Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves Fantasy Baseball Daily Bullpen Updates and Closer Depth Chart

Closer 1st in line 2nd in line 2015 Closer Updated
ATL Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden David Carpenter Craig Kimbrel 8/14/14

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Previous updates:

August 14, 2014
Atlanta Braves – David Carpenter picked up his second high-leverage hold in four days; although Shae Simmons is nearing a return from the disabled list, memories of Carpenter’s astounding 2013 performance (and the fact that his K/9 and FIP have actually improved this year) should keep him in the top three regardless.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Walden | Carpenter.

August 1, 2014
Atlanta Braves – The Braves added a lefty to their bullpen on Thursday when they brought over James Russell from the Cubs. Russell will add a veteran presence to the bullpen and will be more than a lefty specialist, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Walden | Varvaro.

July 30, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Shae Simmons’s recent struggles have been explained by a shoulder strain that has landed him on the disabled list. Anthony Varvaro should take Simmons’s place even after a rough outing on Tuesday, completing his heartwarming comeback from a broken leg in the 2006 Preakness. Recently recalled Juan Jaime has great stuff, but also walked almost a man an inning at AAA.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Walden | Varvaro.

July 16, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Tied with Washington for first place in the NL East, the Braves have the elitest of elite closers, but might be in the market for a lefthanded reliever like Boston’s Andrew Miller to reinforce Luis Avilan. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None. 

July 13, 2014
Atlanta Braves – David Carpenter recorded the save last night.  He entered the game in the 8th inning with a three run lead and then came back for the 9th after the Braves added two more runs to make it a five run game.  It was only Carpenter’s second appearance since coming off the DL, but it was much better than the first.  Shae Simmons still has an ERA under 1.00 so we will leave him at second in line for now but Carpenter could move back into that role shortly.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Walden | Simmons.

July 9, 2014
Atlanta Braves – In the week since David Carpenter was activated from the disabled list, he made precisely zero appearances, while Luis Avilan and Jordan Walden took care of the eighth inning in front of Craig Kimbrel. When Carpenter finally pitched again on Tuesday night, it was with the Braves trailing 6-0, and he gave up five hits and two runs over two line drive-heavy innings. Although the appearance raised Carpenter’s 2014 WHIP to 1.79 — percentage points higher than the 1.78 ERA he boasted in last year’s breakout season — part of the reason is a whopping .462 BABIP this year. Whether Carpenter is hurting or just unlucky, Atlanta seems likely to let him figure things out in lower-leverage spots for the time being. Shea Simmons would likely be next in line for saves behind Kimbrel and Walden.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Walden | Simmons.

July 3, 2014
Atlanta Braves – As predicted in Wednesday’s Vulture Save Watch, Jordan Walden picked up his third save of the year, allowing Craig Kimbrel a night off.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Walden | Carpenter.

July 2, 2014
Atlanta Braves – After two successful rehab outings for AAA Gwinnett, an optimistic David Carpenter will be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday. His return should displace Shae Simmons and Luis Avilan.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Walden | Carpenter.

June 21, 2014
Atlanta Braves – After a rare Craig Kimbrel blown save sent the game to extras, Jordan Walden picked up his second save of the year in the 13th inning. Now that he’s back and healthy, Walden appears to be the Kimbrel handcuff.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Walden | Simmons.

June 18, 2014
Atlanta Braves – After a period of very heavy use (59 pitches in three days), David Carpenter was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained right biceps. Jordan Walden will take on a bigger role in Carpenter’s absence.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Simmons | Walden.

June 11, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden returned from the DL today after a month away, and we were all set to move him right into the Braves’ hierarchy — that is, until he entered Tuesday’s game with a four-run lead in the eighth and immediately issued three straight walks. Thanks to Shae Simmons, the Braves yielded only one run. Walden hasn’t historically struggled with control, but we’ll still wait to see what his next game holds before making the move.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Simmons | Carpenter.

June 10, 2014
Atlanta Braves – It’s been quite an ascension for young Shae Simmons, who in two weeks has gone from AA to the 8th inning in Atlanta.  Simmons now has six big league appearances, a 0.00 ERA, four 8th-inning holds (including his most recent effort last night, a spotless inning in a 3-1 game), and a save on a night when Craig Kimbrel was unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Simmons | Carpenter.

June 8, 2014
Atlanta Braves - Shae Simmons pitched the 8th inning ahead of closer Craig Kimbrel last night with the Braves holding a one run lead.  Simmons now has a save and three holds in five appearances since getting called up.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Carpenter | Simmons.

June 2, 2014
Atlanta Braves – With both Craig Kimbrel and David Carpenter unavailable, the Braves went to rookie Shae Simmons in the 9th inning. Simmons, who was just called up two days ago (much to his own surprise), allowed three base runners but nailed down his first career save.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Carpenter | Varvaro.

May 12, 2014
Atlanta Braves – David Carpenter pitched a clean 9th inning for the Braves on Sunday, earning his second save of the season. As mentioned in the Vulture Save Watch, Craig Kimbrel had thrown 43 pitches over the previous two days and got the night off. No hierarchy change.

May 11, 2014
Atlanta Braves - The Braves have placed Jordan Walden on the DL with a strained hamstring.  David Carpenter should take over Walden’s set-up role, while Anthony Varvaro could see more time in the later innings.   Hierarchy change: David Carpenter to Set-up, Anthony Varvaro to 2nd in line, Jordan Walden to DL.

April 22, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Craig Kimbrel blew the save last night, though to his credit did bounce back with three straight strikeouts after allowing the game-tying double. He’s not on the hot seat yet, but this combined with his earlier arm troubles is a little worrying. Jordan Walden, meanwhile, has not allowed an earned run since April 9.  No hierarchy change.

April 20, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden picked up a one-out, bases-loaded save on Saturday night, bailing out an ineffective Craig Kimbrel.  Despite being the go-to guy in the 8th inning all season, David Carpenter has struggled mightily, and his ERA shot up to 6.43 after he was knocked around last night.  After Walden’s clutch performance last night, we think he’d probably be the best bet for saves if Kimbrel’s early season struggles continue.  Hierarchy change: Jordan Walden to Set-up, David Carpenter to 2nd in line.

April 15, 2014
Atlanta Braves – David Carpenter got the save in a wild 9-6 win at Philadelphia – unexpected to everyone except Fredi Gonzalez, who held closer Craig Kimbrel out due to right shoulder soreness that crept up over the weekend. Kimbrel plans to rest for a few days, which means Carpenter is the best bet for saves in the interim. Jordan Walden, who has prior experience as a closer, will also be in the mix. No hierarchy change.

April 3, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden might have the closing experience, but through two games of the 2014 season, David Carpenter is the one racking up the 8th inning holds — Carpenter has pitched the 8th in each of the Braves’ first two wins ahead of Craig Kimbrel.  Hierarchy change: David Carpenter to Set-up, Jordan Walden to 2nd in line. 

March 13, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Craig Kimbrel has been utterly unhittable since his rookie season in 2011, and he’s earned the #1 spot in our preseason closer rankings.

March 11, 2014
Atlanta Braves - Craig Kimbrel has been a dominant force for the Braves over the last three years, and Atlanta still has plenty of quality arms surrounding him. Jordan Walden, a competent closer in his own right for the Angels in 2011, should be Kimbrel’s right-hand man, with David Carpenter and lefty Luis Avilan providing valuable late-inning help. Jonny Venters isn’t expected to return from his Tommy John rehab until May or June. Starting 2014 hierarchy: Closer — Craig Kimbrel; Set-up — Jordan Walden; 2nd in line — David Carpenter.

September 18, 2013
Atlanta Braves – A blown save on Tuesday and three earned runs in his last two appearances should eliminate Craig Kimbrel from any misguided Cy Young consideration. No hierarchy change.

September 15, 2013
Atlanta Braves – One night after Jordan Walden blew an 8th inning lead, the Braves went to David Carpenter ahead of Craig Kimbrel.  Jordan Walden has been battling injuries while David Carpenter lowered his ERA to 1.95 with last night’s outing.  Hierarchy change: David Carpenter to Set-up, Jordan Walden to 2nd in line.

September 4, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden hasn’t pitched in two weeks, and after a five-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday, word is he’ll be out at least another week. Luis Ayala and Scott Downs are each getting a lot of late-inning work, but we think Ayala, as a righty, will be slightly more likely to grab any super-vulture saves down the stretch. Hierarchy change: Luis Ayala to 2nd in line, Jordan Walden to Set-up (INJ).

August 31, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Anthony Varvaro pitched the last two innings last night to record the save.  With Jordan Walden still nursing a leg injury and Avilan and Carpenter being used a lot recently, the Braves went with the more rested option.  Varvaro had not pitched in 5 days so he got the call last night but he still does not factor into the normal late inning plans for the Braves.  No hierarchy change.

August 28, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden hasn’t pitched in a week, and Luis Avilan and Scott Downs have been working late in games for Atlanta. We don’t think Walden is out of the picture yet, but the Braves are being careful with him for some reason — possibly connected to the line drive he took off his pitching hand on August 10th. Hierarchy change: Luis Avilan to Set-up, Jordan Walden to 2nd in line.

August 14, 2013
Atlanta Braves – David Carpenter, claimed off waivers last November, has claimed the last two eighth-inning holds and is striking out more than 10 per 9 innings. Hierarchy change: David Carpenter to 2nd in line, replacing Luis Avilan.

August 6, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden did indeed grab a vulture save Monday with Craig Kimbrel unavailable. No hierarchy change.

July 30, 2013
Atlanta Braves – As we expected, Jordan Walden got a vulture save opportunity on Monday, but blew it, giving Scott Downs a vulture win in his first appearance as a Brave. Although Downs was serving in a set-up role for the Angels, we don’t see him challenging the existing hierarchy in Atlanta, at least at this point. No hierarchy change.

July 18, 2013
Atlanta Braves – The Braves are all set at closer, although they might well add a setup arm like Oliver Perez or Jesse Crain. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None. 

July 6, 2013
Atlanta Braves – The Braves have optioned Cory Gearrin to Triple-A.  Luis Avilan, and his 1.51 ERA, should take over for Gearrin in the late innings.  Hierarchy change: Luis Avilan to 2nd in line, replacing Cory Gearrin.

June 2, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden now has three perfect innings since returning from the disabled list, including a clean 10th last night which earned him the win when the Braves walked off.  He might not become the team’s 8th inning guy for a while — Cory Gearrin and Luis Avilan have pitched well in that role — but now that he’s shown that he’s healthy, his previous closing experience gives him the edge for saves should anything happen to Craig Kimbrel.  Hierarchy change: Jordan Walden to Set-up, Cory Gearrin to 2nd in line. 

May 30, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden returned from the DL to pitch a scoreless inning on Wednesday.  Though Cory Gearrin and Luis Avilan have pitched well in their roles as the 8th inning triage team, Walden’s experience would have to throw him into immediate consideration for saves should anything happen to Craig Kimbrel.  Hierarchy change: Jordan Walden to 2nd in line, replacing Luis Avilan.

May 21, 2013
Atlanta Braves – As predicted in Monday morning’s Vulture Save Watch, Cory Gearrin grabbed a weird one-out save on Monday after entering with two on and a four-run lead. No hierarchy change.

May 19, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Another day, another injury for the Braves bullpen.  This time it was Eric O’Flaherty landing on the DL and he will visit Dr. James Andrews later this week so it doesn’t sound good.  Cory Gearrin pitched the 8th yesterday and Freddi Gonzalez said after the game that he will use Gearrin and lefty Luis Avilan based on matchups.  Hierarchy change: Cory Gearrin to Set-up, Eric O’Flaherty to DL.

May 18, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden was placed on the DL Friday due to right shoulder inflammation.  Luis Avilan pitched the 7th inning ahead of O’Flaherty and Kimbrel and picked up his 5th hold of the season.  Hierarchy change: Luis Avilan to 2nd in line, Jordan Walden to DL.

April 19, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden’s usage has been sporadic thus far this season, which perhaps stems from the coaching staff’s reluctance to overwork him after he missed time during the spring.  With his electric stuff, we expect him to take over the 8th inning role at some point, but so far this season, Eric O’Flaherty has been the man bridging the gap to Craig Kimbrel.  O’Flaherty pitched again last night, and despite underwhelming peripherals (4/3 K/BB ratio), he picked up his 5th hold of the season.  Hierarchy change: Eric O’Flaherty to Set-up, Jordan Walden to 2nd in line.

April 2, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jonny Venters was placed on the disabled list to start the season, and reports emerged over the weekend that he was heading to visit Dr. James Andrews, which is never a good sign.  Eric O’Flaherty pitched the 7th inning in the Braves’ opening day win.  Hierarchy change: Eric O’Flaherty to 2nd in line, replacing Jonny Venters.

February 24, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Starting 2013 hierarchy: Closer- Craig Kimbrel, Set-up- Jordan Walden, 2nd in line- Jonny Venters.

September 30, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Jonny Venters is finishing his up-and-down season on the up side. After picking up the hold in the 8th inning yesterday, he’s got six straight scoreless appearances, and has lowered his ERA from a high of 4.40 in July to 3.28. Hierarchy change: Jonny Venters to 2nd in line, replacing Chad Durbin.

September 10, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Peter Moylan picked up his first save of the season in a 10-inning game on Sunday. Craig Kimbrel and Eric O’Flaherty had already been used earlier on. No hierarchy change.

July 30, 2012
Atlanta Braves – With Jonny Venters’ inconsistency and the team’s desire to stretch Kris Medlen out, the Braves have been searching for a steady 7th inning man all season. They may have found one in Chad Durbin, who after a rough start has allowed only 4 ERs in his last 28 innings, a span of 35 appearances. On Sunday, he bailed Venters out in the 6th inning and then stayed on for the 7th, recording his 10th hold of the year. Hierarchy change: Chad Durbin to 2nd in line, replacing Jonny Venters.

July 26, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Jonny Venters pitched a scoreless 9th inning for the Braves last night. Kris Medlen was also stellar, throwing 3 clean innings with five strikeouts, but the Braves are looking to stretch him out so he can be a starter down the line. Hierarchy change: Jonny Venters to 2nd in line, replacing Kris Medlen.

July 21, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Chad Durbin picked up an 11th inning save on Friday after the Braves had exhausted much of the rest of their bullpen. Durbin does not figure in to their usual late inning plans. No hierarchy change.

July 14, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Kris Medlen pitched two solid innings in relief yesterday, striking out 3 without allowing a hit. Even once Jonny Venters returns from injury, Medlen may remain ahead of him on the depth chart. Kris Medlen to 2nd in line, replacing Jonny Venters.

July 12, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Atlanta is still in the playoff hunt and could look to add an arm down the stretch. This is unlikely to mean much to their bullpen hierarchy, however, as no one they could possibly acquire could threaten Craig Kimbrel. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

June 7, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Eric O’Flaherty pitched the 8th inning ahead of Craig Kimbrel on Wednesday, the fourth such time he has been used in that role in the past nine days. Jonny Venters struggled in May, posting a 6.55 ERA for the month. O’Flaherty’s WHIP (1.50) is still ugly, but he has not given up an earned run since May 7, a span of 11 consecutive appearance. Hierarchy change: Eric O’Flaherty to Set-up, Jonny Venters to 2nd in line.

May 7, 2012
Atlanta Braves – For the second day in a row, the Braves had a comfortable late-inning lead, and a long reliever notched a save; this time, it was Cristhian Martinez, who pitched 2.2 clean innings in the blowout. No hierarchy change.

May 6, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Livan Hernandez came in when the Braves were up by 3 runs in the 8th inning, then stayed after they scored again in the 9th for the 2-inning save. No hierarchy change.

April 28, 2012
Atlanta Braves- Kris Medlen got a three inning save last night in a 5 run win. No hierarchy change.

March 18, 2012
Atlanta Braves- The Braves had, unquestionably, the best trio of relievers in the game last year, and their 2012 roles are clearly defined after their season of dominance. Starting 2012 hierarchy: Closer- Craig Kimbrel, Set-up- Jonny Venters, 2nd in line- Eric O’Flaherty.

Aug. 23, 2011
Atlanta Braves- Jonny Venters got the save last night, but it was only because Craig Kimbrel had worked the previous night, and in three of the previous four games. No hierarchy change.

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