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.

Closers in Flux

Ken Giles (50% owned) – Giles was handed the Blue Jays closing job upon his arrival on July 30, but he is doing everything possible to pitch himself out of the job as quickly as possible. He pitched three times this week and gave up runs in two of those outings. In total he gave up six earned runs across 2.2 innings pitched, about as ugly of a beginning as you can have for a new team. His ERA for the season is now sitting at an unsightly 6.21 and it would be hard to imagine that his leash on the job is very long after pitching the way he did this week. If he doesn’t turn it around quickly, look for Ryan Tepera or Tyler Clippard to return to the closing role for Toronto.

Quick Hits

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
Fernando Rodney 6   Wade Davis 2
Wade Davis 6   Kyle Barraclough 1
Brad Hand 5   A.J. Minter 1
Brad Boxberger 5   Adam Ottavino 1
Craig Kimbrel 5   Aroldis Chapman 1
Hunter Strickland 4   Seranthony Dominguez 1
Jeurys Familia 4   Will Smith 1
Felipe Vázquez 4   Craig Kimbrel 1
Blake Treinen 4   Paul Fry   1
Kyle Barraclough 4   Zach Britton   1
      Sergio Romo   1
      Cody Allen 1

Who’s Hot?

Jose Leclerc (26% owned) – Leclerc picked up his first save of the year this week and made two scoreless appearances. He hasn’t given up a run in his last five outings and has tossed a scoreless appearance in 16 of his last 17 outings. During that time he has only given up two earned runs across 16.2 innings pitched and has lowered his ERA from 2.88 to 2.16 in that span. He has 58 strikeouts in 41.2 innings pitched on the year, giving him an elite K/9 of 12.53. Thus far, the transition from the eighth inning to the ninth inning hasn’t been a difficult one for Leclerc. He should be looked at as an above-average closing option for the remainder of the year. YTD stats: 41.2 innings, one save, 58 strikeouts, 2.16 ERA.

Kenley Jansen (98% owned) – Jansen pitched twice this week and converted on both of his save chances. He struck out three across two shutout innings and has now made five straight scoreless appearances. He hasn’t given up more than one earned run in any outing since April 17 and his ERA is the lowest that it has been at any point this year (2.15). His 0.90 WHIP and .175 BAA are both elite and he has finally found his strikeout groove with 13 punch-outs in his last eight innings pitched. While his 10.10 K/9 isn’t the elite mark that it normally is for Jansen, he has been great since the start of May 3 in all other areas. Top-five. YTD stats: 54.1 innings pitched, 32 saves, 61 Ks, 2.15 ERA.

Who’s Cold?

Wade Davis (90% owned) – Davis has been a mess all season and this week was no different. He pitched three times and blew two of three save chances. He gave up five earned runs across just two innings pitched and his ERA is very close to crossing over the 5.00 mark (4.98). He has given up 20 earned runs since the start of June, a span of 24 innings pitched (7.50 ERA). His 32 saves are good enough for third most in baseball, but fantasy owners have to be disappointed with the surrounding stats. Below-average. YTD stats: 47.0 innings, 32 saves, 53 Ks, 4.98 ERA.

Craig Kimbrel (99% owned) – Kimbrel has hit a bit of a rough patch, giving up runs in four of his last five outings. He pitched twice this week and gave up a run in both outings while failing to convert on his lone save chance. He has given up a total of five earned runs over his last 5.1 innings pitched, a span that has made his ERA rise from 1.73 to 2.49. He doesn’t have a save in August and only has one save over the last 16 days. We are not worried at all about Kimbrel going forward, but the sooner he gets back on track the better. Top-three. YTD stats: 47.0 innings, 33 saves, 69 Ks, 2.49 ERA.

Middle Relievers of Note

This section will focus on closers in waiting or closer capable guys and how they are performing.

Andrew Miller (56% owned) – Miller made his return from the DL this week and made three scoreless appearances. He struck out two across three innings and recorded his sixth hold. It’s unlikely that Miller receives any save chances with teammates Cody Allen and Brad Hand handling those duties, but with his return this week, those in need of improved pitching ratios may want to check if he is available. If you are in a holds league he is a must add if he is on the wire. YTD stats: 17.1 innings pitched, six holds, 25 Ks, 3.63 ERA.

Nate Jones (12% owned) – Jones is currently on the DL and has no timetable for a return, but is still someone you want to monitor over the next few weeks. The White Sox bullpen is an absolute mess and when Jones finally makes his return, he will easily be the most talented arm available. He has four saves to his name this year and it is almost a certainty that he would be the clubs closer once he is healthy. If you have a few DL spots available he is a guy worth stashing, otherwise just monitor him. YTD stats: 24.2 innings, six holds, 27 Ks, 2.55 ERA.

Holds

*Top 10

Player HLD YTD   Player HLD last 7 days
Archie Bradley 30   Brandon Kintzler 3
Yoshihisa Hirano 25   Trevor Hildenberger 3
Adam Ottavino 24   Steve Cishek 3
Matt Barnes 24   Taylor Rogers 3
Tony Watson 24   Bobby Wahl 2
Tommy Hunter 21   Seunghwan Oh 2
Chaz Roe 20   Dakota Hudson 2
Jose Alvarado 20   Adam Ottavino 2
Three tied with  19   Keone Kela 2
      Eight more tied with 2

Stat Leaders

This simply provides the current top-5 closers in saves, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP.  *I did not include Sean Doolittle or Brandon Morrow this week because of their extended DL stints.

Saves Strikeouts ERA WHIP
Edwin Díaz - 42 Edwin Díaz - 91 Blake Treinen - 0.93 Edwin Díaz - 0.80
Craig Kimbrel - 33 Aroldis Chapman - 79 Kirby Yates - 1.66 Will Smith - 0.85
Kenley Jansen - 32 Blake Treinen - 76 Edwin Díaz - 1.96 Seranthony Dominguez - 0.87
Wade Davis - 32 Brad Hand - 75 Will Smith - 1.98 Kenley Jansen - 0.90
Two tied with - 29 Craig Kimbrel - 69 Kenley Jansen - 2.15 Kirby Yates - 0.90

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
Astros 3.02 327.1   Angels 3.69 434.1   Orioles 4.32 406.0
Diamondbacks 3.08 391.1   Dodgers 3.80 426.0   Tigers 4.47 400.2
Yankees 3.10 404.0   Phillies 3.86 389.1   Blue Jays 4.66 417.1
Athletics 3.28 420.0   Rays 3.98 551.2   White Sox 4.67 376.0
Red Sox 3.36 377.2   Mariners 3.99 365.2   Twins 4.72 400.2
Cubs 3.38 421.1   Reds 4.11 434.0   Mets 4.85 395.1
Padres 3.51 445.2   Braves 4.11 394.0   Indians 4.93 307.0
Giants 3.54 414.1   Rangers 4.19 397.2   Rockies 5.09 360.2
Nationals 3.64 361.1   Pirates 4.19 390.2   Marlins 5.19 444.1
Brewers 3.65 422.0   Cardinals 4.32 396.0   Royals 5.32 378.2

Recently Overworked

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

Team IP ERA
Yankees 26.1 6.49
Orioles 24.0 5.25
Twins 23.1 5.01
Blue Jays 23.0 7.83
Cubs 21.2 6.65

 

*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