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. Let’s dive in!

Closers in Flux

Brad Brach (70% owned) – The Orioles closing job was Brach’s to lose (until Zach Britton is healthy), but he hasn’t done a very good job of staking his claim for the gig. His ERA currently sits at 5.19 and his WHIP is 1.73. He has also blew one of his four save chances. It’s still early in the year, but Brach does not have a strong enough job security to keep performing at this level, he will need to turn it around quickly. He already lost a save opportunity to Darren O'Day this week.

Arodys Vizcaíno (78% owned) – Vizcaino has only given up two runs across 10.2 innings, so it is a bit surprising to see his job in question, but it is. Yesterday the Braves turned to young flame-throwing lefty A.J. Minter for a save opportunity and he converted it in 1-2-3 fashion. The Reds had two lefties due up in the ninth inning, which led to the choice of Minter. Minter has dominated lefties to this point in his career as they are just 6-for-35 (.171 BA) against him. Braves Manager Brian Snitker said he would be “flexible” in how he uses his bullpen… flexible is not a good word for Arodys Vizcaíno owners. It sounds like we are heading for a match-up based committee at closer for the Braves.

Quick Hits

  • 4/20 Darren O'Day picked up his first save of the year.... Keone Kela was tasked with keeping a game tied at 2-2, he only managed to get one out while giving up three runs.
  • 4/22 Josh Hader picked up his third save of the year....  Archie Bradley converted his second save of the season
  • 4/24 Santiago Casilla finished off the Rangers to notch his first save of the year after Treinen was yanked in the eighth inning....  Cam Bedrosian picked up his first save of the year, Middleton needed a rest day, but it does appear Bedrosian would be next in line.
  • 4/25 Ken Giles was finally used in a save situation and picked up his second save....  A.J. Minter converted his first save of the season.... Brad Ziegler was shelled again, giving up three runs in a non-save situation, bringing his ERA to 8.44.

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.

PlayerBS YTD PlayerBS last 7 days
Álex Colomé 2 Fernando Rodney 1
Jacob Barnes 2 Shane Greene 1
Kenley Jansen 2 Jeurys Familia 1
Hunter Strickland 2 Raisel Iglesias 1
Fernando Rodney 2 Roberto Osuna 1
Jeurys Familia 2   
Shane Greene 2   
Blake Treinen 2   
18 tied with1   

Who’s Hot?

Kelvin Herrera (82% owned) – Herrera has, very quietly, been lights out this year. Haven’t heard much chatter about him, and his own% is still far lower than it should be when compared to other closers. Herrera made two appearances this week, converting on two save opportunities and striking out one. He only allowed one runner to reach base against him. Herrera has now pitched 6.2 shutout innings to begin the year and has four saves. He also has nine strikeouts, giving him a 12.15 K/9, and leads all closers in WHIP at 0.45. Herrera had a rough year in 2017, which quickly made people forget how good this guy was prior to that. In the three seasons prior to last, his worst ERA in any of those years was 2.75 in 2016, with a career best ERA of 1.41 across 70 innings in 2014. Last season was his first year as a full-time closer and it may have taken him some time to adjust to the role. Middle-tier. YTD stats: 6.2 innings, 4 saves, 9 Ks, 0.00 ERA.

Héctor Neris (80% owned) – Neris picked up three saves this week and had three strikeouts across 3.1 shutout innings. Over the last two weeks, Neris has notched four saves and a win, while tossing 5.1 shutout innings in five appearances. Neris is far from an elite closer, but he continues to be very serviceable while providing solid ratios. For being one of the last closers taken on draft day this year in fantasy, he has provided good value to his owners and they have to be pleased with him thus far. Middle-tier. YTD stats: 10 innings, 5 saves, 11 Ks, 3.60 ERA.

Who’s Cold?

Fernando Rodney (68% owned) – Rodney has pitched just one time over the last seven days and it resulted in a blown save. He struck out the first two batters of the inning, but then plunked Carlos Gómez , who stole second shortly before Brad Miller drove him in with a single to shallow left to tie the game. Rodney has given up five hits and two earned runs in his last three outings, and hasn’t converted a save since April 10th. Fantasy owners should not be surprised though, as they should have known what they were getting with Rodney when they drafted him. Bottom-Tier. YTD stats: 6.2 innings, 2 saves, 8 Ks, 4.05 ERA.

Brad Ziegler (16% owned) – There is not much more I can say about this guy that I haven’t already said in this report and previous reports. He is just really bad. I am sick of him being a closer. He is the worst pitcher on the Marlins (that is saying a lot considering their pitching is atrocious). Bottom-Tier. YTD stats: 10.2 innings, 2 saves, 7 Ks, 8.44 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.

Greg Holland (61% owned) – The Cardinals did not bring in Holland on a one-year $14 million contract for him to not be the closer. He was a late signing and got off to slow start once he joined the Cardinals (to be expected with no spring training outings) but is starting to show signs of progress; he has three-straight shutout appearances. Holland led the national league in saves in 2017 with 41 and despite the great start to the season for the Cardinals current closer Bud Norris , it is only a matter of time until Holland is closing out games for the Cards. If for some reason he is available in your league, now is the time to pick him up. YTD stats: 5.1 innings, 0 holds, 5 Ks, 5.06 ERA.

Jeremy Jeffress (9% owned) – Jeffress despite being one of the very few Brewers to not have yet received a save chance, has been their second-best reliever only behind the ultra-talented Josh Hader . Jeffress has given up just one run across 13.1 innings pitched and has 11 strikeouts. He has also racked up four holds and two wins. His WHIP stands at sparkling 0.83 and he has done a fantastic job of rebounding from a very rough 2017 campaign (5.24 ERA). He still isn’t in the conversation for saves, but he is worth keeping an eye on. YTD stats: 13.1 innings, 4 holds, 11 Ks, 0.68 ERA.

A.J. Ramos (14% owned) – Ramos is in his first season as a non-closer since 2014, so of course he has the ability to be a closer after doing it for three years. Ramos is not going to challenge a healthy Jeurys Familia (who is off to a fantastic start) for save opportunities, but he would be next in line if something were to happen to Familia. Ramos has six holds thus far, good for fourth-most in MLB, but hasn’t been a shutdown bridge to Familia for the Mets just yet. He has a mediocre 4.00 ERA and 1.22 WHIP but it’s still early. Ramos is nothing more than a deep league stash for the time being. YTD stats: 9 innings, 6 holds, 8 Ks, 4.00 ERA.

Greg Holland COL61341157.14023726703.611.150.19310.99
Jeremy Jeffress TEX/MIL615-865.173341034515.241.640.2787.03
A.J. Ramos MIA/NYM61227158.24926734724.101.420.22211.05


*Top 10

PlayerHLD YTD PlayerHLD last 7 days
Juan Nicasio 9 David Robertson 3
Archie Bradley 7 C.J. Edwards 2
Ryan Tepera 7 Juan Nicasio 2
A.J. Ramos 6 Yoshihisa Hirano 2
Tyler Lyons 6 Andrew Miller 2
Jose Alvarado 6 Jeremy Jeffress 2
Jake McGee 6 Tony Cingrani 2
Josh Hader 5 Tony Watson 2
Yoshihisa Hirano 5 Adam Ottavino 2
Four more tied with5 13 more tied with2

Stat Leaders

This simply provides the current top-5 closers in saves, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP.

Edwin Díaz - 10Josh Hader - 31Cody Allen - 0.00Kelvin Herrera - 0.45
Jeurys Familia - 9Edwin Díaz - 23Brandon Morrow - 0.00Josh Hader - 0.52
Wade Davis - 9Brad Hand - 19Kelvin Herrera - 0.00Sean Doolittle - 0.60
Craig Kimbrel - 6Sean Doolittle - 19Edwin Díaz - 0.73Cody Allen - 0.64
Four more tied with - 6Aroldis Chapman - 19Craig Kimbrel - 0.96Edwin Díaz - 0.65

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.

Diamondbacks1.8478.1 Mets3.3583.1 Orioles4.5790.2
Blue Jays2.4374.0 Cardinals3.4376.0 Rays4.8788.2
Brewers2.4798.1 Giants3.6793.1 Pirates5.0382.1
Padres2.62106.1 Athletics3.7788.1 White Sox5.2783.2
Astros2.6874.0 Yankees3.8389.1 Nationals5.2875.0
Cubs2.8382.2 Dodgers3.9389.1 Rockies5.3093.1
Indians2.9760.2 Mariners3.9684.0 Reds5.3486.0
Red Sox3.1879.1 Braves4.1890.1 Twins5.5573.0
Phillies3.2278.1 Rangers4.3695.0 Marlins5.68103.0
Angels3.25108.0 Tigers4.5285.2 Royals7.1568.0

Recently Overworked

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



*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