The fantasy baseball closer landscape seems to have stabilized of late. That does lead to fewer options on the fantasy baseball waiver wire, but also provides less confusion. It’s been fairly quiet, almost too quiet, and as we head into the final stretch of the fantasy baseball season there are just a few teams whose bullpens remain in a bit of flux such as:
(Unless otherwise noted, statistics quoted in this article are accurate as of the morning of August 16th, 2023)
Fantasy Baseball MLB Bullpen Updates
In last week’s article we detailed the Royals’ presumptive closer Carlos Hernandez’s recent struggles and unfortunately, they’ve continued. With a 13.50 ERA in six appearances since the MLB trade deadline, Hernandez will probably be sharing the Royals’ closer’s role with Austin Cox and Dylan Coleman, moving forward. Coleman does have some limited closer experience, but Cox has the only Royals save (the Royals don’t win much so there really aren’t many to be had) since the trade deadline. If you’re looking for relievers to roster on your fantasy team it’s probably best if you look elsewhere.
We also reported that Tigers closer Alex Lange was walking on thin ice last week and since then the last two Tiger saves have gone to Beau Brieske and Jason Foley. It looks like the Tigers will be using a closer by committee approach, at least for the short term. Brieske has a 2.51 ERA and a 1.116 WHIP, but he doesn’t strike out many batters (6.3 K/9). Brieske has two saves this season. Foley got torched for three runs and gave up his first two home runs of the season on Wednesday and that raised his season long ERA to 2.56, but prior to his disastrous outing, he had pitched to a 1.48 ERA over his last 23 appearances. He saved three games and held nine others during that time frame. Foley is more of a strikeout pitcher than Brieske and entered Wednesday’s action with an 8.0 K/9.
Adam Ottavino picked up a save for the Mets on Sunday. He’s been consistently used in the ninth inning lately but he, Brooks Raley, and Phil Bickford each have recorded a save since David Robertson was traded to the Marlins. Edwin Diaz has started throwing off a mound but is still a long way off from making his return. There have been rumors that the Mets might activate him in late September but those have not been confirmed.
In other bullpen related news:
Hunter Harvey, (elbow strain) was activated from the IL but Nationals manager Dave Martinez confirmed that Kyle Finnegan would remain the team’s closer. Harvey, who has nine saves this season, had taken over as the team’s closer because of Finnegan’s mid-season struggles but Finnegan has been spectacular of late. He’s pitched to a 0.86 ERA and recorded seven saves and three holds in his last 19 appearances.
To say that the Bronx Bombers have underperformed this season would be an understatement and if it wasn’t for their strong bullpen this season would be even worse for the Yanks. Clay Holmes got lit up this past Sunday but for the most part, he has pitched very well this season and almost certainly will remain the team’s closer. However, with the injuries and ineffectiveness that has ravaged the team’s starting rotation, it seems the Yankees are considering moving Michael King, Holmes’ presumptive setup man, into their depleted starting rotation. The Yankees’ bullpen is one of the best in baseball as evidenced by their MLB leading 3.22 ERA, and they’ve added some depth with Jonathan Loaisiga being recently reinstated from the IL. It seems that they can afford to move one of their better relievers into their starting rotation. King was an effective starting pitcher earlier in his minor league career and was used as the opener in the Yanks game against the Marlins on Saturday. The Yanks have several relievers who have at least some closer experience including Wandy Peralta, Tommy Kahnle, Keynan Middleton, and Loaisiga. If the Yankees do convert King into a starting pitcher any one of those pitchers can fill in for Holmes, should he be unavailable for any given game, making for a potentially fluid situation.
It looks like Giovanny Gallegos and JoJo Romero will continue to share closer duties for a while longer. Ryan Helsley, who shared closer duties with Gallegos earlier in the season and has been on the IL due to a strained right forearm, experienced some soreness after his most recent rehab appearance last Sunday. He will not be continuing his rehab assignment until the Cardinals conduct additional testing on his forearm. Thus far Helsley’s MRI came back clean. If he does return to big league action, it’s likely that it won’t be until September.
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