2018 Closer Grid - 5/16
Some places in the world are safe zones where you’re wrapped in a soft blanket with a warm cup of coco. The bullpen is not one of those areas, not by a long shot. Each week at Guru Elite Ray Flowers will take a whirl around the carousel of crazy that is the 9th inning in major league baseball. Ray will break down all 30 team’s bullpens by listing the closer, the #2 option in the pen, the #3 option as well as listing any injured potential closing options. Ray will also make some notes, when appropriate, to guide you through the maze of the most difficult situations.
Green: Situation is settled and stable.
White: There is no pressing need to expect a change.
Red: A complete disaster that could change at any moment.
*FOR MORE ON BULLPEN SEE OUR NEWLY DEBUTED METRIC – BURR – WHICH TAKES A WHOLE NEW LOOK AT BULLPENS AND HOW TO RATE THEM.
ANGELS: Kenyan Middleton (elbow) is to the DL again and, predictably, manager Mike Scioscia will not name a closer. "I don't think we ever had one guy that was the ninth-inning guy," Scioscia said. "Keynan was pitching the eighth inning the other day. We've got some guys in the back end that are going to have to get outs for us, and how they line up in a certain game right now will be dictated by how the game unfolds and some matchups and things like that. But we're confident that we're going to have arms down there that will get the outs we need." Justin Anderson picked up the first save that presented itself Monday. He has 15 strikeouts in 10.1 innings, but he’s also allowed two big flies and walked six men. Cam Bedrosian, Jim Johnson and Blake Parker are left. The last five games Parker has a zero ERA, Johnson a 2.70 mark and Bedrosian a 0.00 mark. Of course, ERA means little in the grand scheme. There seems to be a minor trend of folks leaning toward Johnson being the guy, but with four walks in five outings and a mere 7.94 K/9 rate, I’m thinking Anderson and Parker are the best bets at the moment.
BLUE JAYS: Roberto Osuna has been accused of domestic violence and has been placed on administrative leave by the Commissioner’s Office. That stay was supposed to last a week. MLB has extended the leave until May 21st. It’s possible he will be activated then. It’s possible he will be out until his court hearing on June 18th. It’s possible, well, it’s possible that he’s out even longer, we just don’t know. The only save picked up since Osuna was suspended has been by Tyler Clippard. The righty has more than a K per inning though his 2.40 K/BB ratio leaves a lot to be desired. Pitching well though is he with one walk in five outings and a 0.95 WHIP this season. Ryan Tepera has pitched well with a 10.53 K/9 and 3.83 K/BB ratio. Alas, he’s allowed four homers to mar an otherwise solid campaign.
BRAVES: A.J. Minter had a save Monday, only because Arodys Vizcaino was getting the day off after pitching two games in a row. Then Vizcaino blew a save in his next outing. Then we got work that the Braves’ manager is considering using Dan Winkler to close some games. Oh boy. Seems like we have another manager who is in to the tinkering game. Great. Viz is still “the closer” but with his manager now willing to turn to two other options you know that there ain’t that much faith coming from the head honcho at this point.
CARDINALS: Placed Luke Gregerson (shoulder) on the DL continuing the parade of pitchers from the minors with John Brebbia recalled, yet again. Greg Holland has just one strikeout his last four innings, and in that time, he’s walked three. He hasn’t allowed a run in the four outings, but he’s not putting much pressure on Bud Norris. Over his last nine outings Norris has allowed two runs (no earned) while walking just one batters. He’s the guy until further notice. Still would be shocking if he ran the table in the role.
DODGERS: Over his last nine outings Kenley Jansen has allowed three runs, but only one earned in the 10 innings. He’s only struck out eight batters, and has walked three, but he’s been better than he was early on. Still not back to who we expected him to be, and it’s getting to the point that we just can’t expect him to be that dominating force this season.
MARLINS: Brad Ziegler is still the closer. He is 6-for-6 in saves. He has walked two batters in 17.1 innings but still has a 6.23 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. Stubborn Marlins.
ORIOLES: Darren O’Day (elbow) could be activated after throwing a good bullpen session Wednesday. Zach Britton threw batting practice Tuesday. It sounds like he could begin a minor league rehab stint before the end of the month putting him on track to possible return in the first week of June. Brad Brach has gone 4-straight without allowing a run. He has just two walks in eight outings and seven strikeouts his last 4.2 innings.
PHILLIES: Hector Neris allowed three runs last time out and he’s permitted five runs in his last 2.2 outings. His hold on the 9th inning gig is tenuous at best. Edbray Ramos has pitched better this season with a 1.13 WHIP, 11.25 K/9 rate but he’s also walked 4.50 batters per nine including three his last three innings. #murky
PIRATES: A minor shakeup in front of Felipe Vazquez is occurring. George Kontos is out of the 8th inning with a whole host of others getting a shot.
RAYS: Alex Colome may have found himself. Over his last 11 outings, he has a 1.54 ERA, a 0.77 WHIP, a 10.03 K/9 and one walk in 11.2 innings. Yep, all is back to normal.
TWINS: Fernando Rodney’s velocity is a bit down of late, but he’s converted six straight save chances.
WHITE SOX: Joakim Soria and Nate Jones are now joined by Bruce Rondon as the club looks for 9th inning success. To this point, Rondon has walked 4.85 batters per nine but he hasn’t allowed a homer. Jones has more than a K per inning, but he’s allowed five runs his last three innings. Meanwhile, Soria has allowed three runs his last 2.1 innings. It’s messy, there is little clarity, and none of this is expiring.
You can hear Ray, Monday through Friday, on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). Ray is on The Fantasy Drive 7-10 PM EST M/TU/TH/F and 8-10 Weds, and he’s also on the Guru Elite Show Thursday from 2-4 PM EST. You can follow Ray on Twitter at @baseballguys.