The title of the article tells you the big news of the week, so that’s where we’ll start this week’s edition of Bullpen Briefing. From there, we’ll stick in the American League but head to the left coast to see whats happening with the Angels. Then, coming back to middle America we’ll get updates from Minnesota and Cleveland. We’ll finish with a quick tour of the NL East where we’ll discuss Queens and Miami. Let’s begin.
New York Yankees
Aroldis Chapman’s struggles continued this week resulting in his removal from the closer role. Tuesday night against the Mets, Chapman allowed a walk, followed by a 2-run homer by rookie Amed Rosario. Rosario was the second rookie to take Chapman deep in three days, the first being Rafael Devers Sunday night. After a couple of nights off, Chapman came into the 8th inning of Friday night’s game when the Yankees trailed by a score of 7-6. A clean inning may have got him back in manager Joe Girardi’s good graces, but he struggled again allowing another two earned runs.
Chapman is clearly off. Though he was still hitting triple digits on the radar gun, his fastball control has been awful, forcing him to rely more heavily on his slider which is not a great pitch. I’m a little surprised the Yankees haven’t used a DL stint to give Chapman 10 days to reset his mind and work on his control issues. His next couple appearances will likely come in situations where the Yankees are trailing, in fact, he pitched 1.1 innings Sunday afternoon with the Yankees trailing 3-1 to the Sox. He K’d two and BB’d one, overall looking better than his previous three outings. Hopefully a sign of things to come for Chapman owners and Yankee’s fans.
If Chapman gets it together he should see himself back in the 9th inning quickly. That seems like a big ‘if’ right now, but Chapman is a dominant force when he’s on and he remains a key part of the Yankee bullpen. I would recommend holding Chapman in all formats, but slide him to the bench until he can string together a couple clean outings.
To quote the great Susan Waldman, the Yankees are lucky to have a “luxury of riches” in regard to their bullpen. While Chapman is in timeout, the Yankees will go to Dellin Betances and David Robertson for saves, both high-level relievers with closing experience. Looking at their usage this week, Betances appears to have a leg up on Robertson, as Betances picked up 3 saves to Robertson’s 1 this week.
Tommy Kahnle took the ‘L’ on Friday night, and was roughed up Sunday for 2 runs, but should see a slight bump in value as he becomes the Yankees third option out of the pen. I don’t think he’ll see any save chances but he should see a slight uptick in holds opportunities until Chapman is able to right the ship.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Bud Norris picked up his first save in over two weeks on Sunday afternoon, but not before he allowed two baserunners on a walk and a hit. Cam Bedrosian was used in the 7th inning to keep the game tied at 4-4. The Angels scored the go-ahead run in the 8th, netting Bedrosian the win. Yusmeiro Petit took the 8th inning for his 10th hold of the season.
Norris is back in the mix for saves, but I need to see a few more good outings before he gains my trust back. This is frustrating for Bedrosian owners, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia went with his best arm in a big spot, so I think Bedrosian’s usage is a sign of things to come and he should continue to see the bulk of the save chances in Anaheim.
Matt Belisle blew a save two weekends ago but bounced back with a save Thursday night, striking out the two batters he faced. Taylor Rogers picked up two holds this week, with Trevor Hildenberger picking up a save and a hold, but Hildenberger also blew a hold that wound up netting him a win. Not much has changed here in the last two weeks; I still fancy Belisle as the head of this committee. No reliever is separating themselves from the others just yet.
Andrew Miller returned from the disabled list this week, he should slide back into his setup role for the Indians. Cody Allen had a few bumps in the road this year but never enough to lose the closer job. The two should remain a good 8/9 inning combo the rest of the way.
New York Mets
Jeurys Familia began his rehab assignment last week. Usually, a reliever’s rehab consists of a couple of tune-up outings before they are ready for MLB action, but Familia missed three months with a blood clot in his right shoulder and the Mets are out of playoff contention, so there is no need to rush Familia back. He should take closing duties from AJ Ramos soon after he returns. Familia remains a good DL stash for the fantasy playoffs.
Kyle Barraclough was activated from the disabled list last Tuesday. His first appearance came in the 8th inning of a game the Marlins were losing, and Barraclough allowed a solo home run. He followed it up two days later with a 1-2-3 8th inning against the Mets to record his 16th hold of the season. Barraclough was heating up prior to hitting the DL and was a candidate to close for the Marlins after they traded AJ Ramos and David Phelps. However, veteran Brad Ziegler has been money since August 1st when he returned from his DL stint. In his 7 August appearances, Ziegler is yet to allow a run and has recorded 5 saves. Ziegler is not an exciting closer due to his low 5.00 K/9, but he has a handle on the closer job in Miami for now. Barraclough should be the main set-up man and if he picks up where he left off before his DL-stint, he’s a very valuable player in holds leagues.
Three Stars of the Week
Craig Kimbrel, Bos – In 3.1 innings, Kimbrel struck out 7 while earning two wins and a save. He didn’t allow a walk, hit, or run over this time frame.
David Robertson, NYY – In 5.0 innings, Robertson struck out 11 and earned 1 each of a save, hold and win. He allowed one hit and walked three over the 5 innings, allowing no runs.
Dellin Betances, NYY – Betances pitched 5.0 innings, recording 3 saves and a hold. He struck out 6, walked one, allowed one hit, and allowed zero runs.
That wraps up this week’s Bullpen Briefing. Thanks for reading and feel free to join the discussion by dropping a comment in the comment section.