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August 18, 2014

Closer Report

Week 21

by Mauricio Rubio

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Chicago White Sox
Jake Petricka has been the most reliable and healthy reliever in the White Sox bullpen this year. It’s been a nice surprise, but I’ve never thought of Petricka as a high-leverage reliever. He has a strikeout rate that is approaching acceptable at 18 percent, but generally, if you’re looking at relievers who operate lower in the strikeout rate department, you want a guy who has command. Petricka also loses the zone enough for an 11 percent walk rate. That’s unacceptable considering how many bats he fails to miss. Matt Lindstrom was activated off the disabled list and had a bad outing against Toronto this past Saturday. I believe in Lindstrom more than I do in Petricka as a speculative saves play down the stretch.

San Diego Padres
Joaquin Benoit is dealing with a barky shoulder, which is a situation that absolutely deserves monitoring. Benoit is having a tremendous season at 37, as he has a 0.85 WHIP and a 31.1 percent strikeout rate. He is slated to be available on Tuesday, but I think it would be prudent to check up on Kevin Quackenbush and Dale Thayer in the Padres bullpen. Quackenbush is the logical next man up.

St. Louis Cardinals
Mike Matheny reaffirmed that Trevor Rosenthal is his closer on Sunday in response to a question about a possible role change for Rosenthal. He’s a talented reliever—one who has the stuff to pitch in the ninth inning—but his command leaves something to be desired. Rosenthal pairs a high strikeout rate (29.5 percent) with a high walk rate (12.3 percent), and it’s lea to some high-wire acts in the ninth inning for the Cardinals, who are in the playoff hunt. I believe in Rosenthal’s stuff to prevail at the end of the day, but I have him handcuffed with Pat Neshek in most leagues.

Detroit Tigers
It’s difficult to find any type of silver lining in the Detroit bullpen, but ever since his meltdown outing against Cleveland on July 19th, Joe Nathan has not been awful. It’s only a 10-inning stretch, but he’s shaved off almost an entire run off his ERA in that span. It speaks to how awful Nathan has been as much as it is an encouraging sign about possible progress. Joakin Soria is hurt and Joba Chamberlain is next in line in Detroit. I’ve picked up Al Alburquerque in a few deep leagues, as I think he’s a stretch-run sleeper for saves.

News and Notes

San Francisco Giants
Sergio Romo is creepin’. He hasn’t given up an earned run since July 16th and his command looks better.

Texas Rangers
Neftali Feliz has been looking sharp lately, and the velocity is working in the 93 mph zone. Positive signs for the future.

Cincinnati Reds
Aroldis Chapman proves to be fallible just like the rest of us. He walked all four batters he faced before being lifted on Sunday. The Reds eventually gave up five runs against the Rockies with J.J. Hoover giving up a three-run homerun to Drew Stubbs. Call me crazy, but I think Chapman will be okay after this.

Mauricio Rubio is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mauricio's other articles. You can contact Mauricio by clicking here

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