Editor's Note: All stats are from May 4, 2016
When you consider the Braves have seven wins, their ratio for saves doesn’t seem that bad. On the year, Atlanta has six saves, four wins, and seven losses from the bullpen arms while posting a poor ERA (4.83 – 26th). As bad as they look, I have to believe the Braves will win more than 44 games which they are currently on pace for after 26 games. Arodys Vizcaino is 3-for-4 in save chances with only one run allowed in 10.1 innings while striking out 16 batters. His blown save came on May 1st when he allowed an unearned run and three baserunners in 1.1 innings. Jason Grilli picked up his 2nd save after Vizcaino coughed up the lead. Jason has allowed a run or more in five of his ten appearances leading to a 6.00 ERA and 2.11 WHIP. Hunter Cervenka has only allowed one hit and no runs in his 6.2 innings of work with eight Ks. He looked like the only other arm of value in this bullpen at this point of the season.
A.J. Ramos saw his eight-inning scoreless streak end on April 28th when he allowed a run and two hits in a successful save conversion. A.J. has yet to blow a lead in eight save chances with a plus ERA (0.87) while still walking too many batters (eight in 10.1 innings). David Phelps earned a save last week when Ramos was unavailable after pitching in five games over a six-day period. Phelps extended his shutout streak to eight innings with only three hits allowed and 10 Ks. On the year, David has 19 Ks in 16 innings with a 1.13 ERA. Kyle Barraclough hasn’t allowed a run in 8.2 innings of work with 14 Ks and five holds. Miami sits 14th in bullpen ERA (3.59) with four wins, four losses, and ten saves.
New York Mets
The Mets have the 8th best bullpen ERA (2.79) in baseball after 25 games with three wins, two losses, and nine saves. Jeurys Familia allowed a run in four of his last eight games, but he hasn’t blown a save all year in his eight chances. Batters have two or more hits in six of his 13 innings of work. Addison Reed had his 6.1 inning scoreless streak end in his last game when he allowed a pair of runs and three baserunners in one inning. His arm looks to be improving. On the year, Reed has 16 Ks in 12.1 innings with a 3.65 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Hansel Robles hasn’t allowed a run in his last four innings with four strikeouts.
Any Fantasy owner that invested in Jeanmar Gomez early in the season has no complaints so far. Gomez is 9-for-9 in saves while also picking up a pair of wins in his last 13 games. He has a six-inning shutout streak in the works with no walks in his last seven innings. The arm of Hector Neris is on the rise as well. Over his last 9.2 innings, Neris has 18 Ks while allowing only two runs and two walks. Over 16.1 innings, Hector has a 1.10 ERA and 0.67 WHIP with 27 Ks. David Hernandez has also been elite over his last five games (two runs allowed in eight innings with one walk and 14 Ks). Andrew Bailey hasn’t allowed a run in five innings with six Ks since being called up from the minors. As great as all of this seems, the Phillies still rank 24th in the majors in bullpen ERA (4.34) after 26 games with six wins, two losses, and ten saves.
Some years back I was a big fan of Jonathan Papelbon as he helped Boston win the World Series in 2007. His game and persona have lost some luster over the last year, which make him an easy guy to root against. In his last outing, Jon blew his second save in 11 chances when he allowed three runs and five baserunners in two-thirds of an inning. Papelbon has a poor ERA (4.50) and WHIP (1.42) after his first 12 innings pitched. Shawn Kelley extended his scoreless streak to 8.1 innings with 12 Ks and no walks. Felipe Rivero was beaten up pretty good on April 28th when he allowed three runs and three baserunners without recording an out, but he remains the third best arm in this bullpen. The Nationals have the 9th best bullpen ERA (2.80) after 26 games with four wins, four losses, and ten saves.
The Cubs have the second best bullpen in the city of Chicago while ranking 5th overall in the league in bullpen ERA (2.51) with three wins, two losses, and four saves. Their lack of saves is due to the Cubs outscoring their opponents by 89 runs after 25 games (3.56 per game). Hector Rondon saw his seven-inning shutout streak end in his last game when he allowed a run and two hits in one inning leading to a loss. Overall, Hector has 14 Ks and no walk in eight innings with a plus ERA (1.13) and WHIP (.050). Pedro Strop bounced back over the last week (no runs or walks in 2.1 innings with four Ks) after struggling with his command on April 26th (two walks and two runs). Adam Warren hasn’t allowed a run in 2016 over nine innings with 10 Ks. Justin Grimm remains the 4th strong bullpen arm (two runs allowed in 8.1 innings with 12 Ks and no walks).
The Reds only have one save all season. They rank last in bullpen ERA (6.52) with six wins and eight losses while walking 56 batters in 98 innings. On the positive side, J.J. Hoover lowered his ERA to 13.97 after allowing two runs and six baserunners in his last 3.2 innings. J.J. pitched in the 7th on April 29th when Cinci was trailing by two runs, and he pitched in the 9th in his last game with the Reds losing by three runs. He has no real chance at closing even by default. Even with a 6.00 ERA on the year, Ross Ohlendorf looks like the arm that will get the next save chance for Cinci. Over his last 5.1 innings, Ross allowed one run and one hit with no walks and five Ks. Tony Cingrani allowed a run in three of his last six outings covering 5.1 innings with ten baserunners allowed and six Ks. He’s issued nine walks in 11 innings this year.
Jeremy Jeffress has shown some cracks in his last five innings (four runs and nine baserunners), but he remains perfect in his seven save chances. Tyler Thornburg continues on the upward path with only one poor outing (three runs on two HRs in 1.1 innings) on his 2016 resume. In his other nine innings of work, Tyler has only allowed four hits and no runs with 14 Ks. The Brewers hope to have Corey Knebel back in the next week or so, but he’s yet to throw an inning or work in the minors. Milwaukee ranks 25th in the majors in bullpen ERA (4.68) with three wins, no losses, and seven saves.
The Pirates improved to 21st in baseball in bullpen ERA (4.19) with four wins, three losses, and nine saves. Their relievers still walk too many batters (49 in 101 innings). Mark Melancon is 7-for-8 in save conversions with a 2.61 ERA and 1.06 WHIP over 10.1 innings. Tony Watson threw two shutout innings over the last week with three Ks after allowing five runs and ten baserunners in his previous 6.1 innings. Neftali Feliz pitched poorly in three of his last eight outing (six runs and seven baserunners). His ERA has faded to 4.91 with two homers allowed in 11 innings.
St. Louis Cardinals
Trevor Rosenthal hasn’t had a save chance since April 24th while only pitching one shutout inning since that date. He’s converted all five save chances with 16 Ks in eight innings. Seung-Hwan Oh had his 4.1 inning scoreless streak end on May 1st when he allowed a run and two hits in two-thirds of an inning. On the year, Oh has 20 Ks in 14.2 innings with a win and four holds leading to a 1.84 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. Kevin Siegrist bounced back with 2.1 shutout innings with two Ks after blowing up on April 25th (three runs and three baserunners while failing to record an out). The Cardinals have the 11th best bullpen ERA (3.08) in 2016 after 26 games with four wins, three losses, and five saves.
The Diamondbacks bullpen has pitched the most innings (111.1) in the majors after 28 games. They rank 22nd in bullpen ERA (4.20) with six wins, five losses, and six saves. Brad Ziegler puked up the lead when he allowed three runs and five baserunners in one-third of an inning. Over his last 11 games, Brad has allowed four runs and 22 baserunners in 11.1 innings. His rope in the 9th inning is getting shorter. Daniel Hudson hasn’t allowed a run in his last five innings with four Ks. On the year, Dan has a 0.77 ERA and 0.51 WHIP in 11.2 innings with 10 Ks. Tyler Clippard struggled in three of his last four innings (four runs and seven baserunners with five Ks). Arizona called up Zac Curtis from High-A this week to upgrade the left side of their bullpen. Over 10.1 innings in the minors, Zac had 22 Ks while allowing too many runs (6) and baserunners (17). In 2015 at A ball, Curtis had a 1.33 ERA with 75 Ks in 54 innings while recording 33 saves.
Jake McGee bounced back with three shutout innings leading to two saves after getting drilled for five runs and six baserunners in two-thirds of an inning on April 24th, but he did allow five baserunners. On the year, Jake is 6-for-7 in save chances with only four Ks in 8.2 innings while allowing six runs and 16 baserunners. Chad Qualls hasn’t allowed a run in his last 5.2 innings with batters getting one hit. Jason Motte threw a bullpen session this week, which gives him a chance to back in the majors in the next week or so. The Rockies rank 28th in baseball in bullpen ERA (5.04) with four wins, four losses, and six saves.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers bullpen lacks impact arms to win a World Series. After 26 games, they are 18th in the majors in bullpen ERA (3.84) with five wins, five losses, and ten saves. Kenley Jansen is a stud with even higher upside with more innings pitched. He only has one save chance since April 24th. His 9.2 inning shutout streak ended on April 29th when he allowed a run and two hits in one inning. Jansen has been successful in all 10 of his save chances. Pedro Baez allowed a run and two hits (one HR) in his last 1.1 innings with one K. His stats points to some upside (2.53 ERA and 14 Ks in 10.2 innings). Joe Blanton extended his scoreless streak to 10.2 innings with eight Ks. Chris “I’m overrated” Hatcher allowed eight runs and 12 baserunners in his last 3.1 innings.
San Diego Padres
As a Fernando Rodney owner, I have to say I’m happy with his start to his 2016 season. Fernando converted all six of his save chances while pitching 10.1 shutout innings with 11 Ks. His downside is tied to his walks, which spiked a bit in his last four innings of work (three). Ryan Buchter has only allowed two hits and no runs in his last ten innings with 16 Ks. Kevin Quackenbush hasn’t allowed a run in his last 2.2 innings after getting pasted over a six-game stretch in mid –April (eight runs and 12 baserunners in 5.2 innings). The Padres have the second-worst bullpen ERA (5.09) after 27 games with no real upside in sight. They have four wins, three losses, and six saves.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants rank 20th in baseball in bullpen ERA (4.15) with three wins, four losses, and six saves. Santiago Casilla hasn’t allowed a run in his last 5.1 innings with eight Ks. He’s 6-for-8 in save chances with a 1.69 ERA and 0.75 WHIP. Hunter Strickland has only pitched one shutout inning with two baserunners allowed over the last nine days. Hunter needs a hot stretch to correct his poor ERA (4.82) and WHIP (1.50). Derek Law saw his four-inning shutout streak end in his last game when he allowed a run and two hits without recording an out. Sergio Romo has started throwing on flat ground, but he remains a couple of weeks away from returning to the mound.