Week 7 Bullpen Briefs: Ninth Inning Nightmare
Welcome to the SCFE Week 7 Bullpen Briefs. This will be a reoccurring article focusing on all the happenings in bullpens around the league. While we all know there are some studs that may not lose their respective roles. There are plenty more that will be ripe for the taking.
And this won’t just be for the coveted closer roles. This will focus on setup men shifting. As well as letting people know who the next guy is that could get a lot of holds for them. Keeping an eye here can also help you know who to make that speculative add to your roster before the change is made.
This week, a change in the Motor City. An injury in the Bay Area. More trouble in Washington. Could they finally make a move to anchor their bullpen? The first career save in 12 years for a pitcher in the Nation’s Capital. The Orioles dealing with an All-Stars forearm again. And a pitcher in The Big Apple to keep an eye on.
If you want to see who to start at pitching or hitting this week, we got you covered. Scott Guthrie handles our Pitching Planner. And as far as hitting goes, Aaron Hinckley writes our Hitting Planner.
So as we look to the third week of May, who are some of the guys you need to be looking at? Let’s dive in!
Week 7 Bullpen Briefs
**Updated May 12
Francisco Rodriguez, RP, Detroit Tigers
With four blown saves on the season, Brad Ausmus finally made the call to remove Francisco Rodriguez from the closer role. Rodriguez will now be deployed in lower-leverage situations. On May 11, Rodriguez pitched the ninth in a non-save situation, accumulating zero strikeouts, but issuing zero walks. The numbers just haven’t been there for K-Rod.
So far this season in 12.2 innings pitched, his ERA is 7.82 with a 1-4 record, seven saves, 13 strikeouts and five walks. Many point to his diminished velocity. Being age 35, it looks as though he is just not as sharp with his pitches, making him more hittable. You never want to say a player is done, maybe they can come back. But at this juncture, Rodriguez’s days as a closer may be done.
Mark Melancon, RP, San Francisco Giants
The Giants prized off-season acquisition, Mark Melancon, landed on the 10-day disabled list with a pronator strain in his right forearm. His stint was backdated to May 6, and Bruce Bochy said he is optimistic that Melancon would return as soon as possible.
The problem with muscle injuries in pitchers arms, is that you can never tell when they are healed. Look no further than Zach Britton and what the Orioles are going through. So for now, it looks as though the Giants will turn to Derek Law and possibly Hunter Strickland in the ninth.
Shawn Kelley, RP, Washington Nationals
The Nationals cannot seem to catch a break. Shawn Kelley was placed on the 10-day disabled list May 12 with a lower-back strain, retroactive to May 2. I do not see him being ready to come back so quickly from the injury. Lower-back strains are tricky. They can linger, and when you think you are well enough to pitch, it acts up again.
I look for the Nationals to go with a committee approach moving forward. Koda Glover (hip) is still out as well. This could be the blow that gets the trade winds blowing for a closer. I wrote about the possibility of Kelvin Herrera being a player the Nationals could target last week.
Zach Britton, RP, Baltimore Orioles
Well, Zach Britton is back on the 10-day disabled list. It looks as though it is the same forearm strain he suffered earlier in the season. The good news, there doesn’t seem to be any structural damage to the forearm or ligaments. That’s a huge sigh of relief, but still a concern. Expect Britton to miss a few weeks with the injury. Brad Brach will fill in while Britton is sidelined.
Justin Wilson, RP, Detroit Tigers
With Rodriguez’s stint as closer all but over, the Tigers turn to southpaw Justin Wilson. The lefty has the stuff to stick as closer, but being that he is a lefty, he will have to run away with it. His numbers this year suggest he could handle the ninth inning duties. In 14.2 innings pitched, Wilson has a 1.23 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, with 23 strikeouts and four walks.
There is no reason why Wilson won’t get a long look as the closer. It would take the Tigers to really show they are ready to compete for the division title and a deep run in the playoffs for them to consider going for a closer on the market. For now, Wilson is the man moving forward.
Derek Law, RP, San Francisco Giants
The Giants will first turn to Derek Law to close games while Melancon is on the DL. His first foray into the ninth was not as smooth as some had hoped. It took him 27 pitches to navigate the ninth and secure his second save of the season. He gave up two earned runs, struck out one and walked none. That gives Law a 3.38 ERA with 15 strikeouts and six walks. With Bochy naming Law the closer, his leash will be a little longer, especially if Melancon’s arm injury happens to linger.
Matt Albers, RP, Washington Nationals
A milestone was reached for Matt Albers on May 5. After 12 years in the league, Albers converted his first save of his career, after going 0-22 in his previous save attempts. While it was a great night for Albers, this Washington bullpen is a complete mess. With Kelley and Glover on the disabled list, the Nationals are a full blown committee. Albers has been a nice addition to the Nats pen. Currently Albers has a 0.00 ERA, two holds, a save, nine strikeouts and zero walks in 11.1 innings pitched.
Not the sexiest name, the Nats just need someone to get the job done. Along with Albers, the ninth could be shared by Joe Blanton, Enny Romero and Blake Treinen until Kelley and Glover return. Until then, this is a murky situation to figure out. The time may be now for Mike Rizzo to give the Royals a phone call to solidify the bullpen for good.
Update: One day after recording his first save, Albers blew his first save of the year. While he isn’t the best name for closing purposes, he also got his second win of the season on May 10. He came in and struck out the side against the Orioles. I still look for the Nats to find a closer in the trade market.
Brad Brach, RP, Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles will again turn to Brad Brach while their All-Star closer is on the DL. I wrote about this here the last time Briton was out. Brach came in on May 5 to notch his sixth save of the season, even though he gave up a run. On the season, Brach has a 2.12 ERA with six holds, six saves, 17 strikeouts and six walks. He will be a top tier closer option moving forward.
Update: Brach had a rough outing May 10 after notching two more saves. In 0.1 innings pitched, Brach gave up four hits and three earned runs for his second blown save and first loss of the season. Brach is the closer moving forward.
These guys will be getting Holds and the occasional save opportunity for your team. Some will even luck into a few Wins.
- Corey Knebel, MIL: 11 Holds, 1.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 29 K, 8 BB, 0 SV
- Adam Ottavino, COL: 11 Holds, 2.63 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 15 K, 9 BB, 0 SV
- Matt Bowman, STL: 8 Holds, 3.45 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 12 K, 3 BB, 0 SV, 1 W
- Mike Dunn, COL: 8 Holds, 3.00 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 11 K, 3 BB, 0 SV, 2 W
- Heath Hembree, BOS: 8 Holds, 2.65 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 20 K, 5 BB, 0 SV
- Filipe Rivero, PIT: 8 Holds, 0.47 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 20 K, 4 BB, 0 SV, 1 W
- Taylor Rogers, MIN: 8 Holds, 3.97 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 10 K, 4 BB, 0 SV, 1 W
- Justin Wilson, DET: 8 Holds, 1.23 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, 23 K, 4 BB, 1 SV, 1 W
- Matt Belisle, MIN: 7 Holds, 8.78 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 12 K, 11 BB, 0 SV
- Joaquin Benoit, PHI: 7 Holds, 5.79 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 14 K, 10 BB, 1 SV
- Mychal Givens, BAL: 7 Holds, 2.00 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 18 K, 5 BB, 0 SV, 3 W
- Luke Gregerson, HOU: 7 Holds, 7.24 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, 13 K, 5 BB, 0 SV, 1 W
- Daniel Hudson, PIT: 7 Holds, 7.53 ERA, 1.81 WHIP, 15 K, 5 BB, 0 SV
- Andrew Miller, CLE: 7 Holds, 0.00 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 22 K, 4 BB, 0 SV, 2 W
- Carlos Torres, MIL: 7 Holds, 3.66 ERA, 1.63 WHIP, 12 K, 10 BB, 0 SV, 2 W
- Dellin Betances, NYY: 6 Holds, 0.77 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 22 K, 9 BB, 0 SV, 3 W
- Brad Brach, BAL: 6 Holds, 3.79 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 18 K, 8 BB, 8 SV
- Brett Cecil, STL: 6 Holds, 5.27 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 18 K, 6 BB, 0 SV
- Jorge De La Rosa, ARI: 6 Holds, 2.92 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 13 K, 5 BB, 0 SV, 1 W
- Ryan Dull, OAK: 6 Holds, 4.85 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 15 K, 6 BB, 0 SV, 1 W
Keep an eye on…
Addison Reed, RP, New York Mets
Jeurys Familia has been diagnosed with an arterial clot in his right shoulder. He is flying to St. Louis to have tests run and possibly looking at surgery. That puts the ninth inning squarely on Addison Reed’s shoulders. He filled in at the beginning of the season while Familia was serving his 15 game suspension. Reed converted all four of his saves chances during that time. He needs to be picked up in all leagues, with the news that Familia could miss an extended period with his injury. Reed has a 3.00 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and a 22:0 K:BB ratio.
So there are your Week 7 Bullpen Briefs, and the pitchers to keep an eye on moving forward. Be sure and check back to get the low down on the next batch of relievers to snag.
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