Bullpen Report 4.11.17
April 11, 2017 | Justin Klein
Joaquin Benoit appears to be the new closer in Phillidelphia after Jeanmar Gomez’s blow up and subsequent banishment to middle relief. This is in spite of the fact that Hector Neris is obviously the best arm in the Phillies bullpen. At least now we have some clarity on the issue as it seems clear that Phillies management is not interested in Neris’ price going up in arbitration if he were to be the dominant pitcher he is while accruing saves. In less the Phillies want to deploy Neris in some sort of hybrid role like Andrew Miller I would file a grievance with the player’s union to thwart this type of thrifty behavior. Not only is Neris far and away the best reliever on the staff, but he’d be a top flight closer if he were to ascend to the throne. While he does a great Delin Betances impersonation it will be even better now that they both pitch in a set up role. Meanwhile Benoit has all the tools to be successful in the closer’s role and keep Neris at bay. In his career Joaquin has nailed down 51 saves while posting a solid 8.95 K/9. His one bugaboo is the free pass as he allowed 4.50 walks per nine innings last season. While that was the highest mark he had posted in eight seasons its still relevant. If it becomes an issue we could see the Phillies bite their lip and give Neris the gig after all. Currently available in 59% of Yahoo leagues Joaquin Benoit should be picked up and owned everywhere as long as he is the closer. The Phillies aren’t a good team, but Benoit can still provide 25-30+ saves and solid ratios to go with a healthy amount of K’s.
Sean Doolittle notched his first save of the season on Monday as the A’s topped the Royals. Previous closer Santiago Casilla worked a scoreless eighth innings where he struck out the side. The Doolittle did a lot when he came on in the ninth and struck out the side around a walk and a hit. It appears that Sean got the call over Santiago because there were a slew of left handed hitters due up for the Royals in the ninth inning and thus a better matchup for the left handed Doolittle. The A’s are in full committee mode and we could even see Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull or someone else notch some rogue saves. I’d expect that the majority of them go to Casilla and Doolittle going forward. Casilla is somehow available in 53% of Yahoo leagues though I suspect he’s long gone in the competitive ones by now. Dootlittle however is still available in 88% of Yahoo leagues so there’s a chance that he’s out there if you need him. If you need help with saves, ratios and/or K’s Sean should help your fake team in those categories.
Addison Reed is the closer for the Mets for nine more days, but for some reason he’s still available in 38% of Yahoo leagues. Even if Jeurys Familia immediately takes the closer role back once he’s eligible on 4/20 Reed will continue to contribute solid ratios and K’s along with handful of wins and saves. If Reed is floating around in your league’s free agent pool you should pick him up and consider keeping him even when he’s in a setup role.
Francisco Rodriguez AKA KRod looked good on Monday after blowing a save last Friday when he gave up three hits including a HR for one earned run in an inning and a third. He wound up winning the game though as the Tigers came back to win. Meanwhile the player that I thought was poised to push for the closing gig was sent down as the Tigers optioned Bruce Rondon and brought up the next closer in waiting in Joe Jimenez. Last year Joe saved 30 games across three levels while never posting an ERA higher than 2.30 and a K/9 below 9.19. There’s a chance that he never even sniffs the closing role this season, but if he did he could potentially take the gig and run with it. He’s a decent addition in holds leagues or deep leagues. Justin Wilson is currently the eighth innings set up guy, but Jimenez has the highest ceiling of the other RP’s and is the next “closer in waiting” now that Rondon was sent down.
To begin the season Michael Lorenzen appeared in four straight games. He pitched a scoreless inning on April third, fifth and seventh, notching two holds, a zero ERA and four K’s in three innings pitched. On April sixth he pinch hit and knocked the ball out of the park to give the Reds a 5-4 lead in a game they would go on to win 7-4. Then he didn’t appear again until April 10th when he pitched three perfect innings and notched three more K’s and his first win of the season. Currently available in 93% of Yahoo leagues Lorenzen is a solid add in just about every format. Not only will he provide solid ratios and K’s, but he should also move the needle in the wins and saves departments. It sure doesn’t hurt that the guy ahead of him, Raisel Iglesias, is about as fragile as it gets. Even if Iglesias stays healthy all year I expect Michael to vulture a few saves and if he keeps going multiple innings he could easily push 100-120 innings pitched. He then basically enters SP4 territory on innings alone, albeit with much better ratios. If you need some help with your pitching numbers you could do far worse then add Michael Lorenzen. If for some reason Iglesias were to miss time Lorenzen would likely move into his multiple inning closing role and have a ton of value in the process.
Without further ado, I give you the almighty closer chart; kneel before thee: