Closer Grid - 7/11
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 9thinning 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.
ASTROS: Ken Giles is still perfect with a 12-for-12 mark in save situations, while he has allowed 17 runs and 29 hits in 86 plate appearances when there wasn’t a save situation.He allowed three baserunners Tuesday night, in a non-save situation, and was summarily removed by manager A.J. Hinch (Ken allowed one run to score). It’s unclear what he said as he was being taken out, but this video shows someone not to pleased with his manager. Can’t think that Giles is going to be getting work in the 9thinning after that public outburst. After being removed, the Astros pen imploded as Hector Rondon entered, and the runs started flying off the board (all three runs were charged to Giles while Rondon also gave up one run charged to him). Rodon ended up with his third blown save of the season and he’s now 7-for-10 in the old conversion game, but still, he’s the preferred option of A.J. Hinch.
NOTE: The Astros sent Giles to the minors Wednesday afternoon.
BLUE JAYS: Roberto Osuna is set to being his rehab assignment with the rookie level GCL Blue Jays. His suspension ends on August 5th, and from the sounds of it there won’t be much of a delay at getting him back into the 9th inning.It’s hard to add him now though unless you have a DL/Suspension list you can stash him on as we are still weeks away from his return. Ryan Tepera (elbow) threw 20 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday, and it sounds like he could be back by the end of the week.
BRAVES: Arodys Vizcaino is the closer, but A.J. Minter is closing the gap, and it sounds like he will continue to get work in the 9th inning. Viz has performed well this season, he has a K per inning, a 1.71 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP, but the Braves are still a bit nervous about overworking him, and they seem to want to play matchups as well leaving space for lefty Minter to pick up some saves. Dan Winkler is clearly the third option, and he’s allowed three runs in seven outings, though they were all in the same game.
CUBS: Brandon Morrow has been dominant with 20 saves, a 1.63 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. That said, he’s tossed a total of 27.2 innings as the club is micromanaging the hell out of him. After being used in back-to-back games, the Cubs decided that Morrow needed two days off, which is why he wasn’t used in a save situation Tuesday. That was the second time, since he returned from the DL, that he wasn’t used in a save situation when there was no word that he wasn’t available. “It’s not something you want the opposition to know,” manager Joe Maddon said. Just realize that it will continue to be the case – the micromanagement thing – to give Morrow the best chance to be healthy all season long.
GIANTS: Over his last six outings, Will Smith has allowed one hit, he hasn’t walked a batter, and he has nine punchouts. He’s also posted three saves in that time and appears to be the Giants lead option at the moment.
INDIANS: Cody Allen was left in to get lit up for six runs Tuesday night after entering in a non-save situation (4-0 lead). He is still 18-for-19 in save chances and owns the 9thinning gig as the entire Indians bullpen continues its implosion.
MARLINS: There are rumors floating around that Kyle Barraclough (1.34 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 8 saves) will be dealt. It also seems probable that Brad Ziegler (one earned run his last 19 games) is likely on his way out of town. That means we could finally see Drew Steckenrider moved into the closer's role by the end of the month. DS has a 0.44 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP over his last 23 outings by the way.
PHILLIES: Seranthony Dominguez has performed like a boss all season long as he’s 8-for-9 in save conversions and hasn’t allowed a run in 6-straight outings to lower his ERA to 1.71. Manager Gabe Kapler though thinks he’s smarter than the game, so the Phils closer is now co-closer with Victor Arano…for no reason whatsoever. Like none. Arano has three saves since July 4th, Dominguez none. Again, SD has done NOTHING to lose the 9th inning role and both men are also right-handed. SD is still the top guy, but goodness, this Arano crap is troubling as Gabe Kapler continues to use his protractor and abacus to make baseball decisions.
PIRATES: Felipe Vazquez hasn’t allowed a run his last 11 outings. He’s also walked a mere two batters while punching out a massive 22 batters in 11.2 innings.
RAYS: Jose Alvarado has been placed on the family medical emergency list. He will be away through the All-Star Break. Sergio Romo continues to rack up saves with Alvarado and Chaz Roe on the shelf, that is until he is traded.
REDS: Raisel Iglesias is a luxury for the Reds, and it’s possible he’s dealt. Under control for an extremely reasonable $5 million each of the next two years, he could bring a nice haul at the trade deadline if they choose to move him. If so, Jared Hughes would take over. Hughes has only a 7.13 K/9 rate, but his overall game has gotten a lot of outs (1.13 WHIP, 1.50 ERA).
ROCKIES: Wade Davis has 25 saves in 29 chances. He’s allowed just one run his last seven outings as he’s walked just one guy. Adam Ottavino has allowed five runs his last seven innings as he’s walked six batters.
TIGERS: Shane Greene (shoulder) has thrown each of the past three days. It sounds like he could be back right after the A.S.B. That will leave him two weeks to prove his health so the Tigers can deal him. Joe Jimenez has four wins, three saves, a 10.10 K/9 rate and a 2.85 ERA in 44 outings. Continue to hold him as he figures to slide back into the closers role once Greene is dealt.
TWINS: Fernando Rodney has five blown saves next to his total of 20. He’s allowed one run in four outings and he’s walked just three batters in 11 outings. Addison Reed has a 9.42 ERA his last 14.1 innings, and he’s been sent to the DL with right triceps tendinitis.
You can hear Ray, Monday through Friday, on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). Ray is on The Fantasy Drive 8-10 PM EST Monday-Friday, and he’s also on the Guru Elite Show Thursday from 2-4 PM EST. You can follow Ray on Twitter at @baseballguys.