Let’s continue our tour around the league to update the bullpen situations. Over the past few weeks we’ve already looked at:
Today, let’s turn our attention to the NL West (all statistics are through Saturday, June 16):
Closer – J.J. Putz
Next In Line – David Hernandez
Third Option – Bryan Shaw
Putz has been a disappointment this season, sporting a 5.40 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 3 blown saves. However, he’s still bringing a good strikeout rate (9.90 K/9) and control (1.80 BB/9). The problem is partially due to slightly elevated BABIP (.327, though opponents have posted an 18.6% line drive rate compared to 13.2% in ’11).
The biggest issue has been the home run ball, however. He’s currently posting a 1.80 HR/9 due to a 16.7% HR/FB rate. Since 2007 his worst HR/9 has been 0.78, so it’s very obvious that this is an aberration. There’s no reason to do anything drastic, he should be able to right the ship.
The rest of the bullpen is pitching well, but I wouldn’t expect a change to be in order barring an injury to Putz. Hernandez and Shaw could see some vulture save opportunities but right now only hold value in formats that utilize middle relievers.
Closer – Rafael Betancourt
Next In Line – Rex Brothers
Third Option – Matt Belisle
Most people have forgotten about Brothers at this point. Maybe the Rockies don’t currently view him as the closer in waiting, like they may have at the start of the season, but it’s only a matter of time. Since returning from the minor leagues all he has done is post a 1.17 ERA, 0.65 WHIP and 15.26 K/9 over 7.2 IP. Sure, you can point to a .083 BABIP but he was due for an improvement. He just isn’t as bad as he showed over the first two months (BABIP of .480 and .524 in April & May).
As we’ve seen, he has potentially elite strikeout stuff and could be a lights out reliever. He’s not replacing Betancourt any time soon, as the Rockies closer has pitched as expected with a 3.00 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. He brings elite control (6 BB) and has actually flashed strikeout per nine stuff this season (24 K over 24 IP). Barring an injury, he’s going to hold down the job. Just keep a close eye on Brothers for now.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Closer – Kenley Jansen
Next In Line – Josh Lindblom
Third Option – Ronald Belisario
With Javy Guerra on the DL there is little competition for Jansen. Not that it was really a competition at this point anyways. Jansen has 51 K over 32.1 IP. That’s really all you need to know.
Lindblom is pitching well, with a 2.12 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 29 K over 34.0 IP. That brings value in leagues that use middle relievers, but he’s never going to hold value as a closer.
San Diego Padres
Closer – Huston Street
Next In Line – Dale Thayer
Third Option – Luke Gregerson
Dale Thayer thrived in the closers role, but has not been effective in his past eight outings. Over that span he’s allowed 11 ER (at least 1 R in 4 outings) over 7.0 IP. He’s also allowed 13 H and 3 BB, striking out 5. Is he still considered the next in line if Street were to go down again? Possibly, but at this point I can’t consider it a lock. He was a surprise choice to begin with and he may have pitched himself out of the role.
Gregerson has been the better reliever of late with a 2.70 ERA in June, as well as 8 K over 6.2 IP. We’ll leave Thayer listed as the second in line, but don’t be surprised if Gregerson gets the call if someone is needed (and, given Street’s history, it’s probably a when, not if, someone is needed).
San Francisco Giants
Closer – Santiago Casilla
Next In Line – Sergio Romo
Third Option – Jeremy Affeldt
We all knew the Giants had a deep bullpen, so it shouldn’t be a major surprise that someone was able to step up and seamless take over for Brian Wilson. Casilla has fully entrenched himself as the closer and is not about to give up the role. He hasn’t brought elite strikeout stuff (22 K over 26.1 IP), but he has 18 saves, a 1.37 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.