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“On Bzdek” Bullpen Briefing: A Fresh Start for Holland, Plus Other RP Updates

Things have quieted down a bit this week as the non-waiver trade deadline has passed. There were a couple of injuries in DC and Queens that I will discuss, as well as an update on the status of the White Sox pen which is still searching for a closer after Joakin Soria was traded two weeks ago. I also discuss the status of the Houston pen with Osuna’s return from suspension, and briefly touch on the Yankee bullpen. As usual, I finish on a high note with the Three Stars of the Week.

Washington Nationals

Kelvin Herrera left last night’s game in the 9th inning with shoulder tightness. He is scheduled for an MRI today so we will know more, but I have to think a DL stint is possible if not probable. Herrera had taken over as closer since Sean Doolittle was placed on the DL last month and whose return is not imminent.

In the mix for saves is the newly signed Greg Holland. Holland was released by the Cardinals last week after posting an ERA over 7 with them this season. Holland signed late and didn’t get much of a spring training, and was never able to recover from an atrocious start. The change of scenery should help him and he struck out the side in his first appearance with the Nats yesterday, with a walk being the only base runner.

Other potential options for saves include Ryan Madson and Justin Miller, both of whom have been solid this year. On the season, Madson has a 4.43 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 8.2 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9, and over the last month he’s got a 4.50 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 7 Ks to 4 BB over 10.0 innings.  Miller on the season has a 3.55 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 11.7 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9, and in the last month he’s posted a 3.60 ERA, 1.00 WHIO, and 8 Ks to 3 BBs in 10.0 innings. Both are right handed, and while Miller has the slight edge in performance this season, Madson has the edge in experience and has 91 career saves on his resume.

Actions to take: I’m going back to the well and picking up Greg Holland. The fresh start in Washington should help him, and this allows the Nationals to keep Miller and Madson in their respective middle inning roles which have suited them well this season. Madson is a secondary add. He will likely get a chance to close before Miller due to his experience. As for Herrera, I am pessimistic and expect him to land on the DL, but I would wait until we hear the results of the MRI as it’s possible he misses just a couple days instead of just a couple weeks.

New York Mets

Anthony Swarzak hit the DL with shoulder inflammation shortly after picking up a couple saves for the Mets. Robert Gsellman has been the CLEW (closer en waiting), and should see the bulk of saves while Swarzak is out. If Gsellman performs well he may even continue to see saves when Swarzak returns. The Mets did mix and match on Monday with lefty Jerry Blevins eventually picking up the save, but even with mixing and matching Gsellman should see most of the save opportunities.

Actions to take: Swarzak can be stashed on the DL or dropped and Gsellman is the add for saves. Not much else in this bullpen is worth investing in.

Chicago White Sox

Three relievers picked up a save in the last week: Hector Santiago, Luis Avilan, and Thyago Viera. Viera touches 100 MPH on his fastball so he’s an exciting pitcher, however the 25 year old has not been able to harness his stuff yet, evidenced by an 5.3 BB/9 rate in 41.0 innings in AAA this season. Santiago has similar control issues and a 5.2 BB/9 this season with the Sox, though he’s been slightly better since moving to the bullpen. Avilan continues to produce quality ratios supported by a 9/1 K/BB in the last month. He remains my favorite to take the closer role in this pen.

Actions to take: Add Avilan for saves – he is still widely available.

Houston Astros

The Astros activated Roberto Osuna this week, who pitched a scoreless inning and picked up the win in his first game since being activated and since being traded to the Astros. Hector Rondon, however, picked up the saves the last two nights. It appears that Rondon will remain the closer in Houston for the time being, with Osuna the CLEW.

The addition of Osuna, as well as Ryan Pressly, means more competition for holds in the Astros bullpen. The top middle relievers to own here are Osuna, Collin McHugh, Pressly, and Brad Peacock, as Chris Devenski has been struggling of late.

Actions to take: If you added Osuna hoping for saves, I would hang tight a little while longer unless a much better option is available. He’s not going to hurt your ratios and may nab a save here or there in the short term. In the long term, there is still the possibility he closes games at some point. I suspect the Astros would prefer to keep Osuna out of the spotlight of the 9th inning considering the domestic abuse suspension he just returned from.

New York Yankees

Aroldis Chapman blew the save Sunday night against the Red Sox to cap off a 4 game sweep. His job is not in immediate danger, but I believe Zach Britton is the CLEW should Chapman need a rest. Shortly after Britton was acquired, Aaron Boone noted on WFAN that he prefers Dellin Betances in the middle inning role that he has thrived in of late, and that Britton would likely get the first crack at closing if needed.

Actions to take: No actions yet but if Chapman doesn’t straighten things out, reach for Britton instead of Betances.

Three Stars of the Week

Hector Rondon, HOU – Rondon pitched 3.1 innings in 3 appearances, striking out 4, walking 0, and picking up 3 saves. He allowed just 1 hit.

Sergio Romo, TB – Romo fired 4.0 innings striking out 6. He picked up 1 save, 1 hold, and allowed 1 hit and 0 walks.

Steve Cishek, CHC – Cishek pitched 4.0 innings, striking out 5. He recorded 3 holds and did not allow a base runner.


That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading and feel free to drop a comment or question below.




Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts live August 9th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #88 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. We will hit free agents, rookies, and fantasy football as a whole for each team for 2018. This week we will wrap up our divisional break downs with the NFC West!

My guest this week is Andy Macuga. He is the former Head Football and Baseball Coach for Borrego Springs H.S. out in the San Diego area. Andy is also a 6 year veteran of Major League Fantasy Sports leagues and a frequent radio guest.

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.

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