Happy 4th of July to everyone out there. Hope you're enjoying your day, and maybe watching some baseball today as well.
News and Notes From Around the Bullpen
- J.J. Putz blew back to back save opportunities this week, and ended up the week being placed on the disabled list. David Hernandez seems most likely to get the first save chance, but Sam Demel was activated and could also see some chances potentially.
- Jordan Walden recorded a clean save on the 29th after blowing 3 straight save opportunities. I think that it's clear that manager Mike Scioscia wants Walden in the job, but if you are getting nervous I might look at Scott Downs.
- The injury to Ryan Madson forced him to the disabled list, and Antonio Bastardo got the first save chance after that. He recorded the save, but I think he's going to have some exposure to regression. He is currently sporting a 99% strand rate.
- Craig Kimbrel seems to have cemented himself as the first option in Atlanta after being called on 3 straight days. With the excellent strikeout potential he moves up my rankings quite a bit this week.
- A reader pointed out that Joel Hanrahan has been getting no love, and after looking a bit more at him, he has now vaulted into my top 10 for the rest of the season. Hanrahan is a perfect 24-for-24 this season.
- Since his disastrous set of outings back in mid May, Brandon League has recorded 12 straight save opportunities, and has had but one rough outing (3 unearned runs on the 21st). David Aardsma's return doesn't appear to be any closer than it was a month ago, and I'm not sure he'll be back at all this season.
- Brian Wilson had a gigantic meltdown in the dugout after being pulled from a nearly blown save on Friday night, and Jeremy Affeldt was called on to get the save. I'm not really worried about Wilson, and the odds of him losing his job as closer are practically nil.
- The Dodgers have been using Javy Guerra in the 9th inning, but with the team not having any save chances again this week, it's still hard to tell who will get the next save opportunity.
- Matt Thornton got the save for the White Sox on Saturday night, but Santos was unavailable after getting saves in the last 3 games.
- Vinnie Pestano got the save on Saturday for the Indians. Chris Perez was on the bereavement list, but returned to the team on Sunday.
- A night after blowing the save in spectacular fashion, Matt Capps struggled again on Sunday and had to be relieved by Glen Perkins to get the final two outs of the save. I don't think a change is coming soon, but Perkins isn't who I would necessarily pick to get the chance should it happen. Joe Nathan was used in the 8th inning of the game, and would still be my guess as to who would replace Capps.
My Rankings After the Jump...
Closer Rankings from Today Forward [Change from Last Week]
- Brian Wilson (Giants) All Star
- Heath Bell (Padres) All Star
- Mariano Rivera (Yankees) All Star
- Huston Street (Rockies)
- Carlos Marmol (Cubs)
- Leo Nunez (Marlins)
- Jonathan Papelbon (Red Sox)
- Neftali Feliz (Rangers) [+1]
- Joel Hanrahan (Pirates) [+5] All Star
- Francisco Rodriguez (Mets)
- Joakim Soria (Royals) [+1]
- Craig Kimbrel (Braves) [+7]
- Drew Storen (Nationals)
- Jose Valverde (Tigers) [+1] All Star
- Francisco Cordero (Reds) [+1]
- John Axford (Brewers) [+1]
- Andrew Bailey (Athletics) [+1]
- Brandon League (Mariners) [+3] All Star
- Chris Perez (Indians) [+1] All Star
- Kyle Farnsworth (Rays) [+2]
- Jordan Walden (Angels) [+2]
- Fernando Salas (Cardinals) [+2]
- Kevin Gregg (Orioles) [+2]
- Sergio Santos (White Sox) [+2]
- Mark Melancon (Astros) [+2]
- Matt Capps (Twins) [+2]
- Frank Francisco (Blue Jays) [+2]
- Antonio Bastardo (Phillies) [-20]
- David Hernandez (Diamondbacks) [-18]
- Javy Guerra? (Dodgers)
Top Non-Closing Relievers Most Likely to Get the Chance
- Jonny Venters (Braves) All Star
- Mike Adams (Padres)
- Jason Isringhausen (Mets)
- Matt Lindstrom (Rockies)
- Jon Rauch (Blue Jays)
Trade Candidates Before July 31st
- Heath Bell
- Francisco Rodriguez
- Joakim Soria
- Matt Capps
- Jason Isringhausen