2018 Closer Grid - 6/13
Some places in the world are safe zones where you’re wrapped in a soft blanket with a warm cup of cocoa. 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: Blake Parker is the flavor of the week for the Angels. Let’s see if he can stick. He’s allowed one hit in four outings, all of which have ended up in a save. He’s also struck out six batters in that time and he has allowed one run in eight outings.
ASTROS: We don’t know who the closer is here. Ken Giles converted a save attempt Tuesday. He’s yet to blow a save in 11 chances. He’s also punched out two batters in 4-of-5 games. Giles hasn’t been great, but he’s still yet to blow a save and has the second most saves in baseball without a blown effort (K. Kela below). Meanwhile, Hector Rondon has a save in his last three outings while he’s lowered his ratios to a 1.50 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. This looks like yet another messy situation we have to sift through. Manager A.J. Hinch is running things differently with his whole bullpen. Just consider that Chris Devenski is barely on pace to throw 60 inning this season after throwing 189 innings the past two years.
BLUE JAYS: Roberto Osuna is still on administrative leave. Tyler Clippard last had a save on May 22nd. Since then, Ryan Tepera has three saves. Tepera’s the closer for now and he owns a 2.83 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP this season.
D’BACKS: Brad Boxberger has 14 saves in 16 chances. He has allowed three runs his last three outings. Yoshihisa Hirano has a 1.55 ERA in 32 outings. Archie Bradley hasn’t allowed a run in 9-straight. He’s allowed just four hits.
GIANTS: Hunter Strickland has allowed one unearned run in six outings. He’s allowed one hit while walking three his last four innings. He also has a win and two saves in that time. He’s done nothing to give up the 9th inning gig as he’s gone 13-for-15 converting saves. Mark Melancon has allowed two hits, a walk and one run over four innings. He’s also struck out five and looked pretty solid in doing so in his return from injury.
MARLINS: Kyle Barraclough hasn’t allowed a run in 14-straight outings. He also hasn’t walked a batter in 5-straight, and that might be the most encouraging trend with KB. He has a save in 3-of-4 outings. Over his last 10 outings Drew Steckenrider has allowed three hits, while walking three as he’s held the opponents scoreless.
METS: A.J. Ramos (shoulder) might have surgery, so his outlook for 2018 is up in the air. Jeurys Familia is on the DL with a sore shoulder. Given that he had surgery on the shoulder last season, this is a big-time concern, even if his current stay on the DL isn’t an extended one. We assume that Robert Gsellman is the closer in the interim, he hasn’t allowed a run in 5-straight while permitting one hit in six innings, though Anthony Swarzak picked up a save Sunday. Clearly, the Mets aren’t sold on how to handle the 9th with the loss of Familia.
ORIOLES: Zach Britton (Achilles) was activated from the DL, and in his first outing of the season he looked terrible walking three batters in his inning of work. Darren O’Day (elbow) has been activated from the DL. Brad Brach is the closer until Britton is ready to take over the 9th which could be as early as next week. However, don’t go dropping Brach just yet. Britton was spotty in that first outing, and he’s been unable to stay healthy, so hold Brach at least for now.
PHILLIES: Seranthony Dominguez picked up a save Tuesday, He’s also allowed runs in 2-of-3 outings and that’s three runs in 4.1 innings. Still only has one walk versus 22 strikeouts on the year. Hector Neris had a clean inning last time out to end a run of 4-straight outings allowing a run. This is another muddled ass situation we have to deal with.
RAYS: Chaz Roe, Jose Alvarado and Sergio Romo seem to be in play with Romo picking up the last save. As I’ve written previously, and said many times, this team just doesn’t have a closer. It’s a disaster, no one knows, and we’re all guessing.
RANGERS: Keone Kela has allowed two runs in eight outings. He’s walked three batters in eight outings. He also has 10 strikeouts in that time. He’s 14-for-14 in save conversions this year.
WHITE SOX: Joakim Soria has a save in 5-straight outings. He last allowed a run on May 8th, a span of 11 games. He’s retaken the closer's role. Nate Jones has a 5.19 BB/9 rate and has walked two batters while recording two outs his last two outings. He’s been unscored on in 4-straight games. NOTE: Jones was placed on the DL after this article was written.
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.