Archive for Bullpen Banter

Searching For Saves: Could Wily Peralta Be The Best Closing Option For Milwaukee?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

If you follow the mantra of “Don’t pay for saves,” you are always looking for the next great closer to emerge.  They often seem to come out of nowhere, as team’s suddenly shift a starter or elite prospect to the bullpen to fill a need.  Considering the moves Milwaukee have made in recent months, jettisoning three potential closer options, they’ve left a gaping void at the back of the bullpen.  There isn’t an obvious option to step in, so could the team go unconventional?

They have a slew of starting options, so after his struggles to figure it out in the rotation could the Brewers transition Wily Peralta to the bullpen?  Over the past two seasons he’s posted ERAs of 4.72 and 4.86, so it’s easy to argue that they have nothing to lose.  Plus, isn’t it easy to envision his skills playing well in short bursts?

Peralta has never shown much strikeout stuff in the Majors, with a career 6.38 K/9.  However he’s always been a player we’ve seen more upside in than that.  As it is his fastball averages 94.8 mph, and without having to pace himself there’s reason to believe that it ticks up another mile per hour or two.  That would help his slider play up, a pitch that already boasted a 15.09% Whiff% in ’16. Read more

Searching for Saves: Can Daniel Hudson Claim The Closers Role In Pittsburgh?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Pirates took a step in replacing Mark Melancon, the ace closer they traded at the Trade Deadline, with the addition of Daniel Hudson yesterday. The question now is if he’s going to step into the closer’s role? Maybe not initially, after Tony Watson fared well in the role in ’16, but it’s certainly not impossible at some point. Let’s take a look at both relievers and their potential upside:


Daniel Hudson
His 5.22 ERA would make you think that he isn’t a strong option, and he obviously struggled (a 27.1% line drive rate tells us that), but there clearly is upside. As it is he showed enough strikeouts (8.65 K/8) and solid control (3.28 BB/9) for the second straight season.  That said, his strikeouts improved dramatically as the season progressed:

  • First Half – 6.82
  • Second Half – 10.87

With a 12.0% SwStr% (after a 13.0% mark in 2015) and a fastball that averaged 95.7 mph, there’s obviously reason to believe in the increased numbers. He also generated a lot of popups (19.0%), so while we’d love to see a few more groundballs (40.9%) the makeup is strong.

We all know that Pittsburgh has a habit of turning these types of pitchers into stars, and Hudson could easily thrive.


Tony Watson
He did earn 15 saves last season, but he’s not your prototypical strikeout closer (7.71 K/9) nor does he generate a lot of groundballs (43.8%). The question is if he’s more of a left-handed specialist, after allowing 8 HR to right-handed hitters last season.

He has held righties to a .211 BAA against over his career and his slugging isn’t all that bad:

  • vs. RHH – .352
  • vs. LHH – .284

It’s easy to see him getting a shot to open the year with the role, given his success. At the same time could the Pirates want him back in his prototypical setup role? That’s another easy thing to envision.


While we wouldn’t expect Hudson to open the year with the job, even if it’s not Watson who doesn’t start in it, would it be a surprise if he ultimately got an opportunity? We long thought he could rise to the role in Arizona, and a fresh start in an organization that has long gotten the most out of its pitchers could be the perfect opportunity. As a late round flier, for those searching for saves, he makes a ton of sense.

Source – Fangraphs

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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:

Standard League
OBP League
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
Relief Pitcher01/02/17--

Searching for Saves: Will Edwin Diaz Emerge As One Of The Elite Closers?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

He wasn’t expected to close in 2016, especially since he wasn’t transitioned to the bullpen until after the season had already began. That said Edwin Diaz forced the Mariners’ hand as he thrived in his new role, including a 2.79 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 15.33 K/9 over 51.2 IP in the Majors. The question now isn’t if he can thrive in the role, the question is if he can be one of the elite.

The owner of a minor league career 9.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9, his stuff wasn’t really a significant question. However, pitching in short bursts certainly suited him even better. He averaged 97.3 mph on his fastball and featured a nearly unhittable slider:

  • Whiff% – 34.83%
  • BAA – .141
  • SLG – .171

That type of wipeout pitch certainly helps him at the end of games, though you have to wonder if utilizing just two pitches could ultimately catchup to him. Then again, he had been working on a change up prior to the transition and if the league adjusts its certainly possible that he starts using it again. Read more

Searching For Saves: Is Kelvin Herrera Prepared To Be A Top 10 Closer In 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The trade of Wade Davis has opened the Royals’ closing job for Kelvin Herrera, who fared well in the role when Davis was injured in ’16 (12 saves).  Can he maintain his impressive marks from a year ago or is he destined to stumble?  First his numbers from 2016:

72.0 IP
2 Wins
12 Saves
2.75 ERA
0.96 WHIP
86 Strikeouts (10.75 K/9)
12 Walks (1.50 BB/9)
44.2% Groundball Rate
.290 BABIP

The owner of a career 9.09 K/9 and 2.68 BB/9, his success boils down to his ability to maintain his strikeout and walk rates from a year ago.  The question is, can he? Read more

Bullpen Banter: Has Edwin Diaz Emerged As An Elite Closing Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

You can’t argue that Edwn Diaz took well to his transition from starter to reliever. Maybe there were a few bumps along the way, but the numbers he posted were among the elite:

51.2 IP
2.79 ERA
1.16 WHIP
15.33 K/9
2.61 BB/9

Walks had never been a major issue, with a minor league career BB/9 of 3.0. He had also always shown the propensity to generate swings and misses, but coming out for an inning at a time allowed him to truly put his swing and miss stuff on display.  With a fastball averaging 97.3 mph, he posted a gaudy 18.5% SwStr%. Complementing it with a nearly unhittable slider, the strikeout rate seems realistic. Just look at the Whiff% for his two pitches:

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Bullpen Notes: October 1, 2016: Kimbrel’s Control, Dull/Neris Opportunities Not Coming & More

Are you following @Rotoprofessor on Twitter? If not you should be, as we Tweet out all the important bullpen notes every morning from the previous day’s games. Who is in jeopardy of losing their job? Who is worth the speculative add? Here are this morning tweets (Please note we won’t be posting these on the website every day, so make sure you follow @Rotoprofessor to ensure you don’t miss a thing):

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