Archive for Bullpen Banter

Searching for Saves: Houston Astros: In A Revamped Bullpen, Who Should Close?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Unable to find stability in their bullpen, the Astros made a splash around the Winter Meetings as they signed both Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek. Will one of the new faces be handed the closer’s role? Could someone already on the roster be better suited for the job? Let’s take a look at the candidates and try to get some clarity on the situation:

 

Chad Qualls
The incumbent, Qualls had 19 saves in 25 opportunities for the Astros in 2014. His strikeout rate has never been his strong suit, with a 7.54 K/9 last season and a career mark of 6.92. Instead he generates groundballs, with a 57.2% mark last season, and uses control to get the job done.

Of course, does anyone truly believe he can maintain last season’s 0.88 BB/9? A regression there would definitely hurt, especially since his ERA was already 3.33. Read more

Searching for Saves: New York Mets: Could A Change Be In Their Future?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There is still plenty of offseason left, so maybe the dynamic of the Mets bullpen changes. However, barring a surprise investment in David Robertson or Andrew Miller, that’s unlikely to happen. As it is the Mets will enter the season with three potential candidates to close out games. Who is going to be the best option? Let’s take a look:

 

Jenrry Mejia
Granted he was pitching with a sports hernia, but if you are going to take the mound you had better get the job done. Mejia did, to an extent, with a 2.72 ERA and 9.59 K/9 as a reliever (remember he opened the season as a starter, making 7 starts).

However, he did post a 1.42 WHIP which should give us a little bit of doubt. A lot of this was due to poor luck, with an 18.4% line drive rate and .344 BABIP, so we don’t want to read too much into the number. He did shoe improved control (3.36 BB/9) and a solid groundball rate (49.1%), so there is enough there to think he can continue to get the job done. Read more

Closer Debate: Is Zach Putnam or Jake Petricka Better Suite For The White Sox Job Long-Term?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s possible that the 2015 Chicago White Sox closer is not on the current roster, but they have two candidates who have been seeing time this season and one of them could easily emerge with a strong finish, or maybe take themselves out of contention.

Let’s take a look at each of the candidates to try and reach a conclusion on who is better suited for the job in 2015:

 

Zach Putnam
He’s earned a handful of saves and could ultimately prove to have the best makeup to close. He owns a 7.57 K/9, 3.29 BB/9 and 53.1% groundball rate.

He strikeout number isn’t what you’d envision from a closer, but he owns a 13.7% SwStr% on the season as well as a 36.0% O-Swing%. Over 180.2 innings at Triple-A, where he worked exclusively as a reliever, he posted an 8.7 K/9. In other words, he has the makeup of a pitcher who should strikeout significantly more batters. In fact, he did see it jump to an 8.20 mark in the second half. Read more

Pick Six: Breaking Down Six Closer Situations: Nationals, Red Sox, Astros & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

At this point in the season it may not take much to have a closer, no matter what the pedigree, removed from his role.  Just look at Koji Uehara in Boston, for instance.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more intriguing closer situations to try and determine where there could be opportunity:

 

Washington Nationals
Current Closer – Rafael Soriano?
Alternatives – Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen

Following Soriano’s blown save on Friday night, manager Matt Williams was quoted by Chase Hughes of CSN Washington (click here for the article) as saying:

“We’ll address it, yeah. We need to address it,” Williams said of the closer position.

That certainly leaves the door open for a potential change, nor could you blame the team if they do.  Soriano has blown 7 saves this season, already a career high, and owns a 6.98 ERA and 1.76 WHIP since the All-Star Break. Read more

Searching For Saves: Could Kevin Quackenbush Quickly Emerge In San Diego?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We’ve mentioned the Padres’ Kevin Quackenbush as someone who could get save opportunities moving forward, regardless of a trade sending Joaquin Benoit out of town happens or not. Why are we so high on him? Let’s take a look.

An eighth round draft pick in 2011, Quackenbush has shown a closers skill set throughout his minor league career. Over 179.0 innings he owned an 11.9 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9. The control did regress a bit at Triple-A, with a 4.3 BB/9 over 48.1 innings pitched. However he was at 2.5 at the level prior to his recall in ’14 and is at 2.70 currently in the Majors.

The strikeouts also dropped upon reaching Triple-A, at a still impressive 9.3. We would like to see a bit higher SwStr% in the Majors, with an 8.8% mark leading to a 9.0 K/9. That said, even if he’s “just” striking out a batter per inning would anyone complain?

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Bullpen Showdown: Jake McGee vs. Brad Boxberger: Who Is Actually The Better Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

I have long been a supporter of Jake McGee and hope that he finally gets an opportunity to hold onto the Rays’ closing job the rest of the season.  However, as the second half gets underway we can’t ignore Brad Boxberger.  He’s proven that he has the stuff to handle ninth inning duties, but could he actually look like the better option moving forward?  Let’s take a look (please note that all statistics are through the All-Star Break):

 

Jake McGee
He’s long proven that he can excel, with a 2.90 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over 192.1 innings in the Major Leagues. He also owns an impressive 10.89 K/9 and 1.96 BB/9 this season (the walk rate would be the second time in the last three years that he was under 2.00). So what exactly is there not to like?

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