Ty Buttrey adds another save to his stellar season stats

May 19, 2019

Los Angeles Angels – Ty Buttrey recorded the last five outs yesterday for this second save of the season.  Despite a pretty bad entrance video based on his last name, Buttrey has been fantastic this year as yesterday’s outing lowered his ERA to 0.76.  He also struck out three to raise his total to 31 on the season in just 23.2 innings.  Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Hansel Robles will probably still see more save opportunities for now.  Robles recorded the last three saves for the Angels before last night and Buttrey likely got the save yesterday so that Robles would be available on Sunday.

Hierarchy remains: *Robles | Buttrey | Anderson.
* = closer-by-committee

Miami Marlins — Adam Conley closed out the Marlins 2-0 victory yesterday to pick up his second save of the season.  Sergio Romo went two innings for the save the day before so the Marlins likely wanted to give him a day off.  Tayron Guerrero recorded his first hold of the season ahead of Conley.  Nick Anderson struggled his last time out in a high leverage situation so we will monitor who settles into that seventh inning role.  

Hierarchy remains: Romo | Conley | Anderson.

Washington Nationals — Justin Miller has been placed on the IL with a strained right rotator cuff.  Wander Suero has a couple holds in his last two appearances, including an eighth-inning hold ahead of a Sean Doolittle save so he should continue to see time in the later innings with Miller out.  Speaking of Doolittle, the Cubs filed a formal protest after yesterday’s game alleging that Doolittle used an illegal delivery.  We will see if anything comes out of this.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Barraclough | Suero.

Tampa Bay Rays — Jose Alvarado bounced back after blowing the save on Friday and pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save of the season.  This ties Alvarado with Castillo for the team lead, but it was his first save since April 7th.  Castillo meanwhile recorded four saves in between Alvarado’s fourth and fifth save and was likely unavailable yesterday after pitching in three of the previous four games.  We will leave Alvarado on top of the committee for now but Castillo is close to taking over the top spot.

Hierarchy remains: *Alvarado | Castillo | Pagan. 
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Dan Winkler – Luke Jackson has pitched in two straight and three of four.
2. Jared Hughes – Raisel Iglesias has pitched in three of four, throwing a total of 59 pitches.
3. Ryan Pressly – Roberto Osuna has pitched in two straight and three of four.
4. Pat Neshek – Hector Neris recorded a two-inning save yesterday and has pitched in two straight and three of four.
5. Kyle Barraclough – Sean Doolittle has pitched in three of four, throwing a total of 52 pitches.

Monday
1. Reyes Moronta – Will Smith threw 20 pitches yesterday so if he pitches again on Sunday, he would likely get Monday off.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated
BALGivensFryArmstrong5/17/19ATLJacksonWinklerNewcomb5/13/19
BOS*BarnesBrasierWorkman5/9/19MIARomoConleyAnderson5/19/19
NYYChapmanBrittonOttavino4/24/19NYMDiazLugoGsellman5/18/19
TB*AlvaradoCastilloPagan5/19/19PHI*NerisNeshekDominguez5/16/19
TORGilesBiaginiMayza5/18/19WASDoolittleBarracloughSuero5/19/19
        
CHWColomeHerreraFry4/29/19CHC*CishekKintzlerBrach5/15/19
CLEHandWittgrenClippard4/28/19CINIglesiasHughesLorenzen5/10/19
DETGreeneJimenezAlcantara5/4/19MILHaderGuerraJeffress5/7/19
KC*PeraltaKennedyDiekman5/3/19PITVazquezCrickLiriano5/9/19
MIN*ParkerRogersMay5/16/19STLHicksMillerGant5/17/19
        
HOUOsunaPresslyRondon5/18/19ARIHollandBradleyLopez5/9/19
LAA*RoblesButtreyAnderson5/19/19COLDavisObergShaw5/13/19
OAKTreinenTrivinoSoria5/9/19LADJansenBaezFloro5/15/19
SEA*EliasBrennanSadzeck5/18/19SDYatesStammenWarren5/7/19
TEXMartinLeclercChavez5/18/19SFSmithMorontaWatson5/16/19

* = closer-by-committee

Jeurys Familia off to a positive start in his return from the IL

May 18, 2019

New York Mets — Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless eighth inning with the Mets down two, and it looks like the Mets are working him back towards the late innings front of Edwin Diaz. Mickey Callaway has said that Familia will have to earn his way into the back end of the bullpen with Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman pitching well, but the last two outings have been encouraging for the Mets’ big-money setup man. He will still have to fight past Lugo and Gsellman, but last night was another positive step for Familia. 

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Lugo | Gsellman.

Seattle Mariners — The Mariners designated Zac Rosscup for assignment yesterday as the Mariners shook up their roster in response to a 4-13 slump. Rosscup hasn’t been bad this year, posting a 3.21 ERA over 20 innings, but manager Scott Servais said that Rosscup wasn’t really built for how the Mariners are planning to use their bullpen. With Rosscup gone, the Mariners will likely lean on a combination of Connor Sadzeck, Cory Gearrin and even Anthony Swarzak to get the ball to Brandon Brennan and Roenis Elias.

Updated hierarchy: *Elias | Brennan | Sadzeck.
* = closer-by-committee

Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc was excellent as the Rangers’ opener on Friday, setting down the Cardinals’ top three hitters in order. Ariel Jurado will start today’s game, and he’s expected to go multiple innings. Jesse Chavez has had a resurgence over his last six appearances, not allowing a run over his last 7.2 IP. He’ll have to help get the Rangers to the ninth inning now that Shawn Kelley is still a couple days away from being activated.

Updated hierarchy: Martin | Leclerc | Chavez.

Toronto Blue Jays – The Blue Jays jumped out to an early lead, which allowed Javy Guerra to pitch the last three innings to earn his first save of the year. Guerra spent some time as the Dodgers’ closer in 2011 and was the subject of one of the first posts in Closer Monkey history, giving up a vulture save to young fireballer Kenley Jansen. He lost the job permanently to Jansen in 2012 and has only recorded a handful of saves since. He isn’t a normal part of the Jays’ late-inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: Giles | Biagini | Mayza.

Houston Astros — Ryan Pressly turned in a web gem to set a MLB record with his 39th consecutive scoreless appearance, breaking Craig Kimbrel’s mark of 38 set in 2011. Pressly has been the best reliever in baseball thus far this year, but still has 20 games to go if he wants to break Kimbrel’s single-season record. 

Hierarchy remains: Osuna | Pressly | Rondon.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Ian Kennedy— Wily Peralta has thrown 31 pitches over two straight appearances.
2. Kyle Crick — Felipe Vazquez has also made two consecutive appearances.
3. Emilio Pagan — Jose Alvarado threw 28 pitches last night and has pitched in two of the last three. Diego Castillo has pitched in three of four while Pagan is well rested. 

Sunday:
1. Dan Winkler — Today would be back to back and three of four for Luke Jackson. 
2. Ryan Pressly/Hector Rondon — The same is true for Roberto Osuna and Pressly.
3. Pat Neshek — And Hector Neris.
4. Jose Leclerc — And Chris Martin.
5. Adam Conley — Sergio Romo threw 28 pitches over two innings last night, so any work today means he would probably get Sunday off. 

Jose Leclerc to open on Friday

May 17, 2019

Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc will serve as the Rangers’ opener for Friday’s game against the Cardinals, and Ariel Jurado is slated to pitch as well. It’s Leclerc’s first career “start” — and maybe it’s being used as a mechanism to get him right for an eventual move back to the ninth inning. For now, Chris Martin, who’s thrown eight straight scoreless innings, has that job locked down. 

Hierarchy remains: Martin | Leclerc | Jurado.

St. Louis Cardinals — Carlos Martinez will likely be activated from the injured list on Saturday and will head to the bullpen, at least at first. We’ll watch his usage to see if he can become a factor in the late innings.

Hierarchy remains: Hicks | Miller | Gant.

Baltimore Orioles — Richard Bleier was activated from the injured list and thrust into action Thursday, allowing two runs in 1.2 innings in another lopsided loss for the O’s. The performance actually improved his ERA to 13.50. He might be one of the team’s best relievers, but it’s hard to imagine him anywhere near a save situation right now. 

Hierarchy remains: Givens | Fry | Armstrong.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Kyle Barraclough — Sean Doolittle has thrown 45 pitches over the past two days, including 31 in a stressful Thursday outing. 
2. Jared Hughes — Raisel Iglesias has pitched in two straight, throwing 35 pitches.

Saturday:
1. Ryan Brasier — If Matt Barnes pitches Friday, that would be three appearances in four days. 
2. Pedro Baez — Same with Kenley Jansen.
3. Taylor Rogers — A Friday outing would be three of four and four of six for Blake Parker.

Cancel that APB on Hector Neris

May 16, 2019

Minnesota Twins — After Blake Parker was used to get the last out of the eighth, Trevor Hildenberger almost gave up a four-run lead in a nonsave situation. Mike Morin came in and made things worse — loading the bases and hitting Mike Trout — before escaping with an ugly save. After the game, Hildenberger was sent to Rochester, leaving Trevor May as the likeliest seventh-inning man for the Twins.

Updated hierarchy: *Parker | Rogers | May.
* = closer-by-committee

San Francisco Giants — We’ve been crediting Bruce Bochy’s claims that Mark Melancon will close again, but bullpen usage patterns reveal a clear preference for Tony Watson when things get tight.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Moronta | Watson.

Philadelphia Phillies — Stand down, everybody, we found Hector Neris, pitching the ninth in a three-run loss, nailing the walk-balk-hit batsman trifecta. Expect him to keep getting save chances with David Robertson out at least another month.

Hierarchy remains: *Neris | Neshek | Dominguez.
* = closer-by-committee

Tampa Bay Rays — Jose Alvarado and Emilio Pagan were used in tight spots in the middle innings, leaving Diego Castillo to pick up his team-leading fifth save.

Hierarchy remains: *Alvarado | Castillo | Pagan. 
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Michael Lorenzen — Raisel Iglesias threw 23 pitches but got five outs on Wednesday. Jared Hughes threw 30 on Tuesday, but still pitched last night; we think both of those guys get today off.
2. Sean Newcomb — Luke Jackson earned a two-inning save on Wednesday after Dan Winkler walked two guys on four pitches each. This might be a good chance to see if Brian Snitker was serious about using Sean Newcomb in save situations.
3. Taylor Rogers — Blake Parker has pitched in three of four.

Friday:
1. Ryan Brasier — Matt Barnes could get a second straight day off after throwing 42 pitches over two days.

Roenis Elias earns a seven-out save

May 15, 2019

Seattle Mariners — Roenis Elias entered the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two outs. He recorded a strikeout to end that threat and then struck out the side in the eighth inning. Elias stayed on for the ninth and recorded another strikeout before capping off his impressive 30-pitch save by inducing a 4-6-3 double play. Scott Servais said his team is looking to ride a hot hand when leading in the late innings, and it appears like that Elias is that hot hand right now.

Hierarchy remains: *Elias | Brennan | Rosscup.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Mets — The Mets activated Jeurys Familia from the IL on Tuesday. Mickey Callaway said that he doesn’t plan to use Familia in a high-leverage situation right away if he can help it, though if nobody else is available then Familia will be called upon in those spots. Ultimately, Callaway wants Familia to return to a setup role for Edwin Diaz. 

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Lugo | Gsellman.

Los Angeles Dodgers – MLB placed Julio Urias on administrative leave following his arrest on suspicion of domestic battery. Righty Dylan Floro and lefty Scott Alexander should see more hold opportunities in Urias’ absence.

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Baez | Floro.

Chicago Cubs — Steve Cishek continues to lead the Cubs’ committee as he notched his second save in as many games. With Joe Maddon in charge you just never know, but it sure looks like Cishek will be the main source of saves for the Cubs until Pedro Strop returns from injury.

Hierarchy remains: *Cishek | Kintzler | Brach.
* = closer-by-committee

Minnesota Twins – After Taylor Rogers faced the heart of the Angels’ order in the top of the eighth, Byron Buxton bailed out Blake Parker for the last out of the inning. Parker then stayed on for the ninth to earn the save. Rogers seems to have Trout’s number and likely would have had the ninth had Trout been slated to come to the plate then. Both Parker and Rogers will continue to see save chances depending on matchups.

Hierarchy remains: *Parker | Rogers | Hildenberger.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Brandon Kintzler – Steve Cishek has pitched in three of four, though he only threw eight pitches last night and six pitches on Sunday.
2. Adam Conley – Sergio Romo threw 27 pitches last night in his first work since May 6. He’s well-rested, but the Marlins may still exercise caution if they somehow have a ninth-inning lead today.

Thursday
1. Taylor Rogers – Rogers should get today off after throwing 42 pitches across two straight days, but may see a save chance Thursday depending on Blake Parker’s usage.
2. Brandon Kintzler – If Steve Cishek pitches again today, it’s likely he’d have Thursday off.