The Oakland A’s lost a pair of high leverage relievers this past week in Dany Jiménez and Zach Jackson, leaving A.J. Puk all alone (probably) in the closer role for the remainder of the season perhaps. While his career as a starter may have been short-lived, Puk has been fantastic out of the bullpen with above-average numbers across the board. The 28% K rate is not anything to scoff at, but I think there is still room for that to grow if he can tighten up his command some and throw his slider a bit more often (37% now, would like it near 50%).
- So far, so good for Clay Holmes in his return from the IL this past week. Holmes has yet to allow a baserunner over two innings since returning while striking out three. The Yankees have had a hard time winning games lately so we haven’t really gotten a chance to see how the back end of the bullpen will play out yet, but I’d imagine he’ll get the first crack at a save opportunity once one should arise.
- Rowan Wick may have received the last save chance for the Cubs but Brandon Hughes remains the only reliever worth rostering in this bullpen at the moment. He’s been great for much of the season, but since July Hughes has been one of the top 25 relievers in baseball, ranking as such in K%, SIERA, and SwStr% rate. I’d love to see the Cubs let him run with the closer role for now and to start 2023.
- Blake Treinen is expected to return from the IL today, joining a Dodgers bullpen very much in flux these days with no permanent closer. I’d imagine the Dodgers, with room to play with in the standings, will bring Treinen back slowly and use him in mostly low leverage spots to begin, but at the same time, they do need to figure out who they can rely on in October so it will be interesting to see how things play out here the rest of the way.
- Jimmy Herget, Nick Martinez, and Adam Ottavino each had 3 SV+HLD’s this past week to lead all relievers. All three have entered into the saves mix for their respective clubs recently, with Ottavino picking up three saves over the past two weeks as the Mets have transitioned Edwin Díaz more into a high leverage role, facing the middle of the opposing order in the 8th or 9th inning.
|David Bednar||2-3||Back. Throwing again but also in no rush to return.|
|Ryan Pressly||2-3||Neck. Will likely only miss 15 days and could return the week of September 8th.|
|Seranthony Domínguez||2-4||Tricep. Feeling better and playing catch. Could return in a week or two.|
|Nick Anderson||3-5||UCL. Not exactly thriving in AAA (5.40 ERA, 12 K over 13.2 IP) and doubtful to make an impact in 2022.|
|Drew Pomeranz||3-5||Flexor Tendon. Suffered a setback in rehab stint and could now miss the season.|
|Scott Effross||3-5||Shoulder. Strain is considered “small” so the hope is this is a min stay.|
|J.P. Feyereisen||3-5||Shoulder. Close to facing hitters, could return in a month.|
|Aaron Bummer||4-6||Lat. Has begun a rehab stint and could potentially return in two weeks.|
Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
I’ve always been curious what the rationale for this list is? Are these just the best relief pitchers for saves and holds empirically or is there also taken into account the likelihood that will get more opportunities to get saves and holds compared to other relief pitchers?
kind of both? There is no more volatile position/role in baseball than the “high leverage” reliever from a week to week basis so the rankings are based on pitcher skill/ability more than anything. That said, there are certain trends within certain clubs that we can use to gauge (to a degree) how certain relievers are most likely to be used each week and how many SV or HLD chances they may receive. It’s still an imperfect science, however, so I don’t put too much stock into potential opportunities, outside of closers.
Why has Diego Castillo not fallen down this list? He is maybe the fifth best option in the Mariners bullpen at this point. He has not been getting regular holds opportunities for well over a month now, and his peripherals are not overly impressive.
I love referencing your list every week. But you have a blind spot for Castillo, dating back to last year.
At the time of writing this (so before his last three outings) Castillo had a .88 ERA, .75 WHIP, 33 K’s, 10 SV+HLD’s and 6 wins over his last 30.2 IP, dating back to May. I feel like that, combined with his track record, made him a top 40 RP for SV+HLD leagues.
Appreciate the response Rick.
The ERA and WHIP have unquestionably been good over the past three months, however BABIP against is .164 over that period with a 90% strand rate. I’m not expecting that luck to continue.
Only 2 holds and 0 saves in 8 appearances in August. I just am not seeing him get consistent opportunities rest of season.
I would rather roster most of the guys you have in tier 5.
Thanks again for these weekly rankings, I find them to be tremendously helpful.