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Week 18 Bullpen Report

With the trade winds blowing and closers moving all over the place, here’s another version of your weekly bullpen report to get you caught up! As a reminder, here’s the approach:

  1. Closer/Speculative Adds – Players owned in less than 70 percent of Fantrax leagues that have a share of a closing role, or are worth a speculative pickup.
  2. HOLDS!!! – If we do all this work to identify top relievers, we might as well surface the ones who provide value even if they aren’t earning saves. This will be guys who are worth an add to boost ratios or if you are in a league with Holds as a category.
  3. A recap of the week prior – who earned saves, who blew saves, and what each pitcher’s peripherals were like over the past seven days. We’ll look at the top two or three options from each bullpen so we can also take a sneak peek at who is next in line for saves. We’ll also include Fantrax ownership in everything we do.
  4. Bullpen Matrix – An interactive visual of bullpen usage for the past seven days. The bullpen report is dynamic so you can change the lookback period to your heart’s desire, but we’ll focus on how each team’s bullpen was managed over the past seven days.

I’m open to any and all feedback, and I hope this bullpen report evolves to maximize effectiveness for the readers. Don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments or on Twitter with comments, questions, suggestions about the article or fantasy baseball in general. Let’s get into it!

It’s time to multi-task! Keep up with all of our baseball coverage, but kick off your football prep and dig into our 2018 Fantasy Football Draft Kit. Then head on over to Fantrax and join a Fantasy Football league.

Week 18 Bullpen Report

Speculative Adds

Jace Fry (CWS – 13% owned) – Joakim Soria was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers and the White Sox closer role is up for grabs. Nate Jones would be the obvious candidate to take over and is a great stash, but he recently had a setback on his DL stint and Jace Fry is my bet to get the majority of save opportunities. Fry sports a 2.27 FIP in 30.1 innings pitched and an 11.3 K/9. Xavier Cedeno is worthy of consideration if you missed on Fry because the actual closer is still very much up in the air.

Robert Gsellman (NYM – 46% owned) – The Mets dealt Jeurys Familia to the Oakland A’s (who now have a loaded bullpen) and the closer role is a giant question mark in Queens. Swarzak earned the first save opportunity, but it was in a two-inning stint and not necessarily indicative of how typical bullpen usage will look. Gsellman has been utilized in more high-leverage situations and will likely get the call in future save opportunities.

Anthony Swarzak (NYM – 12% owned) – Swarzak is still an intriguing flyer even though Gsellman will get the majority of save opportunities. The Mets aren’t going to be racking up wins, but Swarzak will receive a handful of save opportunities for the rest of the year.

Brad Brach (BAL – 57% owned) – Zach Britton is a Yankee and Brach is officially the Orioles closer. Due to injuries, Brach already has 11 saves this year and is likely owned in most competitive leagues, but I did want to call out his new role as official closer for shallow leagues.

Joe Jimenez (DET – 37% owned) – Rumors are flying that Shane Greene is on the move before the trade deadline and Joe Jimenez is the obvious replacement for the Tigers closer job. There’s enough smoke at this point to think there’s fire and Jimenez is worth a speculative add in all formats. He’s had a 2.32 FIP in 45 innings this year and has been a stud in a setup role. He’d be an intriguing closer option even for a Tigers team that won’t present a ton of save opportunities.

Jake Diekman (TEX – 6% owned) – Keone Kela is rumored in trades to the Pirates, and Diekman would slide right into the Rangers closer role. Kela could be the next domino to fall, and Diekman is still very widely owned.


Ryan Pressly (MIN – 4% owned) – Again, Rodney might get moved so there’s some upside here, but Pressly has been lights out through the entire year with a 13.0 K/9 and a 2.95 FIP in 47.2 innings. I typically don’t recommend players from struggling teams, but Pressly’s ratios are so good that it makes up for the less opportunities for holds. [Editor’s Note: Pressly was dealt to Houston after this was article was submitted. He does however land in a very similar situation and role.]

Sam Dyson (SF – 19% owned) – Dyson hasn’t surrendered a run in his last five appearances and the Giants bullpen has struggled in the last two weeks. Mark Melancon, Tony Watson, and Will Smith all have a loss in the last 7 days while Dyson has been the most consistent option out of the bullpen. Not sure where the Giants end up as buyers or sellers, but Dyson has closing experience and has some upside as a potential poacher for saves.

Ryan Madson (WSH – 22% owned) – News is emerging that the Nationals may end up being sellers at the deadline. This means Madson may be on the move and could be in a prime set-up role for a contender, or Madson is all that’s left of a depleted bullpen and could gather some saves in the second half. If Kelvin Herrera gets dealt again, Madson is a must-add in all formats.

Steve Cishek (CHC – 25% owned) – Brandon Morrow is on the DL again, and while Pedro Strop has a firm hold on the closer role, Cishek moves up the pecking order and is going to get a ton of holds opportunities for the Cubs.

Prior Week Recap

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Bullpen Matrix

For more on how the Bullpen Matrix works head on over the dedicated page for the chart.

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