Tommy Kahnle has taken a bit of a step back since the All-Star break with a 5.74 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. He’s still missing bats at a high rate (18.5% SwStr and 33.8% CSW rates) and he still has seven holds over that span, but the walk rate has been high (12.5% BB) as well.
A few miles away, Brooks Raley has been struggling since the break as well, with a 5.54 ERA and 1.92 WHIP but unlike Kahnle, Raley has really struggled to miss bats recently with 18.5% K and 8.7% SwStr rates, while also posting a putrid 16.9% BB rate and a 6.22 xFIP.
Neither veteran is trending in the right direction right now, nor are their respective teams, making both relievers far from must-hold options at this point.
- I talked about how dominant Robert Stephenson has been since joining the Rays last week (40.6% K, 28% SwStr, and 41.2% CSW rates since the trade!), but the one thing missing was hold chances. After having just two holds with the team over two months, Stephenson racked up three just this past week and I’m not going to lie, there was some temptation to bump him up all the way to the top spot in the ranks this week. I’ll be a little conservative for now, but Stephenson is someone who could make it into that top spot by the end of the year.
- Trevor Stephan has really turned things around in August, as he now has a 1.38 ERA and 0.85 WHIP over 13 innings this month to go with a cool 17/2 K-BB ratio. The bullpen has gotten more crowded in recent weeks with James Karinchak returning from AAA and others have pitched well here, but Stephan continues to see the most hold chances,
- Andrew Nardi took a line drive off his hand but X-rays came back negative so expect to see him available at some point in the next two series. Nardi has worked his way into the top setup role for the Marlins with Tanner Scott taking over as closer and has been fantastic since returning from the IL in early August, as he has a 1.86 ERA and 0.72 WHIP this month along with a 14/3 K/BB ratio over 9.2 IP.
- With the Orioles losing Félix Bautista for the foreseeable future, expect to see everyone in this bullpen move up a spot in the pecking order, meaning Danny Coulombe will be the team’s top setup option. He has yet to allow a hit since returning from the IL last week (2.2 IP) and could be a difference-maker down the stretch for those in need of holds help.
- Julian Merryweather could be considered an unsung hero for the Cubs this season, and has been lights out in August with a 1.93 ERA and 0.86 WHIP and 21 K’s over 14 IP plus his six holds are second most on the team. There’s even an argument to be made here that Merryweather has been the team’s best reliever since his Opening Day meltdown.
- Since joining the Dodgers (28.1 IP), Ryan Brasier has a 0.95 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, and 26.2% K rate which is exactly the same as closer Evan Phillips over that timespan. Now he has been lucky with a .176 BABIP (3.60 xFIP) and he only has six holds with his new team, however, four have come in the past two weeks, so his role is trending in the right direction.
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