Bullpen roles are gaining more clarity, with many relievers struggling right now. That's why it's important to stay on top of the latest closer developments.
Despite the perception of Mark Melancon pitching on fumes, he knocked down three saves over the past week while allowing two runs, two baserunners, and one home run over three innings. On the positive side, he picked up four strikeouts after recording only six strikeouts over his first 12.1 innings. However, his ERA (7.04) and WHIP (1.83) scream job loss risk. Ian Kennedy struggled over his last six appearances (6.23 ERA and 1.85 WHIP over 4.1 innings). Joe Mantiply improved his scoreless streak to 7.1 innings with no walks and 11 strikeouts.
Kenley Jansen turned from a fantasy asset to a liability in ERA (fell from 2.30 to 3.86) over his last three appearances (four runs, seven baserunners, and one home run over three innings with three strikeouts). Over this span, he blew two of his three save chances. Jansen is now 10-for-12 in closing games. In May, Will Smith has a 5.40 ERA and 1.80 WHIP over 6.2 innings, leading to a loss, a save, two blown saves, and two holds. A.J. Minter hasn’t allowed a run over his previous 13 innings with three walks and 17 saves.
Save opportunities have been challenging for Jorge Lopez over the past month. From April 24th to May 23rd, he gave up one run over 12 innings with two wins, a loss, one save, and two blown saves while issuing nine walks. He remains tough to hit (11 over 21 innings), but Lopez can’t survive long-term closing games with his poor command. He has five saves in his seven chances. Felix Bautista has a 1.74 ERA over his last 10.1 innings with 12 strikeouts and two saves.
Boston Red Sox
The closing dartboard in Boston continues to be a mystery for any fantasy manager throwing darts, but they have started to win more games. Hansel Robles protected a three-run lead on May 16th, but he surrendered a game-tying home run in his closing try. Over his previous eight innings, Robles allowed five runs, 12 baserunners, and two home runs with a save, two blown saves, and three holds. Matt Barnes closed out a win for the Red Sox over the last week while looking better over his previous five appearances (2.08 ERA over 4.1 innings with four strikeouts). Matt Strahm remains Boston’s top reliever (1.88 ERA with three walks and 15 strikeouts over 14.1 innings), but he only has one save on the year.
Since returning from Covid-19, David Robertson has a 2.70 ERA over 3.1 innings with five strikeouts while converting one of his two save chances. He is 6-for-7 in the ninth inning. Rowan Wick struggled in two of his past four games (two runs and eight baserunners over 3.1 innings with four strikeouts). When given a chance to finish out a win, he has been perfect in four opportunities.
Chicago White Sox
The stat correction by Liam Hendriks has been impressive over his previous four games (no runs over four innings with no walks, seven strikeouts, and four saves). He lowered his ERA to 3.72 and upped his save total in May to nine. Overall, Hendriks is 13-for-16 in chances. Despite recording only four strikeouts, Kendall Graveman hasn't been sharp over his last eight innings (five runs, 14 baserunners, and one home run).
The last two saves for the Reds went to Art Warren (6.14 ERA) and Tony Santillan (5.14 ERA). Warren threw the ball better over his previous 7.2 innings, leading to a 2.35 ERA and 0.91 WHIP with seven strikeouts. When given a save chance, he is batting .500 (2-for-4). In May, Santillan has a 2.45 ERA over 7.1 innings with 10 strikeouts and one save. Alexis Diaz has been impressive over his past 11.1 innings (0.79 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 16 strikeouts).
Emmanuel Clase hasn’t had a save chance since May 14th. His opportunity hasn’t been helped by Cleveland having multiple rainouts over the previous week with a five-game schedule. He is 7-for-9 in save conversions with one run allowed over his past 11.2 innings with 12 strikeouts, five saves, and one blown save. Sam Hentges pitched extremely well over his last 13.1 innings (one run and eight baserunners with 16 strikeouts).
After three poor games (four runs, eight baserunners, and one home run over 2.1 innings), Daniel Bard tossed three shutout innings with four strikeouts, one win, and one save. He has 10 saves in his 12 closing chances. Tyler Kinley remains the best arm in the Rockies’ bullpen (1.10 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 16.1 innings), putting him next in line for saves.
Gregory Soto made only two appearances over the past 10 days. He has a save in three of his four games (no runs or walks over 4.1 innings) with one blown lead in eight opportunities. Michael Fulmer should have pitched his way out of save consideration based on his last 6.1 innings of work (six runs, 15 baserunners, and one home run with two blown saves).
The right arm of Ryan Pressly stabilized over the last week (no runs over 2.2 innings with four strikeouts and two saves), leading to his improving his scoreless run to 4.2 innings. He is 6-for-8 in closing situations with a 3.00 ERA over nine innings. In May, Rafael Montero has yet to allow a run over 8.1 innings with four hits, five strikeouts, and two saves.
Kansas City Royals
Scott Barlow tripped up in two of his last three appearances (two runs, five baserunners, and two home runs over 3.1 innings with three strikeouts) while not pitching in a closing opportunity. Over the first half of May, he converted all three of his saves. Josh Staumont continues to be erratic when asked to finish a win for the Royals. He blew his third save in six tries on Sunday when Staumont allowed two runs and four baserunners against the Twins over one inning. His ERA (4.32) and WHIP (1.50) don’t look closer-worthy.
Los Angeles Angels
May has been an up and down month for Raisel Iglesias (8.10 ERA and 1.50 WHIP), but he did earn five saves in his six chances. On the year, Iglesias is 11-for-12 closing out wins for the Angels. Ryan Tepera has 12 holds, and one save, but his arm hasn't been sharp over his previous six innings (seven runs and 10 baserunners with six strikeouts).
Los Angeles Dodgers
Craig Kimbrel has a save in his last four appearances while remaining perfect in his nine opportunities. He has a 3.86 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in May with 12 strikeouts and six saves. Daniel Hudson hasn’t allowed a run or hit over his past 3.1 innings with two strikeouts.
The last save for the Marlins came on April 30th. Anthony Bender gave up a run and nine baserunners over 4.2 innings with six strikeouts, but he hasn’t pitched in a closing situation since May 8th. Bender landed on the injured list on Wednesday with a back issue. In his previous five appearances, Cole Sulser struggled twice (four runs, six baserunners, and one home run over 1.2 innings). His ERA (2.81) and WHIP (1.19) suggest the next closing chance for Miami will be his. Anthony Bass pitched exceptionally well over his last 13.1 innings (one run and 16 strikeouts) due to improved command (three walks). Dylan Floro looked improved over his previous four games (no runs and four baserunners over 3.1 innings with one strikeout).
Josh Hader pitched in only one game (May 21st) since May 16th due to missing time to tend to a family issue. He has yet to allow a run over 13.2 innings with 21 strikeouts, leading to 15 successful saves. Devin Williams moved to dominant status over his last six innings (no runs, three hits, no walks, and 14 strikeouts with one save). His ERA (3.71) and WHIP (1.41) still need work despite his success.
The changing of the closing guard in Minnesota shifted to Jhoan Duran over the past week. He earned a save in back-to-back games for the first time while extending his shutout streak to 8.2 innings with 12 strikeouts. Duran remains perfect in his four closing chances in May. Over his previous 14.2 innings, Emilio Pagan has a 1.84 ERA with six saves, but his WHIP (1.57) and home runs allowed (4) show signs of risk.
New York Mets
Edwin Diaz continues to add trepidation to fantasy managers' heart rates. He blew two saves over the past week when he allowed three runs and 10 baserunners over 2.2 innings with four strikeouts. Diaz is 10-for-13 closing games with a sliding WHIP (1.29). Seth Lugo struggled over his last four appearances (four runs, seven baserunners, and one home run over 4.2 innings).
New York Yankees
Rarely in major league baseball is a team excited when their closer goes on the injured list. In the case of the Yankees, Clint Holmes has been kicking the ninth inning door all season. He’s allowed one run over 22.2 innings with two walks and 23 strikeouts while picking up four wins and four saves. Unfortunately, Aroldis Chapman allowed a run or more in five straight games (six runs, 12 baserunners, and two home runs over 3.2 innings), placing him on the injured list with an Achilles issue.
Dany Jimenez has a save in three straight appearances, giving nine successful closing chances on the year. He has a 0.52 ERA over 17.1 innings with 19 strikeouts and a hold. A.J. Puk improved his scoreless streak to 15 innings with three walks and 15 strikeouts, pushing him closer to the ninth inning.
In May, Corey Knebel has a 5.87 ERA and 1.70 WHIP over 7.2 innings, leading to four saves in six tries. He is 8-for-10 closing games with no home runs allowed over 18 innings. Seranthony Dominguez upped his shutout run to 7.1 innings with five walks and 10 strikeouts.
Despite improving his shutout streak to 9.1 innings with nine strikeouts, David Bednar lost in his last game on May 24th when he allowed an unearned run. He has a 1.13 ERA over his previous 16 innings with 21 strikeouts and seven saves. Chris Stratton earned his last save on April 22nd. Since that game, he has a 5.06 ERA and 1.87 WHIP over 10.2 innings with three blown leads.
San Diego Padres
Taylor Rogers took over the major league lead in saves (16). His only failure came on April 23rd. Over his last 6.2 innings, he has a 0.00 ERA with six baserunners, 10 strikeouts, and four saves. In May, Robert Suarez posted a 3.12 ERA and 1.15 WHIP with 10 strikeouts, one save, and two blown saves.
San Francisco Giants
Saves (3) have been slow in May for Camilo Doval. He has a 2.25 ERA and 1.25 WHIP over his previous eight innings with 11 strikeouts. Doval has seven saves in eight chances. Tyler Rogers kicked fantasy teams to the jimmies over his past four appearances (11 runs and 13 baserunners over 3.1 innings), pushing his ERA from 1.98 to 7.41.
Since the second day in May, the Mariners have a 6-16 record with four saves. Paul Sewald has two of those opportunities with a pair of wins. He extended his scoreless run to 5.2 innings with no walk and five strikeouts. Hopefully, Sewald can settle into the closing role for Seattle. After a slow recovery from a finger issue, Ken Giles looks poised to begin his rehab assignment.
St. Louis Cardinals
This week the Cardinals gave the appearance of shifting to Ryan Helsley as their closer. He pitched after Giovanny Gallegos in his last two appearances. Helsley has yet to allow a run over 15.2 innings with 26 strikeouts, two wins, two saves, and one blown save. Gallegos has a 1.04 ERA and 0.81 WHIP over his last 8.2 innings with 12 strikeouts, four saves, and one blown save. On the year, he is 8-for-10 in closing situations.
Tampa Bay Rays
The closing job for the Rays looks wide open with Andrew Kittredge placed on the injured list with a back issue. J.P. Feyereisen still hasn’t allowed a run over 20 innings with five hits, four walks, and 20 strikeouts, but he doesn’t have a save this season. Over the last week, he was credited with a blown save while pitching in the seventh inning. After extending his shutout run to 7.2 innings with no runs, two hits, and 11 strikeouts, Jason Adam remains in the closing mix. Based on his early stats (1.45 ERA over 18.2 innings with 19 strikeouts), Jalen Beeks could also be a dark horse to pitch in the ninth.
Joe Barlow hasn’t pitched for the last 10 days with a blister on his finger on his pitching hand. He is perfect in his seven save chances with no runs allowed over his previous 10.1 innings with 10 strikeouts. Brock Burke tossed 9.1 shutout innings in May with eight strikeouts.
Toronto Blue Jays
In his two appearances last week, Jordan Romano pitched two clean innings with three strikeouts and two saves. He is 14-for-16 in save conversions with a favorable ERA (2.70) and WHIP (1.08) over 16.2 innings. Adam Cimber served as the Blue Jays’ backup closer over the previous two weeks (no runs over six innings with six strikeouts, two saves, and one blown save).
Since April 19th, the Nationals went 8-23, with their only save coming in the 10th inning by Victor Arano. Nevertheless, many fantasy sites list Tanney Rainey as Washington's closer despite being a trainwreck over his last four games (six runs and eight baserunners over 3.2 innings with six strikeouts and two blown saves). His last save came on April 19th. Kyle Finnegan has been sharp over his previous 6.2 innings (0.00 ERA and eight strikeouts).
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