Archive for Bullpen Banter

Fantasy Fallout: Is Tyler Clippard The Best Option To Replace Sean Doolittle?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

On Friday night the news broke that Sean Doolittle would miss the start of the 2015 season due to a slight tear in his rotator cuff.  The exact timeframe for his return is not yet known, but obviously the status of the A’s bullpen is now completely flux.  While Doolittle will still hold value, assuming he can recover from the injury (which is no guarantee), all eyes now fall on who can step into the closer’s role.  Lucky for Oakland they aren’t short on options:

 

Tyler Clippard
The acquisition of Clippard (in exchange for Yunel Escobar) looks a lot bigger now than it did a few weeks ago.  Consistently passed over in Washington, it now appears Clippard would be the front-runner to assume closing duties in Oakland. Read more

Searching For Saves: Texas Rangers: Why Neftali Feliz Is On The Hot Seat

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It would appear like Neftali Feliz was set to take the Rangers’ closers job and run with it, finally returning to the role after a pair of injury plagued seasons. Is he really a guarantee to produce, though? Who could step in if (or maybe we should say when) a need arises? Let’s take a look:

 

Neftali Feliz
Sure his 1.99 ERA and 0.98 WHIP appear to be appealing, but the numbers have to be taken with some important caveats in mind:

1. Significant Luck
A 100% strand rate? A .176 BABIP (despite a 21.6% line drive rate)? We all know these are numbers that are nearly impossible to repeat and will lead to a significant drop in production. Read more

Searching for Saves: San Francisco Giants: Will It Be Romo or Casilla?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Just when we thought Sergio Romo was ready to run with the Giants’ closing job and establish himself as one of the elite, he loses the job to Santiago Casilla in 2014 and can safely considered a “bust” for the year. With Romo resigned there’s no clear cut answer as to who will open the year as closer, but there is a definitive better option. Who is it? Let’s take a look:

 

Santiago Casilla
He has 19+ saves in two of the past three seasons, so it makes sense that his name is in the discussion. That said, is he really a good option…

Casilla gets the job done with groundballs and… Really, he just gets it done with groundballs (56.1% in 2014). While you can point to a 2.31 BB/9 last season, that’s the exception not the rule. He owns a career 3.96 BB/9 and has posted a mark north of 4.00 in four of the past six seasons. Read more

Searching for Saves: San Diego Padres: Can Joaquin Benoit Be An Elite Closer?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As 2014 came to a close the assumption was that Joaquin Benoit would be dealt for pieces that fit into San Diego’s future. It made sense, at 37-years old, but that was then. After new GM A.J. Preller relentlessly upgraded a lineup with Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks, all while leaving the starting pitching untouched, the Padres are clearly in position to win now.

Suddenly, trading arguably your best reliever makes little sense. Of course, that doesn’t mean Benoit is guaranteed anything as Kevin Quackenbush is still in place to grab the role. Let’s take a look at both pitchers to determine who the better investment is.

Joaquin Benoit
He’s long been one of the elite setup men in the game, though over the past two seasons he’s proven capable of closing out games as well (35 saves in 38 opportunities). Even pitching in the AL there were few pitchers who brought his potential for strikeouts and control to the table. In his first season in the NL he looked absolutely dominant en route to a 1.49 WRA and 0.77 WHIP. Read more

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