Each week I will breakdown closers and middle relievers in many different ways to provide you with all the information you need to have a successful fantasy bullpen. This week we add a “Quick Hits” section which will simply be some important notes from the past 7 days about relievers. Also, the “Stat Leaders” section goes live. Let’s dive in!

Closers in Flux

Ken Giles (87% owned) – Last week Giles landed in this section on some speculation. This week that speculation became reality as Giles was twice bypassed for save opportunities in favor of Chris Devenski . The Astros have simply lost faith in Giles as their closer it seems and fantasy owners of Giles have to be very disappointed. Giles was drafted in the upper-half of closers and has just one save. It is a bit surprising just how quickly the Astros have pushed him to the side, he currently owns a 3.60 ERA this season so it’s not like he has been a complete disaster. All fantasy owners can do right now is hold him for a bit longer and see what happens.

Quick Hits

  • 4/13 Álex Colomé failed to keep the game tied and picked up the loss…. The Astros bypassed Ken Giles for a save opportunity and instead turned to Chris Devenski who was able to finish off the game and nail down his first save of the year.
  • 4/14 Josh Hader picked up a six out save.
  • 4/15 Matt Albers allowed a walk off home run to Wilmer Flores in a failed effort to keep the game tied at two in the ninth inning. The Brewers bullpen woes (outside of Hader) continue…. Bud Norris gave up a run but managed to work around the trouble to pick up his third save of the year.
  • 4/16 Arodys Vizcaíno finally picked up his first save of the year.
  • 4/17 Chris Devenski picked up his second save this week - not looking good for Ken Giles owners…. Greg Holland was used in the eighth inning and struggled; Bud Norris picked up his fourth save and is the guy right now.
  • 4/18 Álex Colomé finished off the Rangers for his fourth save, but he also gave up a run as his struggles continue…. Jacob Barnes notched a two inning save, the Brewers continue to be confusing…. Cory Gearrin picked up an extra innings save after Hunter Strickland blew the ninth inning save opportunity.

Blown Saves

*Top 10

*Note: I track blown saves that happened by guys who were brought into finish the game. Such as guys in the closer role, or other pitchers who were brought in late in the game. A guy who picks up a “blown save,” for example, in the 6th inning is very irrelevant in my opinion, when tracking fantasy assets.

Player BS YTD   Player BS last 7 days
Álex Colomé 2   Brad Peacock 1
Jacob Barnes 2   Jeurys Familia 1
Kenley Jansen 2   Kenley Jansen 1
Hunter Strickland 2   Shane Greene 1
Blake Treinen 2   Blake Treinen 1
Corey Knebel 1   Matt Belisle 1
Brad Hand 1   Hunter Strickland 1
Brad Brach 1      
Dominic Leone 1      
15 more tied with 1      

Who’s Hot?

Brad Hand (96% owned) – Hand converted on both of his save opportunities this week and struck out four across three shutout innings. Only one runner reached base against him. Hand has been fantastic over the last 14 days, posting a 0.00 ERA with 11 strikeouts and five saves.  Hand continues to be a slightly underrated closer despite his stellar 2017 season. Fantasy owners have gotten great return on investment thus far with Hand. Middle-tier. YTD stats: 10 innings, 6 saves, 14 Ks, 1.80 ERA.

Edwin Díaz (98% owned) – Diaz’s hot start to the season continued this week as he notched three saves and four strikeouts across three shutout innings. Diaz has been the top closer to begin the season with an incredible stat line of seven saves, a 0.00 ERA, 0.38 WHIP, and 18.00 K/9. As you can see, he has been great in all areas and fantasy owners have to be in a euphoric state over how well he has pitched. His current line is unsustainable, but Diaz has the stuff to finish as a top-three closer. Top-tier. YTD stats: 8 innings, 7 saves, 16 Ks, 0.00 ERA.

Who’s Cold?

Álex Colomé (81% owned) – Colome has been a mess to begin the year and is already making his second appearance in this section. He pitched three times this week and gave up a run in two of those outings. All of his ratios are ugly right now with an ERA at 9.00, WHIP at 2.86, and K/9 of 7.71. He has pitched just nine innings so far, so the sample size is still small, but it’s certainly not the beginning to the season that fantasy owners would be hoping for. The Rays bullpen is incredibly weak, which will give Colome a long leash as the team’s closer. Lower-half. YTD stats: 7 innings, 4 saves, 6 Ks, 9.00 ERA.

Brad Ziegler (18% owned) –Ziegler is, somehow, still the Marlins closer despite an awful 2017 season and an even worse start to 2018. He has given up an earned run in three straight appearances and doesn’t do anything particularly well. His stuff has depleted and he just is not the reliever he used to be. So far, he has just one save, an 8.22 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, and a measly 5.87 K/9. The Marlins will eventually wake up and removed Ziegler from the closers job, and fantasy owners know it with his low ownership. Bottom-tier. YTD stats: 7.2 innings, 1 save, 5 Ks, 8.22 ERA.

Middle Relievers of Note

This section will focus strictly on closers in waiting or closer capable guys and how they are performing. Each player of note will also include their stats from the 2017 season for the foreseeable future.

Addison Reed (33% owned) – Reed is off to a great start thus far; he has given up just one run over nine innings pitched and has 10 strikeouts. He has only notched two holds but that number should start to pickup soon. Reed has always been one of the better relievers in the game and is without a doubt the better pitcher between him and Fernando Rodney at this point in their careers. Rodney is not off to a terrible start (3.18 ERA and two saves) but given the type of roller coaster pitcher he is, a bad stretch could come at any time. He is worth stashing for when that time comes. YTD stats: 9 innings, 2 holds, 10 Ks, 1.00 ERA.

Andrew Miller (87% owned) – Miller is arguably the best reliever in baseball and that has been the case for a while now. This year has been no different; he has pitched 8.1 shutout innings and racked up 14 strikeouts. He has picked up two holds and one save so far. Miller is the best reliever on the Indians, but Cody Allen is no slouch either and is off to a great start too. It will likely take an injury to Allen for Miller to get more than just the occasional save opportunity. Saves would just be icing on the cake for Miller who should be owned in all leagues for the ridiculously good ratios that he provides. YTD stats: 8.1 innings, 2 holds, 14 Ks, 0.00 ERA.

Carson Smith (1% owned) – Smith is digging a little deeper into the reliever pool and he shouldn’t really be monitored currently. Unless an injury occurs to Kimbrel, Smith will not have much value. He has gotten off to a rocky start this season, mainly due to having an issue with walks having already allowed six free passes in just 5.2 innings. More than one walk per inning is, of course, absolutely terrible. Smith has good stuff and he should be able to correct the control issues. Having missed the majority of the 2017 season due to injuries it is not that surprising to see him having these issues. If an injury were to occur to Kimbrel, Smith’s value would sky rocket as he would likely be next in line for save opportunities, so keep that in mind. YTD stats: 5.2 innings, 1 hold, 7 Ks, 6.35 ERA.

Addison Reed NYM/BOS 77 2 19 15 76.0 65 24 11 15 76 2.84 1.05 0.222 9.00
Andrew Miller CLE 57 4 2 27 62.2 31 10 3 21 95 1.44 0.83 0.144 13.64
Carson Smith BOS 8 - 1 - 6.2 7 1 - 2 7 1.35 1.35 0.280 9.45


*Top 10

Player HLD YTD   Player HLD last 7 days
Juan Nicasio 7   Tyler Lyons 3
Archie Bradley 6   Jeremy Jeffress 2
A.J. Ramos 5   A.J. Ramos 2
Tyler Lyons 5   Juan Nicasio 2
Ryan Tepera 5   Ryan Buchter 2
Jake McGee 5   Brandon Kintzler 2
Josh Hader 4   Dominic Leone 2
Ryan Buchter 4   Bryan Shaw 2
Matt Bowman 4   Shane Carle 2
6 more tied with 4      

Stat Leaders

A new section for this season; this will simply provide the current top-five closers in saves, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP.

Saves Strikeouts ERA WHIP
Wade Davis - 8 Sean Doolittle - 18 Edwin Díaz - 0.00 Roberto Osuna - 0.36
Edwin Díaz - 7 Bud Norris - 17 Jeurys Familia - 0.00 Edwin Díaz - 0.38
Jeurys Familia - 7 Edwin Díaz - 16 Roberto Osuna - 0.00 Kelvin Herrera - 0.43
Brad Hand - 6 Aroldis Chapman - 14 Craig Kimbrel - 0.00 Sean Doolittle - 0.67
Four tied with - 5 Brad Hand - 14 Four more tied with - 0.00 Raisel Iglesias - 0.68

Team Bullpen ERA

This section will look into the best and worst bullpens in the league, which can be helpful for DFS. If a team has a weak starting pitcher throwing that day and also a poor bullpen it can make for big days for hitters. A bad bullpen ERA also has an effect on how likely a starting pitcher is to pick up a win.

Team ERA IP   Team ERA IP   Team ERA IP
Diamondbacks 2.09 60.1   Angels 3.21 81.1   Tigers 4.11 57.0
Blue Jays 2.22 56.2   Rangers 3.28 74.0   Orioles 4.27 71.2
Cubs 2.37 64.2   Cardinals 3.36 56.1   Yankees 4.48 64.1
Mets 2.56 63.1   Giants 3.56 60.2   Rays 4.72 74.1
Astros 2.67 54.0   Phillies 3.58 60.1   Marlins 5.04 80.1
Padres 2.71 86.1   Red Sox 3.74 65.0   Reds 5.17 62.2
Indians 2.79 48.1   Mariners 3.95 57.0   Pirates 5.52 58.2
Braves 3.09 67.0   Rockies 4.02 71.2   White Sox 5.71 58.1
Brewers 3.14 77.1   Dodgers 4.04 71.1   Nationals 5.82 60.1
Twins 3.16 51.1   Athletics 4.09 72.2   Royals 7.94 51.0

Recently Overworked

This highlights the bullpens that have been seeing both heavy usage and struggling over the last 7 days.

Athletics 24.2 5.84
Angels 22.0 5.32
White Sox 21.1 5.91
Nationals 21.0 6.86
Royals 20.1 11.07


*Ownership percentages are based off Yahoo

Be sure to check out the Closer Grid which has regularly updated rankings. Also feel free to shoot me any questions on Twitter @JustinVreeland