James Karinchak is back to his 2020/early 2021 self this season, and has been able to pitch himself back into a setup role for the Guardians. He’s still walking too many guys (14% since August) but he’s allowed just 2 ER over his last 20 IP while also striking out 32. There’s plenty of debate as to whether or not the “sticky stuff” has returned to baseball, but this is likely to be the new normal and I wouldn’t worry about the league cracking down on Karinchak or others anytime soon (much to the chagrin of Rocco Baldelli).
- Seranthony Domínguez returned to the Phillies bullpen this past week, but not quite yet to the closer role. That said, he’s looked fantastic in a set up role since returning, averaging 98.7 MPH his last time out, and should still be rostered in all leagues that count holds.
- José Alvarado continued his dominance since August this past week, with four more K’s and two holds. Since August, Alvarado has a 1.85 xFIP, and 42% K rate (while walking just 6%!), amongst the top five of qualified relievers and he’s also been able to tack 10 holds, the most in baseball since August started.
- Aaron Bummer has looked like his normal self since returning from the IL, which is vital for a White Sox team that will likely lean on him at the back end of games as every other reliever outside of Liam Hendriks has had their issues lately. Look for Bummer to finish the year in a set up role, where he should be good for at least four or so holds.
- Tommy Kahnle’s return to the Dodgers bullpen should be a huge boost after losing Blake Treinen this past week. Kahnle looked great in his first game back with a perfect inning, striking out two, and as long as he is healthy he’s proven he can be one of the better set up men in baseball. But he’s only thrown six total innings since 2019.
- Pierce Johnson also returned this past week, and gives the Padres much needed depth at the back end of the bullpen. It does leave some questions as far as who the preferred set up man will be moving forward, but Johnson could possibly move into that role in short notice. He’s yet to allow a baserunner in two innings of work since returning, while also striking out three.
- Diego Castillo’s September struggles have continued as he’s allowed five earned runs over 3.1 IP while walking three and striking out only two. While Castillo has a great track record, the Mariners just have too many quality relief options right now to continue to trust him in the biggest spots of games, so I’d expect him to fade out of relevance down the stretch.
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)