Fantasy Baseball: Week 9 A.L. Closer Report

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

The fun ride of Brad Brach is back on after his rough patch over the first half of May (six runs and 11 baserunners over four innings with two blown saves). Brad hasn’t allowed a run or hit over his last four innings with seven Ks and two converted saves. He’s now 10-for-13 in save chances. Zach Britton remains weeks away from returning, but he’s at least throwing the ball from flat ground. Darren O’Day extended his scoreless streak to six innings with one hit and 12 Ks to lower his ERA to 3.54 and his WHIP to 1.18. Baltimore is ninth in the majors in bullpen ERA (3.80) after 50 games with 13 wins, eight losses, and 17 saves.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox climbed a notch to 5th in bullpen ERA (3.14) after 50 games with eight wins, five losses, and 15 saves. Their success is anchored by the elite success by Craig Kimbrel. Over his last 7.1 innings, Craig hasn’t allowed a run or hit with one walk and 11 Ks. His shutout streak now stands at 14 innings with two hits, one walk, and 25 Ks leading to eight successful saves and a win. Right-handed batters still don’t have a hit against him over 41 plate appearances. Kimbrel has one blown save in 15 chances. Joe Kelly hasn’t allowed a run in May covering ten innings with two walks and 12 Ks. His average fastball in 2017 is 99.2. Boston still hasn’t found that third right-handed arm to offer consistency in the 7th inning. Carson Smith still hasn’t pitched in a game at any level while Tyler Thornburg is battling a nerve issue in his right shoulder. For now, the Red Sox need to bleed as many good innings as possible out of Matt Barnes, and Heath Hembree who have taken turns offering disaster and upside innings.

New York Yankees

Fantasy owners know one thing for sure from Dellin Betances in 2017; he can pitch in the ninth inning. Since taking over the closing job in mid-May, Betances has been successful in all five chances with no runs and one hit allowed over 5.1 innings with no walks and 10 Ks. Dellin improved his scoreless streak to 16 innings with 31 Ks. Aroldis Chapman has thrown on the side over the last week, but he remains a couple of weeks away from returning. Over his last 5.1 innings, Tyler Clippard allowed two runs and eight baserunners with seven Ks. Chad Green struggled for the first time since his call-up on May 9th. He allowed two runs and three baserunners over 1.1 innings on May 29th. His ERA (1.69) and WHIP (0.75) remain in a favorable area over 10.2 innings pitched. New York sits fourth in baseball in bullpen ERA (2.96) after 48 games with eight wins, five losses, and 14 SVs.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays slipped a couple of spots to 16th in bullpen ERA (4.05) after 55 games with 10 wins, 13 losses, and 16 saves. Alex Colome only allowed one run in May over 13.1 innings leading to six save conversions, a win, and 15 Ks. Colome is 14-for-16 in save opportunities. Danny Farquhar issued a walk or more in his last five games. He pitched poorly in two of his last three games (four runs and eight baserunners over four innings). Since returning from the DL on May 25th, Tommy Hunter allowed two runs over 5.1 innings with four Ks.

Toronto Blue Jays

Slowly, but surely, Roberto Osuna has regained his top form from 2016. He’s converted his last nine saves to bring his season total to 10 out of 13. Over the last month, Roberto allowed one run over 13.2 innings with 16 Ks. Joe Smith had a disaster outing on May 26th when he allowed three runs and three hits over two-thirds of an innings. He bounced back to toss two shutout innings with three Ks in his next two games. Jason Grilli threw the ball much better over the last three weeks (two runs over 7.1 innings with nine Ks). Ryan Tepera saw his 19-inning scoreless streak end on May 30th when he allowed a run and four baserunners in one inning of work. The Blue Jays jumped to 10th in bullpen ERA (3.85) after 50 games with 12 wins, 10 losses, and 13 saves.

© Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

After 51 games, the White Sox remain a top bullpen in ERA (2.69 – 3rd). They have ten wins, three losses, and eight saves. David Robertson has been perfect over his last 5.2 innings, which led to two saves, a win, and eight Ks. Robertson is 8-for-9 in saves chances. Tommy Kahnle hasn’t allowed a run over his last seven innings with two hits and 13 Ks. On the year, Tommy has 39 Ks over 21 innings while issuing five walks. After his only bad outing of the year on May 17th (three runs and three hits with no outs recorded), Anthony Swarzak tossed 3.2 shutout innings with four strikeouts. Nate Jones looks close to beginning a rehab assignment.

Cleveland Indians

Cody Allen struggled in his last two games (three runs and six baserunners over two innings) leading to his first blown save in 14 chances. Over his 7.2 innings, Cody has 5.87 ERA and 1.83 WHIP. If he continues to trip up, Andrew Miller will be ready to steal the show in the 9th. Miller hasn’t allowed a run over his last 7.1 innings with 11 Ks. He has a 0.34 ERA over 26.1 innings with 37 strikeouts on the year. Bryan Shaw pitched poorly over his last four games (three runs and six baserunners over three innings. The Indians still have the best bullpen ERA (2.20) in baseball after 48 games with six wins, three losses, and 15 saves.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers have the worst bullpen ERA (5.07) in the majors after 51 games. They have six wins, nine losses, and 13 saves. So much for Justin Wilson being the answer in the ninth inning for Detroit. Over his last five games covering 5.1 innings, he allowed five runs and ten baserunners leading to a blown save and two saves. Justin is 3-for-4 since taking over the closing job. Alex Wilson saw his 12.1-inning scoreless streak end on May 25th when he allowed a home run to the Astros. Alex bounced back to with 2.2 shutout inning in his next three games. Some Fantasy owners were pining for Shane Greene to earn saves after allowing one run over his last 21 innings with 21 strikeouts. He struggled in his first appearance this week when he allowed two runs and three baserunners over one-third of an inning.

Kansas City Royals

Kelvin Herrera rebounded from three poor outings (four runs and nine baserunners over three innings) during the previous week to earn four straight saves with no runs allowed over four innings with seven Ks. Kelvin is now 12-for-14 in save conversions. The Tigers ripped Joakim Soria for four runs and five baserunners in his last outing on May 29th ending his scoreless streak at nine innings. Mike Minor allowed a two-run homer on May 29th breaking his shutout run at 14.1 innings. I’ve been pushing for the Royals to move Minor into the starting rotation, but he could be a dark horse for saves if Herrera gets traded. Kansas City ranks 24th in bullpen ERA (4.78) after 51 games with eight wins, ten losses, and 12 saves.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins fell to 28th in bullpen ERA (4.89) after 46 games with six wins, seven losses, and 14 saves. Brandon Kintzler struggled in his last two games (three runs and six baserunners over 1.2 innings) leading to his second blown save in 15 chances. Over his last 12 games, Kintzler has a 5.11 ERA and 1.62 WHIP to put his job somewhat at risk. Tyler Duffey pitched at a high level over his last four games (no runs over 6.1 innings with nine Ks). He remains the best arm in this bullpen in 2017. Taylor Rodgers has been sharp over his last eight innings or work (one run and five Ks).

© David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

AL West

Houston Astros

Ken Giles is 14-for-15 in save conversions with an improving ERA (3.10) and WHIP (0.98). Ken has a 5.1 inning scoreless streak with seven Ks. Will Harris allowed a run or more in two of his last six games (four runs and five baserunners over 5.1 innings). Chris Devenski has shown risk over his last 20 innings (4.05 ERA) leading to a blown save and a pair of losses. Houston dipped to seventh in bullpen ERA (3.34) after 52 games with 12 wins, six losses, and 18 saves.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels are 13th in baseball in bullpen ERA (3.89) after 55 games with ten wins, eight losses, and 13 saves. Bud Norris only has one save over the last two weeks. Over his last 11 games covering 10.2 innings, he allowed four runs and 11 baserunners with 13 Ks. Bud is 9-for-10 in save conversions as the closer. Cam Bedrosian is expected to begin a rehab assignment over the next week as he works his way back toward the 9th inning for LA. Huston Street allowed two runs and two hits over 2.2 innings at AAA. Los Angeles hopes to have him back in the next week or so. Blake Parker threw the ball great over his last 10.1 innings (no runs with 16 Ks) to put his name closer to the 9th.

Oakland A’s

Santiago Casilla has plenty of job loss risk over his last five games where he allowed six runs and 12 baserunners over 4.1 innings. The A’s only have two save chances over the last 18 games, which is why Santiago hasn’t lost the closing job. Ryan Madson improved his shutout streak to four innings with three Ks. He looks positioned to earn saves. Sean Doolittle looks close to beginning a rehab assignment at AAA. Liam Hendriks pitched at a high level over his last 16.2 innings (two runs and 20 Ks) to put his name in the mix for saves. Oakland faded to 22nd in bullpen ERA (4.59) after 51 games with six wins, seven losses, and nine saves.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners are 27th in bullpen ERA (4.85) after 53 games with nine wins. 11 losses, and ten saves. Edwin Diaz picked up a pair of saves over his last three games to hopefully seize the closing job for Seattle. After walks four batters in a game in the middle of May, Diaz hasn’t allowed a run over six innings with seven Ks. Steve Cishek looked better in his two innings of work over the last week (no runs and two Ks). Over his last 9.1 innings, Tony Zych allowed four runs and 15 baserunners with nine strikeouts. Tony doesn’t have the skill set to pitch in the 9th inning at this point in his career,

Texas Rangers

Matt Bush extended his scoreless run to 15 innings with 16 Ks while converting all six save chances. Matt only has two save chances over the last two weeks. Keone Kela hasn’t allowed a run and one hit over his last seven innings with 11 Ks to move to the 8th inning for the Rangers. San Dyson turned into a wood tick again on May 24th when he allowed four runs and seven baserunners while failing to record an out. It’s safe to say Dyson won’t have another chance at saves in 2017. Texas still has the second-worst bullpen ERA (5.05) after 52 games with ten wins, ten losses, and nine saves.

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