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Coffee’s for Closers: Week 3

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Welcome to the latest edition of Fake Teams’ bullpen report

MLB: Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed the inaugural edition of Coffee’s for Closers and want to know where the name comes from, I encourage you to check out the first week’s post.

It’s been a week of notable changes in bullpens around the league. Joaquin Benoit has taken over (for now) in Philly, Oakland is a full-blown committee, and Sam Dyson lost his job to...Tony Barnette I guess? There will certainly be more turnover in these ‘pens and others in the coming weeks.

Now it’s time for the ranking tiers, the table of leverage index leaders, and some discussion of the current state of bullpens around the league.

The Closers

  • Aroldis Chapman
  • Zach Britton
  • Kenley Jansen
  • Edwin Diaz
  • Mark Melancon
  • Roberto Osuna
  • Craig Kimbrel
  • Ken Giles

Cadillac Eldorados

  • Kelvin Herrera
  • Cody Allen
  • Wade Davis
  • Alex Colome
  • Jeurys Familia
  • Cam Bedrosian (he’s earned the bump up to the next tier)

The Good Leads

  • David Robertson
  • Greg Holland
  • Brandon Maurer (he’s looked terrific so far)
  • Francisco Rodriguez
  • Jim Johnson
  • Blake Treinen
  • Neftali Feliz

The Weak Leads

  • A.J. Ramos (like Oh, I dropped him a tier due to strikeout issues)
  • Seung-Hwan Oh (I’m starting to be concerned. SwStr% is way down, so he plummets this week)
  • Tony Watson (I’m getting very worried. Hudson is right on his heels)

The Timeshares (these are just the lowest tier, they aren’t all in true committees)

  • Fernando Rodney
  • Brandon Kintzler
  • Joaquin Benoit (Neris is right behind him, though)
  • Raisel Iglesias/Michael Lorenzen
  • Tony Barnette/Jose Leclerc/Jeremy Jeffress
  • Ryan Madson/Santiago Casilla/Sean Doolittle

The Big Leverage Table

As promised, here’s a table showing the top 50 relievers in terms of game leverage index (gmLI), courtesy of Fangraphs. Remember, this is a measure of how tight the game is when they enter the game and is a proxy for how much trust a manager has in a reliever. I’m using this to track changes in bullpens throughout the season. A gmLI that is trending up means the manager is trusting them more and may move them into a better role, while a declining gmLI might mean they are falling out of the high leverage picture altogether. For more on leverage index, I encourage you to read this Fangraphs entry. Since week 1 set the baseline and we’ve only had one week since then, there is still no data for the “last two weeks” column. Next week we will see the first data there.

Week 3 Game Leverage Changes

Name Past Week gmLI Change Last Two Weeks gmLI Change
Name Past Week gmLI Change Last Two Weeks gmLI Change
Chase De Jong 3.41 N/A
Xavier Cedeno 2.5 N/A
David Robertson 2.36 N/A
Adam Conley 2.3 N/A
J.P. Howell 2.1 N/A
Mark Melancon 1.97 N/A
Francisco Rodriguez 1.9 N/A
Neftali Feliz 1.76 N/A
Dellin Betances 1.74 N/A
Hansel Robles 1.56 N/A
Brett Cecil 1.56 N/A
Anthony Swarzak 1.48 N/A
Travis Wood 1.47 N/A
Matt Albers 1.45 N/A
Jhan Marinez 1.43 N/A
Robby Scott 1.4 N/A
Jarlin Garcia 1.34 N/A
Mike Montgomery 1.33 N/A
Luke Gregerson 1.32 N/A
Ryan Dull 1.26 N/A
Blake Treinen 1.25 N/A
Junichi Tazawa 1.25 N/A
Fernando Rodney 1.23 N/A
Ken Giles 1.23 N/A
Sam Dyson 1.2 N/A
Dario Alvarez 1.17 N/A
David Phelps 1.17 N/A
George Kontos 1.15 N/A
Tyler Clippard 1.14 N/A
Corey Knebel 1.14 N/A
Casey Lawrence 1.09 N/A
Bud Norris 1.08 N/A
Matt Strahm 1.06 N/A
Nate Jones 1.05 N/A
Chris Rusin 1.05 N/A
Jason Grilli 0.97 N/A
Evan Scribner 0.87 N/A
Jandel Gustave 0.87 N/A
Seung Hwan Oh 0.82 N/A
Kyle Ryan 0.81 N/A
Dan Altavilla 0.81 N/A
Rafael Montero 0.75 N/A
Pedro Strop 0.74 N/A
Antonio Bastardo 0.74 N/A
Derek Law 0.74 N/A
Trevor Rosenthal 0.73 N/A
Brent Suter 0.72 N/A
Joe Blanton 0.7 N/A
Roberto Osuna 0.68 N/A
Aroldis Chapman 0.65 N/A
Adam Morgan 0.65 N/A
Trevor Williams 0.65 N/A
Bruce Rondon 0.63 N/A
Ian Krol 0.63 N/A
Kelvin Herrera 0.61 N/A
Brian Duensing 0.6 N/A
Shawn Kelley 0.58 N/A
Andrew Chafin 0.5 N/A
Dominic Leone 0.49 N/A
Jim Johnson 0.48 N/A
Justin Grimm 0.48 N/A
Evan Marshall 0.48 N/A
Craig Breslow 0.47 N/A
Eric O'Flaherty 0.44 N/A
Wade LeBlanc 0.42 N/A
JC Ramirez 0.42 N/A
Josh Smoker 0.41 N/A
Josh Collmenter 0.41 N/A
Cory Gearrin 0.4 N/A
Luis Avilan 0.38 N/A
Randall Delgado 0.36 N/A
Jeremy Jeffress 0.36 N/A
Mike Foltynewicz 0.35 N/A
Kyle Barraclough 0.32 N/A
Kenley Jansen 0.32 N/A
Joe Kelly 0.31 N/A
Mychal Givens 0.28 N/A
Aaron Loup 0.28 N/A
Nick Wittgren 0.28 N/A
Chaz Roe 0.27 N/A
Marc Rzepczynski 0.26 N/A
Tommy Milone 0.26 N/A
Alex Wilson 0.25 N/A
Darren O'Day 0.23 N/A
Jumbo Diaz 0.22 N/A
Mike Morin 0.21 N/A
Mike Minor 0.19 N/A
Anibal Sanchez 0.19 N/A
Adam Ottavino 0.19 N/A
Deolis Guerra 0.18 N/A
Heath Hembree 0.17 N/A
Fernando Abad 0.15 N/A
Ryan Pressly 0.15 N/A
Luis Garcia 0.14 N/A
Jake Esch 0.14 N/A
Tommy Layne 0.13 N/A
Enny Romero 0.13 N/A
Daniel Wright 0.13 N/A
Raul Alcantara 0.12 N/A
Matt Bowman 0.12 N/A
Kevin Quackenbush 0.11 N/A
Nick Goody 0.1 N/A
William Cuevas 0.09 N/A
Joely Rodriguez 0.09 N/A
Dan Otero 0.09 N/A
Donnie Hart 0.09 N/A
David Goforth 0.07 N/A
Pedro Baez 0.07 N/A
Shane Greene 0.07 N/A
Addison Reed 0.06 N/A
Scott Alexander 0.06 N/A
Vidal Nuno 0.05 N/A
Robbie Ross Jr. 0.04 N/A
Blake Wood 0.04 N/A
Sean Doolittle 0.03 N/A
Jose Leclerc 0.03 N/A
Zach Putnam 0.02 N/A
Matt Bush 0.02 N/A
Jakob Junis 0.01 N/A
Michael Martinez 0.01 N/A
Joe Jimenez 0.01 N/A
Jarred Cosart 0 N/A
Shane Carle 0 N/A
Ross Stripling -0.01 N/A
Nathan Karns -0.03 N/A
Austin Pruitt -0.04 N/A
Craig Kimbrel -0.05 N/A
Kevin Siegrist -0.05 N/A
Blake Parker -0.05 N/A
Tony Sipp -0.06 N/A
Archie Bradley -0.07 N/A
Dan Jennings -0.08 N/A
Jerry Blevins -0.08 N/A
Bryan Shaw -0.09 N/A
Juan Nicasio -0.1 N/A
Cam Bedrosian -0.1 N/A
Tyler Wilson -0.1 N/A
Justin Haley -0.11 N/A
Sergio Romo -0.13 N/A
Tony Barnette -0.15 N/A
Brad Peacock -0.16 N/A
Pat Neshek -0.16 N/A
Will Harris -0.17 N/A
Hector Neris -0.17 N/A
Koji Uehara -0.22 N/A
Taylor Rogers -0.22 N/A
Joakim Soria -0.25 N/A
Chris Young -0.25 N/A
A.J. Ramos -0.25 N/A
Jose Alvarez -0.28 N/A
Matt Barnes -0.3 N/A
Tommy Kahnle -0.3 N/A
Edubray Ramos -0.3 N/A
Craig Stammen -0.31 N/A
Sammy Solis -0.31 N/A
Tom Wilhelmsen -0.32 N/A
Wandy Peralta -0.32 N/A
Boone Logan -0.32 N/A
J.J. Hoover -0.33 N/A
Jordan Lyles -0.33 N/A
Neil Ramirez -0.35 N/A
Joseph Biagini -0.36 N/A
Arodys Vizcaino -0.36 N/A
Josh Edgin -0.37 N/A
Tony Cingrani -0.37 N/A
Hunter Strickland -0.38 N/A
Oliver Perez -0.4 N/A
Josh Fields -0.4 N/A
Jose Urena -0.4 N/A
Barrett Astin -0.41 N/A
Dustin McGowan -0.41 N/A
James Pazos -0.42 N/A
Cody Allen -0.42 N/A
Koda Glover -0.43 N/A
Ryan Buchter -0.43 N/A
Miguel Diaz -0.43 N/A
Alex Wood -0.44 N/A
Daniel Coulombe -0.44 N/A
Jeanmar Gomez -0.46 N/A
Paul Sewald -0.46 N/A
Andrew Miller -0.47 N/A
Jake Petricka -0.47 N/A
Edwin Diaz -0.48 N/A
Christian Bethancourt -0.48 N/A
Santiago Casilla -0.5 N/A
Dillon Overton -0.53 N/A
Michael Tonkin -0.55 N/A
Justin Wilson -0.56 N/A
Robert Stephenson -0.56 N/A
Bryan Mitchell -0.57 N/A
Michael Lorenzen -0.58 N/A
Fernando Salas -0.59 N/A
Brandon Kintzler -0.61 N/A
Ryan Tepera -0.61 N/A
Taylor Jungmann -0.61 N/A
Wade Davis -0.61 N/A
Carl Edwards Jr. -0.63 N/A
Mike Hauschild -0.64 N/A
Ryan Madson -0.64 N/A
Shawn Armstrong -0.64 N/A
Noe Ramirez -0.64 N/A
Yusmeiro Petit -0.65 N/A
Jesse Hahn -0.65 N/A
Brad Ziegler -0.66 N/A
Jake McGee -0.68 N/A
Liam Hendriks -0.68 N/A
Ben Taylor -0.69 N/A
Drew Storen -0.69 N/A
Robert Gsellman -0.7 N/A
Daniel Hudson -0.7 N/A
Frankie Montas -0.71 N/A
Zach McAllister -0.72 N/A
Matt Belisle -0.73 N/A
Blaine Hardy -0.73 N/A
Michael Ynoa -0.76 N/A
Chasen Shreve -0.77 N/A
Tommy Hunter -0.79 N/A
Miguel Socolovich -0.8 N/A
Felipe Rivero -0.81 N/A
Scott Oberg -0.82 N/A
Brandon Maurer -0.82 N/A
Jonathan Holder -0.84 N/A
Brad Hand -0.84 N/A
Danny Farquhar -0.84 N/A
Joaquin Benoit -0.85 N/A
Samuel Tuivailala -0.85 N/A
Casey Fien -0.85 N/A
Jose Torres -0.86 N/A
Tyler Duffey -0.86 N/A
Jonathan Broxton -0.88 N/A
Brad Brach -0.9 N/A
Andrew Bailey -0.91 N/A
Hector Rondon -0.92 N/A
Ty Blach -0.92 N/A
Chris Hatcher -0.92 N/A
Grant Dayton -0.94 N/A
Raisel Iglesias -0.94 N/A
Jose Ramirez -0.97 N/A
Jacob Barnes -0.98 N/A
Greg Holland -1 N/A
Erasmo Ramirez -1.01 N/A
Jorge de la Rosa -1.02 N/A
Tony Watson -1.02 N/A
Joe Smith -1.04 N/A
Michael Feliz -1.08 N/A
Nick Vincent -1.08 N/A
Jared Hughes -1.12 N/A
Alex Claudio -1.14 N/A
Oliver Drake -1.14 N/A
Alex Colome -1.16 N/A
Carlos Estevez -1.17 N/A
Peter Moylan -1.18 N/A
Adam Warren -1.21 N/A
Cody Reed -1.24 N/A
Carlos Torres -1.53 N/A
Mike Dunn -1.71 N/A
Chris Devenski -1.85 N/A
Zach Britton -2.34 N/A

As I cautioned last week, don’t read too much into one week samples. Zach Britton is not the lowest-leverage reliever in baseball (although Buck Showalter seemed to think so in the Wild Card game last season). However, we can see guys moving up in the ranks. Ryan Dull seems to have some trust in Oakland. It’s a big mess, but don’t forget about him. Let’s see what his two-week gmLI trend looks like next week. His bullpen mates, Sean Doolittle and Santiago Casilla did not jump up by much. Doolittle’s up by 0.03 and Casilla actually dropped by 0.5. Dull might be an interesting dark horse. Heh. I just used dull and interesting in the same sentence about the same guy. Ryan Madson also dropped by 0.64.

Those in holds leagues should notice guys like Mike Montgomery, Luke Gregerson, and David Phelps. They should be very good sources of holds and great rates. Sam Dyson is a strange sight, but I think that is mainly due to the fact that he was used in very low leverage save opportunities that he blew in week one and then used in slightly higher leverage non-save situations or save situations this past week (that he also blew). He should fall again next week.

Most of the other big gainers are full time closers, so not much to say there. In St. Louis, Trevor Rosenthal gained just a little less than Seung Hwan Oh, but he’s a name to watch. Kevin Siegrist actually dropped in leverage this week. Rosenthal is another dark horse saves speculation if Oh keeps faltering.

Finally, I want to touch on an emerging elite relief arm in Seattle. Yes, they have Edwin Diaz and he is great. Also, Nick Vincent is pretty good. But, I’m talking about Dan Altavilla. He’s got a 14.4 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 0.93 FIP, and throws 96+. He should be owned in all holds leagues right now. If something were to happen to Diaz, he becomes a top 10 closer right away. You’ve been warned.

Thanks for tuning in again this week. See you next time. Tschus!