Brad Johnson

Saves and Steals

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Fasten Your Seatbelts

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Please fasten your seatbelts. The captain is expecting turbulence ahead. By my count, roughly 10 closers are at risk of losing their job in the next few weeks. Only 13 are truly locked into their role. Prepare for a bumpy ride.

 

Four closers tied with three saves apiece over the last calendar week. Namely, Cody Allen, Dellin Betances, Mark Melancon, and Jim Johnson. The full season leaderboard belongs to Greg Holland and his 19 saves. He has a cozy six save lead over second place Cody Allen (13).

 

A three steal game on Tuesday night put Jonathan Villar atop the weekly leaderboard. He went 4-for-4 on the week. Billy Hamilton also swiped four bags, but he was caught once. Overall, Hamilton is dominating the competition with 23 steals – a pace of roughly 70 over a full season. Second place is Dee Gordon with 14 swipes. Jarrod Dyson has 13 thefts.

 

Tier 1: The Elite (5)

 

Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers

Craig Kimbrel, Boston Red Sox

Cody Allen, Cleveland Indians

Wade Davis, Chicago Cubs

Dellin Betances, New York Yankees

 

Our five elites turned in a superb week. Only Jansen allowed a run – a solo homer while protecting a four-run lead. Kimbrel is now four innings into a perfect game. Allen and Betances both saved three games.

 

Tier 2: The Core Performers (8)

 

Greg Holland, Colorado Rockies

Roberto Osuna, Toronto Blue Jays

Alex Colome, Tampa Bay Rays

Mark Melancon, San Francisco Giants

Kelvin Herrera, Kansas City Royals

Addison Reed, New York Mets

David Robertson, Chicago White Sox

Ken Giles, Houston Astros

 

Holland is making a strong case to join the elite tier. After another successful week, he's sitting on a 0.96 ERA with 12.54 K/9 and 2.89 BB/9 in 18.2 innings. Osuna and Colome also pitched well, although Colome did allow a run in a non-save situation.

 

Melancon was activated off the disabled list minutes after I published last Wednesday. He's since pitched three times, allowing one run on four hits. He converted saves in all three outings. His velocity appears to be down slightly, but it's always hard to tell with Melancon since he rarely uses a four-seam fastball.

 

Herrera struggled a tad this week. After allowing a run during a tune-up outing on Thursday, he was tagged for a two-run home run and a blown save on Friday. Herrera bounced back with a save on Sunday. I doubt he'll continue to allow this many home runs, and it's encouraging to see his strikeout rate spike in recent appearances.

 

On Saturday, Reed finally walked a batter. Then he walked another one. He escaped unscathed after allowing three base runners. Overall, he picked up two saves in four scoreless innings.

 

Robertson's only appearance was a two-inning victory. Giles pitched well on three occasions, tallying two saves and five strikeouts.

 

Tier 3: Stable Hands (5)

 

Corey Knebel, Milwaukee Brewers

Seung Hwan Oh, St. Louis Cardinals

Matt Bush, Texas Rangers

Jim Johnson, Atlanta Braves

Tony Watson, Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Knebel only pitched twice this week, and he did all the heavy lifting on his own. He walked three batters and struck out five.

 

Last Friday, Oh was saddled with a blown save loss after allowing a pair of runs. He responded by recording four strikeouts in 1.1 innings on Tuesday. Trevor Rosenthal is having a great season. Every run allowed by Oh, brings Rosenthal closer to saves.

 

Tuesday wasn't a good day for saves in Atlanta. Both teams blew it in the ninth inning. Johnson kicked off the pain in the top of the ninth, allowing a pair of runs. He may have been a little overworked – it was his sixth appearance in the last nine days.

 

Watson didn't have a sharp week. The Pirates called on hi in a non-save situation on Friday. He proceeded to cough up a three-run homer. He picked up perfect saves in each of the next two days. Yesterday, after Johnson gave the Pirates the lead, Watson was hit for a walk-off blown save loss. Felipe Rivero is next in line, although Watson isn't on the hot seat yet.

 


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Brad Johnson is a baseball writer for Rotoworld, FanGraphs, The Hardball Times, MLBTradeRumors and The Fake Baseball. He can be found on Twitter @BaseballATeam.
Email :Brad Johnson


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