The Hold Up 5/16: Ranking the Top 90 Relievers for Holds Every Thursday
It took almost a full year, but Tommy Kahnle has worked his way back into a setup role with the Yankees. He’s always been able to miss bats, but it all comes down to the walk rate with him and as long as he’s under 10% he’s going to be useful. Dellin Betances still doesn’t have a timetable for a return, so for now, Kahnle’s setup role should be safe.
Despite expecting this negative regression from Archie Bradley this season, I wasn’t expecting it to happen the way it has. He’s actually improved on a lot of his swing-and-miss numbers, with a 10.4% swinging-strike rate a career high for him. That’s still a well below average number for a reliever, but the real number that plagues him is the 4.91 BB/9. The previous two years, he was at 2.59 and 2.51, which allowed him to get hit around some without any major consequences. His .426 BABIP is sure to come down, but I still think we’re looking at an ERA around 4 and WHIP around 1.25 with just over a strikeout per inning type of pitcher. That can still help when he’s near the league lead in holds, but he’s only managed a measly four thus far.
Scott Barlow just might be the Royals’ answer at closer this season if he keeps pitching the way he has. His struggles as a starter at the Triple-A level have hindered his career path, but his stuff seems to play well out of the bullpen. He currently holds a 26.8 K-BB% to go with a 2.9 FIP and xFIP as well as 2.69 SIERA. In what’s been a trainwreck of a bullpen, the Royals may finally have found some type of back end success with Barlow, Jake Diekman and Ian Kennedy.