Spring Vibes, March 17: White Sox Leverage Updates, Colorado closer choice emerging, Kimbrel improving, and Game Recaps

Chicago White Sox – Making his first spring relief appearance, Michael Kopech retired the side in order, and in the recap by Scott Merkin of MLB.com, the reliever hit 100 m.p.h. on the stadium radar. Although he’s not focused on being the “closer“, he would welcome it but remains focused on doing the “best job he can”. Stay tuned.

In a separate post for the Chicago Sun-Times, Daryl Van Schouwen featured quotes about Jordan Leasure being a potential ninth-inning option by Pedro Grifol as well. Until the lights go on, it appears the manager will keep his high-leverage plans close to the vest. Also in the mix is John Brebbia, though he’s not appeared in a Cactus League game yet.

Projected Hierarchy: *Michael Kopech | *Jordan Leasure | *John Brebbia

Colorado Rockies – Perhaps a pivotal day in the “closer” competition. During Saturday’s contest, Tyler Kinley retired the side in order in the sixth inning. He owns a 0.50 WHIP with seven strikeouts against two walks over six innings. Justin Lawrence went nuclear in one-third of the eighth. He allowed five hits, six runs (five earned), and a walk while striking out one. This spiked his WHIP to 2.05 with 10 strikeouts versus two walks through 6.1 innings this spring. Patrick Saunders, of the Denver Post, penned in his game recap, Kinley “continues to show why he’s likely to begin the season as the closer“.  Once Bud Black echoes this sentiment, the committee designation will be removed. Our bullpen depth chart leaned Kinley from the jump, hopefully he fares well in the role this season, or until Daniel Bard returns.

Hierarchy remains: *Tyler Kinley | *Justin Lawrence | Jake Bird

Baltimore Orioles –  Appearing in the sixth inning, Craig Kimbrel issued a walk and recorded two strikeouts during a scoreless outing. Following his rough start this spring, he’s scoreless in his last three contests with three strikeouts. He’s on schedule for Opening Day, and his manager agrees in this column by Jake Rill for MLB.com. As for his last hurdle, working on consecutive days will be the last test for the veteran reliever. He enters this season eighth in MLB history with 417 saves. 

Hierarchy: Craig Kimbrel | Yennier Cano | Dillon Tate

Boston Red Sox –  Veteran reliever Chris Martin successfully completed his live batting practice throwing session and will move forward in his preparations for the season. His next step will be another live batting practice or his Grapefruit League debut per the injuries and roster moves page on MLB.com. He’s a key component in the leverage ladder recording four wins, three saves, and 23 holds last year with a 1.03 WHIP and 19.1 K-BB percentage. 

Hierarchy remains: Kenley Jansen | Chris Martin | Josh Winckowski

Seattle Mariners – Multiple updates about the Mariners bullpen were posted on “X”. First, Ryan Divish shared Ryne Stanek will appear in a Cactus League game in the coming days. He also reported Matt Brash will long toss at max effort then progress to a mound in the next few days if there’s no lingering soreness. Last, but not least, Gregory Santos is rehabbing and resting, but not throwing. No timetable for his return until he commences a throwing program. 

Hierarchy for Opening Day remains: Andrés Muñoz | Ryne Stanek | Gabe Speier

Quick Hits (Game Recaps from March 16)

Atlanta Braves – A traffic-laden outing by Raisel Iglesias did not result in any runs despite allowing a hit and two walks during his two-thirds of the sixth. He did record one strikeout in this outing but owns a 1.93 WHIP with six strikeouts against four walks through 4.2 innings this spring.

Chicago CubsHector Neris notched his first spring hold, allowing two hits and an earned run while striking out one. Adbert Alzolay fired a clean eighth, striking out two for his first hold. He owns a 0.50 WHIP with six strikeouts against one walk over six innings. Julian Merryweather recorded his first spring save with a clean ninth, striking out the side.

Cincinnati Reds – Suffering his first blown save this spring, Alexis Díaz allowed two hits, including a two-run home run, and recorded two strikeouts. This marked his fourth outing and he owns a 1.50 WHIP with seven strikeouts versus two walks.

Houston Astros – In an eventual loss, Ryan Pressly fired a clean fifth, striking out one. He’s posted a 1.00 WHIP with three strikeouts over four innings. Bryan Abreu gave up two hits, four earned runs, and two walks during two-thirds of the sixth. He’s struggled this spring and owns a 2.73 WHIP with five strikeouts against six walks through 3.2 innings.

Miami Marlins –  In an eventual tie, George Soriano worked a scoreless fifth, giving up a hit. Tanner Scott completed an inning, this is not a test. He allowed a hit and recorded a strikeout during a scoreless sixth. He threw 17 pitches (12 strikes – 70.6 Strike%) and induced three whiffs (17.6 SwStr%). Hopefully, this will be an outing he can build on moving forward:

Milwaukee Brewers –  Collecting his first win, Hoby Milner fired 1.1 clean innings. Trevor Megill took the baton in the seventh, facing two hitters, and retired both for his second hold. Suddenly on fantasy players’ radars, he owns a 1.33 WHIIP with five strikeouts against one walk over six innings.

Oakland A’s – In a split-squad game against Milwaukee,  a rough outing alert by Trevor Gott. He was tagged with his first loss, giving up four hits, five earned runs, and two walks without recording an out in the fifth inning. Lucas Erceg also struggled, allowing two hits, three earned runs, and two walks in the sixth.

Seattle Mariners – For a second straight outing, Andrés Muñoz struggled, giving up two hits and an earned run in two-thirds of the sixth. He’s made five appearances this spring, posting a 1.07 WHIP with five strikeouts and zero walks over 4.2 innings.

Texas Rangers – During a split-squad game against Arizona, Kirby Yates fired a clean sixth, striking out one. Through five appearances this spring, he owns a 0.80 WHIP with eight strikeouts versus one walk. 

Closer Monkey’s filthy sequence of the day winner goes to Luis Gil, featuring his change-up and slider.

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Until next time, stay safe and be well, especially on this celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

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