I’ve never followed bullpens as closely as I do this year, and this article has been a major help.
Playing in multiple leagues always has me on the look for potential closers, and it really has me zoned in on these bullpens. We’ve seen some pitchers come out of nowhere to step into prominent roles, and some bullpens are still up in the air.
With that in mind, let’s look at those questionable pens!
Week 6 Saves + Holds League Guide
Closer Situations to Watch
These are bullpens we need to monitor!
Andrew Chafin earned this job with some stellar pitching early on, but he’s been scuffling recently. The lefty has allowed four runs over his last two appearances, while Miguel Castro has a 3.38 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Don’t be surprised to see Castro get the next save chance.
Chicago Cubs (AVOID)
This situation has been a nightmare. Michael Fulmer and Brad Boxberger have been trading off saves, but neither has been effective. Knowing who’s up next is impossible, but Adbert Alzolay is the best option behind his 2.41 ERA and 0.80 WHIP.
Chicago White Sox (AVOID, for now)
Liam Hendriks is on a rehab assignment and is inching close to a return. This team needs him because this has been one of the worst bullpens around.
Colorado Rockies (AVOID)
Daniel Bard has been back for weeks now, but he’s yet to get a save chance. I’m not convinced he’ll step back into the closer’s role because he missed time due to anxiety, and nothing would send him back to the IL quicker than a save situation in Coors Field. Pierce Johnson leads the club with five saves but is a gross addition with his 4.73 ERA and 1.73 WHIP.
Kansas City Royals
Scott Barlow was the closer last year, and he’s secured the role after a rocky start. He’s picked up three saves over his last six appearances, allowing no runs in that span. Aroldis Chapman is an elite holds pitcher with a 2.84 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 55 percent K rate.
AJ Puk is up to six saves and has a grip on this role. With that said, Dylan Floro has a 1.72 ERA and 0.89 WHIP behind him. If Puk slides at all, don’t be surprised to see Floro get some opportunities in the ninth inning.
New York Yankees
Clay Holmes looked like the closer at the beginning of the year, but things have not gone well for him. The righty has a 1.38 WHIP, with Michael King picking up two saves last week. That said, Holmes got a vote of confidence from his manager and picked up the team’s most recent save.
Oakland Athletics (AVOID)
This is a scary situation. Dany Jimenez, Jeurys Familia and Trevor May were the first choices, but all three pitchers aren’t on the active roster. Zach Jackson picked up the most recent save and is the safest bet for the next opportunity. Don’t pick up any Oakland relievers, though, because this team might not even reach 60 wins.
Jose Alvarado was one of the best relievers through the opening month, but he just landed on the IL with an elbow issue (uh-oh!). That means it’ll be a committee between Craig Kimbrel, Gregory Soto and Seranthony Dominguez. All are worth rostering in holds leagues, but Dominguez and Kimbrel are the best bets for saves.
Washington Nationals (AVOID)
Kyle Finnegan is up to seven saves but has a 6.75 ERA and 1.95 WHIP. He’ll be lucky to get to 25 saves for this terrible team, and I’d advise staying away. If you’re desperate for saves, he’s worth rostering, but be aware that your peripherals will take a hit.
Closer Situations Not to Worry About
These are the teams with clear-cut bullpens.
Rasiel Iglesias just returned from the IL and picked up a save in his second appearance. He’ll get the bulk of saves in the future. A.j Minter is still worth rostering in holds leagues because he should get plenty for the best team in the NL.
Felix Bautista has this job locked up. Yennier Cano has been one of the most fascinating bullpen developments out there, and he’s taken over the eighth inning. He’s a must-roster player in all formats, and we’ll talk about him later!
Boston Red Sox
Alex Lange was not getting any chances through the first few weeks, but he’s got a 1.13 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and six saves so far this year. He’s the only pitcher in this pen worth owning, but he’s also a trade candidate since this club won’t be in the run once the trade deadline approaches.
Ryan Pressly is the closer for one of the best teams in the AL. Bryan Abreu and Rafael Montero should be in line for many holds. Abreu is the pitcher we love, posting a 1.56 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 15.5 K/9 rate. If anything happens to Pressly, this would be one of the best pickups of the year.
Los Angeles Angels
Carlos Estevez has been one of our best additions of the season. Jose Quijada‘s move to the IL is what really secured him the job, with Esevez compiling a 1.02 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and eight saves. Matt Moore is the lefty specialist and is a sneaky option for holds, recording eight on the year.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Evan Phillips has picked up nine straight scoreless appearances, totaling four saves in his last four appearances. That has moved LA out of the questionable section because Phillips is one of the best options in fantasy. Caleb Ferguson and Brusdar Graterol are also exciting options for holds.
New York Mets
David Robertson is up to six saves, while Adam Ottavino has four. Both are worth rostering in every league because they should be in line for many holds and saves. Brooks Raley also has eight holds and is the lefty specialist behind his 1.06 WHIP.
David Bednar is excellent, and he’s been massive for this overachieving team. If you sniped him late in drafts, congratulations! Colin Holderman is tied as the league leader in holds, which is truly ironic.
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Camilio Doval is the closer, picking up eight saves already. Tyler Rogers is the next option, picking up six holds behind his 2.45 ERA and 0.93 WHIP.
St. Louis Cardinals
Ryan Helsley has blown three saves but has four saves and three holds. He also has some of the nastiest stuff in baseball. Yet Giovanny Gallegos is equally as effective behind him. Both need to be rostered in all formats until we have more clarity.
Tampa Bay Rays
Pete Fairbanks landed on the IL last week, allowing Jason Adam to pick up four saves over the last week. Both are elite and must-own options in all fantasy formats. We bet this becomes a committee between the two for the remainder of the season.
Will Smith has been handed this job by Bruce Bochy. He’s grabbed four saves across his last six appearances and appears to have a long leash after blowing a save early in the week. Jose Leclerc and Jonathan Hernandez are the seventh and eighth-inning pitchers.
Toronto Blue Jays
Jordan Romano is one of the best relievers and has a stranglehold on this closer gig. Erik Swanson is one of the best eighth-inning pitchers in baseball and has eight holds already. He’s a must-roster in holds leagues and would be a Top-10 closer if Romano ever falters or gets injured!
My Saves/Holds Rankings
|Andres Munoz (IL)
|Pete Fairbanks (IL)
Relievers on the Rise
Yennier Cano (BAL)
Cano has developed into the eighth-inning pitcher in Baltimore and would be closing for any other team with how he’s been pitching. The righty has thrown 18.2 scoreless innings this year, posting a 10.5 K/9 and 0.16 WHIP. He won’t get many saves with Bautista in Baltimore, but those statistics are worth rostering in any format.
Hendriks has missed the first 40 games because of Hodgkins Lymphoma, but it sounds like the closer will be back soon. This has been one of the best closers in baseball for five years now and should resume closing duties with how bad this bullpen has been.
Zach Jackson (OAK)
With Jimenez and May on the IL and Familia getting demoted, Z-Jax looks like the ninth-inning pitcher. That doesn’t mean much in Oakland but saves for the A’s count the same as any other team. He picked up the most recent save and has a solid 2.25 ERA.
Potential Closers on the IL
Liam Hendriks (Hodgins Lymphoma) – 15-Day IL. Return unknown, but there’s optimism he could return next week.
Edwin Diaz (knee) – 60-Day IL. Out for the season
Dany Jimenez (shoulder) – 60-Day IL. Out for three months
Andres Munoz (deltoid) – 15-Day IL. Resumed throwing but suffered a setback. Return is unknown.
Pete Fairbanks (arm) – 15-Day IL. It’s unclear when Fairbanks will be ready to return, but it wasn’t expected to be serious when he landed on the IL.
Jose Alvarado (elbow) – 15-Day IL. Alvarado was one of the best relievers through the opening six weeks but will miss some time with this elbow issue.
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Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive.