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“On Bzdek” Bullpen Briefing: Week 2

The first closer of 2017 to lose his job is Jeanmar Gomez. The announcement was made on Monday and came as no surprise as Gomez struggled the previous day, blowing a 3-run lead and the save in the 9th inning. What did come as a surprise to some was the Phillies naming Joaquin Benoit as the team’s new closer and thereby leaving Hector Neris in the set-up role. The trend of keeping the best bullpen arm in a flexible set-up role seems to be becoming the norm. Benoit is no slouch though; through Wednesday, he has 2 holds and 6Ks through 4 innings, while boasting a 0.00 ERA and a sub-1 WHIP. In 2016, Benoit posted an ERA of 2.81 and a WHIP of 1.27, striking out 52 in 48 innings, but it was really a tale of two seasons. In 26 games with Seattle, Benoit had an ERA of 5.18. After being traded to Toronto on July 26th, Benoit posted a 0.38 ERA in 23.2 innings. Looking back a couple more years, Benoit posted a 2.34 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 2015, and a 1.49 ERA and 0.77 WHIP in 2014, averaging about a K per inning in both seasons. Benoit, now 39 years old, has plenty of experience, including 51 career saves. After considering this, the move to Benoit is a lot less surprising.

Just two days after the Phillies’ Gomez was demoted, the Texas Rangers announced the team will go to a closer-by-committee for the time being, as Sam Dyson’s ERA sits at 33.00 through his first 3 innings of the season. There is no clear-cut favorite to take over the saves right now. The next two in the hierarchy are Matt Bush and Jim Jeffress, however Bush recently received an injection in his shoulder to treat some soreness he was experiencing and will be held out for a couple of days. Jeffress owns a 10.13 ERA, including taking an extra inning Tuesday night. Other options in the Rangers pen include Tony Barnette and Jose Leclerc. Leclerc, age 23, picked up the save Wednesday night and has one hold on the season. Through 5.1 innings pitched, Leclerc has 7 Ks, a 0.38 WHIP, and has not allowed an earned run. In 2016, Leclerc threw 15 innings, striking out 15 and posting a 1.80 ERA. Barnette, age 33, also has one hold on the season, and has 2Ks through 4 innings. He compiled 60.1 innings for the Rangers in 2016 with a 2.09 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 49Ks. At this point, with so many moving parts, it’s tough to get a feel for this pen moving forward.

Staying in the AL West, Edwin Diaz had a meltdown Sunday night, blowing the save and taking the loss against the Angels. Diaz was brought into a 9-4 game with two men on and no outs in the bottom of the 9th. Not an ideal situation to enter a game, but 5 runs is plenty of room to work with. Diaz proceeded to record a groundout, followed by a strike out, before imploding. A double, a wild pitch, two walks, and two singles later and the angels walked off 10-9. This was Diaz’s first outing allowing an earned run on the season, so there is no need to be concerned just yet. Another Mariner, Dan Altavilla is off to a nice start. He struck out 8 and allowed no earned runs in his first 4 innings of work. He has not recorded a hold in 2017, but he pitched in the 8th inning on Monday and Tuesday, then gave up 3 earned runs in the 7th on Wednesday. The late inning appearances tell me he’s earning some of manager Scott Servais’ trust. We’ll see if he still has that trust after Wednesday’s rough outing.

In Anaheim, the Angel’s placed set-up man Andrew Bailey on the 10-day DL with shoulder inflammation, which should mean Blake Parker will see increased holds opportunities. I noted Parker’s hot start to the season last week. Since then, Parker has thrown 1 inning with 1K and no earned runs. If you are in need of holds go and grab him.

The committee out in Oakland became a little clearer this week when Bob Melvin told reporters that the save opportunities will go to Casilla or Doolittle, depending on the situation. As Casilla is a righty, I would expect him to see a few more save situations than the left-handed Doolittle. Both should see hold opportunities when not lined up too close. Madson and Dull remain the main steady set-up options. The four relievers combine for a very strong bullpen.

Houston Astros’ reliever Chris Devenski is turning heads. He has two appearances on the year, both 4 inning stints with 7Ks in each. He’s being utilized as a long man for now, but if his dominance continues I would not be surprised to see him get some shorter appearances in high leverage situations, mixed in with his multi-inning appearances. Brad Peacock is also off to a nice start. He’s yet to allow a run through 7.2 innings pitched and recorded 10 Ks. Unfortunately for Peacock and Devenski, Will Harris and Luke Gregerson should continue to see the bulk of the holds for the Astros.

Over to the NL West, the Rockies bullpen continues to impress. Jake McGee recorded a save and a hold over the weekend. He did give up a run in his second appearance, but overall looked good. He has 6 strikeouts in three innings through Wednesday. Greg Holland recorded his 4th save Saturday and 5th save Tuesday, recording 2Ks in each appearance. Adam Ottavino recorded his league leading 4th hold on Tuesday as well, striking out the side in 1 inning of work. Carlos Estevez also has 3 holds for the Rockies, while Mike Dunn has two holds and 2 wins on the year. This bullpen has been busy and thus far up to the task.

St. Louis is off to a slow start, and that includes closer Seung Hwan Oh. In 4 appearances thus far, Oh has given up earned runs in 3 of them. Trevor Rosenthal, the Cards’ closer for a large part of 2016 before losing the job to Oh, returned from the DL this week. He struck out the side in his first appearance, then gave up a run in .1 innings of work in his second. He’s a definite add in holds leagues, and could leapfrog Kevin Siegrist for saves if Oh’s struggles continue.

I’ll wrap up with some quick hits from around the league. Arizona’s Tom Wilhelmson racked up a couple of saves so far. He had an atrocious 2016 with Texas, but has otherwise been solid for his career. He was off to a good start in 2017 but did give up 3 earned runs in .2 innings on Wednesday. Detroit’s Justin Wilson recorded a save and two holds in the past week, striking out 5 in 4 innings of work without allowing an earned run. Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman recorded his first save of the season on Wednesday, though he did allow two inherited runners to score. Chapman has 5Ks through 2.2 innings, which is expected from the flamethrower. Mark Melancon has rebounded nicely from his opening day blown save, recording 2 saves in as many chances. Mets’ interim closer Addison Reed is making some wonder if Jeurys Familia is still guaranteed the closer role when he returns from suspension. I think Familia will take the role back, but Reed has 3 saves on the year, and 7 Ks through 5 innings with an ERA of 1.80 and a WHIP of 0.60. Reed has been stellar for the Mets since they acquired him in 2015.

That’s it for week two. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back next week.

 

 

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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 9th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #82 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.

Our guests this week are Craig Mish, and Professor Mark Rush. Mark is the Chief Editor for MLFS, a writer, and occasional guest on our shows. Craig Mish is the host of a fantasy baseball show on Sirius Satelitte Radio along with Jim Bowden from 9-11am EST Monday through Friday. Craig is also the host for a show on Sirius every Sunday morning with FSWA Hall of Famer Lenny Melnick from 7-10am EST.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(Click the RED link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday April 16th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #83 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will be previewing the coming week’s key matchups and discussing key fantasy information.

Our guests this week are Lenny Melnick and Kyle Klinker. Kyle is an MLFB champion and a veteran of MLFS leagues. Lenny is an FSWA Hall of Famer, the co-host of the Sunday morning fantasy sports show from 7-10am EST with Craig Mish on Sirius, and the owner of lennymelnickfantasysports.com. Check his shows out on his site every morning through out the week at 9am EST.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

I've been playing fantasy baseball for 14 years. I am also an auditor and CPA, where I analyze information on a daily basis. Combined, my passion for fantasy baseball and analytical background create a unique perspective for analyzing and writing about fantasy baseball.

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@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.

About 2 weeks ago from Corey Roberts's Twitter via Twitter for Android

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