Right now, all things considered, Evan Phillips is likely the most trustworthy option in the Dodgers bullpen. As is the case with John Schreiber in Boston and Jason Adam in Tampa Bay, no one expected this back in March but here we are. While he only has 12 SV+HLD’s (plus four wins) since May 1st, he also holds a .60 ERA and .93 WHIP while striking out 33 over 30 innings of work. The Dodgers will more than likely make a move for a bullpen arm this week, but even after that and with Blake Treinen nearing his return, there should still be value here for Phillips as a secondary setup option who can help with ratios, K’s and the occasional win.
- Félix Bautista has burst onto the scene as one of the top setup men in baseball this season, with a three-pitch mix that features a fastball that sits at 99 MPH and a splitter/slider combo that both induce Whiffs over 45% of the time. He’s allowed just two runs over his last 25.2 innings, striking out 35 over that span while walking only 7 to go along with eleven holds and three wins. With the Orioles hanging around in the Wild Card race, they are not a team to worry about providing SV+HLD chances to their relievers anymore.
- Adam Ottavino has bounced back in a big way this season despite a slow start and has quietly been one of the Mets’ best bullpen pieces behind Edwin Díaz. Ottavino has been outstanding since the calendar flipped to June, allowing just two earned runs while having a 19/3 K/BB rate and nine holds over 20.2 innings. Drew Smith has been trending the other way and will likely continue to lose hold chances to Ottavino.
- James Karinchak is back in the Guardians’ pen and appears to have regained a feel for his curveball again, as he’s producing career-high spin rates on the pitch after seeing those numbers plummet last year following the “sticky substance ban”. His fastball velo/spin is still down a bit, however, and the command issues are still a concern, but the upside is obviously intriguing to chase here, especially if he can work his way back into high leverage work soon.
- Just when it had looked like Tyler Duffey had perhaps found the magic that made him one of the best relievers in baseball from 2019 through 2020, he goes out and lays an egg in July. Despite only allowing one run for the month, he finished with a 4/3 K/BB rate with seven hits allowed with just one save and no holds. There are a ton of higher upside arms to chase at this point, and it even looks like teammate Emilio Pagán might be turning a corner (16/1 K/BB rate over 8.1 IP in July!).
Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)