Kenley Jansen has pitched very well as of late, but he is doing things much differently than in his past. Jansen’s career walk rate is 7.7%, yet this year that number sits at a severely bloated 19%, totally uncharacteristic of him. However, it has somehow paid off, as he is currently having his best season since 2017 despite the insane walk rate. Looking closer into that walk rate though, we see that three of his 15 walks came in the same game in early May, but since May 11, he has only walked one batter over his last 6.1 innings pitched. Hitters are also swinging almost 10% less against Jansen compared to his career (53.7%), and I’d imagine hitters will eventually be more aggressive against him. So why is Jansen’s WHIP still so low? He has only allowed five hits all season, so his .103 BABIP is sure to rise just as that 19% BB rate is sure to drop. I think ultimately the BABIP and walk rate even out and Jansen remains a near-elite closer for the season.
- James Karinchak is the new closer in Cleveland, replacing Emmanuel Clase and his 0.83 ERA. Despite Clase’s sparkling ERA, it’s been quite obvious that he was playing with fire, as his command is just not what you want in a lockdown closer. Karinchak had his first bad outing of the season on Sunday and Clase was given a chance last night to potentially get his job back, but instead loaded the bases with two walks and a hit before finally shutting the door. The outing certainly didn’t help Clase’s case, but it shouldn’t have totally written off his chances of closing out games again.
- Raisel Iglesias is uncharacteristically allowing a lot of hard contact this season, with a 45.5% hard-hit rate, which is 15 points higher than his career average, and a barrel rate (13.6%) 7.7% higher than his career average. The good news is that this is fixable and he continues to miss bats at a high rate (39.7% whiff rate), while not walking anyone (29.2% K-BB rate). I understand the frustration he is causing, but I think you need to sit tight and hold on to him or even look to buy low.
- Yimi García has very similar if not worse hard-hit numbers than Iglesias, but just continues to have luck on his side. It reminds me a bit of Alex Colomé from 2019, whose Baseball Savant page was just all blue, but he finished the season as one of the more productive closers. Some pitchers just have a lucky year and it appears to be the case with Yimi so far.
- Kendall Graveman was placed on the COVID-19 IL Sunday, but it’s unclear if he tested positive or if he was just a close contact. I’m assuming his stay will be a short one, so I’ve kept him on the list for now with the other potential committee members. I think I still like the top three in this group over the tier three options, but I’ve ranked them more conservatively in tier four considering the potential usage volatility.
- Diego Castillo is still the favorite for saves in Tampa Bay, but I wonder if the addition of J.P. Feyereisen allows them the flexibility to use Castillo more like Nick Anderson, where one day he is closing out a game and the next he is putting out a fire in the sixth. I have no idea if that would be the case, it’s more of just a hunch, but it would be very on-brand for the Ray’s to abandon Castillo as their traditional closer.
- After both Rafael Dolis and Tyler Chatwood imploded in spectacular fashion in their save chances, it looks like we are likely back to Jordan Romano as the Blue Jays closer. Romano worked a clean ninth inning of a tie game last night, striking out the side in order. He’s always made sense as the teams closer and now it looks like he might get a chance to stick in that role moving forward.
- The Reds don’t seem fully convinced Amir Garrett is over his early season struggles, while Lucas Sims continues to distance himself from the closer conversation, thus leaving Tejay Antone as the closer by default. He did pick up the team’s last save chance for a Reds team that just doesn’t see many save chances. The team’s 14 save opportunities rank third to last, 17 behind the league-leading Dodgers.
- The Twins seemed to have settled on Hansel Robles as their closer last week, however, a couple of rocky outings this past weekend may have reopened the door for Taylor Rogers. Whoever winds up closing out games here seems destined to be cursed, as Rogers, Robles, and even Alex Colomé have pitched well outside of save chances for the most part.
|1.||Jake Diekman||Oakland||Still squarely in a committee with Trivino and the safer of the two.|
|2.||Taylor Rogers||Minnesota||I’d imagine he still sees some save chances, and remains the safest bet in this bullpen.|
|3.||Pete Fairbanks||Tampa Bay||Castillo is the pitcher to roster, but I get the feeling the Rays are going to Ray this situation.|
|4.||J.P. Feyereisen||Tampa Bay||See above, but I think he’s one step lower in the pecking order.|
|5.||Tyler Chatwood||Toronto||The Jays will roll with Romano in the role for now, but Chatwood’s one bad game shouldn’t bury him.|
|6.||Emmanuel Clase||Cleveland||May still get some save chances, but last night doesn’t help get his job back.|
|7.||Jake McGee||San Francisco||I wouldn’t fully rule out McGee from seeing save chances in the near future.|
|8.||Amir Garrett||Cincinnati||Pitching well lately, I’d imagine he’s jumped Sims in the pecking order.|
|9.||Rafael Dolis||Toronto||Imploded in his first save chance coming off the IL, could be a ways away from another chance.|
|10.||Alex Colomé||Minnesota||Bit of a setback this weekend, but he could still be in the saves mix in June.|
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)