The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Update: Kimbrel Issues, Sewald Back, Megill in Milwaukee?

We have no time to waste. Let’s jump right into this week’s Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Report!  I have a freshman baseball game to coach this morning after two games yesterday, including the freshmen and my son Jack’s Pony League team. I am running on fumes this month and so are some of the bullpens we watch each week.

As always, feel free to DM me @mdrc0508 anytime with questions or complaints, or just to vent. I get it.

Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Updates

AL East

AL East Bullpen updates

The bullpen situation in the Baltimore bullpen is taking on new shapes daily. Closer Craig Kimbrel was battling a back injury two weeks ago, leading to rampant FAAB speculation (including yours truly) on Yennier Cano. Of course right after FAAB bidding was closed for the week, manager Brandon Hyde revealed that Kimbrel was day-to-day, leading to me walking with my chin down for a bit. However, as we know in bullpens, stick around, because things can and will change. Kimbrel has a bloated 4.73 ERA and nine walks in 13.1 innings, a 15.3 BB%. Hyde pulled Kimbrel in the ninth inning on Wednesday after he coughed up two runs on one hit and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. I have said it before: Kimbrel cannot seemingly fit into a role outside of the closer one, but if this is injury-related or they decide to slide him into a lower-leverage role for a short time, Cano figured to be the guy to add here. Friday night update: Kimbrel came on in the seventh and Cano earned the save at the end. Let the bidding begin.

New York: Clay Holmes has yet to allow a run through 17.1 innings and now has 12 saves on the season. If you are looking for holds, Ian Hamilton and Caleb Ferguson have five and six, respectively. But a name to consider here also is Luke Weaver, who has pitched himself into a higher leverage role in the bullpen. Weaver has four holds with three wins, a 26.9 K%, a 2.59 ERA, and a 22.6 K-BB%. No idea if he can keep this up, but the pitch mix change he made (throwing his cutter almost 30% of the time, up from 11% last year, and eliminating his slider and the sweeper) is working thus far.

Manager Kevin Cash said that closer Pete Fairbanks should be activated from the IL this weekend, which will push Jason Adam and Garrett Cleavinger back into setup roles.

AL Central

Michael Kopech has earned saves in back-to-back days for the “surging” Chicago White Sox. I need to see more to believe in him. But I can say he passed the eye test in both of those games; the stuff was explosive and nasty.  If he could limit baserunners I would feel much better about his opportunity. Rookie Jordan Leasure seems to be cementing himself into a high-leverage role these past few weeks as well. Should Kopech falter or succumb to an injury, Leasure has put himself into the conversation to close games for the moribund White Sox. In fact, Leasure did earn the save on Friday night after Kopech was unavailable due to pitching two nights in a row. Steven Wilson and John Brebbia should be the candidates for holds.

Detroit hasn’t had a save in a week, and there could be unrest here. Jason Foley leads the team with nine saves, but hasn’t earned a save in almost two weeks. Despite having 94th percentile velocity on his fastball and sinker, he has a paltry 19.1 K%. Foley relies on groundballs, which he gets over 56% of the time. As he’s struggled a bit lately, Alex Lange has not: he’s got a 35.3 whiff % and 28.3 K%, and earned their only save this month last week. Not saying this is a changing of the guard, but it is a situation that bears watching.

Kansas City: could be heading into a committee here, with three different pitchers (James McArthur, John Schreiber, and Chris Stratton all earning saves this week. McArthur leads with eight saves. there has been a heavy usage pattern here over the past two weeks.

In Minnesota, the wide assumption (mine included) was that Jhoan Duran would return to the closer role and be a dominant, top-five closer. Well, let’s pump the brakes.  Duran does have three saves, but he also has three holds. This week, he had one save but so did Griffin Jax (who has five on the season) and Caleb Thielbar (who has three saves). Duran will continue to be the highest-leverage reliever, pitching against the toughest part of the lineup, whether that be in the seventh or ninth innings. While this will be upsetting to fantasy managers who may see a reduces saves load, rest assured the strikeouts and ratios will still be in your ledger.  And if it follows anything like last year, he may just end up being the pure closer anyway as the season wears on.

AL West

Josh Hader held the lead and converted his fourth save for the Astros in a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Thursday afternoon. Hader was called upon to get four outs, the first time he has appeared for multiple innings in a game since 2020. Do not expect that kind of usage to continue for the 30-year-old veteran. Hader has 25 strikeouts in 16 innings with an unsightly 5.63 ERA. That appears to be due to some bad luck at this time; his xERA is 2.87 and his SIERA is 2.37.  Expect Hader to normalize back to the mean, but keep in mind he may end up with fewer saves and opportunities if the Astros cannot right the ship back to their winning ways. Hader earned his fifth save on Friday night.

Oakland: Trade rumors swirl around the tantalizing Mason Miller, who has eight saves. Behind him is Lucas Erceg, whom we discussed last weekend. Another holds candidate here is Austin Adams, who now has 10 holds and an excellent 30.9K%. Miller has a ludicrous 55K%.

In Texas, manager Bruce Bochy has settled the back end of his bullpen with Kirby Yates as closer, being set up by veterans David Robertson and Jose Leclerc. Yates has seven saves and Robertson has 11 holds.  Josh Sborz headed back to the IL this week with a rotator cuff strain.

NL East

NL East Bullpen News

Edwin Diaz remains one of the best closers in the game and he has continued to be excellent. But can we talk a minute about the high-octane trio at the back of the Mets’ bullpen?  Diaz, Adam Ottavino, and Reed Garrett all have K rates above 39%. That is absurd. Ottavino has five holds and a save, and Garrett has three holds and a save. This is a fun bullpen to watch.

Washington: Kyle Finnegan has 12 saves and Hunter Harvey has 13 holds. Both lead the major leagues in their respective categories.

NL Central

Cincinnati: the Alexis Diaz rollercoaster ride continues, as he earned a save on Friday night, his seventh of the season. But a deeper dive reveals that most of the damage came from two horrific outings and that his xERA is actually 3.45 instead of the bloated 6.08 he currently sports. He has to cut down the walks, which are a ghastly 15% right now.  Need holds and like velocity?  Check out Fernando Cruz, who has a 45.9 K% and seven holds.  I rostered him in a relief pitcher-only league, and he’s been terrific when he avoids walks

In Milwaukee, Trevor Megill is back and fully healthy after a scary food poisoning and concussion incident in which he fell and hit his head in a grocery store. I wish I could have something similar happen to me and come out of it with his filthy pitch repertoire, although I guess at 50, it wouldn’t serve me too well.  Of interest here is that Megill has earned the last two saves for the Brewers over the span of ten days. Lefty Bryan Hudson is quietly putting together a good year as a top setup option, and Joel Payamps continues to get holds even as he struggles to find some consistency. If Megill is floating around on your waiver wire, change that this weekend.

NL West

Paul Sewald returned from the IL this week and manager Torey Lovullo wasted no time in getting him back into the top spot. Sewald earned his first save of the season on Thursday night, with Kevin Ginkel moving back to his eighth-inning setup role and earning a win. If someone in your league dropped Sewald in a roster crunch or frustration, he should get the bulk of the save chances the rest of the way for the Diamondbacks.

Los Angeles: the Dodgers continue to pile up wins despite having injury issues in their bullpen. Closer Evan Phillips hit the IL with a hamstring strain this week, joining other valuable arms Brusdar Graterol and Joe Kelly on the IL. No problem for the Dodgers, who simply moved veteran Daniel Hudson and the freshly activated Blake Treinen into the top spots. They just continue to have quality arms. Look for a split here in the time being with a slight lean to Hudson, who earned a save on Wednesday night.

Fantrax is one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites in the fantasy sports industry, and we’re not stopping any time soon. We are the most customizable, easy-to-use, and feature-rich platform in the industry, offering the greatest fantasy experience for your dynasty, keeper, redraft, and best ball leagues. Fantasy sports doesn’t sleep, and neither does Fantrax, with seasons running 365 days a year. Take your fantasy leagues to the next level now at!
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.