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The Braves have struggled over the first seven games out of the bullpen (5.56 ERA – 22nd) with a win, two losses, and no saves. Jim Johnson blew his first save chance when he allowed a run, a hit, and two walks over one inning. He did look sharp in his first outing (two shutout innings with three Ks) leading to a win. Arodys Vizcaino has three shutout innings under his belt with no strikeouts. Mauricio Cabrera is slated to throw in the bullpen on April 12th, which puts him a couple of weeks from returning.
A.J. Ramos has yet to allow a run in 2017 over three innings with four Ks and one save. As of now, Brad Ziegler should be next in line for saves (one run over four innings with four strikeouts). Kyle Barraclough has plenty of upside when he figures out how to throw more strikes. Over four innings, he’s allowed a run, four hits, and two walks with seven Ks. Miami is 13th in bullpen ERA (3.16) after seven games with a win, a loss, and one save.
New York Mets
New York is league average in bullpen ERA (4.08 – 15th) after eight games with two wins, one loss, and two saves. Addison Reed has a pair of save conversions with one run allowed in four innings with six strikeouts. Jeurys Familia will return to the Mets on April 20th. Fernando Salas extended his shutout streak to 4.2 innings with six strikeouts. Hansel Robles has been erratic over his 4.1 innings of work (4.15 ERA and 1.38 WHIP).
The magic of Jeanmar Gomez ran out last September and he’s done nothing to warrant a closing job after his 4.1 innings of work (six runs and seven base runners). The Phillies named Joaquin Benoit the closer after he threw three shutout innings with four Ks. Hector Neris may still have the arm with the most upside in the 9th (no runs over 3.1 innings with four strikeouts). Philly struggled out of the bullpen after eight games (6.52 ERA – 25th) with a win, two losses, and a save.
Figuring out the closer in Washington was a coin flip with many Fantasy owner losing at the end of spring training. Blake Treinen earned the first shot while delivering mixed results over his first five appearances (3-for-4 in save conversions) with a poor ERA (6.23) and WHIP (1.62). His arm has talent, but he needs to throw more strikes. Koda Glover took a loss on April 9th when he allowed a run and three base runners over two-thirds of an inning. He has a hold and three shutout innings in his other three games pitched. Shawn Kelley fell to third in line after allowing a run or more in all three of his appearances (four runs and six base runners over three innings with five Ks), which includes three home runs allowed. The Nationals are 24th in ERA (6.49) after eight games with two losses and three saves.
The Reds bullpen is much improved in 2017. They moved to second in bullpen ERA (1.31) after eight games with three wins and four saves. Cinci relievers have walked 18 batters in 34.1 innings, which invites failure risk. Raisel Iglesias hasn’t allowed a run over 5.2 innings with six strikeouts and three successful save chances. Mike Lorenzen looks electric as well (no runs over six innings with seven Ks and win). Tony Cingrani appears to be much improved after three innings (no runs and one hit with four Ks).
Wade Davis extended his scoreless streak to 3.1 innings with two strikeouts, a win, and two saves. His AFB (94.7) is slightly lower than 2015 (95.4). After a poor spring, Hector Rondon allowed a home run over 2.2 innings with four Ks to remain one of the top contenders for saves behind Davis on the Cubs. Carl Edwards issued three walks over 2.2 shutout innings. Koji Uehara has the most closing experience in this bullpen (no runs and one hit allowed over 3.2 innings with four strikeouts). Chicago is 11th in bullpen ERA (2.82) after seven games with a win, two losses, and two saves.
The Brewers relievers have walked the most batters (24 over 34.2 innings) in baseball after eight games leading to a 12th place ranking in bullpen ERA (3.12) with a win, three losses, and two saves. After four games, Neftali Feliz allowed a run and a hit over 2.2 innings with no walks, four Ks, and two saves. Corey Knebel is doing his best to keep his phone number on speed dial if Feliz trips up. Corey hasn’t allowed a run or hit over 4.2 innings with six strikeouts. Jacob Barnes looks to be the third option for save for the Brewers (no runs after 5.1 innings with three strikeouts).
So far so good for Tony Watson in the 9th inning. He’s converted both save chances while throwing three shutout innings with two Ks. The excitement of Danial Hudson pitching as closer hasn’t taken hold after 3.2 innings of work (one run and six base runners) with no Ks in his last 2.2 innings. Juan Nicasio may emerge in the 9th if he continues to throw strikes (one run, four hits, and no walks over four innings with five Ks). After seven games, the Pirates are 20th in the majors in bullpen ERA (4.71) with a win, two losses, and two saves.
St. Louis Cardinals
After eight games, St. Louis has the worst bullpen ERA (8.14) in baseball with a win, a loss, and no saves. Seung-hwan Oh Oh hasn’t been the same pitchers after three appearances (five runs and eight base runners over 3.2 innings with two Ks). His average fastball is 91.6 so far in 2017 compared to 93.5 in 2016. This points to downside so I would look to add insurance. Trevor Rosenthal threw the ball great in his first appearance (perfect inning with three Ks) after starting the year on the DL. He has two seasons on his resume with 40+ saves so he looks like a must pick up this week. Matt Bowman has no chance of closing, but he is the only other reliever in St Louis to throw the ball well (no runs over 3.2 innings with three Ks).
There hasn’t been a ton of excitement out of Fernando Rodney (6.75 ERA and 2.00 WHIP) after four innings, but he has a three save conversions and a win. His fastball (95.2) is down slightly from 2016 (96.1). I’m sure the Diamondbacks will ride him out unless he continues to blowup. Archie Bradley threw the ball well in both of his appearances (no runs over 5.1 innings with one walk and eight Ks). This may put him on a path to pitch in the 9th. Tom Wilhelmsen has closing experience, but it’s been a few years since he’s pitched well enough to be in that role. Tom allowed one run over 3.1 innings with two strikeouts. Arizona hopes to have Jake Barrett back in a couple of weeks to improve the depth of the bullpen. The Diamondbacks are 16th in bullpen ERA (4.25) after nine games with two wins and three saves.
The Rockies lead the major leagues in saves (6) after nine games while also securing three wins from their relievers. They sit 10th in bullpen ERA (2.64) with 43 Ks over 30.2 innings. Greg Holland hasn’t allowed a run or hit over five innings with eight Ks and five saves. Adam Ottavino blew his only save chance when he allowed a run and two hits over two-thirds of an inning. Overall, Adam has a 1.93 ERA with eight Ks over 4.2 innings. Jake McGee picked up a save when he struck out the side against the Dodgers. He struggled in his other two outings (one runs and three hits over one inning). Mike Dunn gives the Rockies a second lefty of value in the pen. He has two wins while throwing five shutout innings with eight Ks.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Kenley Jansen has one save in three games with one disaster outing in Colorado (two runs and three hits in one inning). Pedro Baez remains on the DL with a thumb injury. This pushes Sergio Romo (one run over 3.1 innings with three Ks) to the eighth inning. Lefty Grant Dayton hasn’t allowed a run in four innings with three Ks. Chris Hatcher tends to be a trap, but he’s pitched well over five innings in 2017 (one run, no walks, and five strikeouts). The Dodgers rank 6th in bullpen ERA (1.65) after eight games with a loss and a save.
San Diego Padres
There is plenty of disaster waiting for the Padres’ bullpen this year. After nine games, they have a 5.33 ERA (21st) with two wins, one loss, and two saves. They’ve allowed 17 walks over 27 innings. Brandon Maurer tossed two clean innings with two Ks and a save to start the year, but the Rockies beat him for a two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th in a none save situation. Carter Capps returned to the mound in the minors on Tuesday night (no runs over one inning with one K). He should be back in the majors in a couple of weeks with his eyes on the closing role. Brad Hand hasn’t allowed a run in four innings with a hit and four strikeouts.
San Francisco Giants
Mark Melancon blew his first save chance in San Fran when he allowed two runs and four base runners over two-thirds of an inning. Over his next two games, Mark threw two shutout innings with two saves. Hunter Strickland hasn’t allowed a run in four innings with five Ks. Cory Gearrin may be the third option for saves after pitching two shutout innings with a strikeout. The Giants are 23rd in bullpen ERA (5.85) after eight games with two losses and two saves.