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Week 25 Closer Rankings and Bullpen Depth Charts

As we head into the final month of baseball, closers around the league look to solidify their value going into next season. Meanwhile, a new closer has emerged in Miami. Division by division, we take a look at each team’s closer and bullpen usage, along with some outlooks for 2020 in this week’s closer rankings.

AL Bullpen Depth Charts and Closer Rankings

+ Injury Concern

* Part of Committee

AL East

Closer Rankings AL East 9-6

It’s pretty clear, as it has been all season, that Mychal Givens will pitch when the matchups dictate it. Givens pitched the ninth inning of a tie game Monday, then faced the top of the order in the eighth inning Tuesday against the Rays. Givens enters the final month of the season on a good run, not allowing a hit or a walk in his last five appearances. Richard Bleier picked up his third save of the season Tuesday.

Brandon Workman picked up his 10th save of the season Sunday, then struck out the side in the ninth on Tuesday. It wasn’t all great for Workman though as he walked four batters and gave up two hits Friday, allowing two runs and blowing the save. Workman has had a great year overall but has tallied only 10 saves on the year. Should the Red Sox go into next season with Workman as the closer, he could come as a value in drafts.

Aroldis Chapman’s save total remains at 36 after not getting a save opportunity this week. Chapman entered the ninth inning of a tie game Saturday against Oakland. With a 2.22 ERA, 13.50 K/9, and 36 saves for a good team, Chapman is sure to be one of the first closers taken in next year’s drafts.

Three more saves for Emilio Pagan, who now has 17 on the year after recording eight in the month of August. Pagan has taken advantage of an opportunity and run away with the closer job in Tampa Bay. Pagan and Nick Anderson have formed quite the late-inning combo. A solo home run on August 29 was the first and only run Anderson has given up since joining the Rays at the trade deadline.

Ken Giles picked up his 18th save of the season Saturday against the Astros. Giles was asked to pitch again on back-to-back days and blew the save chance Sunday. Giles was reportedly almost dealt at the trade deadline. Health issues aside, Giles has had an otherwise excellent year. He will be someone to monitor in the offseason. Derek Law has gotten save opportunities when Giles has been hurt or unavailable.

AL Central

Closer Rankings AL Central 9-6

Alex Colome picked up save number 26 on Tuesday. The save opportunities have come fewer and further between as Colome only has six saves since the All-Star break. Colome has been a steady and fairly reliable save source, even on a bad Chicago team. The White Sox outlook for 2020 seems to be looking up as the team continues to grow. Should Colome remain with the club as their closer, he could be a great source of saves that comes at a value.

After four straight appearances in which Brad Hand gave up at least a run, he converted four straight scoreless save chances. Hand’s save total now sits at 33 on the year. Hand was steadily among the top five in the closer ranking for much of the season until the recent rough stretch. How he finishes the season could determine if he’s in the top five in next year’s drafts or the next group of five. Regardless, I don’t expect him to fall out of the top 10.

Joe Jimenez made one appearance on the week, giving up a solo home run with the Tigers up by four in the ninth. It was the third such game in which Jimenez gave up a solo home run. Walks, along with the long ball, have been an issue for Jimenez. This makes him a volatile option for saves, especially on a bad Tigers team. At this point in the season, we have our ratios well established and will take saves any way they come. Jimenez will likely go undrafted in many leagues next season.

Converting three of four save chances on the week brings Ian Kennedy’s save total up to 26 on the season. Kennedy has been an amazing value off the waiver wire. Should he remain with Kansas City, Kennedy could make for a value pick as a second closer on fantasy teams next season.

Taylor Rogers converted two more saves, bringing his total up to 23 on the year. Rogers has gotten the majority of the save chances and should continue to do so. Sergio Romo hasn’t recorded a save since August 16.

AL West

Closer Rankings AL West 9-6

Roberto Osuna gave up a solo home run on Monday, and the save chance with it. Osuna went on to earn the win. It was the only appearance for the Astros closer. Osuna has 31 saves on the season with a 3.13 ERA. His 3.66 FIP and 3.94 xFIP suggest he’s been a bit lucky this season. Those number could be due to a 9.55 K/9, while not bad, you’d want a few more strikeouts from your closer. Osuna will continue to be a top 10 closer going into next season, especially given his team context.

No save chances arose for Hansel Robles, who has now made seven consecutive scoreless appearances. Robles has totaled 19 saves on the season and should be among the top 24 closers taken next season, making him a back-end second reliever for fantasy teams. Though beware, Robles sports a 4.16 xFIP to go with his 2.60 ERA.

Liam Hendriks converted two of three save chances for the Oakland A’s, bringing his total to 18 on the season. The one chance he blew came at the hands of the Yankees in New York. Hendriks has otherwise been nails in the ninth inning for Oakland since taking over the closer role. Given the year he’s had, Hendriks could see a rise in his stock much like the teammate he replaced, Blake Treinen.

The Seattle closing situation has been an ugly one all year long. As we finish the final month of the season, it hasn’t gotten any better. Matt Magill made two appearances on the week, blowing his only save opportunity. With only 58 wins on the year, I doubt many more chances come up for whoever is pitching the ninth inning in Seattle.

It’s been quite the disappointing season for Jose Leclerc, who sits at nine saves on the season. There was a lot of hope for the Rangers closer coming into the season. The 4.30 ERA and low save total have put him in a position to go undrafted next season as fantasy owners wait to see how he bounces back from a down year, that if he remains the closer for Texas. After Leclerc blew the save last Thursday, it was Emmanuel Clase who earned the next save chance, and he converted his first save of the season.

NL Bullpen Depth Charts and Closer Rankings

+ Injury Concern

* Part of Committee

NL East

Bullpen Depth Charts NL East 9-6

Mark Melancon has converted eight saves for the Braves since being traded from the Giants at the deadline. Melancon has done a good job of reviving his value as a closer in Atlanta and settling in that role. Melancon could go into the 2020 season as the closer for the Braves, but I don’t imagine he’d have much security in the role.

There is a new closer in Miami. Jose Urena came off the injured list and has taken over the ninth-inning duties for the Marlins. Urena picked up his first save of the season on Tuesday. Urena could be the last closer worth picking up from waiver wires this season unless an established closer is injured.

The bullpen imploded for the Mets on Tuesday, giving up seven runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and ultimately losing the game. It was Paul Sewald who entered the ninth inning and allowed two runs to score. Luis Avilan came in to face one batter and loaded the bases. Edwin Diaz was asked to get the Mets out of the jam but he failed to do so, allowing the game-winning runs. Diaz and Lugo have shared closing duties recently, with Lugo picking up his fourth save this week.

Hector Neris picked up a win after recording five outs against the Mets. Neris has been solid in the second half of the season and now sits at 23 saves. Neris should enter 2020 as the clear favorite for saves in Philadelphia and could be a valuable second closer taken in drafts for teams.

Sean Doolittle made one appearance on the week, only needing nine pitches to record three outs Sunday. Doolittle has 28 saves on the year with a 4.25 ERA. Much of that was due to the ten runs Doolittle had given up across six appearances before landing on the injured list. Doolittle has an extensive injury history, making him a risk and the next in line someone to keep an eye on. In this case, it would be Daniel Hudson, who could continue to work the ninth inning as Doolittle is eased back into action.

NL Central

Bullpen Depth Charts NL Central 9-6

Craig Kimbrel recorded his 13th save Thursday against the Mets before allowing three runs to the Brewers on Sunday. Kimbrel now has a 5.68 ERA on the year with a 12.32 K/9. The strikeout rate marks the lowest of his career. I’m willing to cut him some slack given the late start to the season. Kimbrel could come at a discount next season for those hoping for a bounce-back season in Chicago. [Editor’s Note” Kimbrel went on the IL with elbow inflammation after this article was submitted. The chart above has been updated.]

Raisel Iglesias blew another save this week against the Cardinals, a day after giving up the game-winning run to the Marlins. In both outings, Iglesias failed to record an out. He followed that up with a save on Sunday, striking out the side. Consistency has been an issue for Iglesias this season, who has a 4.55 ERA on the year.

After an incredibly rough stretch for Josh Hader, he’s now gone five straight appearances without allowing a run. Hader picked up two more saves, bringing his total to 28 on the year. With a 16.34 ERA and a 2.70 ERA, he’s been one of the most valuable relievers all season. The home runs seem to come in bunches when Hader is off his game. Regardless, he’s among the best in the league.

Felipe Vazquez recorded his 24th save of the season. With a 1.78 ERA and 13.26 K/9, Vazquez has been one of the best relievers in baseball all season. The problem has been the team context. It’ll be interesting to see if Vazquez is traded this offseason as he was rumored to be on the trade block at the deadline.

Carlos Martinez picked up two saves on the week, giving him 18 now for the year. Martinez has gone seven straight appearances without allowing a run and has for the most part been reliable in the ninth inning. Martinez came into the season as a starter but was converted to closer after Jordan Hicks tore his UCL. Andrew Miller has pitched the ninth inning when Martinez isn’t available and has five saves on the season.

NL West

Bullpen Depth Charts NL West 9-6

Archie Bradley picked up two more saves, bringing his total to 11 on the season. Nine of those saves have come over the last month of the season. Bradley’s role as closer has been a long-anticipated one. Bradley should head into next season with the role secured and will be a popular target in the middle of drafts.

No save chances came this week for the Rockies as they have now lost nine straight games. After losing Scott Oberg, the team is going to a closer by committee situation. Jairo Diaz, Carlos Estevez, and Jake McGee could see save chances as the situations arise.

Kenley Jansen recorded his 28th save on Tuesday. Manager Dave Roberts indicated that while Jansen is still the primary closer, he will occasionally pitch in non-save situations. Kenta Maeda recorded a four-inning save, his first of the season.

Kirby Yates remains atop the closer rankings with an MLB leading 39 saves. Yates has been incredible this season with a 1.29 ERA and 14.87 K/9. Andres Munoz picked up his first save of the season and has done a good job in the setup role. Yates is a candidate to be traded this offseason, so the young, talented Munoz will be a name to keep an eye on going into 2020.

Will Smith recorded his 31st save of the season Wednesday for the Giants. Smith is having an excellent season, a year removed from Tommy John surgery. He will be a free agent going into the offseason so his value going into 2020 will be determined by his landing spot. I imagine after the season he has had, Smith will be looking for a team that will give him the opportunity to close games. Should he remain in San Francisco, he should be a top 12 closer going into next season.

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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