Archive for Bullpen Report

Bullpen Report: The First One of 2019

Welcome to the 2019 RotoGraphs Bullpen Report!

As in past seasons, we will update and publish our team-by-team bullpen grid on a daily basis and provide analysis on relievers to pick up, drop or monitor. I’m unveiling the first iteration of the grid just below, and then we will begin our daily updates beginning next Friday.

With a week to go until Opening Day, Part 2, one-third of the closer situations are still very much in flux. For each of those 10 teams, I have denoted the relievers in the grid as being part of a committee. With the possible exception of the Giants, Diamondbacks and White Sox, a committee is a probable outcome for these teams once the season gets under way.
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Bullpen Report: September 26, 2018

• There aren’t many big closer changes this far into the season but it looks like the Braves are going to go with Arodys Vizcaino as the primary closer moving forward in Atlanta. With Vizcaino returning from injury and the calendar already pushing October, I figured the Braves wouldn’t make a full change like this, but Vizcaino has pitched quite well and the committee is now over. With Vizcaino in the top chair, look for A.J. MinterChad Sobotka to be the primary set up men with Brad Brach, Dan Winkler and others behind them.

• Earlier in the year, Trevor Hildenberger looked like a sneaky future saves option in Minnesota. While he’s reached the promised land of the 9th, he hasn’t been a particularly good option and after last night’s 4 run blow up, Hildenberger now supports a 5.25 ERA, 4.53 FIP, and more promising 3.68 SIERA. Paul Molitor will now move to a committee with the bullpen and we expect Taylor Rogers or Trevor May to receive the next save opportunity. It’s possible Hildenberger gets another opportunity before the season is over, and we don’t know what 2019 will bring, but Rogers (2.73 ERA/2.35 FIP) and May (3.43 ERA/3.41 FIP) have been better and will likely lead the committee in the last week.

Jace Fry is slated to start a bullpen game for the White Sox which doesn’t necessarily take him out of the committee in Chicago as he’s not likely to throw more than an inning or two, but it does take him out of a potential save today. If you have him in your daily lineup for saves, I suggest you replace him with someone else today.

• Even though Mike Scioscia is stepping down as the Angles manager, he still finds time in the last week to make some last minute bullpen changes. Ty Buttrey had blown his last two save opportunities and last night Scioscia called on Hansel Robles for the save with Blake Parker pitching in the 8th.  Buttrey could have been unavailable having pitched in two of the last three games so we won’t make a change to the grid as he’s likely given a longer leash with “closer of the future” potential for the Angels. By keeping Parker in the 8th, the Angels could also be dictating this is the order moving forward, with Buttrey just getting a day off and Robles coming in to not upset the order. However, with all of that said, if Buttrey blows a third opportunity in a row, the Angels may not look to go back to him for the 9th in the season’s last days, even if he enters 2019 as the leading saves candidate.

Bullpen Report: September 25, 2018

With the Brewers up 6-4 in St. Louis, Corey Knebel took the ball in a save situation for the first time since mid-August. Knebel has been lights out since returning from triple-A on September 2nd. The Brewers’ righty has racked up 24 strikeouts while allowing only 2 hits and 0 runs in 12.1 innings. Knebel struck out the side (around a hit batter) to earn his sixteenth save of the season.

Jeremy Jeffress was not sitting in the bullpen last night and was unavailable due to neck spasms. Jeffress is considered day-to-day right now and Knebel could be in line for saves this week if Jeffress misses more than just tonight. Joakim Soria pitched the eighth inning with a one-run lead.

The Yankees continue to run a firm committee in the ninth inning. With three left-handed hitters due up, Aaron Boone turned to Zach Britton to hold a 4-1 lead against the Rays. Britton ended up facing two right-handed pinch hitters (Carlos Gomez and C.J. Cron) but struck out all three. Cron however, reached on a passed ball and Britton induced a Jake Bauers pop up to end it.

Aroldis Chapman, who continues to work his way back from a knee injury, struck out two and walked one while pitching the seventh inning. Dellin Betances, who collected the save on Saturday night, pitched a clean eighth.

Amongst a chorus of (well deserved) boos before every pitch, Roberto Osuna earned a save against his former team on Monday night. After running a committee with Hector Rendon when Osuna was first reinstated from the suspended list, A.J. Hinch has used Osuna as the primary closer since the beginning of September. Osuna has collected 7 saves while allowing 4 hits (1HR) in 8.2 September innings.

With Keone Kela shut down for the season in order to manage his workload, Richard Rodriguez pitched the eighth inning with the Pirates up 4-1 against the Cubs. Rodriguez, who surrendered an infield hit and struck out two batters, hasn’t allowed a run since August 14th and has enjoyed a strong 2018 campaign. Rodriguez has posted a 31.8 percent strikeout rate against only a 6.7 percent walk rate to go along with a 2.43 ERA (2.61 FIP). He might not be the first pitcher in line for saves either this year or next, but he could be the source of elite rate stats with top-10 closer potential if he is able to secure an opportunity.

Cody Allen made his first appearance since September 15th when he pitched a clean ninth inning against the White Sox on Monday night. Allen has been throwing outside of game situations in an effort to work on mechanical tweaks and manage his workload, something he’s done in years past as well. Allen collected two strikeouts and Andrew Miller pitched the eighth.

Ty Buttrey blew his second save in four days on Monday night. Ronald Guzman hit a double off the top of the center field wall and Elvis Andrus singled him home. Given Mike Scioscia’s bullpen management, Blake Parker or Justin Anderson could get the next save chance.

Quick Hits: Several closers pitched in non-save situations on Monday. Blake Treinen extended his scoreless appearance streak on Monday when he pitched a clean ninth against the Mariners. Jose Leclerc faced the heart of the Angels’ order in the bottom of the tenth (0H, 1BB) in Anaheim with the Angels and Rangers tied 4-4.

Kirby Yates got the last out of the game after Bryan Mitchell pitched 8.2 innings of shutout ball against the Giants and collected the save for his efforts. Felipe Vazquez closed out a 5-1 Pirates victory.


Bullpen Report: September 24, 2018

With a 15.4 percent swinging strike rate, 32.6 percent strikeout rate, 5.3 percent walk rate and 24.1 percent soft contact rate, Trevor May has been doing just about everything you would want to see from a closer. Yet Paul Molitor has been faithfully sticking with Trevor Hildenberger as his closer in recent weeks, even with the latter Trevor posting a 5.74 ERA since the Twins traded Fernando Rodney to the Athletics.
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Bullpen Report: September 23, 2018

Robert Gsellman allowed one run on two hits in the ninth inning Friday night against Washington but held on to pick up his twelfth save of the season. Mickey Callaway and the Mets are still running a firm committee as Paul Sewald earned the save in Thursday’s series opener against Nationals. Stay out of this pen unless you are desperate for every last save.

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Bullpen Report: September 22, 2018

Although most of the focus within this column caters to the saves chasers, with just over a week remaining in the season, teams will need to protect ratios as well. Owners of Josh Hader realize this through the value he provides in strikeouts and his ERA which dropped below two last night along with his 0.74 WHIP in 77 innings this season. Hader’s been a heater but his consecutive strikeout streak ended on Friday when Colin Moran lifted a pop fly to left field caught by Christian Yelich. However, Hader recorded 16 straight outs via strikeout over five outings to set a major league record. He also set a record for all southpaw relievers for strikeouts in a season with 136 so far with a chance to add to this in Milwaukee’s last eight contests. In September, Hader’s registered a strikeout minus walk percentage of 60, produced a 24.2 swinging strike percentage and allowed only 54.4 contact through 10 innings with a ridiculous 23:2 K:BB with a 0.50 WHIP. A different southpaw remains on the waiver wire in many leagues due to his lack of saves production, but Taylor Rogers extended his scoreless streak to 23.1 innings in Oakland last night. Since July 30th, spanning 25 games, Rogers has faced 80 hitters giving up only nine hits and three walks with 27 strikeouts. Yes, saves matter, but so do southpaws like these two who can ratio erasers to preserve spots in the standings. Read the rest of this entry »

Bullpen Report: September 21, 2018

In Thursday morning’s Bullpen Report, Greg Jewett noted that the just-activated Aroldis Chapman was going to get eased back into the closer’s role for the Yankees. In his first appearance in nearly a month, Chapman came in to pitch the eighth inning with a two-run deficit against the Red Sox on Thursday night, but there was nothing about it that looked like “easing.” His first pitch resulted in a Rafael Devers line drive single, and two batters later, Devers moved into scoring position on a Jackie Bradley Jr. walk. After striking out the struggling Sandy Leon, Chapman put the Yankees three more runs in the hole by serving up a slider that Mookie Betts turned on for a home run.
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Bullpen Report: September 20, 2018

As the season winds down and bullpen committees continue to populate the landscape, change could be upon us in fantasy baseball. This site featured a terrific article detailing how handling relievers evolves in an interview with A.J. Hinch. Blended bullpens, new roles and keeping pitchers healthy make this column a necessary stop if chasing saves. For starters, 10 different relievers have recorded a save for the White Sox this year. Joakim Soria (16), Nate Jones (5), Jace Fry (4), Hector Santiago (2) and Luis Avilan (2) to this point, although only two of them remain on the roster. Also, Chris Beck, Xavier Cedeno, Juan Minaya, Bruce Rondon and Thyago Vieira each own one save this year. Last night, Ian Hamilton attempted his first career save but incurred the loss giving up a walk-off grand slam to Jason Kipnis. The inning started with Juan Minaya facing one hitter, Josh Donaldson and allowing an infield single after review. Then Caleb Frare entered yielding a hit to Yandy Diaz and recording the innings only out on a popped up bunt by Melky Cabrera. Hamilton then entered and hit Yan Gomes with a pitch prior to the Kipnis slam.

What does all this mean? The team will continue to audition relievers the rest of the season to try and see what roles will be applicable during their rebuild. Jones will handled carefully and it appears will not pitch in consecutive outings. He will be a factor in saves the last week and a half, but not overworked. Jace Fry pitched 1.2 scoreless innings giving up only a walk, but his ability to work more than one inning, along with Minaya make them valuable and not just ninth inning options. It stands to reason, if chasing a save, to avoid this bullpen due to the volatile usage and auditions still to come as the White Sox evaluate their young arms in high leverage. Read the rest of this entry »

Bullpen Report: September 19, 2018

It was Zach Britton, and not Dellin Betances, who got the save for the Yankees in their 3-2 win over the Red Sox in Tuesday night’s series opener. I have made Britton and Betances co-closers in the grid below, with both receiving the “Hot Seat” label. However, it’s not Britton’s adventure of an inning or Betances’ recent struggles that have put them on the hot seat, but rather that Aroldis Chapman could return as soon as Wednesday. It appears that Chapman’s worst-case scenario is a Thursday return, in the event that Aaron Boone wants to give the lefty an additional day of rest following Monday’s sim game.
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Bullpen Report: September 17, 2018

Adam Conley did not have a save opportunity on Sunday against the Phillies, but nonetheless, I have moved him to the head of the Marlins’ closer committee in the grid. Don Mattingly, like many managers, will sometimes use his closer with a four-run lead in the ninth inning, and that’s what he did on Sunday. With a 6-2 lead, Conley retired the first two batters, but he allowed a hard-hit Aaron Altherr double followed by Roman Quinn’s RBI single. The lefty could have limited the damage to the lone run if Starlin Castro had not been eaten up by a Cesar Hernandez grounder, but the error allowed the Phillies to cut the lead to 6-4. Then the rally ended when Conley struck out Rhys Hoskins.
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