Andrés Muñoz has been really good since returning from the IL back in early June, but really good isn’t what we were expecting from him entering the season.
Since the All-Star break, Muñoz has just 25.9% K and 14.6% SwStr rates to go along with a 1.42 WHIP over 18.1 IP. Those numbers are fine, but this is a guy who had a 0.89 WHIP plus 38.7% K and 21.4% SwStr rates for the entire 2022 season. This could be the result of diminished velocity (down almost 2 MPH from last year) but he’s also throwing more of a two-seamer/sinker combo this season, leading to a huge uptick in groundballs (63.9% GB up from 52.6% last year).
He may not be pitching at the elite level he was at last season, but he is still the favorite for saves. However, Matt Brash (and even Gabe Speier) will still factor into save chances in what is turning out to be more of a committee approach than just Muñoz taking over the closer role entirely.
- Kyle Finnegan continues to rise up the list and now has ten saves since the All-Star break while allowing just three earned runs (all on home runs). Finnegan’s 27.9% K-BB rate since the break is good for 7th best amongst active closers, while his 2.74 xFIP is good for 5th best over that span. That being said, he is very four-seam dependent, throwing the pitch 74% of the time, and it’s definitely part of the reason he has one of the worst hard contact rates in baseball (92.3 MPH average EV, 31.5% HC, and 46.2% HardHit rates), and lacks in the swing and miss department (11.2% SwStr, 25% Whiff rates). He’s safe for now though and at least worth rostering until the wheels fall off.
- David Robertson had another rough outing for the Marlins this past weekend, allowing three earned runs on four hits against the Dodgers while working the 8th inning of that game. Robertson has now allowed seven earned runs over seven innings this month, while also having a disappointing 6/5 K/BB ratio. I don’t think it would be a shock to see Tanner Scott get some save chances moving forward, or perhaps the team even turns back to A.J. Puk, whose luck seems to be turning around finally.
- Will Smith may be fading from the Rangers’ closer picture and if it wasn’t for Aroldis Chapman’s blown save last night, there’s a chance I would have had Chapman on the list today. Chapman’s blown save did result in Smith picking up a loss later in the game as he allowed two earned runs in extras, so perhaps Chapman still gains an edge on Smith following last night’s game. Regardless, I think if you are in a spot to roster just one of these two, you have to go with Chapman at this point. Smith has a 10.80 ERA (5.24 xFIP) and 1.80 WHIP over his past 10 outings (plus a blah 10% K-BB rate), so if the team was going to pivot to Chapman full time at some point, now would seem to be the time.
- Justin Lawrence has been pretty ineffective in August for the Rockies and only has five saves since the All-Star break while Trevor May has shown some positive signs recently, and has no competition for saves in Oakland. Lawrence on the other hand could wind up losing his role to maybe someone like Tyler Kinley (I know he has a 9.53 ERA and 2.12 WHIP right now, but an 8/2 K/BB ratio over 5.2 IP is a positive) who is signed through next season.
And if you want more daily reliever updates, please check out our Reliever Ranks series
|1.||Aroldis Chapman||TEX||The situation is still fluid in Texas; both he and Smith should be rostered.|
|2.||Reynaldo López||LAA||Could see him replacing Estevez in the closer role.|
|3.||Giovanny Gallegos||STL||Looks to be in committee with Romero as option 1B.|
|4.||Brooks Raley||NYM||Timeshare with Ottavino for now.|
|5.||Alex Lange||DET||Not closing games now, but if BB issues get fixed he has elite upside.|
|6.||Matt Brash||SEA||Could be more involved in the 9th inning as option 1B.|
|7.||Tanner Scott||MIA||Robertson has been shaky, while Scott has been great.|
|8.||Jason Adam||TB||No closer is more injury prone than Fairbanks|
|9.||José Alvarado||PHI||Back from the IL but no threat to Kimbrel yet.|
|10.||Hunter Harvey||WAS||As good as Finnegan has been, could Harvey still regain the job?|