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

Tyler Clippard (44% owned) – Clippard received the first crack at the Blue Jays closing gig after Roberto Osuna landed on the administrative leave list. He had been pitching very well prior to the new role but has struggled since taking it over. He has blown 2-of-4 save opportunities and has seen his ERA rise from 1.17 to 3.24 in his last three outings. It will be interesting to see what the Jays do when the next save chance comes up. There is chatter of Ryan Tepera or Seung-Hwan Oh getting the next crack at it, but until that happens all we can do is speculate on what route they will take. For now, I think it will be Clippard or Tepera. If it is Clippard, he will need to pitch well as he is on very thin ice.

Héctor Neris (77% owned) – Neris had a pretty firm grip on the Phillies closing job heading into the season, but his early season struggles have made things interesting. He is only 9-for-12 in save chances and his ERA is unsightly 4.26. Seranthony Dominguez is quickly gaining ground on Neris and has already notched one save of his own. He has been lights out, and has only allowed one runner to reach base against him in nine innings pitched thus far this year. He has nine strikeouts, a 0.00 ERA, and five holds to go along with that aforementioned save. For now, it is still Neris’ job to lose, but he will need to pitch well in his next few outings to keep Dominguez in a setup role.

Quick Hits

  • 5/17 Nate Jones notched his second save of the year.
  • 5/18 Brad Brach picked up his sixth save.
  • 5/19 Seranthony Dominguez converted his first career....Nate Jones picked up second consecutive save.
  • 5/20 Robert Gsellman converted his first save of the year on an off-day for Familia.... Jace Fry picked up his first career save.... Blake Parker  shut the door on the Rays for his second save of the year.
  • 5/21 Corey Knebel locked down his first save since returning from the DL.
  • 5/22 Corey Knebel nailed down the save for the second consecutive day and appears fully back
  • 5/23 Blake Parker converted another save despite giving up one run.... Kyle Crick notched his first save of the year in an extra inning win over the Reds in a game that Vasquez blew the save.

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
Jeurys Familia 4 Tyler Clippard 2
Fernando Rodney 3 Felipe Vázquez 2
Héctor Neris 3 Raisel Iglesias 1
Craig Kimbrel 3 Sean Doolittle 1
Shane Greene 3 Shane Greene 1
Álex Colomé 2 Jeurys Familia 1
Wade Davis 2   
Kenley Jansen 2   
Hunter Strickland 2   
10 more tied with2   

Who’s Hot?

Kenley Jansen (98% owned) – It appears Jansen is finally back after a very slow start to the year for the top closer of the last six years. The veteran pitched five shutout innings this week and picked up a league-high four saves. He struck out eight. Jansen has made nine straight scoreless appearances and that has helped him lower his ERA from 5.40 to 2.91. In that same stretch, he has lowered his BAA from .260 to .212. It was only a matter of time for a guy with his pedigree and talent. He has also picked it up in the strikeout department as of late, he had just 14 Ks in 15.2 innings pitched prior to striking out nine over his last six innings to bring his K/9 up to 9.55 (23 Ks in 21.2 innings). Jansen owners may have been worried about a guy they invested an early pick in, but his recent performances should put owner’s minds at ease. Top-five. YTD stats: 21.2 innings, 10 saves, 23 Ks, 2.91 ERA.

Nate Jones (42% owned) – Jones was not even the team’s closer prior to this week starting, but he made the most of his first week as what appears to be his new job. He racked up three saves and struck out four across 2.2 shutout innings. There was no word of Jones taking the reins on the gig, but as I noted in last week’s Bullpen Report, he is the most talented arm in the White ‘pen and it was only a matter of time until he would be closing out games. As it turned out, it was not a very lengthy amount of time. He has made five straight shutout appearances and has at least one strikeout in each of those outings. He should be grabbed if somehow still available in your league. Bottom-tier. YTD stats: 19 innings, 4 saves, 22 Ks, 3.32 ERA.

Who’s Cold?

Felipe Vázquez (93% owned) – Vasquez had a real rough go of it this week as he blew two saves and gave up three earned runs in 2.1 innings pitched. The week started well for him as in his first outing he struck out three and gave up no hits to nail down the save. However, in his second appearance he was upon with a one-run lead and the Padres dismantled him. He gave up four hits and three runs without recording an out to blow the save. In his third and final outing of the week he didn’t give up any runs of his own, but allowed two inherited runners to score and he was hit with another blown save. Vasquez is still an elite closer and his owners have no reason to worry. Top-ten. YTD stats: 20 innings, 9 saves, 22 Ks, 3.60 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. *Garrett made 14 of his 16 2017 appearances as a starter.

Jordan Hicks (8% owned) – What better time to bring up Hicks than the week he hit 105 mph on the gun? This guy is fun to watch as he lights up the gun over 100 mph on nearly every fastball he throws. Remarkably, despite throwing as hard as he does he only has 11 strikeouts in 23 innings pitched. He has abysmal control and throws fastballs on nearly every pitch which has caused his strikeout rate to be as bad as it is. He already has 16 walks, so despite his impressive .167 BAA his WHIP stands at an unimpressive 1.26. In his most recent outing he mixed in his slider at a heavier dose and it proved to be effective as he struck out two batters in one inning. The two strikeouts marked just the second multi-strikeout appearance of his career. As he develops better command and feel for his pitches we will see his strikeout rates improve. This guy is a top-tier closer in the making; with Bud Norris coughing up three runs (two earned) in his latest outing, it may happen sooner than we expect. YTD stats: 23 innings, 4 holds, 11 Ks, 1.96 ERA.

Amir Garrett (10% owned) – While there hasn’t been any word on who the Reds closer will be now that Raisel Iglesias has landed on the DL, Garrett is the guy I would be picking up. The starter-turned-reliever has been great this year after a rough 2017 in the Reds rotation. He has compiled six holds, a 10.33 K/9, and his ERA is sitting at a crisp 1.67.  The lefty is similar to Iglesias in the fact that he can work multiple innings on a regular occasion, so it would make sense for the Reds to turn to Garrett while Iglesias is out. Garrett has reverse splits this season as he has dominated righties, meaning he isn’t a lefty specialist and is fit for a closing role. If chasing saves, Garrett is easily worth a pickup. YTD stats: 27 innings, 6 holds, 31 Ks, 1.67 ERA.

Jordan Hicks ---------------
Amir Garrett CIN163-170.274582340637.391.610.2698.02


*Top 10

PlayerHLD YTD PlayerHLD last 7 days
Juan Nicasio 14 Mychal Givens 3
Archie Bradley 13 Tony Cingrani 3
Jose Alvarado 12 Seranthony Dominguez 3
Adam Ottavino 11 Craig Stammen 3
Chaz Roe 11 Seung-Hwan Oh 2
Matt Barnes 11 Seth Lugo 2
Brandon Kintzler 10 Will Harris 2
Michael Feliz 10 Chris Devenski 2
Bryan Shaw 10 Juan Nicasio 2
Craig Stammen 10 Seven more tied with2

Stat Leaders

This simply provides the current top-5 closers in saves, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP.  *Josh Hader , who has appeared here frequently, has been removed this week due to no longer being the Brewers closer.

Edwin Díaz - 17Edwin Díaz - 45Kelvin Herrera - 0.96Sean Doolittle - 0.63
Wade Davis - 17Brad Hand - 39Brandon Morrow - 1.06Corey Knebel - 0.69
Craig Kimbrel - 15Aroldis Chapman - 36Blake Treinen - 1.14Edwin Díaz -0.71
Brad Hand - 15Sean Doolittle - 33Aroldis Chapman - 1.42Kelvin Herrera - 0.75
Jeurys Familia - 13Bud Norris - 33Edwin Díaz - 1.78Craig Kimbrel - 0.80

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.

Brewers2.48188.2 Mariners3.74159.0 Rangers4.24178.1
Diamondbacks2.55169.2 Angels3.75189.2 Nationals4.41138.2
Astros2.76127.1 Mets3.81170.0 Rays4.42187.1
Cubs2.81173.0 Athletics3.82176.2 Orioles4.49180.1
Padres3.17193.0 Pirates3.94164.2 Twins4.59164.2
Red Sox3.42163.1 Reds3.95198.1 Tigers4.59174.1
Yankees3.50167.0 Giants4.15180.0 Rockies4.66166.0
Braves3.51177.0 Dodgers4.16184.0 Royals5.21160.2
Phillies3.56159.1 Cardinals4.19161.1 Indians5.51119.1
Blue Jays3.57174.0 White Sox4.24165.2 Marlins5.60189.2

Recently Overworked

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

Blue Jays22.06.95


*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