Bullpen Report 7.28.17 July 28, 2017  |  Justin Klein


Brad Hand has been stupendous this season as he’s posted a remarkable 2.04 ERA with a career high 11.72 K/9 and a career low 2.38 BB/9. While he’s been a tad lucky in the left on base department as he’s notched an 85% LOB% thus far his 2.55 FIP and 2.78 xFIP are still quite good. Since the Padres dealt Brandon Maurer to the Royals the other day Hand has been their closer and I’ve thusly ranked him as one of the best end game options in the fake game. It’s extremely likely that he’ll be traded in the very near future, but he could potentially close for a multitude of good teams. That’s how good he’s been this season. Outside of a few power house bullpens or those with elite closers Hand would likely step into the closer’s role for a decent percentage of the teams that could potentially trade for his services. That said Hand would also be an elite setup man for teams like Boston, LA, MIL, CHI and HOU. In any case Hand has been dominant this season as he’s currently ranked 113th in standard 5×5 leagues and much higher in those with holds. Had he been closing all season he’d likely be a top 40-50 player in all formats. If Hand somehow stays in San Diego because no one is able to meet their trade demands he will almost surely end the season as a top 10 closer. It’s not out of the question as hand still has two years of arbitration left and isn’t a free agent until the 2020 season. Currently in his prime and performing at a career best in his age 27 season it’s easy to understand why San Diego is demanding a king’s ransom for such a valuable asset. As more and more teams look to shorten the game with the use of a dominant bullpen in the playoffs (KC, NYY, CLE, etc) players like Hand have become more and more valuable. When you combine the fact that Hand might not be traded with the fact that he could very well close on a decent number of the teams that would trade for him and all of a sudden he’s a strong trade candidate in the fake game as well. If Hand were to be traded away from sunny San Diego the closing options would be Phil Maton, Kirby Yates and the currently disabled Carter Capps. Capps was a favorite closer in waiting draft pick and stash at the beginning of the season, but alas he’s still just a closer in waiting. Much of the Capps love stems from his hop step delivery, which was deemed legal by the way, that certainly helped him to amass the astounding 16.84 K/9 he managed in 2015. While Carter recently gave up three runs (two earned) in a Triple-A appearance his ERA went up to 1.59 and he still has a solid 15:4 K:BB ratio in 17 innings pitched. Not to mention that that outing snapped a streak of 15 scoreless innings. Having been pitching in the minors since early June it appears that he’s nearing a major league call up to San Diego. Currently available in 98% of Yahoo leagues Capps is a great player to stash now, especially if you have room on your fake team’s DL. With all of the injuries this season that’s unlikely, but still worth mentioning. Otherwise both Kirby and Phil are decent pickups as well. Maton appears to be the safest option as he’s pitched quite well this season posting a 9.9 K/9, a 0.9 BB/9 and a 3.15 ERA and is still just 24 years old. He’s available in 98% of Yahoo leagues and is likely the best bet in the short term if Hand were to be traded. Then there’s Yates who has an enormous 38% strikeout rate (with two teams), a strong 2.36 ERA and an extremely good 13.63 K/9 to go with a 2.36 BB/9. Yates is 30 years old but he’s still a good candidate to close if Capps isn’t up or healthy and if the Padres want the better strikeout guy to close rather than the younger Maton. Available in 96% of Yahoo leagues Yates should fill up the K’s while posting good ratios for your fake team even if he’s not able to land the closing gig at some point.



In Oakland Blake Treinen was handed the closing gig and promptly blew it as he allowed a game-tying HR to Kendrys Morales in the ninth inning with a one run lead in Toronto on Thursday night. It’s a shame because it was his first save chance with Oakland and because he had tossed several scoreless innings for the Athletics before that outing and since being traded over from Washington. Despite the blown save (finally the Washington bullpen dumpster fire continues elsewhere) Blake is likely to get the next save chance for the A’s. They might as well give him a shot after demoting Santiago Casilla from the role. Currently available in 89% of Yahoo leagues Treinen is a good player to add if you’re desperate for saves. He may torch your ratios from time to time, but if he’s the closer he will more than likely close out some games. Meanwhile Casilla should probably be held onto if you’ve still got him, because he could possibly get the job back; especially if Treinen falters again. He’s available in 45% of Yahoo leagues.

Over in Chicago it’s full speed ahead for Tyler Clippard as the White Sox closer after they dealt Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson to New York and then Anthony Swarzak to Milwaukee. Clippard has an unsightly 5.12 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, but saves are saves are saves. He’s available in 84% of Yahoo leagues if saves are more important to you than toasted ratios. It’s worth noting that Chicago doesn’t have a good team, will likely trade off more veterans, and probably won’t have all that many save chances down the stretch. And with that Clippard could be bad enough that they eventually demote him from the role. But like I said, saves are what they are.

In Washington it appeared that Sean Doolittle was going to take the closer’s role and run with it before he gave up three runs to the Brewers on Wednesday. It was a non save situation, but Ryan Madson still lingers, as well as the possibility of the Nationals trading for yet another bullpen arm. Available in 49% of Yahoo leagues Doolittle is still the frontrunner for saves in DC, and he should be added where possible and held everywhere that he’s owned, but his job as the closer may very well be short lived. Ryan Madson is available in 49% of Yahoo leagues too and could be the next guy to be handed the baton for the Nationals. It’s worth repeating that Madson was the original target of their trade with Oakland and has plenty of successful experience pitching in the ninth inning and closing out games.



In Detroit it appears that Justin Wilson will be traded at any minute and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were traded while I wrote this article and he’s already an Astro, Brewer, National or Cub. There are several teams that want him and he seems destined to be traded; possibly even packaged with a Verlander or Kinsler. The question that everyone seems to be asking in regards to the Detroit bullpen is who will close after Wilson is dealt. The easy answer is Shane Greene, who has been solid this season to the tune of a 2.28 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and a 50:25 K:BB ratio across 44 and 2/3 innings pitched. While that’s a lot of walks the rest of the numbers can’t be ignored. Currently available in 95% of Yahoo leagues he’s my favorite to lead the Tigers in saves if Wilson were to be traded (assuming Greene isn’t also traded). This is in spite of the fact that Bruce Rondon has pitched the eighth inning of late even though he’s been mostly terrible over his career. While Bruce has a big fastball that can touch triple digits he’s never been consistent or successful for any notable length of time at the major league level. Like I said he’s been pitching the eighth and could be given the first shot to close, but I just don’t trust him at this point. He’s basically bad Fernando Rodney and I’m done with him. He’s also available in 99% of Yahoo leagues if you’re desperate. The dark horse for Detroit saves is current minor leaguer and heir apparent Joe Jimenez. Although he struggled in his 4 and 1/3 big league trial this season he has a huge fastball and has notched four saves in Triple-A while posting a 12.75 K/9 and a 1.50 ERA over 24 innings this season. Last season Joe managed to save 30 games across three levels and appears to have been groomed for the role for a few years now. If Greene were to be dealt along with Wilson I’d put my money on Jimenez to finish the season as Detroit’s closer.

Last but not least Greg Holland is on paternity leave for the Rockies and therefore the newly acquired Pat Neshek could see a save or two before he returns to assume the closing role. After that I would drop Neshek in all non holds formats because he’ll be pitching in Colorado and as the great Pianowski always reminds us, gravity always wins.

Without further ado, I give you the almighty closer chart; kneel before thee:

LA Dodgers Kenley Jansen Pedro Baez
& Brandon Morrow
Boston Red Sox Craig Kimbrel Matt Barnes & Heath Hembree Tyler Thornburg
& Carson Smith
Colorado Rockies Greg Holland Adam Ottavino & Jake McGee
Chicago Cubs Wade Davis Koji Uehara
& Carl Edwards Jr
New York Yankees Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances, David Robertson & Tommy Kahnle
Toronto Blue Jays Roberto Osuna Ryan Tepara & Danny Barnes
Pittsburgh Pirates Felipe Rivero Juan Nicasio & Daniel Hudson Tony Watson
Cincinnati Reds Raisel Iglesias Michael Lorenzen
& Drew Storen
San Diego Padres Brad Hand Phil Maton & Kirby Yates Carter Capps
Milwaukee Brewers Corey Knebel Jacob Barnes & Carlos Torres
Houston Astros Ken Giles Will Harris
& Chris Devenski
Seattle Mariners Edwin Diaz James Pazos & Steve Cishek
Cleveland Indians Cody Allen & Andrew Miller Bryan Shaw
Tampa Bay Rays Alex Colome Tommy Hunter
& Brad Boxberger
Arizona Diamondbacks Fernando Rodney Archie Bradley & Jorge DeLaRosa
KC Royals Kelvin Herrera Joakim Soria & Brandon Maurer
LA Angels of Anaheim Bud Norris Cam Bedrosian & David Hernandez
Baltimore Orioles Brad Brach & Zach Britton Darren O’Day & Mychal Givens
Washington Nationals Sean Doolittle & Ryan Madson Matt Albers & Enny Romero Koda Glover & Shawn Kelley
New York Mets Addison Reed Hansel Robles & Fernando Salas Jeurys Familia
Miami Marlins AJ Ramos Brad Ziegler & Kyle Barraclough
Philadelphia Phillies Hector Neris Pat Neshek & Joaquin Benoit
Detroit Tigers Justin Wilson Bruce Rondon
& Shane Green
Joe Jimenez
Atlanta Braves Jim Johnson Arodys Vizcaino
& Jose Ramirez
SF Giants Sam Dyson Hunter Strickland & George Kontos Mark Melancon
St Louis Cardinals Seung hwan Oh & Trevor Rosenthal Brett Cecil & Matt Bowman
Texas Rangers Alex Caludio Keone Kela & Matt Bush & Jose Leclerc
Minnesota Twins Brandon Kintzler Taylor Rodgers
& Matt Belisle
Glen Perkins
Oakland Athletics Blake Treinen Santiago Casilla
& Liam Hendricks
Chicago White Sox Tyler Clippard Gregory Infante
& Dan Jennings
Nate Jones
updated: 7/28/17

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