Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano and interim Braves closer A.J. Minter led the Major Leagues with three saves last week. Romano’s job is secure as he is baseball’s overall saves leader with seven, but with Raisel Iglesias getting closer to being reinstated from the IL, Minter’s days as a big league closer could be quickly coming to an end. Rockies reliever Daniel Bard made his first appearance of the 2023 season on Wednesday and will likely quickly take back his closer’s gig from Pierce Johnson.
We’re starting to get a better feel for how the Diamondbacks plan on utilizing their bullpen and unfortunately the A’s bullpen is in shambles, just like the rest of their team. We’ll cover all that and more in this week’s Fantasy Baseball Closer Report.
Jose Alvarado has been one of the few bright spots in the Phillies bullpen this season and he leads the team with two saves. Heading into Thursday’s action he has a 1.08 ERA, three holds and 18 strikeouts in 8.1 IP. Phillies manager Rob Thompson doesn’t like to name one reliever as his primary closer but so far Craig Kimbrel is the only other reliever with a save on the team. Kimbrel started the season by giving up five earned runs in his first 3.1 IP but now has five straight scoreless appearances under his belt. Seranthony Dominguez has slumped early on, giving up eight earned runs in his first 6.2 IP this season, and is still being used in late inning high leverage situations but for now if you’re looking for the Phillies reliever most likely to get the team’s next save opportunity, it looks like it’s Alvarado.
A.J. Puk continues to be the reliever that the Marlins have come to rely upon in save situations. He saved two games last week, pitching four scoreless innings across five appearances. Puk has been used exclusively in the ninth inning this season but was also used in the 10th inning of a multi-inning effort in which he picked up a win. Tanner Scott picked up his first save and hold last week and has been a multi-purpose reliever that the Marlins have used anywhere from the fifth to the ninth innings. Dylan Floro hasn’t given up a run yet this season and has been used primarily in the seventh and eighth innings. Surprisingly he’s yet to pitch in a save situation. Floro had pitched in three of the prior four games and was unavailable in the game that Scott saved last week. Floro leads the team with four holds.
When we last spoke about the Diamondbacks’ bullpen two weeks ago, we called them a work in progress. Since then, Andrew Chafin seems like the reliever that manager Torey Lovullo is most comfortable using in save situations. Prior to his being pounded for three runs in just a third of an inning on Tuesday night Chafin hadn’t given up a run all season and had earned three saves, a hold and a win. Miguel Castro came on to rescue Chafin in that game and picked up his first save of the season. Castro also has one hold this season and hasn’t given up a run in his last four appearances. Scott McGough has had a bit of an uneven season but has one save and leads the club with three holds.
As if things weren’t bad enough for the A’s Dany Jimenez (shoulder strain) and Trevor May (anxiety) two major cogs in their bullpen, hit the IL on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The A’s have won only three games heading into Thursday’s action and Jimenez owns their only save. You’re not going to be rostering many A’s relievers unless you’re desperate but if you’re looking to roster a reliever who has a chance to save a game and who won’t kill your ERA and WHIP you could take a chance on Zach Jackson, (2.08 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 8.2 IP). He saved three games for the club last season.
Middle Relievers Who Should Be On Your Radar
The following are a few relievers who provide good ratios, can be good resources for holds and occasionally make multiple inning appearances. They might be worth streaming in place of mediocre starting pitchers:
Leiter Jr. hasn’t given up a run in 7.1 IP spanning eight appearances. He has 14 strikeouts, four holds and a 0.955 WHIP.
Crawford, who started the season in the Red Sox’s rotation, will now be used in long relief. Over the past week he’s made two relief appearances, pitching 9.1 innings, striking out seven batters and compiling a 0.96 ERA.
With Andres Munoz on the IL (shoulder) Brash is likely one of the Mariners relievers who are next in line for save opportunities behind Paul Sewald. Brash has 16 strikeouts in 7.2 IP on the season and has a respectable 3.52 ERA. He also has a win and two holds as well.
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