As we head into the fifth full week of the season it’s interesting to note that baseball’s current top three saves leaders (Mark Melancon , Ian Kennedy , and Alex Reyes ) weren’t guaranteed to have the role as their team’s primary closers at the start of spring training. As we know, baseball’s bullpens are constantly evolving and too few closers are guaranteed to keep their jobs for the entire season. With that fact, and the recent rash of injuries plaguing MLB has naturally affected relief pitchers as well, we’ve had to make some changes to our closer grid. Enjoy the Bullpen Report.

Weekly Save Leaders

Ian Kennedy , Rangers, 5

Kennedy has the second-most saves in baseball, converting all nine of his opportunities. The 36-year-old veteran has walked just one batter and has struck out 20 in 14 IP this season. Kennedy has seen a slight uptick in velocity on his four-seam fastball. He’s throwing it a lot more (80.6% usage vs. 49.8% last season) and it’s generating a significantly higher whiff rate (37.6%) compared to last season (20.3). With the Rangers not expecting to be playoff contenders this season fantasy managers rostering Kennedy should be prepared for him to possibly be traded to a playoff caliber team at some point. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that he’ll close for his new team. Should the Rangers move him, Joely Rodríguez , who had three holds last week, would likely be the next man up in the Rangers bullpen.

Aroldis Chapman , Yankees, 3

Chapman was already one of the baseballs’ best closers but with the addition of a new split-change that he started developing last season, some days he’s so good it’s not even fair to opposing hitters. As of the start of Wednesday night’s action that new splitter was generating whiffs at a 66.7% rate. Chapman saved three games over the past week and has seven on the season. He’s struck out 26 batters and walked three in 11 innings including nine of the last 12 batters he’s faced.

Mark Melancon , Padres, 3

Melancon picked up his third save of the week on Wednesday, giving him a league leading 11 on the season. He’s given up just one run in 14 appearances (0.60 ERA). While he’s struck out 14 batters and walked just one in 15 IP, the pitches that opposing batters have made contact with, have mostly been hit harmlessly into the ground (72.2% GB rate).

Weekly Hold Leaders

JoJo Romero, Phillies, 3

The Phillies called up Romero earlier this season once Archie Bradley hit the IL with a strained oblique injury. Romero got off to a slow start, but while his overall stats aren’t pretty (6.23 ERA), he’s given up just one run in his last seven appearances (1.35 ERA). He picked up his first three holds of the season in the past week in three consecutive appearances.

Anthony Misiewicz, Mariners, 3

Misiewicz picked up three holds in the past week and suffered his only blemish of the season. Up until Monday when he gave up three runs, Misiewicz had pitched 9.2 scoreless innings. With just five strikeouts in 10 innings on the season, Misiewicz pitches to contact, but his 54.5% groundball rate helps him to be successful. With five holds on the season he has been a steadying force in what has sometimes been a chaotic Mariners bullpen. Misiewicz’s role in the Mariners bullpen will be even more important with Keynan Middleton recently hitting the IL with a bicep injury.

More Bullpen News


We got a bit of clarity on Wednesday night as to what the Rays’ closer hierarchy might look like with Diego Castillo on the IL. Jeffrey Springs worked 1.1 innings for the save with Ryan Thompson pitching parts of the seventh and eighth innings (1.2 IP) for his fifth hold. This is probably still going to be a committee with Springs, Thompson and Pete Fairbanks all pitching in high leverage situations for at least the short term.


Will Harris who had been on the IL due to right hand inflammation, was finally activated on Tuesday. Harris had originally been diagnosed with a blood clot and at one point it was thought he’d need thoracic outlet surgery. Thankfully further testing revealed that both diagnoses were wrong, but unfortunately no root cause for his condition has been discovered. Harris promptly pitched a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two and walking one on Tuesday. As long as there is no recurrence of the symptoms that forced him to the IL, Harris should continue to build his stamina and he’ll eventually likely be a good source for holds and the occasional save.


In previous columns we’ve discussed how Jordan Hicks , was looked upon as the Cardinals’ future closer and that Alex Reyes was merely keeping Hicks’ seat warm. Unfortunately, Hicks is dealing with right elbow inflammation and is currently on the IL. The Cardinals are hoping he can avoid surgery and instead receive treatment with either a stem cell or platelet-rich plasma injection. If they’re really lucky just plain old rest will do the trick. They are hopeful that this latest injury is not related to Hicks’ 2019 TJ surgery, but he is expected to miss at least four weeks of the season. Hicks’ 2021 performance has been pedestrian at best. He has pitched ten innings thus far, striking out ten batters and walking ten batters, and he’s posted a 5.40 ERA. Reyes, on the other hand, has converted all nine of his save opportunities, (three in the past week) and has yet to give up a run in 15.1 IP. Giovanny Gallegos maintains his set-up role and we’ve placed Ryan Helsley , who has a 0.87 ERA in his last ten appearances, in the hole in our closer grid.


While the A’s seem to be moving towards a committee approach when it comes to their closer role, don’t read too much into the fact that Yusmeiro Petit notched a save on Tuesday night. Both Jake Diekman and Lou Trivino had pitched on consecutive days entering Tuesday’s action and needed the day off. Petit will continue to be the set-up man for whichever of the two gets called upon to close out the next A’s victory. However, what you can count on Petit to continue to provide you with excellent counting stats. Petit has been phenomenal this season, regularly coming into games in high leverage situations and shutting opponents down. Petit has a BAA of .114 with runners on base and hasn’t given up a run in his last ten appearances entering Wednesday’s action. Petit leads big league relievers with four wins and has 12 strikeouts, three walks and three holds on the season.

If you've been a subscriber here at Fantasy Alarm, you've seen the Fantasy Baseball Closer Grid before. If you're new, it's very simple. We not only list who the closer is for each team, but we then go another two-deep into the bullpen to let you know who would be next in line to accrue saves should there be an injury or a change, as well as which relievers you may want to target if your league scores for holds. This isn't about how the teams' depth charts always reads, so keep that in mind. Sometimes the heir-apparent is an obvious one, but in many cases it is not. We look for things like skill set, contact rates, pitch-command, pitch-mix, how many lefties are in the bullpen, who has worked as a closer before and who has the experience in high-leverage situation among other things.

GREEN will be those with strong talent, abundant opportunities and a high-level of job security. The tier below will be in YELLOW followed by ORANGE and lastly RED to indicate who may have the job right now but could lose it with one bad hiccup. 

UPDATED: 5.6.2021