Bullpen Report: September 20, 2021

NEW FEATURE ALERT! We have added an upgraded version of RosterResource’s Closer Depth Chart to FanGraphs. Read more about it here.

We will always include a link to the full Closer Depth Chart at the bottom of the Bullpen Report each day. It’s also accessible from the RosterResource drop-down menu and from any RosterResource page. Please let us know what you think.

  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).

Notable Workloads

Ryan Pressly, HOU: Three straight days; 12 pitches on Sunday. | RosterResource

Ryne Stanek and Kendall Graveman are the likeliest fill-ins on Monday.

Dylan Floro, MIA: 27 pitches on Sunday. | RosterResource

Anthony Bender, Anthony Bass and Richard Bleier should all be available on Monday.

Chris Stratton, PIT: 29 pitches on Sunday. | RosterResource

Chad Kuhl only threw six pitches on Sunday but hasn’t worked back-to-back days since his move to the bullpen, so he may be out of commission on Monday as well. That would leave Chasen Shreve as the best bet for a save chance.

Injury News

Gregory Soto, DET: Placed on 10-Day IL (fractured finger) on Sunday. | RosterResource

Soto is expected to miss the last two weeks of the season with his fractured finger, which occurred after taking a comebacker to his hand on Friday. José Cisnero is on the IL with an elbow laceration as well, so until Cisnero comes back (if he does at all) Michael Fulmer will be the unquestioned closer when available (though he wasn’t on Sunday; more on that under Outlier Saves).

The left-handed Soto wraps up his All-Star season with a 3.39 ERA/3.61 xERA in 63.2 innings to go along with an unpalatable amount of walks (40, or 14.5% of batters faced) but plenty of strikeouts too (76, 27.5%), along with 18 saves. Soto should enter Spring Training as the frontrunner to reclaim his closing role, though it’s not a guarantee.

Outlier Saves

Kyle Funkhouser, DET | RosterResource

While Michael Fulmer should indeed be the sole closer with both Gregory Soto and José Cisnero on the IL, he surely wasn’t available on Sunday. Fulmer threw 15 pitches on Saturday, 22 on Friday and 36 on Wednesday. Funkhouser proved to be more than adequate as a substitute, allowing a two-out single with nothing else, throwing ten of 12 pitches for strikes.

It’s been something of a breakthrough year for the former fourth-round pick, riding a grounder rate of 55% to a 3.25 ERA. Sunday’s was Funkhouser’s first career save.

Michael Rucker, CHC | RosterResource

David Ross stuck with Rowan Wick for quite awhile on Sunday, allowing him to throw 31 pitches and walk three Brewers before pulling him for the rookie Rucker to get the final out. The former starter as a minor-leaguer needed just two pitches to earn that final out and picked up his first career save. It’s been an up-and-down start to Rucker’s career, as he has very strong peripherals (26% strikeout rate, 10% walk rate) but a 7.71 ERA.

Committee Clarity

Garrett Richards, BOS | RosterResource

It figured that the Red Sox would elect to ease Matt Barnes back into the closer role after a bout with COVID-19 and ineffectiveness that’s plagued him since the All-Star break, but it didn’t figure that Richards would be part of the committee. The Red Sox had to scramble, though, with Garrett Whitlock exiting after one inning (he’s typically budgeted for multiple) with pectoral soreness. Barnes and Adam Ottavino didn’t pitch, so Hirokazu Sawamura and Hansel Robles made up the bridge to Richards.

Richards pitching on a day when Barnes and Ottavino both should have been available is telling, showing that the ousted starter is trusted in the late innings as more than a last resort option. Richards needed just eight pitches for his third save of the season (his first of the single-inning variety) and should continue to pitch crucial innings.

Losing A Grip


Click HERE to view the full Closer Depth Chart.

Not Very Stable
Hot Seat

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Brian Louchis
Brian Louchis

Does Trivino get the closer role back? His last 5 outings have been back on track.