What’s poppin, Razzpimples? Bullpen update time!
Don’t forget, the Razzball Bullpen Chart is manned by yours truly and updated like every single second (not really, but I stay on top of thangs for the most part). And directly below, you’ll see a current look at the Top 15 RP (in both 5×5 standard leagues and 6×6 saves/holds leagues) via our Player Rater. Subscribers also get access to the incredibly handy Relievonator Game Log, which tracks every single relief appearance from the last 14 days, including what inning they were called upon and how many batters/pitches they faced/threw.
Alrighty, let’s do it to it. (Note: Monday’s games do not factor in)
Player Rater Top 15 (5×5 Standard)
Player Rater Top 15 (6×6 w/ Holds)
Yay, site issues have been fixed! Pretty charts are back. Sorry about last week’s barebones column.
Kicking things off with Matt Brash this week. Headline boy has been absolutely chugging decisions over the last several weeks, and as a result, he’s climbed into the Top 15 of the 6×6 Player Rater. Granted, without the wins — which are random and unreliable from RP, as we all know — he wouldn’t be this high. However, it does reiterate that 1). he’s getting consistent high-leverage work, and 2). he’s not blowing it. Over the last month, Brash has 5 W, 3 SV, and 4 HLD, with just 1 L and 1 BS in that time. He’s struck out 20 in 15.1 IP, with a 3.52 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Brash is prone to free passes, but he’s been much better about that of late. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that Justin Topa has been exceptional this past month as well: 1 W, 1 SV, 6 HLD, with a 0.66 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Brash is flashier and has been getting dubs and vulture saves, but don’t overlook Topa if you could use holds. Andres Muñoz posted a trifecta this week: 1 W, 1 SV, and 1 HLD. In 3.2 IP, he allowed 3 H and 2 BB with just 1 K. Silver lining is he kept runs off the board. The SwStr% was almost nonexistent, which is a tad worrisome coming from him.
Paul Sewald had 3 SV in three scoreless innings this week. Did sport an ugly 2.00 WHIP, though. Moving to the desert hasn’t done his fantasy owners many favors. In a DBacks uniform thus far, Sewald has allowed 11 baserunners and 3 ER in just 6 IP. All three of those runs came in one outing, so at least most of them have been scoreless I guess. I’m painting a colorless picture but let me go on record and say that I am not worried about Sewald at this point. They traded for him to be their closer, and he’s just pretty damn good at pitching, so I expect he’ll be just fine.
Kyle Finnegan continues to shove. His scoreless streak snapped, so that’s a bummer, but he still tied Sewald for the weekly lead with 3 SV. Hunter Harvey has returned and is not stealing saves, so that’s a good sign for the Finnegan Faithful, of which I am founder and president. My dude is #10 on the 5×5 Player Rater and #6 on the 6×6 Player Rater. Love to see it.
Jhoan Duran collected a pair of saves while striking out seven in just 3 IP. Had a gnarly 31.3 SwStr% along with 50 CSW%, all while averaging just a hair under 102 MPH on the fastball. For the year, Duran has 23 SV with a 2.77 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, striking out 68 in 48.2 IP. He’s maybe not quite the level of elite I would have expected, but then again, you probably drafted him expecting him to share some duties with now-a-Marlin Jorge Lopez, so Duran’s been a great value nonetheless. On the setup side of things for Minnesota, Caleb Thielbar is likely sitting on your wire given his lengthy spell on the IL earlier in the year. Jax is the #1 guy, but Thielbar is next up in my book, and he’s had the better season (much smaller sample, of course).
Jordan Romano had 2 SV this week, striking out three in two scoreless. Very nice 29.2 SwStr% and 37.5 CSW% as well. Any lingering concerns you may have had about his back can probably just linger elsewhere. What I am concerned about is my theoretical-but-not-actual shares of Erik Swanson. To my chagrin, it seems Jordan Hicks is the favored #2 arm in that pen, at least for the time being. Hicks has double the positive decisions (wins+saves+holds) that Swanson does over the last 14 days. Both were effective this week. One of them got two more positive decisions while the other got none.
Felix Bautista added 1 W and 1 SV and two more scoreless innings to his 2023 stat line. Walked two and struck out just one, but no hits/runs is always nice, eh?
Andrew Kittredge is back! Remember that guy? Even got himself a 10th-inning save the other day. I just wanted to give him a shoutout; I don’t expect him to compete for saves/holds with Fairbanks and Adam. One is getting paid (Fairbanks), and the other has been one of the best RP of the past couple seasons. Maybe there’s a chance that Kitt eats a little off Adam’s holds plate, I guess. Maybe.
Carlos Hernandez got a save this week but tossed up some ugly af ratios in the process: 11.57 ERA and 2.57 WHIP. Austin Cox‘s ratios weren’t any better, though he did manage to eke out 2 HLD. I’d just steer all the way clear of this pen if at all possible. I liked Hernandez, but I’m starting to like him less and his deployment isn’t ideal anyway.
Jason Foley had 2 SV and ugly ratios as well. Alex Lange ended up with a save this week after Foley needed some rest, so I don’t think there’s another shakeup happening. Foley’s job to lose, I expect. Tyler Holton beasted, so he’s absolutely one to keep an eye on for high-leverage stuff moving forward. This week, Holton posted 1 W and 2 HLD, striking out eight in 5.2 IP, and his only fault was one walk. Generated 22.6% whiffs and threw called-or-swinging strikes almost 42% of the time. Jose Cisnero was terrible again, and he’s really been terrible for the last month. He’s played himself out of this mix as far as I’m concerned. Holton is the new sexy daddy to watch. His last month looks purty good: 14.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 17 K.
John King and Drew VerHagen are two guys I honestly never expected to write about ever again. The Cardinals bullpen is so terrible that these dudes have a smidgen of fantasy relevancy in deep or NL-only holds formats. Each had 2 HLD this week, with boring underlying numbers and boring counting stats. You might be in a position to where you’re streaming every last hold you can get, so maybe they can help. King came over from Texas on or near deadline day. I don’t even remember and don’t care enough to check. There was a time he was kinda good for the Rangers, but I’m not counting on upside that amounts to much at all at this point in his career.
I specialize in bullpens, and I used to do some fantasy hockey as well here at Razzball. Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. DMs are always open for questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc. Odds are good I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at any given time of day.