We had a closer change this week, a couple of rough stretches from two bullpens on bad teams and a rather exciting unit that caught my eye recently. As always, you can keep up with the latest moves with my closer grid. To the report!
Tolleson Out in Texas
It seems that these major changes always happen immediately after I publish a Closer Report, and sure enough that’s exactly what happened with Shawn Tolleson and the Rangers last week. He blew yet another save in a terrible outing last Tuesday in what ended up being the straw that broke the camel’s back. Jeff Banister announced a change would be made after that game, and Sam Dyson was promoted to the ninth inning. I did talk about this situation last week, and my feelings haven’t changed much since. Texas’ new closer threw twice after the change last week, getting saves in both outings but also allowing a run in one of them. As I said a week ago, I’m not the biggest Dyson fan, though I do believe he is certainly capable of holding the job for a while. Jake Diekman has suddenly become one of the top holds relievers to add in such leagues. Despite some hype for Matt Bush recently, I still believe Diekman is the guy to own as a handcuff to Dyson. Yes, he’s a lefty, but he’s also the most talented option and hasn’t shown any discernible splits over the last two seasons.
I’ve Run Out of Sad Words to Describe the Reds
The Reds bullpen is beyond explanation at this point. I’ve said it a million times, but there’s really no reason for anyone to be owned in this group. There will certainly be some saves here and there, but there’s no clear frontrunner to earn those saves and the damage it will do to your rate stats isn’t worth the handful of saves. If you are desperate for some Cincinnati action on your roster, first of all get some help, please. People care about you. Second, I guess target Ross Ohlendorf? Tony Cingrani looked like the guy for a couple weeks, but he blew his two save chances last week. Ohlendorf has been pretty terrible in May, but he’s also strung together three scoreless outings in a row. Please, just stay away from this bullpen for your sake and the sake of your loved ones.
Trouble Brewing in Minnesota
Nobody can compete with the Reds’ poor bullpen, but lately the Twins have found themselves in that next tier of sadness. For a while, it looked like they’d have a solid duo with Kevin Jepsen and Trevor May taking care of late-game situations with Glen Perkins on the shelf. Jepsen is still the closer, but he’s yet to get in any sort of groove this season. He’s had some solid 2-3 game stretches, but they’re always undone by a stretch of poor outings. Overall, his ERA, FIP and DRA are all above 5.00 on the year. May should have been able to step up and take over the ninth inning amidst Jepsen’s failures, but he’s hit a major rough stretch recently. After an impressive start to his year, he’s allowed runs in each of his last four appearances including two three-run implosions. DRA and cFIP are still fans of his overall work this season, but his fly ball rate is way up and that’s showing in his home run numbers. It’s hard to succeed in high-leverage roles with that kind of home run rate. To make matters even worse, Perkins suffered a setback in his rehab and will be shut down for a week. If you’re looking for a dark horse in this bullpen, keep an eye on Michael Tonkin.
Let’s talk about the Rockies
Nothing major happened in Colorado this week, but they are quickly becoming one of my favorite under-the-radar bullpens in the league. Jake McGee is holding down their closer role and he’s tossed seven straight scoreless outings. It’s true that his K rate is way down on the year, but he does have eight strikeouts over those seven scoreless innings with just one walk. The arms behind him are more interesting, though. Carlos Estevez has just 13 innings to his name, but he’s striking out more than a batter an inning, inducing a swinging strike rate over 28 percent and is pumping high-90s velocity. He’s quickly moved his way up Colorado’s depth chart. They also have Miguel Castro, who just came back from injury and was part of the package in the Troy Tulowitzki deal. The former Blue Jays prospect also hits the high-90s with his fastball and has struck out 10 batters per nine innings over his limited major-league experience. I don’t really recommend targeting future closers in most dynasty leagues, but if you must both of these guys are exciting names to watch. It’s also worth noting that the Rockies could very well find themselves out of contention by the trade deadline and could subsequently move McGee at that point. Such a turn of events would likely result in Estevez or Castro getting consistent save chances.
Jeremy Jeffress blew his first save of the year last week, and Will Smith is just about ready to start his rehab assignment. That doesn’t mean a change is imminent, but Jeffress could turn into a trade chip for the rebuilding Brewers after his great start to the year, opening up some late-season saves for Smith.
So, that Yankees bullpen is just as ridiculous as we all anticipated. Each member of their big three is striking out over 35 percent of their opponents while walking under seven percent. Each of these guys are already owned in all leagues, but sometimes it’s fun to look at dominance such as this.
Kenley Jansen blew two saves this week. His strikeouts are down a bit this year, but he’s still striking out ten batters per nine and he’s still Kenley Jansen. It was a frustrating week for owners, but there’s nothing to worry about.
Roberto Osuna has been phenomenal in Toronto, but the set up men behind him have not. An injury is the only thing that will make the rest of that bullpen relevant, but for now it looks like Joe Biagini has moved up to the second spot on their depth chart. It’s unclear how long he’ll hold this spot, however, as he relies on weak contact rather than pure stuff, giving him a very small margin of error.
Thank you for reading
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