Closer Rankings and Bullpen Depth Charts: Week 24
A closer near the top of the rankings gets back on track. Meanwhile, across the board players make their claim from here on out for their 2020 draft value. I run down every team’s closer situation and take a look at each of their reliever usage with the bullpen depth charts.
AL Bullpen Depth Charts and Closer Rankings
+ Injury Concern
* Part of Committee
Mychal Givens pitched a clean the ninth inning in both weekend games with the Orioles up by six runs and five runs. Givens is the clear closer in a bad situation who has pitched better in the second half with a 2.89 ERA since July 1. Givens will likely go as one of the last closers taken in drafts next season.
Brandon Workman recorded his eighth save of the season on Saturday against the Padres after Brock Holt hit a solo shot to put the Red Sox up by one. It will be interesting to see how this situation plays out going into next season but Workman’s low save total could make him a value in drafts should Boston keep the status quo in their bullpen. With 89 strikeouts in 50 innings, setup man Matt Barnes’ strikeout rate is second only to that of Josh Hader. Barnes recorded his 19th hold behind Workman’s save Saturday.
Aroldis Chapman picked up his 36th save of the season in Seattle on Monday, pitching a clean ninth inning with two strikeouts. That makes 10 appearances in August now with no runs allowed by Chapman with 18 strikeouts in 10 innings.
Emilio Pagan recorded his 14th save of the season Thursday, one night after blowing the save against the Mariners. Pagan has worked as the primary closer for what was a committee for the better part of the season. Nick Anderson has been nothing short of terrific since joining the Rays. Anderson has yet to allow a run since July 13, with 28 strikeouts in 15 innings. Tampa Bay has shown to have a short leash for anyone struggling. Should Pagan hit a road bump at any point, it could be Anderson seeing save opportunities.
The Blue Jays have turned their closing situation into an essential committee in order to ease the workload of Ken Giles. Derek Law converted one of two save opportunities on the week, giving him four for the year. Giles will continue to be used sparingly with Law picking up the save chances in between.
Alex Colome picked up save number 25 on Sunday. Despite not having the strikeout totals you’d look for in a closer, Colome has gotten the job done all season with a 2.34 ERA. With one year remaining until he’s eligible for free agency, Colome will be a trade candidate this offseason. Aaron Bummer has performed well behind Colome as the setup man. Should Colome be traded, Bummer could go into 2020 as the closer for the White Sox.
After a very rough stretch for Brad Hand, you figured he’d have enough of a leash to get things right. Hand responded with two converted saves this week, getting back on the right track. The two saves give him a total of 31 on the year. Hand should still be regarded as one of the games top closers.
After recording his fourth save last Wednesday, Joe Jimenez pitched the ninth on Friday with the Tigers leading the Twins by four runs. Jimenez gave up a solo home run then closed out the game. The team context along with a sporadic performance from Jimenez makes him hard to trust but he’s the team’qs closer for the rest of the way, giving him value anywhere you need saves.
Ian Kennedy had a rough outing for his only appearance on the week, surrendering four runs to the Indians in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday. Kennedy has otherwise been great this season with 22 saves or the Royals. A converted starter, what the Royals do with Kennedy will be something to monitor throughout the offseason as he was rumored to be involved in trade talks at the deadline. Jorge Lopez picked up his first save of the season that same game after the Royals took the lead in the 10th inning.
Taylor Rogers converted the last two save opportunities, including his 21st save of the season on Tuesday. Sergio Romo pitched the eighth inning during both games, indicating that Rogers is the primary closing option. Romo could still see a share of the save chances. Rogers is the man to own in this bullpen.
Two more saves or Roberto Osuna gives him 31 on the year. Osuna has been fantastic all season, and in a situation that will remain one of the best going into next season. Osuna is sure to be among the first five to six closers taken in fantasy drafts next year. After Osuna pitched on consecutive days, Will Harris picked up a save Saturday for the Astros.
After blowing a save last Wednesday, Hansel Robles had not made another appearance until Tuesday, when he recorded his 19th save of the campaign. Robles has quietly been one of the more valuable pickups this season for saves. Although the 4.25 xFIP suggests his 2.78 ERA is a bit lucky. Part of that is due to the 8.79 K/9. Regardless, Robles will continue to works as the closer for the Los Angeles Angels.
A clean inning of work on Tuesday gives Liam Hendriks 16 for the season. With a 1.43 ERA and 12.39 K/9, he’s looking a lot like the guy he took the closer role from, Blake Treinen. Hendriks has been a valuable mid-season pickup for saves and has provided excellent ratios as well. Blake Treinen on the other hand continues to work in mid-relief. Treinen was charged with a blown save Sunday.
The Seattle Mariners seem to have given the closer job to Matt Magill. Magill recorded two saves this week. While it’s a situation I am avoiding, picking up players like Magill and using them while they are effective and have the closing job is a way to try to make up some ground in saves.
Jose Leclerc made one appearance on the week, pitching a clean inning on Saturday. Leclerc has eight saves on the season, a disappointing number for where he was drafted. Shawn Kelley had been the closer for some time this season, but now works the setup role. Kelley would be next in line should Leclerc be removed at any point.
NL Bullpen Depth Charts and Closer Rankings
+ Injury Concern
* Part of Committee
Mark Melancon got a change of scenery and has found some success with the Atlanta Braves. After Shane Greene wasn’t working out, Mark Melancon was given the closer job and he’s performed effectively. Melancon picked up two more saves on the week.
Ryne Stanek followed up a blown save last week with another on Thursday before picking up his first save for the Marlins on Sunday. There’s nothing really enticing about the situation in Miami and it’s one I am avoiding. Jose Urena could be taking over the closing duties once he returns from the injured list.
No save opportunities arose for the Mets this week. Edwin Diaz has been dealing with trapezius tightness but should not require a stint on the injured list. Seth Lugo has been sharing closing duties and could see more of the ninth inning action. Lugo has pitched two innings in four of his last six outings. The Mets trust him and want to use him as they need. Lugo should be added everywhere at this point.
Hector Neris had been lights out over the last month before blowing a save on Monday. Neris gave up a solo home run to Josh Bell to tie the game. Prior to that, Neris hadn’t surrendered an earned run since July 18.
Sean Doolittle could be back for the Nationals as soon as this weekend. In the meantime, it’s been a committee taking over the closer role. Daniel Hudson, acquired from the Blue Jays at the deadline, has acted as the first closing option in Doolittle’s absence.
Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Sunday during a tie game. Kimbrel has 11 saves on the season. If you ignore his first three appearances after a late start to the season, Kimbrel has a 2.63 ERA with a 13.17 K/9.
Raisel Iglesias blew a save on Friday before allowing a run Monday with the Reds up by four runs. Michael Lorenzen and Amir Garrett have performed well this year and would get a look at closing out games should Iglesias be unavailable.
Josh Hader pitched a clean inning on Sunday after not pitching in nearly a week. Hader has slipped a bit in the closer rankings but remains one of the most valuable relievers in the game. Matt Albers and Junior Guerra figure to get in the mix for some save opportunities. Hader should be lowered in closer rankings that aren’t points leagues.
Felipe Vazquez recorded his 23rd save of the season. With a 1.75 ERA and 13.15 K/9, Vazquez has been one of the best relievers in baseball. A bad situation and low save totals could keep his draft day value suppressed next season unless Vazquez is traded.
Only one save chances came up for the Cardinals this week. Carlos Martinez walked two and struck out two on his way to recording his 15th save. This is another situation that will be worth monitoring over the offseason.
Two more saves this week for Archie Bradley, who has recorded seven of his eight saves in the month of August. Bradley has been much better over the second half as he earned the closing job. Bradley would be auditioning for a shot to close games next season for the Diamondbacks.
Kenley Jansen recorded his 27th save on Saturday. Jansen has had a good strikeout rate, but the 3.44 xFIP suggests the 3.62 ERA is right around where it should be. A 3.62 ERA isn’t exactly elite, but Jansen has been consistent and finds himself in one of the best situations.
Kirby Yates sits atop the closer rankings with an MLB-leading 38 saves. The 1.33 ERA and 14.67 K/9 make Yates one of the best pitchers in baseball. Andres Munoz has become the primary setup option behind Yates. Should the Padres decide to move Yates over the winter, Andres Munoz could be the next great closer for San Diego.
Make that 30 saves for Will Smith. Smith has been a great value for teams as one of the best relievers in baseball. Smith will be a free agent over the offseason so it will be something to monitor.
Hopefully, you found Jorge’s Closer Rankings and Bullpen Depth Charts useful. For more of his take make sure to follow him on Twitter @Jmontanez.
Jorge Montanez is a lifelong sports fan but new to the fantasy industry, joining Fantrax HQ as a writer in June of 2019. Jorge co-hosts the Bases Loaded Podcast, a fantasy baseball podcast covering everything fantasy baseball on a weekly basis. He was raised in Stockton, CA but now resides in Los Angeles, where you can find him at a ballpark playing catch with his two sons on the weekends. Follow Jorge @jmontanez90 on Twitter where he’ll be happy to give his take and answer questions on all things fantasy.
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