Mailbag Questions

Hansel Robles still closer or has he reached a cliff? Think Neris will get the job back soon? Drew @Frew_Dorte

Drew, this is a great question as there has been much consternation over the state of the Minnesota bullpen. As you know, initially this pen looked to be an Alex Colome/Taylor Rogers time share, maybe 60/40. As it became apparent that neither guy was particularly effective, after though free agent signing Hansel Robles took the job. He’s 3-4 with a 4.11 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and seven saves. The only thing he excels at is fastball velocity, which is in the 90th percentile. His 48.4 HardHit% leaves much to be desired at this point. He’s given up at least one earned run in his last three outings. I have long championed Taylor Rogers as a guy who deserves an extended look. With the Twins sitting dead in the water in last place in the AL Central, do not be surprised if Rogers ascends to the top of the trash heap shortly.

Can you imagine the perpetual, incessant headache manager Joe Girardi must have in Philadelphia these days? Egads! This bullpen is a total mess. Last week he installs ace setup guy Jose Alvarado as closer, announces it to the media, and then uses Hector Neris anyway. There were extenuating circumstances, of course. Neris’s last few outings have been rough. But Alvarado has not been any better: he’s given up six runs in his last three outings. Now here is where it gets interesting: Girardi used Ranger Suarez to close the game on Friday night, and he pitched a clean ninth for his first save. Afterwards Girardi said Alvarado had been available. This could get really interesting, and maybe it’s neither Neris nor Alvarado, but Suarez? Note as well that veteran reliever Brandon Kitnzler was activated last week, and he could find himself involved in this mess as well. Archie Bradley? Could Connor Brogdon get a shot? I still think Neris ends up with the job unless Philadelphia makes another bullpen move. Poor Girardi. They have been trying to fix this bullpen for two years.

Anyone to keep an eye on as we approach the trade deadline (i.e., guys that could lose or gain value over the next few weeks)? Also should we stick Alvarado at this point? inthedugout @inthedugout

This is a hard question as we don’t know what moves will get made in the coming weeks. The guys that I think we will get traded this month: Richard Rodriguez, Ian Kennedy, Greg Holland, Hansel Robles and Daniel Bard.  Anyone interested in Joakim Soria? Perhaps Baltimore could move pieces like Paul Fry or Tanner Scott, but shockingly, erstwhile closer Hunter Harvey is on the IL again, so they may not move their bullpen pieces. Every team in contention will be looking for bullpen help at the deadline, and while I do not expect any of these prime trade candidates to close on their next teams, they leave open seats on their former teams. I would expect the following to get chances should those listed move: Kyle Crick (Pittsburgh), Joely Rodriguez (Texas), Scott Barlow and Josh Staumont (Kansas City), Taylor Rogers (Minnesota) and Carlos Estevez and maybe Justin Lawrence (Colorado).  In Arizona, manager Torey Lovullo continues to try and find anyone that can get outs, turning to veteran lefty Ryan Buchter last night with poor results. My hunch is that J.B. Bukauskas could get a shot here despite being ineffective all year.


We are trying something new and different this week at “Closing Remarks.” Rather than rank each bullpen using our rubric, we rank each closer for each team by tiers. Following this list, we rank some non-closers who might be able to help you this week with holds, vulture wins and saves, ratio controls and strikeouts.

We are totally open to feedback on this new format. Please be sure to leave comments, good or bad, so that we can adapt as necessary moving forward.


These are the best in the business. Nothing else to be learned from here. Move forward with confidence.

  1. Josh Hader
  2. Liam Hendriks
  3. Craig Kimbrel
  4. Matt Barnes
  5. Edwin Diaz
  6. Mark Melancon
  7. Alex Reyes
  8. Kenley Jansen


These pitchers are just a notch below mastery. Excellent work, but still room for improvement.

  1. Ian Kennedy
  2. Emmanuel Clase/James Karinchak
  3. Aroldis Chapman
  4. Ryan Pressly
  5. Raisel Iglesias
  6. Diego Castillo


This is average. Think of this as that solid “C” on your term paper.

  1. Richard Rodriguez
  2. Will Smith
  3. Jordan Romano
  4. Brad Hand
  5. Lou Trivino


Poorly constructed, issues with organization, and unclear what is happening.

  1. Daniel Bard
  2. Paul Fry
  3. Taylor Rogers/Hansel Robles
  4. Michael Fulmer (injured)/Gregory Soto
  5. Greg Holland/Scott Barlow/Josh Staumont
  6. Yimi Garcia
  7. Jake McGee/Tyler Rogers
  8. Kendall Graveman


Failure due to lack of planning and execution.

  1. Hector Neris/Jose Alvarado/Ranger Suarez
  2. Brad Brach/Amir Garrett/Sean Doolittle
  3. Joakim Soria

Non-Closers (Top 20):

There is something here for everyone. Looking for holds? Ratio controls? Strikeouts? Vulture wins and saves Check out some guys off this list if you are looking for help.

  1. Blake Treinen
  2. Andrew Chafin
  3. Adam Ottavino
  4. Chad Green
  5. Drew Pomeranz
  6. Emilio Pagan
  7. Victor Gonzalez
  8. Giovanny Gallegos
  9. Seth Lugo
  10. Tanner Scott
  11. Scott Barlow
  12. Jake Diekman
  13. Jonathan Loaisiga
  14. Tyler Matzek
  15. Garrett Whitlock
  16. Yusmeiro Petit
  17. Kyle Zimmer
  18. Tanner Rainey
  19. Joely Rodriguez
  20. A.J. Minter