Trevor Stephan has been an interesting case to follow these first two weeks, as he’s been thriving while not being his usual self. Stephan currently holds a 1.29 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 26% K rate over his first seven innings of work. That looks great, but it comes with just 25.5% CSW and 10% SwStr rates while his fastball velo is down 2.7 mph from last season. Perhaps he can get away with this or perhaps he will regress closer to his 5.18 xERA, or perhaps he will get his velo back in the coming weeks.
Emmanuel Clase has not been his usual self to start the season, and while it’s still early, of course, I am concerned with some of the things I saw in his last outing. I think at this point, Stephan might still be worth a look in save-only leagues as well as leagues that count holds, but I think I’d prefer to stash James Karinchak, if anyone, in that bullpen.
- Seranthony Domínguez has not gotten off to the start that he or the Phillies had hoped for, and while obviously the 13.50 ERA and 2.79 WHIP are concerning, the inability to miss bats right now is what is worrying me the most. His 10.3% K and 28.4% CSW rates are well below the league average for relievers and he currently has more walks than strikeouts. The velocity is still the same as it was last year, but his slider hasn’t been as effective, with his command being all over the place. I’m not giving up hope yet, but I’d like to see some positive signs here by the end of the month.
- Jorge López and Griffin Jax have emerged as the top two setup options in front closer Jhoan Duran, and while Jax has picked up from where he left off last year (and then some), it’s nice seeing López get off to a great start considering how his season ended once going to Minnesota late last season. I still like Jax better in the long run (more swing-and-miss potential) but both can be rostered in holds leagues at the moment.
- José Quijada may be emerging as one of those lefty relievers (Jake McGee, Colin Poche, Sean Doolittle, and for a bit, Josh Hader are others that come to mind) who can not only get away with but thrive while basically only having a low-mid 90’s fastball. His changeup (thrown less than 10% of the time) does its job, and the slider (under 5% usage) is more or less just a show-me pitch. Nevertheless, Quijada is living at the top of the zone with his fastball and may now be the top setup option for the Angels while inching closer to a closer timeshare with Carlos Estévez.
- The trio of Colin Holderman, Nick Anderson, and Steven Wilson were all big movers on the list last week, and are once again this week. Anderson’s velo may be down two ticks from his prime years, but he’s still finding ways to miss bats, currently holding 21.2% SwStr and 43.5% CSW rates. Holderman isn’t getting swings and misses yet, but his stuff suggests that it’s just a matter of time. And despite a high walk rate, Wilson is an intriguing option once again, as his slider helped lead him to a 41.4% K rate to begin the year.
- Taylor Rogers has gotten off to a brutal start with his new team, and the Giants may have no choice but to remove him from high-leverage situations for the time being. Not that he has even been pitching in those spots, as he has just one hold on the year so far. The pitch clock seems to be getting to him, as he’s had multiple violations so far and his command has been all over the place. I still believe in Rogers and have some hope, but feel free to drop him for now if more interesting options are available.
- Jimmy Herget is a fine reliever, but nothing really sticks out to keep him any higher on the list as things currently stand. Quijada seems to be the next in line for closer duties, with Matt Moore having a high-leverage role as well, leaving Herget in that secondary setup mix. That can be useful, but just don’t expect a lot of strikeout help from the pitch to contact Herget.
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Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)