Much like the more ballyhooed Closer Report, the alternate week Bullpen Report covers everything that those dudes who get quality starts don’t. It’s starting again, in case you haven’t noticed, and no, I am not talking about those unfortunate flare-ups that you cover with medicated ointment, bullpens are in flux. So you get a little of the saves, some of the holds, and some of me just ranting. Ugh, the situation for closers is an ugly ever-changing conundrum. This week’s cluster F belongs to the St. Louis Cardinals. Mitchell Boggs goes all Chernobyl on your weekly ERA and just falls apart. Have no fear as Trevor Rosenthal didn’t look much better. Boggs is still the guy you want here, Motte isn’t coming through that door anytime soon and no one else has the label as go to guy in the bullpen yet. So sit tight and just enjoy this closer-coaster with no seat belt. Here’s what I got this week, some sleeper Holds guys with improving, yet slightly arousing situations, and some other run downs on teams’ closer situations.
10 Holds Guys With Improving Situations:
1. Brian Duensing – Has some sexy added eligibility with the SP; is the only other Lefty, besides their closer, in the pen for the Twins.
2. Paco Rodriguez – Another Lefty that is seeing decent time for the Dodgers in between Belisario and Jansen .
3. Edward Mujica – Role has been boosted due to Boggs in the closer role, I like him to soak up a lot of the holds in pressure situations.
4. Darin Downs – With Coke doing most of the closing, or lack there of, Downs has been a sneaky play in Detroit as the only other lefty.
5. A.J. Ramos – Not many wins in Miami, but has 4 appearances in first 8 games. Has future closer type stuff if he can limit the walks.
6. Steve Delabar – It’s not the all Sergio Santos show at the back of the Jays’ pen, guy is just funky and I like funky.
7. Carter Capps – Under-known name in an under-known Seattle bullpen.
8. Hector Rondon – Former top spec getting some good burn in the Cubbies’ pen. Worth a squint to watch, trust me, electric arm, but wild. Added eligibility in some formats.
9. Luis Avilan – Took over for Venters in Atlanta and hasn’t disappointed yet.
10. Scott Atchison – Had a brilliant year with the Sawx last year, now setting up for those up-start Metropolitans.
Kansas City – I said early in spring training that I was intriguingly turned on by the KC bullpen, and I can’t blame it on the pleats in my pants either. The arms that they have at the end game are all just straight up filthy but all in different ways. Kelvin Herrera took a huge ownership bump this week with all the trouble Greg Holland got into. What’s not to like about Herrera, he throws nearly a hundo, and mixes in a great curve/change combo and a sassy 7/1 K/BB rate in the early goings on. He is basically “lave sus culo” type nasty. If adding players for the near future on speculation, he is first on a short list. I am also intrigued by the usage so far of Aaron Crow and I will continue to tout him as a win vulture this year so monitor closely.
Milwaukee – Man, John Axford sucks. I have been a supporter and now I am taking it in the nuts. I have recently read and seen charts illustrating that his release point has changed in the past 2 years. Do I think he is done as a closer? No, but he needs to get back to basics and change some stuff up, throw more sliders, kick the ball to the plate, admit he is injured… something. Stepping up and in for Axford is Jim Henderson. I have seen him called “Muppet Master”, although I would like to throw out my own nickname of “Electric Mayhem”. He filled in last year and did swimmingly well, so he has the knack, but I am going to question if he has the Sharona. With no other options it’s his show until Axford figures out who is what and when.
Chicago Cubs - Well we knew it was coming and well it did. Carlos Marmol is out for now as closer. The Cubs say they want him to return to the role, I want Brooke Shields to redo Blue Lagoon, but that stuff ain’t happenin’. Of course the Cubs want that, he is worth about as much as a bag of left-handed hammers. Kyuji Fujikawa is the first candidate up, I don’t think he is ready for the prime time yet, but has garnered 2 save chances so far. The guy I am looking at here is James Russell, stellar yet under-rated set-up guy could be in the second fiddle seat when the Asian kid who is all-world at fiddle gets a case of the yips.