The Arizona Diamondbacks seem to have a farm where they grow starting pitchers-turned-elite relievers because they have recently added another to their bullpen. With Jorge de la Rosa and Archie Bradley already, they have just thrown in another de la Rosa, because apparently one wasn’t enough.
This one is Rubby. That’s pronounced Rooooooooooobieeeeee. Just like this guy:
Anyway, he’s got some great raw stuff out of the bullpen. As a starter, he was merely OK, but in a short stint in the bullpen so far, he’s shown some elite stuff. He’s got a 97 mph fastball now with a 15.8% SwStr% overall. His K% is 33.3%. His BB% is a below average 13.3%, but he didn’t have any walk issues in AAA this year, posting a 6.5% BB%, so I expect that to come down. He’s buried on the bullpen depth chart behind the other de la Rosa, Bradley, and the suddenly-dominant-again Fernando Rodney, but he could fill a role like Chad Green in New York, Brad Peacock in Houston (before he joined the rotation), or Mike Minor in KC.
If long relievers with excellent stuff have value in your league, especially with so many starting pitchers hurt this year, he might be worth a look. He’s still under the radar because he’s only been up for 3.1 innings and he’s given up too many homers. His ERA won’t remain over 8 for long. His SIERA sits at 3.52 and I expect his ERA to end up there.
Random, unrelated thought: Sean Doolittle has been one of the best relievers in baseball this year and is behind a weak closer in Santiago Casilla. He’s certainly worthy of a stash. His z-score on the graph below is better than Jansen or Kimbrel. That’s how good he has been. High strikeouts, low walks, only soft contact allowed. Yeah, he’s good.
On to the updated closer rankings:
- Craig Kimbrel
- Kenley Jansen
- Aroldis Chapman
- Wade Davis
- Corey Knebel
- Roberto Osuna
- David Robertson
- Addison Reed
- Greg Holland
The Good Leads
- Ken Giles
- Brad Brach (Zach Britton should be back on July 5. He will resume the role. The only reason to hold on to Brach is that Britton tried to come back once already and failed, so there’s a chance it happens again. Otherwise, Brach becomes a target for holds leagues only.)
- Felipe Rivero (I promised I would move him up if he continued to dominate. He has and I did.)
- Jim Johnson
- Fernando Rodney
The Weak Leads
- Raisel Iglesias
- Edwin Diaz (C’mon Edwin. We’ve been here before. You lost your job because you were so bad and then you got it back. Now, you’ve allowed 7 runs (3 earned) in your last three outings and I have to bump you down a tier. You are showing some weaknesses again.)
- Kelvin Herrera
- Justin Wilson
- Cody Allen/Andrew Miller
- Brandon Kintzler
- Brandon Maurer (With so many bullpens in chaos this week, it’s time to make room in the bottom tier and move up a deserving closer. He struggled briefly, but has been mostly great and does not deserve to stay in the cesspool.)
- A.J. Ramos (See Maurer, Brandon)
The Timeshares (these are just the lowest tier, they aren’t all in true committees)
- Seung-Hwan Oh/Trevor Rosenthal (A new committee. Rosenthal has been the better pitcher all year, so this was somewhat inevitable. Perhaps Oh will regain his form and win back the job, but if I were Matheny, I would roll with Rosenthal, despite his walk issues. The committee situation forces me to move this bullpen down here this week.)
- Alex Colome (He’s in free fall after four straight outings allowing at least one run. He’s allowed a total of 8 ER in that time. Nothing is official yet, but Brad Boxberger is my pick to take over. It may only take one more bad outing. Colome falls two tiers.)
- Matt Bush (Apparently Keone Kela is dealing with shoulder soreness, otherwise it would be easy for Texas to make a change. As it is, Bush is still on very thin ice and a committee could step in at any time. Bush owners should hold since Kela isn’t a guarantee, but this could turn into a mess. Bush falls a tier.)
- Hector Neris/Pat Neshek
- Santiago Casilla
- Sam Dyson (With Mark Melancon on the DL, SF is apparently going with this guy, who still has a 9 ERA on the year. That being said, his strikeout rate, walk rate, and GB% have all jumped back to his previous excellent levels since moving to the Bay Area. It is certainly a temporary gig because Melancon should come back and because Dyson and Melancon are likely on the trading block for this last place team. Still, if you are chasing saves, he’s surprisingly not the worst option right now.)
- Bud Norris (With Norris returning from the DL and no one taking the job while he was away, I am assuming he resumes the role now. He could always get hurt a third time, but so could Street or Bedrosian. If Norris stays healthy, he should be a decent closer option going forward.)
- Enny Romero/Matt Albers
Here’s the big leverage versus skills graph, updated with the most recent stats.
My apologies to those on mobile, it doesn’t display well on small screens. You should be able to download it though and look at the whole thing. Also, if you are reading this 5+ days after it was posted, the graph will automatically update to the most recent data, so my commentary won’t make sense below.
As you can see, I tried to color code this graph to show four different groups: those that are in danger of losing their closer’s (or setup) job, those that are very safe and locked in, those that we just don’t care about at all, and the rest (“other”).
Anyone with a z-score over 2.0 is an above average or great reliever and anyone with a gmLI over 1.0 is being used in situations that are higher leverage than average. If a pitcher is used a lot in high leverage situations (high gmLI) but has a low z-score, it means he might not be a good enough pitcher to keep the job. Those guys are all in the upper left region. Guys with high gmLI and high z-scores are safe bets to keep their jobs all season, unless they get hurt. They have their manager’s full trust and are pitching very well. Kimbrel, Jansen, and Doolittle are the leaders of this pack in the upper right.
The guys in between the groups in gray are ok. They aren’t bad and they aren’t great. They have z-scores over -1 and some are used in high leverage situations, but not all.
If you hover over a data point, it should give you the name of the player and their numbers. The “Highlight Name” search bar lets you find a specific player.
As I do every week, I’m just going to list the current closers that are “In Danger” to give you a heads up that you might want to handcuff them and prepare for them being removed from the job.
Here’s the list: Enny Romero, Brandon Kintzler, Matt Bush, Seung-Hwan Oh, Sam Dyson, and A.J. Ramos
Just outside the red danger zone: Kelvin Herrera, Alex Colome, Santiago Casilla, and Fernando Rodney.
I’ve already mentioned that Bush and Colome are in extreme danger of losing their jobs. Romero is really the backup closer to Matt Albers anyway, so you shouldn’t be relying on him for saves. Kintzler always lives on the edge with his lack of strikeouts, but he’s in no danger right now.
Oh already lost his job and now has to share with a more dominant option, so he’s obviously in danger. I already discussed Dyson and how he appears to have turned it around and his early season numbers are dragging him down artificially.
Herrera has been coasting along and is in no immediate peril. Rodney has been good for so long I’m not even shocked anymore. Casilla is in trouble with THE BEST RELIEVER IN BASEBALL SO FAR right behind him (Sean Doolittle in case you forgot). Tschus!