Josh Sborz is coming off a week in which he allowed four hits and four earned runs over 1.1 IP, and has not pitched in five days. Excluding those two games, Sborz has been great since returning from the IL in late July, but he has just 1 hold over the past three weeks and has been pretty inconsistent for much of the season.
When he’s pitching well, he’s in elite category (see April, June), but he can tank ratios as well when he’s not going well (see May, July) and the extreme volatility pushes him down a tier for me. The upside is here for Sborz to be a steady tier 2, maybe even tier 1 option, but I want to see more consistency first.
- José Alvarado returned this week after missing over six weeks with an elbow injury and looked … a bit different. It’s only one outing so I wouldn’t panic yet, but Alvarado’s velo was down almost 2 MPH and it was interesting to see him throw more cutters than sinkers in the outing. Again, it’s just one outing, but after dealing with arm issues much of the year (at least since April), perhaps we will see a new look Alvarado down the stretch, one that focuses more on that cutter instead of overpowering hitters with his fastball.
- Hunter Harvey may be a good example for Alvarado as his velocity has been down since returning from the IL as well, but he’s still been effective in utilizing his offspeed offerings more. If he could get either the slider (preferably a sweeper?) or curve to be an effective swing-and-miss offering (and stay healthy), there could be huge upside here still.
- A.J. Puk continues to pitch well this month but the Marlins seem to have completely moved on from him as a potential setup man, which feels a bit unfair as A.) Puk was historically unlucky in July and B.) has been dominant in August (17/1 K/BB rate over 9.1 IP). Tanner Scott and Andrew Nardi continue to rack up holds, and both lefties have been great as well, but another name that I’m surprised has not factored into many holds chances here is George Soriano. He’s been the Marlins’ best right-handed reliever with a 32% K rate (32% CSW) and 0.88 WHIP since being recalled July 1st (24 IP). Despite how great he’s been and the fact the Marlins are lacking right-handed relievers, Soriano still has ZERO Wins/Saves/Holds on the season.
- Former All-Star Andrew Kittredge is back in the Rays’ bullpen after undergoing Tommy John surgery early last season and has looked good so far, showing a more off-speed approach in his first three outings compared to years past. Kittredge’s slider is his best offering, so this trend is positive from a fantasy perspective, although I wonder how his elbow will hold up if this becomes the new norm for him. For now, there’s certainly an opening for holds in this Rays bullpen as behind Pete Fairbanks and Jason Adam there remain a lot of question marks.
- Ian Gibaut may not have flashy stuff but he has been a savior in that Reds bullpen this season, especially since the start of July. Gibaut has a 23.2% K-BB rate, and 2.18 ERA over those 20.2 IP, while his ten holds over that span are the most on the roster. He’s having success without having one pitch garner a whiff rate over 30%, but he does feature four different offerings, so there’s a little bit of Seth Lugo here.
- Luke Jackson has been able to get plenty of strikeouts since returning from the IL in July, and while walks have been a bit of an issue, he has now gone three straight outings without allowing a walk (4/5 outings as well) and also picked up a hold in each of those three outings. Despite the walk issues, Jackson has allowed just 9 hits over 13 IP while striking out 19 since his July return and is tied with Taylor Rogers for the team lead in holds for the month of August (4).
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