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

Drew Steckenrider (11% owned) – After Kyle Barraclough was removed from the Marlins closing duties, Steckenrider was the presumed favorite to take over the role. However, he hasn’t recorded a save since and in his lone save chance this week he failed to convert. Blowing your first save chance does not bode well going forward and he will need to convert on his next opportunity if he wants to continue to get chances. Over his last six innings he has allowed three earned runs, two home runs, and seven hits.

The Mets. The Mets don’t really have a closer, making all of their current options in flux. Seth Lugo , Jerry Blevins , Robert Gsellman , and Paul Sewald have all notched a save over the last two and a half weeks. It has made all of these guys not worth owning and until we start to see one of them get consecutive save chances, that will remain the case. However, if any of them struggle or blow a save chance they can quickly remove themselves from the competition.

Quick Hits

  • 8/16 Adam Kolarek picked up his first save.... Koda Glover converted a save with Herrera out.
  • 8/17 Pat Neshek notched a save with Dominguez getting the day off.... Taylor Rogers picked up his first save of the year.
  • 8/18 Brett Graves notched a save in the 10th inning after Steckenrider blew a save chance in the ninth inning.
  • 8/19 Jace Fry nailed down his second save, the White Sox continue to mix and match at closer.
  • 8/20 Dan Winkler notched a save with Minter sidelined with a sore back.... Jeremy Jeffress converted a save, he appears to be the Brewers right-handed choice in the ninth with Knebel being removed from the role.
  • 8/21 Tommy Kahnle picked up his first save of the year.... Taylor Rogers converted his second straight save.
  • 8/22 Jeffress nailed down another save.... Roberto Osuna converted a save, Rondon was used in the eighth inning.....Jonny Venters picked up a save.... Paul Sewald notched his first save of the year, Robert Gsellman was used in the eighth inning.

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
Fernando Rodney 6 Louis Coleman 1
Wade Davis 6 Héctor Rondón 1
Brad Hand 5 Drew Steckenrider 1
Brad Boxberger 5 A.J. Minter 1
Craig Kimbrel 5 Edwin Díaz 1
Hunter Strickland 4 Raisel Iglesias 1
Jeurys Familia 4 Seranthony Dominguez 1
Felipe Vázquez 4   
Blake Treinen 4   
Four more tied with4   

Who’s Hot?

Jose Leclerc (53% owned) – Leclerc is on fire and it continued this week; he pitched four times and racked up four saves. He struck out eight across four shutout innings. He has now made 11 straight scoreless appearances while racking up six saves and 17 strikeouts. He has given up just two earned runs since June 18 and in that span he has lowered his ERA from an already impressive 2.88 to an elite 1.89. On the year he has 70 strikeouts in 47.2 innings (13.22 K/9). Leclerc became a top-10 closer the moment the Rangers traded away Keone Kela and as of right now he should be viewed as a top-7 option for the remainder of the year. There is no reason for him to only be owned in 53% of Yahoo! leagues. Top-7. YTD stats: 47.2 innings, 6 saves, 70 Ks, 1.89 ERA.

Sergio Romo (64% owned) – Romo is quietly surging as the Rays closer. This week he pitched four times, picking up three saves and a hold. He struck out four across 3.1 shutout innings and with the three saves he now has 18 on the year. He has made six straight scoreless appearances and has 11 such outings in his last 12. He already has 56.1 innings pitched and despite being 35 years old and in his 11th MLB season, he is very likely to set a new career high in innings pitched – current career high of 62.0, which happened back in 2010. He isn’t an elite option at closer, but he is getting the job done. Below-average. YTD stats: 56.1 innings, 18 saves, 63 Ks, 3.36 ERA.

Who’s Cold?

Kenley Jansen (97% owned) – In two appearances since returning from the DL, Jansen has really struggled. He has given up four earned runs across two innings pitched and recorded only two strikeouts while picking up a pair of losses to fall to 0-5 on the year. Jansen had tossed five straight scoreless appearances prior to landing on the DL and given that this was not an arm injury, there is not a huge cause for concern, but fantasy owners would certainly like to see Jansen rebound sooner rather than later. He should still be viewed as a top-5 closer at this time. YTD stats: 56.1 innings, 32 saves, 63 Ks, 2.72 ERA.

Middle Relievers of Note

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

Jonny Venters (1% owned) – Venters hasn’t allowed a run since returning to the Braves – 9.2 innings pitched, nine strikeouts – and has picked up three holds and a save. The save came in last night’s game and with A.J. Minter still dealing with back tightness, Venters could possibly get another crack or two at a save depending on matchups. The Braves are showing trust in Venters and it might just be time for fantasy owners to do the same, at least in deep leagues. For most leagues though, he is someone you want to monitor. YTD stats: 23.2 innings, 8 holds, 20 Ks, 2.28 ERA.

Chaz Roe (4% owned) – Since returning from the DL on August 15, Roe has been lights out in his five outings. He has struck out eight across four shutout innings and has racked up four holds. Four holds in eight days is impressive, as is the strikeout rate. He is not worth adding yet, but deep leaguers will want to monitor him going forward. He isn’t going to be seeing save chances, so this is a guy better suited for leagues that include holds. YTD stats: 39.0 innings, 24 holds, 46 Ks, 3.23 ERA.


*Top 10

PlayerHLD YTD PlayerHLD last 7 days
Archie Bradley 30 Chaz Roe 4
Yoshihisa Hirano 28 Jose Alvarado 3
Adam Ottavino 27 Adam Cimber 3
Tony Watson 26 Steve Cishek 3
Matt Barnes 25 Carl Edwards Jr. 2
Jose Alvarado 25 Adam Ottavino 2
Chaz Roe 24 Tony Sipp 2
Álex Colomé 23 Andrew Miller 2
Tommy Hunter 22 Dakota Hudson2
Steve Cishek 20 15 more tied with2

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.

Edwin Díaz - 48Edwin Díaz - 107Blake Treinen - 0.87Edwin Díaz - 0.77
Craig Kimbrel - 37Blake Treinen - 86Jeremy Jeffress - 1.33Will Smith - 0.82
Wade Davis - 35Brad Hand - 84Kirby Yates - 1.82Seranthony Dominguez - 0.89
Blake Treinen - 32Aroldis Chapman -84Jose Leclerc - 1.89Jose Leclerc - 0.92
Kenley Jansen - 32Craig Kimbrel - 77Will Smith - 1.96Kirby Yates - 0.95

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.

Astros3.09372.1 Brewers3.76460.0 Twins4.42453.2
Diamondbacks3.12417.2 Nationals3.90406.1 Tigers4.46447.2
Yankees3.16453.0 Dodgers3.96467.1 Blue Jays4.46467.2
Cubs3.19459.2 Mariners4.00427.1 White Sox4.57417.2
Red Sox3.31427.0 Phillies4.09434.0 Mets4.68440.0
Athletics3.32458.1 Reds4.11477.0 Orioles4.72442.1
Padres3.47497.2 Pirates4.12430.1 Indians4.81342.1
Giants3.66465.1 Cardinals4.14441.2 Rockies5.04394.2
Angels3.70484.1 Braves4.15438.0 Marlins5.13491.0
Rays3.73623.0 Rangers4.21440.2 Royals5.18429.0

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