This will likely be José Alvarado’s last week on this list as it’s looking more and more likely that he is the Phillies’ closer at the moment. Not only has he been the team’s best reliever this season, but he’s arguably been a top 1-2 reliever in all of baseball to begin the year. A 62.1% K rate (obvious small sample warning) while not allowing a walk in his first 8.1 innings is far and away the best K/BB rate in the league so far. This is the same Alvarado who has a 14% walk rate for his 5+ year career. We don’t often talk about the Phillies turning around pitchers’ careers, but they’ve completely resurrected Alvarado, and perhaps Gregory Soto will be next.
- There are currently 5 relievers (with at least 7 IPs) with Stuff+ over 140; Aroldis Chapman, Ryan Helsley, Emmanuel Clase, Griffin Jax, and Félix Bautista. Jax is certainly a bit of a surprise to see in this group, but there’s no denying the upside here. Despite the great Stuff+ numbers, 5.53 PLV and 39.8% CSW%, Jax only has a 14.2% SwStr and 29% K rates. Both those numbers are good, but for someone with Jax’s stuff, I’d expect those numbers to grow even more.
- Adam Ottavino may also be making a case to be on the closer list, but either way, he should see plenty of SV+HLDs moving forward. I think Robertson is still the preferred option of the two, but Ottavino, despite some not-so-great xStats (4.52 xFIP) should be able to help in at least 3 categories moving forward.
- The one knock on Brusdar Graterol has never been about the quality of his stuff, it’s always been about the lack of swing and miss he generates as he’s never been a strikeout threat. Maybe that is changing as he’s rattled off 6 strikeouts over his past 3 outings, allowing just 1 hit and no walks in the process. He doesn’t throw it a lot, but Graterols slider has legit potential to be a strikeout offering.
- Three impact relievers returned from the IL this week in Joe Mantiply, Brandon Hughes, and Lucas Sims. All three should get back into setup roles for their respective teams, with Mantiply and Hughes being high leverage lefty relievers, but Sims will be the wild card here. The Reds certainly could use some bullpen help, and Sims was once one of the better reliever ins the game, but he only made it through 6.2 IP last season dealing with a back injury.
If you would like more daily reliever updates, please check out our Reliever Ranks series.
Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter) inspired by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter)
Ron Marinaccio feels low.
Where’s Helsley on the list?