Speed kills. Whether that be by the arm or legs. But this isn’t no SAGNOF post, this is the weekly look at strictly bullpens.  At what point do we stop looking at velocity and its effectiveness being a correlative?  Probably never, as the statcast era has never looked stronger as geeks type in the square roots of derivatives to figure out the best angle of deflection for them to walk down the stairs in their parents basement.  It’s a tale as old as time, and people like me mock math and numbers because, well… I am lazy.  Numbers always existed, but now they are so finite that you can get a feet per second drop of a the pin that no one can hear.  So maybe I should delve into the fray here and take a look at the early season velocity for closers and how they compare to last year and how they correlate to K success. Velocity isn’t the end all be all of reliever success, but is fully in the forefront when studs like Craig Kimbrel and Kenley Jansen are teetering on slow-pokes compared days of yore.  So I made a hand dandy chart, comparing last years average fastball velocity, K/9 and Swinging strike % to this years to see where the relationship between success, worry and full on panic in the closer realms exist.

Player 2017 Avg Velo 2017  K/9 2017 SwStr%  2018 Avg Velo 2018 K/9 2018 SwStr%
Kenley Jansen  93.6  14.36  18.2%  91.3  9.64  14.8%
Aroldis Chapman  100.2  12.34 13.6%  98.7  16.50  21.5%
Craig Kimbrel 98.7  16.43  19.8%  96.5  10.80  14.5%
Roberto Osuna  95.0  11.67  16.8%  95.5  4.26  12.5%
Felipe Vazquez  98.8  10.51  15.8%  97.2  14.40  21.3%
Brad Hand  93.8 11.80  13.3%  92.5  12.86  12.9%
Cody Allen  94.6  12.30  14.9%  93.7  9.00  13.9%
Ken Giles   98.4  11.92  16.4%  97.7  4.50  13.9%
Wade Davis 94.7 12.12 15.5% 94.6 11.81 11.8%
Raisel Iglesias 96.5 10.89 14.0% 95.2 15.19 22.4%
Edwin Diaz 97.8 12.14 16.1% 98.3 21.60 27.5%
Sean Doolittle 95.0 10.87 15.4% 94.9 16.50 19.6%
Alex Colome 95.5 7.83 11.6% 94.5 2.25 12.8%
Jeurys Familia 97.0 9.12 10.2% 97.4 11.25 12.5%
Brandon Morrow 97.9 10.31 15.9% 96.9 9.00 9.4%
Blake Treinen 97.6 8.80 13.2% 97.4 10.50 17.3%
Arodys Vizcaino 98.2 10.05 14.8% 98.8 12.71 17.0%
Kelvin Herrera 97.9 8.49 11.6% 97.2 16.22 26.3%
Shane Greene 96.2 9.71 8.7% 94.5 14.73 11.1%
Fernando Rodney 95.6 10.57 12.2% 95.2 9.64 9.2%
Greg Holland 93.8 10.99 15.3% 92.6 0.00 8.3%
Hector Neris 94.8 10.37 16.6% 94.6 11.57 15.4%
Brad Boxberger 92.6 12.27 11.7% 91.2 13.50 10.2%
Hunter Strickland 96.1 8.51 11.0% 95.7 7.50 8.3%
Brad Brach 95.3 9.26 12.2% 93.3 12.15 14.9%
Keone Kela 96.7 11.87 11.9% 95.6 10.80 10.9%
Keynan Middleton 97.2 9.72 16.7% 97.4 8.22 10.5%

 

  • The standouts for me are Jansen, Kimbrel and Colome on the downside of things when looking at the chart.  So basically, the first two closers off the board in the preseason and Oh, the save leader from a year ago.  Comforting stuff.
  • On the positive side, this chart is using really early sample sizes for this year.
  • Edwin Diaz is head and shoulders for me a changed man from last year.  He was replaced as closer for a stretch last year and has recorded 14 outs on the year and struck out 11 of them.  The Mariners bullpen is a strength right now, and Diaz is the oar paddling the canoe.
  • For all the people looking, Brad Ziegler throws entirely too slow to be in this chart.  Sorry B-Rad but you are a window throwa, said in my best Staten Island accent.
  • If I had 20 bucks, I would wish for a serum that would keep Doolittle definitely healthy all year long.  As the season wears on owning Ryan Madson for here and there save chances or as just a staple item on your fantasy team seems like a good strategy as the Nats try and keep Doo-alot healthy.

 

 

  1. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    great job,thanks for all the hard work Smokey my man

  2. hankg says:
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    Smokey, love your work on relievers. Question on roster strategy. I’m in a very competitive 10-team league that counts saves and holds as separate categories. Currently, my bullpen staff looks like this – Giles, Iglesias, Herrera, Colome and C. Green. We have a deep bench and I currently cycle through relievers from the teams whose closers I own in the hopes of getting additional holds. Unfortunately, all the Houston guys are rostered so that leaves me rotating through TB, CIN and KC guys – not the best options. I’m already starting to fall behind in holds and was wondering if a better strategy would just be to go with the best relievers available notwithstanding team? Preferably, I’d like to be able stick with a set group for a while instead of having to cycle through guys on a daily basis. Sorry for the long question and thanks for the help!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @hankg: those three teams are poor for holds and longevity. I would look at the wire and start picking up different guys even secondary guys on other teams

  3. Laura Holt

    Laura Holt says:
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    Hey Smokey, I’ve been getting lots of questions from my saves-speculating deep-league pals lately about Tampa Bay and Philly bullpens, and I’m getting a headache trying to predict on both fronts. I feel like Colome has as long a leash as a dude could have, though I suppose that means that if he does get it together, he’s likely to get traded, so there could be value in speculating there. I feel like Romo might be next in line, but that feels like an absolute recipe for disaster. So I guess I’m asking what you think of Alvarado, and if you think there’s any chance he would get a shot in the 9th. Also, in Philly, Neris isn’t impressing early, and who knows what Kapler might do as the season progresses… I’m starting to wonder if Hunter or Neshek are worth a DL stash. And/or… should we paying any attention to Luis Garica or Edubray Ramos? Anyway, that’s a heck of a lot of thoughts/questions; but basically just wanted to get your take on both pens!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Laura Holt: the problem with. Tampa is hey already use a bullpen day for one of their start days. Which is being dominated by Chirinos, Andriese and the likes. So everyone is being used a ton a cycled through. Alvarado to me has the closer make up. Velocity, K ability. Romo to me is the veteran preference guy. Established veteran there to start things off if Colome gets traded.
      The Phillies are the complete opposite. They have too many relief options and the better ones are on the DL. I think everyone is in play in Philly even ADam Morgan.

  4. Shawnuel says:
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    Felipe Vazquez……..is that Rivero?

    • CrazyJ says:
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      @Shawnuel:

      was, changed his name

  5. Mark says:
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    Edin Diaz is insane so far. Watching him, he’s been Rivera like. He’s in the RIvera tier all by himself.

    His first game he hit two batters….but I think one of the batters almost looked like he dove into the ball when he saw the slider. Otherwise super solid. I seen a few of his outings, and the batters are just…I have not seen batters act this way outside of Mariano Rivera.

    Edwin Diaz just looks like the best closer in baseball for the next few years/

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Mark: he def will be in consideration for a 12 buck salad in two weeks when I do rankings.

  6. JakeTPE says:
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    Hey Smokey. This is my favorite Razzball post of the week (please don’t tell Grey!).

    I’ve kind of locked myself into Soria-Jones in a league with SV and HD as separate cats. Until that situation sorts itself out, my RPs for holds are Matt Barnes (a little shaky the past week but looks like he’s ahead of Kelly and Smith for 8th inning duties) and Ottavino (lights out right now).

    Most intriguing FA options are Lyons, Bowman, and Vincent and holds-du-jour guys like Stammen.

    Stand pat or move off Barnes for one of these guys?

    Thank you sir.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @JakeTPE: told Grey and he wants to see you in is office. I would go a reliever du hour instead of Barnes. Stammen has looked really good and no real conpetition surrounding him in high leverage stuff.

      • JakeTPE says:
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        @Smokey: Haha! Thanks for the advice, Smokey!

  7. Brett says:
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    Smokey,

    I’m in a league with a category for holds and another for saves. 12 team daily league where we can play up to 5 relief pitchers and 5 starters every day. I already have to many relievers with Hader, Minter, Osuna, Boxberger, Kela and Rodney. It is hard to find a closer on waiver. 2 questions.
    1. Do you like Ottovino over any of my current relievers?
    2. What’s your take on Peacock? Do you think he’s the primary holds guy in Houston? Would you prefer him over any of my current relievers?

    Thanks

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Brett: would love to say yes on Otta but you have a nice group

      Houston is everyone can do everyone’s job. Lots of changing parts. All roster worthy too

  8. NyJacobs says:
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    Hey Smokey, do you still like Nicasio for holds? He’s getting the stat but giving up runs, or should I drop him for Blake Wood or Steckenrider? Thanks.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @NyJacobs: I do. Ratios have been a drag. Holds haven’t. But if they bother you gotta change to another elite guy which probably isn’t available on wire so I would hold.

  9. I'm Keith Hernandez says:
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    Middleton on the waiver wire in my league. How much should I bid (200 budget for year I have all 200) boxburger went for 35. Thanks!

  10. Brent

    Brent says:
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    Smokey,

    Is Jacob Barnes done as a saves option? Should I drop him and activate Gregerson in an NL only league? My other pitchers are not droppable.

    Thanks

    Brent

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Brent: I would chase elsewhere. Hader looks destined to be the itbguy with Albers being secondary.

  11. Dancin Homer says:
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    Smokey, which closer would you rather have for the rest of the season:

    Strickland
    Holland?

    Thanks in advance

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Dancin Homer: both have cautions, but I’d bank on Holland more than Strickland being the man all year. Both are good low end closers

  12. Beardcrabs says:
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    Who takes over for Ziegler? I can’t imagine him closing much longer…

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