With what looks like season ending surgery headed for JJ Putz the Arizona bullpen in terms of who will get the saves is an interesting point and time in terms of going forward. In my pres-season article I talked about how I really liked Putz but I did warn everyone due to his age (35) and past problems with injuries that was a red flag with JJ. Once again this shows how you need to be lucky in Fantasy Baseball to avoid bad luck in order to have a successful squad. Lets break it down.
Kirk Gibson is going to go with Bell first in terms of the 9th inning duties. Bell has the experience of course however Bell is coming off a nightmare 2012 season with the Marlins where he lost the closing job after getting his big 3 year contract. Bell last year had a 5.09 ERA, 1.555 Ratio. Many fantasy experts last year pointed to warning signs for Bell as he left Petco how each year his fly ball ratio was up and his K's were down. This is important aspect going forward as Arizona the ball does fly and Bell has given up a couple of HR's already. In fact Bell while not off to a terrible start like last year hasn't been great either currently with a 4.40 ERA & 1.395 Ratio. Having said that Bell has converted his first 2 save opportunities although with some stress. Bell is not going to get a long leash in my opinion but having said that Heath Bell is smart enough to know that this is his last chance to get his closer job back for his career. So there will be an urgency on his part to be successful but having said that I don't think that's what hurt Bell last year. To me Bell since going to San Diego has been a gamer but a combination of his stuff, age (now 35) and probably his weight has had his performance fallen. But he does get the first crack for Kirk Gibson.
By far the guy with the best stuff in the Arizona bullpen is David Hernandez. Having said that does not mean he can handle the 9th inning mental aspect of closing games. That's another skill and I am not saying Hernandez can't do it but until he does it you never know. Look last year David Robertson albeit in a small sample by his own admission struggled with the 9th inning and Mitchell Boggs failed this year with that as well. While Hernandez is not off to a great start this year (4.02 ERA & 1.468 Ratio) he is electric. Hernandez has been a key cog in the D-Backs bullpen last 2 years and in 2011 when Putz went down for nearly a month with an injury Hernandez was exceptional picking up 11 saves. Last year Hernandez only had 4 saves but had a 2.50 ERA, 1.02 Ratio & 98K in 68 1/3 IP & the league just hit .190 against Hernandez. To me especially after Mitchell Boggs failing in St.Louis maybe the D-Backs are taking it slow with Hernandez to aleviate the stress and pressure of the situation. Again if Bell gets on a roll then Hernandez probably doesn't get the chance but I believe he will get the chance to close for the D-Backs in the not to distant future.
The 28 year old came over to the D-Backs from Colorado and the last 2 seasons in Colorado Reynolds was a middle of the road bullpen arm for the Rockies. However you cannot get off to a better start than Reynolds has this year as he has yet to give up a run and in 16 1/3 IP has only given up 7 hits with 1 BB and compiled 14K's. I can see Reynolds getting some save opportunities based on situations with him being a lefty and with other relievers not being available on a certain day (does have 2 saves already) but to me Hernandez would be the more likely long term guy.
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