As distinct bullpen roles begin to steady throughout the league, it’s nice to see all but 1 RP in tier 2 pitching well recently. That one outlier being Tommy Kahnle, who had been lights out basically all year up until his past 2 outings. He’s allowed 4 earned runs over his past inning of work, doubling his ER total from his previous 30 innings. While it is nothing to be overly concerned about yet, the next few outings will be very important for him. He has never really had success at the MLB level over 3 seasons up until this year, so perhaps his first half has been a fluke. He should also be next in line if/when the team trades David Robertson, which would be a nice boost to his value, assuming he can keep things together from here on out.
TIER 1: Good Vibrations
- While Andrew Miller continues to serve as the Indians closer for the time being, Dellin Betances was asked to close out the Yankees game on Tuesday, and the results weren’t so great. While both Betances and Aroldis Chapman had pitched the prior 2 days, Betances got the call presumably due to the Yankees wanting to take things slow with Chapman just 2 weeks back from a lengthy DL stint. Betances went on to walk 2 and then hit a batter, before allowing a 2 run walk off single to Jose Abreu. Chalk up the blown save to pitching 3 days in a row and nothing more.
TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You
15. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)
- Mike Minor continues to shine in his relief role with the Royals, despite the lack of hold chances he has been receiving. He should still be the teams secondary set-up option at worst, even if Matt Strahm returns to the bullpen. Theres some trade rumors surrounding him, which could actually boost his value if he ends up on a contending team in need of bullpen help.
- Darren O’Day is back, and so won’t Zach Britton in a week, which could leave the rest of the bullpen to fight over fantasy value. There hasn’t been too much in Baltimore lately anyway, as the team is hurting for quality starting pitching. I can’t see a scenario where Britton, Brad Brach or Mychal Givens don’t see save/hold chances, which could mean O’Day is the odd man out. He still remains one of the more consistent RP’s in baseball, so he is worth owning until we see how things play out there.
TIER 3: Torn
16. Pat Neshek (Philadelphia Phillies)
23. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)
- While there was a point not too long ago where it looked like Trevor Rosenthal taking over the closer job from Seung Hwan Oh may have seemed imminent, that has faded quickly, as Rosenthal has been struggling mightily of late. Over the last 30 days, he has an ERA at 6.97 with a 1.74 WHIP, which actually isn’t that far off from Oh’s number over the same time period. Nevertheless, there is nothing to suggest Oh’s job is in danger, while Rosenthal’s job in fact may be with the way Brett Cecil has pitches lately.
- Despite the speculation and popular belief that Cam Bedrosian would return to the closers role when he returned from the DL and Bud Norris went on the DL, Bedrosian seemingly has been skipped over for David Hernandez for the time being. With Norris back within the week, Bedrosian may only have value in the short-term in holds leagues, which could still be hard to come by. The Angels bullpen, when healthy, does look like one of the better bullpens in baseball right now, even without a clear-cut pecking order.
TIER 4: You Get What You Give
32. Shane Greene (Detroit Tigers)
48. Alex Wilson (Detroit Tigers)
- Even with Marc Melancon looking at a potentially lengthy DL trip, Hunter Strickland still seems likely to continue serving in a set-up role, rather than closing with the team valuing Sam Dyson‘s experience over anything else. Given how bad Dyson has been all year, it’s surely a possibility that Strickland gets a chance at the role at some point, but even still, there isn’t too much to get excited about here. George Kontos could even be next in line should Dyson continue to pitch poorly.
- With Red Sox coaches reportedly upset at John Farrell “overusing” Craig Kimbrel, it’s worth keeping an eye on the two options behind him. Joe Kelly is probably the better option of the two right now, but Matt Barnes continues to the bulk of the 8th inning work despite his inconsistencies. In a perfect world, Carson Smith would be back already, and could help lighten the load for the whole bullpen, but his long rehab from Tommy John has presumably stalled at the moment. I’m still valuing Barnes a tick over Kelly, but only due to usage.
TIER 5: There She Goes
51. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds)
55. Phil Maton (San Diego Padres)
65. Tony Watson (Pittsburgh Pirates)
69. Tony Cingrani (Cincinnati Reds)
70. Bruce Rondon (Detroit Tigers)
- The Tigers bullpen is again in shambles behind Justin Wilson, with the team electing to use recently recalled Bruce Rondon in the 8th inning with a lead Tuesday night. Shane Greene and Alex Wilson have both struggled in recent weeks, and Rondon easily has the best stuff of that trio. If Rondon has truly figured it out (skeptical), he could climb up this list rapidly with the other two trending downward. I was really high on Rondon entering the season, given his peripherals from last year, so there is that.
Top 50 RP’s for SV+HD Leagues
15. Felipe Rivero (Pittsburgh Pirates)
26. Sean Doolittle (Oakland Athletics)
32. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)
37. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)
41. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins)
49. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)