This week is almost like a rest week in the Bullpen Report. After weeks of the closer carousel spinning out of control on nearly a daily basis, things haven’t been as crazy this past week. Teams are starting to settle into a routine of sorts, and some players are stabilize a bit. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t situations to monitor at all, so let’s stop with the small talk and get right to the news!

Injury News

Keone Kela , Pittsburgh Pirates

He is set to be activated from the Injured List before Thursday’s game, and Manager Derek Shelton has already said that Kela is his closer when he returns. It is possible that he gets in a game, perhaps Thursday, that might not be a save situation just to get one game under his belt, but he should get the ball in the ninth very soon. He has good strikeout stuff, and was very effective in 2019, so Kela is an add if he happens to be sitting on your waiver wire.  Be sure to temper your expectations for the saves, as the Pirates might be the worst team in baseball and still have just three wins.

Aroldis Chapman , New York Yankees

Chapman threw to live hitters on Tuesday, and by all accounts everything went well. This would be the last step it would seem before rejoining the Yankees as there are no rehab assignments in 2020. He will likely be eased in a little bit, and also probably share closer duties with Zach Britton to an extent. When he does rejoin the team, you should immediately activate him.

Settling Situations?

Rafael Montero , Texas Rangers

He has never had a save in either the majors or the minors, but Montero has come off the injured list and has had three easy saves for the Rangers. Mets fans will tell you that’s what happens when someone leaves their team and goes somewhere else, they immediately become better. With José Leclerc done for the season (not that he was good anyway), the Rangers don’t really have a reliable option to close games. You would think that perhaps they would use a committee, but they have used Montero exclusively in the ninth since he has been healthy. He isn’t an elite strikeout pitcher, but Montero will get you enough to keep you happy, and right now he looks really comfortable closing games.

Ty Buttrey , Los Angeles Angels

With Hansel Robles seemingly out of high leverage positions for now, the Angels have followed the same formula for their last two save chances. Kenyan Middleton in the seventh (or close to that), Felix Peña in the eighth, and Ty Buttrey has closed them out. Granted, the Angels only have four wins this season so save chances aren’t coming all that regularly. Buttrey has decent stuff, but he is far from an elite option. But in 2020, we take what we can get. Robles has pitched cleanly his last few times out in low-leverage situations, so he could be working his way back to at least getting a shot at the closer role back, but that will take time. I certainly wouldn’t drop a decent closer for Buttrey, but if you are desperate for saves, he appears to be the guy at the moment.

Cole Sulser, Baltimore Orioles

He had converted a couple saves for the Orioles, but then pitched the eighth inning the other day while Miguel Castro got the save. The situation got muddier on Tuesday as Castro imploded in the seventh inning, and Sulser gave up the booty in the ninth. Redemption came on Wednesday when Sulser was given another save chance and converted it cleanly. I can’t say that I will be surprised if Cole Sulser holds the closer’s job for the rest of the season, but right now he appears to have his manager’s confidence and patience. Despite his last couple appearances, Miguel Castro is certainly a name to watch. He has 12 strikeouts in eight innings and did convert the one save chance he was given. The Orioles still have Mychal Givens (insert puke emoji here) who has been very good so far, but he also hasn’t pitched in high pressure situations. Somewhere in the distance we hope Hunter Harvey is able to return from injury, but that doesn’t appear to be close.

Hot Seats

Kirby Yates , San Diego Padres

This is why closers make you drink. Yates was absolutely unhittable last season with an ERA barely over 1.00 and over 100 strikeouts in 60.2 innings. This year, he looks like garbage. He was not available due to “body soreness” earlier in the week but is supposed to be in line for the next save chance. His ERA is currently over 10.00, and Drew Pomeranz of all people right now looks like a better option for the team. He has allowed just one hit in 7.2 innings with ten strikeouts, four saves and four holds. If Yates doesn’t get it together in a real hurry, he will be replaced. This is getting to be a dangerous situation.

Taylor Rogers , Minnesota Twins

Rogers looked like one of the safest options at closer coming into 2020, but in the last week things have started to slip. He blew two saves in the last week, taking the loss in both. He will need to get back on track because the Twins have also given Sergio Romo two save chances that he converted to go along with his four holds. Romo doesn’t have the strikeout potential that Rogers has, but he has been quite solid this season. Don’t freak out on Rogers yet, but the tightrope he is walking is getting a little thinner by the day.

Ryan Pressly , Houston Astros

The Astros bullpen has just been decimated by injuries and ineffective pitching. It looked like Pressly was going to be the cure for that but blew his second save on Tuesday. With the lack of legitimate options right now, chances are that Pressly holds the job for now, but he is going to have to pitch better to hold it. I can’t believe I am about to say this, but Fernando Rodney is at the alternate site for the Astros and could become an option if things get worse.

Anthony Bass , Toronto Blue Jays

It was the first bad outing for Bass on Tuesday as he imploded for three earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning. He might not have a great strikeout rate, but Bass has been awesome this year, and this was the first time he allowed any runs this season. He should get right back on the horse the next time there is a save chance for the Jays, and if you are a Bass owner, I would not be looking to dump him after one blown save. He is by far the best option on the team.

Reasons For Optimism

Edwin Díaz , New York Mets

After the trash pile that was Edwin Díaz in 2019, fantasy owners certainly weren’t going to have a lot of patience with him, and neither were the Mets. He got off to a rocky start and was quickly put in mop up duty. And while Seth Lugo has been successful as the Mets closer, Diaz has slowly been working his way back. He hasn’t allowed a run in five straight appearances and has nine strikeouts in his last four innings. He was brought in during the ninth inning on Tuesday, and while the Mets were down by a run and not winning, that was still a fairly high-level situation. You have to know that Mets GM Brodie VanWagenen wants Diaz to be the closer to make his trade look better, so don’t be surprised if you see Diaz back attempting to close games for the Mets real soon if he continues to pitch well. 


 CloserOn DeckIn the HoleInjured/Suspended
Milwaukee BrewersJosh HaderDevin WilliamsCorey Knebel 
Washington NationalsDaniel HudsonWill HarrisJavy Guerra 
New York YankeesZach BrittonAdam OttavinoChad GreenAroldis Chapman
Oakland A'sLiam HendriksJoakim SoriaBurch Smith 
Atlanta BravesMark MelanconWill SmithChris Martin 
Detroit TigersJoe JimenezGregory SotoBuck Farmer 
Los Angeles DodgersKenley JansenBlake TreinenPedro Baez 
Cincinnati RedsRaisel IglesiasMichael LorenzenPedro Strop 
Miami MarlinsBrandon KintzlerBrad BoxbergerRyne Stanek 
Philadelphia PhilliesHector NerisJose AlvarezAnthony Swarzak 
Arizona DiamondbacksArchie BradleyHector RondonKevin Ginkel 
Boston Red SoxBrandon WorkmanMatt BarnesMarcus Walden 
Toronto Blue JaysAnthony BassJordan RomanoSam GaviglioKen Giles
Cleveland IndiansBrad HandJames KarinchakNick Wittgren 
New York MetsSeth LugoEdwin DiazJeurys Familia 
Pittsburgh PiratesKeone KelaRichard RodriguezMichael FelizKyle Crick
San Francisco GiantsTrevor GottTyler RogersTony Watson 
Chicago White SoxAlex ColomeSteve CishekEvan MarshallAaron Bummer
Chicago CubsRowan WickJeremy JeffressCraig Kimbrel 
Texas RangersRafael MonteroEdinson VolquezJonathan HernandezJose LeClerc
St. Louis CardinalsRyan HelsleyGiovanny GallegosAlex Reyes 
San Diego PadresKirby YatesDrew PomeranzEmilio Pagan 
Baltimore OriolesCole SulserMiguel CastroMychal GivensHunter Harvey
Colorado RockiesJairo DiazCarlos EstevezDaniel BardWade Davis
Seattle MarinersTrevor WilliamsCarl EdwardsDan Altavilla 
Tampa Bay RaysOliver DrakeNick AndersonJose Alvarado 
Kansas City RoyalsTrevor RosenthalGreg HollandIan Kennedy 
Los Angeles AngelsTy ButtreyFelix PenaKenyan Middleton 
Houston AstrosRyan PresslyAndre ScrubbFernando RodneyRoberto Osuna
Minnesota TwinsTaylor RogersSergio RomoTrevor May