With the MLB in full-swing, most bullpen hierarchies are becoming a lot clearer. While some managers may keep fantasy owners guessing, it is important to at least have an idea of who has a chance at a save, and who is most likely not even going to appear in a game today. Don’t sleep on saves! In a shortened season, they all count that much more.
Before the chart, let’s examine some notes from yesterday’s games.
- The Nationals, Marlins, Phillies, and Blue Jays have all been officially postponed for this weekend. While the MLB hasn’t officially postponed the Brewers and Cardinals yet, one has to think there’s a strong possibility they get pushed back as well after two positive tests from the Cardinals were reported yesterday.
- Masahiro Tanaka is set to get the ball for the Yankees Saturday after having thrown just 35-40 pitches in his final simulated game. He’s going to be on a pitch count and the Yankees are a good opportunity for a vultured win with David Hale and Jonathan Loaisiga being the most likely thiefs. Jonathan Holder and Chad Green each threw 25+ pitches last night, but Zack Britton should be 100% available after a day of rest.
- Chris Martin got the save for the Braves after both Mark Melancon and Shane Greene pitched on Thursday night. Greene threw just one pitch, but the Braves still opted to go elsewhere for the save opportunity. It is worth monitoring, but it appears they are doing everything they can to avoid using relievers on back-to-back days for now, at least at the back end of their bullpen.
- Raisel Iglesias was called upon to pitch in a non-save situation last night. While he threw just 18 pitches, he struggled for the second time in two outings. Michael Lorenzen should be considered the favorite to get the call if the Reds have a save opportunity tonight.
- Cole Sulser converted his second save for the Orioles last night with Mychal Givens coming on to set him up on the eighth. As far as this chart is concerned, Sulser is on the same level as Givens. In reality, Sulser may be the one getting the first crack at save opportunities from now on. Save chances for the Orioles tonight will potentially be handled by Richard Bleier.
- Alex Colome successfully converted a save last night making Aaron Bummer and Steve Cishek potential substitute closers tonight. The White Sox have been a bit hesitant to use Bummer in a closer’s role, so the edge might go to Cishek tonight.
- Both Trevor Rosenthal and Greg Holland were used last night opening the door for Ian Kennedy to get the first call for saves tonight. The Royals projected starter, Ronald Bolanos, only threw 32 pitches in his first start if you’re the type of risk-taker that wants to bet on a Royals victory.
- The Twins used five pitchers last night, including Tyler Clippard, Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo, and Taylor Rogers. It’s unclear if the Twins would opt to go elsewhere for a save opportunity as they have appeared more willing than other teams to use relievers on back-to-back days. With Romo pitching three out of four days coming into Saturday, you’d have to think he’s out of the mix.
- Wade Davis got lit up last night after being called upon in a save situation (0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 ER). He can’t afford to have too many more of those outings.
- Kirby Yates was also unable to convert a save situation. After giving up three hits and two walks while getting just two outs, Drew Pomeranz was called upon to get the final out and vulture the save. Yates’ job is not in jeopardy yet, but he was forced to throw 28 pitches and is likely unavailable tonight. A save chance could go to Emilio Pagan.
- Craig Kimbrel was called upon to defend a five run lead in the ninth against the Pirates and gave up back-to-back home runs to begin the inning before retiring the final three batters. However, none of those were by strikeout and the exit velocity of those three balls in play were 104.7, 104.9, and 102.4 respectively. They all very much could have been hits if they were placed differently and Kimbrel was lucky to not have even more trouble.
- The Astros surprisingly turned to Andre Scrubb to convert the save low-leverage save last night. Roberto Osuna was likely available, but they potentially opted to keep him in the stable with a three run lead.
- Taylor Williams converted another save for the Mariners last night. Dan Altavilla had pitched the two previous days, so this isn’t a sign that Williams is taking the lead in this race quite yet. More successful outings like this one, however, will force the Mariners’ hand.
Bullpen Depth Charts