Daniel Bard has been amazing over the past month, and while the Coors factor scares me a bit, he very much belongs in the “good, but likely to be traded” tier. Over the past month, Bard has a .64 ERA, .93 WHIP, and 21/3 K/BB ratio, which are amongst the best numbers of all closers. For the season, Bards splits tell an interesting story. Bard and his subpar changeup continue to struggle against left-handed hitters, who have a 1.121 OPS against him (12.1 IP) whereas righties have a .372 OPS against (11.2 IP). Weirdly for Bard, he has reverse Coors splits, as in he has pitched much much better at home than on the road this season. Over 17.1 innings at home, Bard has a 2.08 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and 28% K-BB rate. On the road, however, Bard has an 8.10 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, and 9.1% K-BB rate over just 6.2 innings. So perhaps a trade out of Colorado wouldn’t necessarily be the best outcome for Bard after all.
- Lucas Sims now has five saves over the past two weeks and it appears safe to designate him as the Reds closer moving forward. Over that two-week span, Sims has yet to allow a run despite allowing eight baserunners over his 6.1 innings of work. He does have nine strikeouts over that time period, as the spin machine continues to garner plenty of whiffs (36.3%).
- Kendall Graveman is still out with a Covid issue, but it sounds like he could return this weekend if his rehab assignment goes well this week. He should return to the closer role upon activation, however, we should keep in mind that he is also likely to be a prime trade candidate this deadline. My guess is that Rafael Montero won’t be traded as he has two years left before he hits free agency, and could find himself back in the closer role although Keynan Middleton could give him some competition.
- Josh Staumont was activated from the IL following a brief stay with a knee injury. He should slide right back into the closer role, however, the Royals have been very willing to mix and match that role most of the season. For now, Staumont is less of a most roster and more of an interchangeable third or fourth RP option.
- The Rays continue to do their thing, which is really frustrating because I felt J.P. Feyereisen had 2019 Emilio Pagan upside, but now it looks like Diego Castillo will be the closer for the time being. That could change tomorrow or next week or a month from now for seemingly no reason, so at this point, I just wouldn’t chase any of the Rays relievers outside of deeper leagues and AL-only formats.
- The Twins seem to have copied Oakland’s closer committee ways with Hansel Robles and Taylor Rogers splitting saves depending on the day. I’m not sure I feel comfortable with Robles quite yet (4.70 xFIP, 15.2% BB rate, 23% Whiff rate), but he is the right-handed option so he will probably be more on the 60% side of the save chances.
- With Michael Fulmer landing on the IL, Gregory Soto should be in line for a few more save opportunities but it’s likely the Tigers still keep him in a timeshare with another reliever. Soto still has a huge walk rate problem (15.9%) but has been effective for the most part, with a 3.09 ERA. EDIT: Changed this to José Cisnero who should be the RH in the committee.
|1.||Jake Diekman||Oakland||Still squarely in a committee with Trivino and the safer of the two|
|2.||Taylor Rogers||Minnesota||Squarely in a committee with Robles and the safer of the two|
|3.||Emmanuel Clase||Cleveland||May get his job back as soon as this week?|
|4.||J.P. Feyereisen||Tampa Bay||Maybe in a committee with Castillo now? Who knows with the Rays|
|5.||Jake McGee||San Francisco||Rogers has had some issues recently, McGee is right back in the saves mix again|
|6.||Tejay Antone||Cincinnati||Should be next in line behind Sims, who is running away with the job|
|7.||Gregory Soto||Detroit||Lefty in the Tigers committee|
|8.||Rafael Montero||Seattle||Graveman is still out and may also be dealt at the deadline|
|9.||Josh Sborz||Texas||Kennedy is a likely trade candidate|
|10.||Pete Fairbanks||Tampa Bay||Rays are always mixing things up, Fairbanks could get some saves|
Photo by Kamp Fender/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)