New Rangers closer Spencer Patton has put together a nice comeback season in what has been his first MLB action since 2016. The 33-year-old spent the past four seasons in the NPB, where he had mixed results, but the Rangers still went on to sign Patton to a minor league contract this winter anyway. So far, it’s been a great find for the organization, as Patton has compiled a 3.00 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 27 strikeouts over 21 innings. Despite a mediocre fastball, Patton’s slider has gotten great results whereas his splitter has really struggled to get lefties out, leading to drastic left/right split differences. Against lefties (8 IP), Patton has a .377 wOBA and .839 OPS against with a 7.3% K-BB rate, whereas against righties (13 IP) he has a .151 wOBA and .354 OPS against with a 39.5% K-BB rate. For those in daily leagues, Patton can be useful as long as you are starting him against right-handed dominant lineups but beware when the Rangers are facing teams loaded with lefties as he may be in trouble.
- Josh Hader should be back this weekend after testing positive for COVID last week. Hader is eligible to return on Friday, and should be activated shortly after that without needing any sort of rehab assignment. He remains the top closing option in baseball but he has had some issues in August throughout his career (3.71 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 21.8% K-BB).
- If Diego Castillo thought escaping the Rays would lead to a full-time closer role finally, it seems that he would be sadly mistaken, as the Mariners brought Castillo out in the eighth and seventh innings of their series with the Yankees this past weekend. Castillo was used to get the top/middle of the Yankees lineup each time so despite the move to Seattle, expect the same usage we were accustomed to in Tampa Bay for Castillo moving forward.
- Mychal Givens has picked up the Reds last two saves and could be in a position to take that role and run with it. Michael Lorenzen has worked in front of him lately, and between Lorenzen, Lucas Sims, and eventually Tejay Antone, the trio’s ability to work multiple innings could mean they won’t have set roles in the bullpen and may work earlier in games or in a fireman role.
- Alex Colomé has picked up three saves this month with Taylor Rogers on the IL and Hansel Robles in Boston now, but it’s still a proceed with caution situation. The 4.32 ERA may not seem so scary, but the underlying metrics tell another story but Colomé has been productive over the past month, with just a 2.45 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over eleven innings.
- Chris Stratton is still the favorite for save chances in Pittsburgh at the moment. but coming off a disastrous outing in a non-save situation may push David Bednar one step closer to the role. Since the All-Star break, Stratton has a 7.45 ERA and 2.38 WHIP, allowing 15 hits over 9.2 innings of work, and given his track record, there’s no real reason to hold out hope for him to turn things around.
- The bottom tier represents the two teams who basically have no closer, not even a 1A and 1B, as the Orioles continue to mix and match their bullpen randomly and the Cubs have used multiple different relievers in the ninth inning since trading Craig Kimbrel. Cole Sulser picked up two saves two weeks ago (the Orioles last two saves as a team) and since then has entered games in the sixth and seventh innings.
|1.||Craig Kimbrel||Chicago White Sox||Unfortunate landing spot for Kimbrel, but will still have value in save-only leagues|
|2.||Nick Anderson||Tampa Bay||COVID delayed his rehab, but he should still be on track for an August return|
|3.||James Karinchak||Cleveland||Demoted out of the closer role, but don’t be surprised to see him work back into it|
|4.||David Bednar||Pittsburgh||Stratton will get the first crack at saves, but very skeptical he lasts in the role|
|5.||Paul Sewald||Seattle||Castillo looks likely to be used in matchups, so no defined closer role|
|6.||Anthony Bender||Miami||Floro will get the first chance at the role, but Bender is still the best talent there|
|7.||Michael Fulmer||Detroit||Back again, could split saves with the lefty Soto, who had a 1.86 WHIP in July|
|8.||Joe Barlow||Texas||The other Barlow has impressed in his first MLB season but Patton’s still ahead|
|9.||Brad Hand||Toronto||I suppose he’s likely to see save chances here and there, but not a good fit in TOR|
|10.||Rowan Wick||Chicago Cubs||Only one in the pen with recent closing experience, has struggled in AAA rehab|
Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)