Bullpen Fantasy Baseball Report: James Karinchak seems to be the closest; Keynan Middleton gets a stop
Emmanuel Clase has an ERA of 0.83. It also has a 1.43 WHIP.
You’d think the former would be enough to keep the latter from costing him his job, especially since he has a 7-for-8 save chance, but when you’re sharing a box with arguably the most powerful reliever in baseball, anything that is not flawless. is a reason for deletion.
At least, it seems that manager Terry Francona recently managed the Indian paddock. This is one of the 10 closer storylines worth discussing this week. Bullpen report.
Note: “Pecking order” refers to roster in Fantasy and not necessarily who is first in line for saves (although it’s usually the same thing).
It does look like Francona pivoted to James Karinchak, making him save a save on two consecutive days last week, then having him follow Emmanuel Clase in a draw in his very next appearance. Of course, Karinchak suffered a loss in his last appearance on Sunday, scoring two runs in the 10th inning of another draw, and perhaps it is telling that Clase came for the save the next day. But Karinchak needed a day off, and Clase put three runners on with just a one point lead, which has always been the problem for him. Ultimately, Karinchak is better and seems to have more confidence in Francona right now.
For three straight appearances (and four of his last five), Hansel Robles has been used exactly as a close-quarters would be, recording a save, preserving a tie and attempting to secure a one-point lead in the ninth inning. The only problem is that the most recent two of those three appearances have been pretty precarious, with the latest culminating in a failed save on Sunday. Tyler Duffey ended up getting the save in that one after the Twins rallied in the 10th inning, but he’s been mostly ineffective this year. Taylor Rogers and Alex Colome already had a chance in the closer role and ruined it. Maybe the Twins look to Rogers, who still has the best numbers in the field, but Robles is good enough that I think he gets another shot.
I’m sorry to report that the Rays are up to their old laps again, having a different pitching record for each of their last five saves. They are all listed above. It didn’t help that their closest designate at the start of the year, Diego Castillo, missed time with a strained groin, but after his return he was asked to work the sixth inning of a game and the eighth of another before finally getting a chance to shut one down. Of course, the newly acquired JP Feyereisen was the last to get a stoppage, but probably because Castillo had worked three of the previous four days.
I think they brought Castillo in slowly and are basically back to having him close full time now, but you can never be too sure with the Rays.
What a mess this situation has become. It looked like the Blue Jays were comfortable handing the reins back to Rafael Dolis once he came back from a calf strain last week, but he blew his first chance so epically that he has been brought in for the seventh round the next time around. Tyler Chatwood was the last to get a rescue chance on Sunday and had the numbers to justify it, but as with Dolis, the result was an epic crisis. Manager Charlie Montoyo continues to do everything possible to avoid sticking Jordan Romano in the role, but options may be lacking. Or maybe he gives Dolis or Chatwood another chance, but it’s a draw.
I think Tyler Rogers just passed Jake McGee. I know manager Gabe Kapler likes to mix things up, and by failing to lock in the role, McGee gave him an excuse to do it. But Rogers has worked the ninth inning or later in five straight appearances now, recording three of the Giants’ four saves in that span. McGee actually got the last one, but only because Rogers had worked four of the previous five days. Rogers’ submarine delivery allows him to take on a greater workload than most relievers, which will also mean appearances in No-Save Chances, but I think he’s the new choice for them. backups.
A recent wave of luck for the Tigers has made it clear that Michael Fulmer is indeed the closest, seeing him record three saves in nine days. Of course, his last appearance was a failed two-run homerun save against Carlos Santana, so it’s possible manager AJ Hinch will reassess the situation. But what could he do other than come back to left-hander Gregory Soto, who is overall worse? I’m not sure how useful the closer Tigers will be in the long run or if Fulmer is powerful enough to stay in the role, but he’s clearly the favorite now.
At first the problem was manager Mike Matheny. Now it’s Josh Staumont himself, doing all he can to squander the gift given to him. In five consecutive appearances, he’s been called upon to finish the game, twice for a save and three times to maintain a four-point lead. He has, however, allowed seven baserunners and three points in his last two appearances. He didn’t blow either of the two pellets, which is why I hesitate to say his job is in jeopardy, but those who have invested in him may not feel particularly secure with him right now.
It has become very clear that Kendall Graveman is manager Scott Servais’ most reliable reliever, which should translate to save chances more often than not. But now he’s on COVID-19 IL (although it’s not confirmed if he has the disease himself), which makes the next one in line here vitally important.
It’s worth knowing anyway given Servais’ tendency to use Graveman ahead of the ninth inning, and until Monday the answer was Rafael Montero, who actually has five saves as well as five missed saves. That blown fifth save may have been the last straw, as Montero has now worked the seventh inning or earlier in three consecutive appearances. It was actually Keynan Middleton who came in for the save on Monday, pulling out two in a perfect round, so it looks like he’s the one who handcuffed Graveman going forward.
Reds have become a staple in this space. We don’t know who their closest is since Amir Garrett lost his job in early April, and it’s to the point that I don’t see any value in guessing. Tejay Antone did indeed get his last save over a week ago and is competent enough for the role, but he’s too valuable as a multi-set reliever to settle in as a true closer. It wouldn’t surprise me if manager David Bell returned to Garrett at some point, but so far he hasn’t shown any inclination.
All I know is Stefan Crichton hasn’t been used as a closer in any of his last three appearances, his ERA swelling to over 6.00, but it doesn’t look like the Diamondbacks are positioning anyone else to step into the role either. It’s also not clear that anyone else is up to the task. Joakim Soria has some experience in the role, but it was used almost exclusively in the seventh and eighth innings. Alex Young has the best number of Diamondback relievers, but he’s a soft southpaw with the ability to make multiple innings. It sounds like a total guess at the moment, and it doesn’t help that the team hasn’t recorded a shutdown since May 10.