After a single and two walks loaded the bases, Max Muncy belted a walk-off grand slam against his former teammate.

Doing the logical thing doesn’t always work out. In this case, I wonder if it makes manager Rob Thomson more likely to stick with defined reliever roles and utilize Alvarado as a traditional closer. After all, it appeared to be heading in that direction and it was working just fine.

 

Losing A Grip

None

 

Click HERE to view the full Closer Depth Chart.

 

Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Committee
Bullpen Report — 5/4/2023
Team Closer First Up Second Up Injured List
ARI Andrew Chafin Miguel Castro Scott McGough
ATL A.J. Minter Nick Anderson Dylan Lee Raisel Iglesias
BAL Felix Bautista Yennier Cano Bryan Baker Dillon Tate
BOS Kenley Jansen Chris Martin John Schreiber
CHC Brad Boxberger Michael Fulmer Mark Leiter Jr.
CWS Keynan Middleton Kendall Graveman Gregory Santos Liam Hendriks
CIN Alexis Diaz Lucas Sims Alex Young
CLE Emmanuel Clase James Karinchak Trevor Stephan
COL Pierce Johnson Justin Lawrence Brent Suter
DET Alex Lange Jason Foley Will Vest
HOU Ryan Pressly Rafael Montero Bryan Abreu
KC Scott Barlow Aroldis Chapman Taylor Clarke
LAA Carlos Estevez Matt Moore Ryan Tepera Jose Quijada
LAD Evan Phillips Brusdar Graterol Caleb Ferguson Daniel Hudson
MIA AJ Puk Dylan Floro Tanner Scott Anthony Bender
MIL Devin Williams Peter Strzelecki Bryse Wilson Matt Bush
MIN Jhoan Duran Jorge Lopez Griffin Jax
NYM David Robertson Adam Ottavino Drew Smith Edwin Diaz
NYY Michael King Wandy Peralta Clay Holmes Jonathan Loaisiga
OAK Zach Jackson Jeurys Familia Domingo Acevedo Trevor May
PHI Jose Alvarado Craig Kimbrel Seranthony Dominguez
PIT David Bednar Colin Holderman Robert Stephenson
STL Ryan Helsley Giovanny Gallegos Genesis Cabrera
SD Josh Hader Nick Martinez Luis Garcia Robert Suarez
SF Camilo Doval John Brebbia Tyler Rogers
SEA Paul Sewald Justin Topa Trevor Gott Andres Muñoz
TB Jason Adam Colin Poche Ryan Thompson Pete Fairbanks
TEX Will Smith Jonathan Hernandez Brock Burke
TOR Jordan Romano Erik Swanson Yimi Garcia Chad Green
WSH Kyle Finnegan Hunter Harvey Carl Edwards Jr. Tanner Rainey





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neilage
1 year ago

Thoughts on Gallegos coming in for the save over Helsley?

srpst23
1 year ago
Reply to  neilage

Gallegos also entered in the ninth the last time the Cards were leading (on Sunday), although that was a non-save situation (Helsley did pitch the eight in that one too).

neilage
1 year ago
Reply to  srpst23

Saw that also.
Wondering if this situation is evolving similarly to Phillips/Graterol in LA who are now considerd co-closers.