With the MLB season in full swing, some bullpen hierarchies are becoming a lot clearer, while others have fallen apart. Though 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.
First, notes from last night and thoughts on today’s games:
- The Subway Series between the Mets and Yankees is postponed due to positive COVID tests on the Mets side. Here’s to hoping everyone recovers smoothly.
- The Rays needed seven pitchers to get through their game against the Yankees, which was a tough place for them to be in with Nick Anderson and Chaz Roe getting a day off after throwing in back-to-back games. They used pretty much the entire back end of their bullpen outside of those two guys, so it’s pretty safe to assume Anderson and Roe will get into the game if it’s at all close after Ryan Yarbough comes out. Yarbough is one of the fully stretched out Rays, so I expect they’ll want him to go as deep as he can, which is probably five or six innings. If I had to speculate on a guy who would vulture a win if Yarbough gets pulled early, I guess it’s Anthony Banda, who hasn’t pitched since earning a weird three-inning save last week.
- The Blue Jays won both of their games in close fashion, but Anthony Bass didn’t convert a save in either one—in fact, he didn’t even pitch. I have to assume that they wanted to give him a second day of rest after he throwing on the 17th and 18th. He should be good to go now. Jordan Romano picked up the win and struck out the side in the first game while AJ Cole picked up the save in the second. Bass is most likely to get the opportunity tonight since he’s the freshest, but it’s hard not to like what Romano is doing right now. He throws that high-90’s fastball up in the zone and has done a good job keeping the slider down. Not only has he been incredibly difficult to hit, anytime someone does make contact with the slider they just pound it into dirt. I know Bass is getting the saves, but Romano is the superior pitcher right now. As for poaching a win in the event Matt Shoemaker’s splitter isn’t working, Thomas Hatch is pretty much the only multi-inning pitcher the Jays didn’t end up using yesterday.
- Ryan Pressly gave up yet another run and didn’t strike anyone out, but did manage to earn the save. I still think the Astros will run with Pressly, especially when you consider that he’s actually been quite good outside of his first two outings. In his last seven appearances, he has a 2.57 ERA, a 1.74 FIP, and eight strikeouts to just two walks. He also hasn’t given up a home run yet this season. THAT’S the Ryan Pressly we’ve seen over the last few seasons, and that’s the one I’m expecting going forward. It’s also worth noting that Josh James was taken out of the game with hip discomfort. The back end of this bullpen outside of Pressly is really touch-and-go right now. If I needed holds, I suppose Blake Taylor is the best bet for them, but this is looking like a bullpen to avoid right now outside of Pressly.
- The Colorado bullpen didn’t give up any runs, but presumptive co-closer Carlos Estevez did throw two innings, albeit it fairly efficient ones (23 total pitches). Daniel Bard looks like the better bet for a save if an opportunity arises.
- The Indians bullpen picked up three holds and a save in this one, going pretty much in the order that I’d expect—Oliver Perez, then Nick Wittgren, then the electric James Karinchak, then finally Brad Hand. Other than his disaster outing at the end of July, Hand has actually been quite good, tossing six consecutive innings without an earned run. The Indians should win plenty of games, and yet should also do so with fairly small margins, so this is a great bullpen when it comes to picking up saves and holds. I expect everyone to also be available today, as no one threw more than 16 pitches. Also, if Adam Plutko can’t go five innings (which is a very real possibility), Logan Webb is the likely vulture for the win.
- While the Twins ultimately won by six runs, Tyler Duffey managed to pick up his league-leading seventh hold of the season, with Sergio Romo also earning his sixth hold. Both should continue to be steady sources of holds going forward for those that need them.
- If you know how good Emilio Pagan was in 2019, you’d know how hard it is for me to watch him blow his fourth save of the season. His velocity is OK, but he’s simply lost all of his command. I don’t think you can hold on to him in any format until he starts throwing more strikes. Drew Pomeranz is day-to-day with shoulder tightness, meaning this bullpen is somehow looking incredibly thin despite looking so strong on paper at the start of the season. If Pomeranz can’t pitch tonight, I’d peg Craig Stammen, who picked up 31 holds last season for the Padres, to get a chance at the save.
- It’s starting to look like the 2019 version of Rasiel Iglesias is the one we’re going to get this season. After an impressive string of four outings, he allowed crooked numbers on the scoreboard, giving him four scoreless outings and three rough outings so far in 2020. The Reds allowed Iglesias to pitch through his troubles last year, but if they grow tired of it now, it’ll be Amir Garrett who gets the first call.
- If Yusmeiro Petit is available on your wire and you need some quality innings, go pick him up. Not only does he now have six holds on the season, but the A’s are continuing to show that they are willing to run him out there on a very regular basis. While most people try to stream starters, if there’s no obvious candidate among them, using a middle reliever like Petit for a week can be a low-risk way to pick up a few innings (and maybe a stray win or two).
Bullpen Depth Charts