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Closers and Saves Report - Week 1 Waiver Wire

Welcome back, baseball. We missed you. Your offseason was mostly boring, so here's hoping you make up for it with a great season. So far, you're off to a good start. Okay, enough.

Closers and Saves Report is back for another year of looking over all of the important bullpen news of the week. With more and more teams going with a committee approach at the back of the bullpen, saves are becoming harder and harder to come by in standard fantasy leagues. Closers with solidified, unquestioned roles are likely to be key pieces on fantasy championship teams going forward.

Let's jump in, for the first time this season, and take a look at what's been going on in the bullpens around baseball.

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Bullpen News for Week 1

Seattle Mariners

The first big bullpen injury of the season happened already, as Mariners closer Hunter Strickland suffered a grade 2 strain in his right lat muscle. He was placed on the 60-day injured list and will be out for at least a couple of months. Mariners manager Scott Servais said he would mix and match in the ninth inning, but he summoned Anthony Swarzak on Tuesday for a save in his Seattle debut. Swarzak had just been activated from the IL earlier that day, so the fact that he wasn't eased into lower leverage action shows that Servais already has some degree of trust in the righty. He's not the solidified closer yet, but he seems to be the head of the committee and should claim most of the save chances as long as he's effective. He should be considered in deeper mixed leagues and AL-only.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins have some solid and a couple of downright exciting arms in the bullpen, but there's very little clarity as to roles for now. Trevor May was thought to perhaps be the closer, but he's worked a few seventh innings and even matched up against tough righty batters. That's not how you'd use a closer. Taylor Rogers has been working more eighth innings than anything else, so it seems like Blake Parker is the guy at the top of this committee for now. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli will likely continue to match up, especially with Rogers and Parker based on the batters due up in the ninth inning. If either guy takes the job outright, he'd be worth owning in all formats, especially Rogers. For now, it looks like Parker is the one to keep an eye on in standard leagues, while both he and Rogers (and even May in deeper formats) can be considered in holds leagues.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants looked set to spend some time with a ninth-inning committee, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy did the fantasy world a favor and named Will Smith his closer. Smith was solid last season with stretches of dominance and should be able to hold down the role as long as he remains in San Francisco. With the Giants not looking like they'll be able to keep up in the National League West, Smith could be a trade candidate in the summer. Reyes Moronta is off to a good start and is a high-upside arm that we should all keep an eye on. He'd seemingly be the next guy up if Smith gets traded in a couple of months.

Kansas City Royals

Another bullpen, another committee. The Royals bullpen won't likely have too many late leads to save this season, but based on manager Ned Yost's history, they'll want one specific guy to turn to when they do. It'll be a committee for now until someone rises to the occasion. Brad Boxberger has struggled to start the season and his name might already be crossed out on Yost's papyrus. Yost has said he likes both Ian Kennedy and Wily Peralta in the ninth inning, so it seems like one of those two will take the role. Right now, Kennedy seems to have a slight edge but he wouldn't be an exciting fantasy prospect even with the role all to himself. Peralta would make a bit more noise in fantasy, but isn't a strong bet either. The Royals bullpen is best avoided if at all possible.

Washington Nationals

Sean Doolittle is great, Kyle Barraclough can be great, and Justin Miller should be solid. The Nationals bullpen is one of the more "set" in the National League, but this section is a chance to talk about Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal didn't pitch in 2018 and seems determined to give up all the runs he would have in 2018 this year. In his first three appearances as a National, Rosenthal hasn't recorded an out, but has allowed seven runs on four hits and three walks. Rosenthal has faced seven batters, and seven runs have scored. His ERA? ∞. Rosenthal would need to pitch 21 straight scoreless innings to get his ERA under 3.00. That's not what you want.


Roster Moves of the Week


Anthony Swarzak, Seattle Mariners - Fresh off the IL, Swarzak jumped into a save situation and converted it. He's in the committee for now, but could soon be "the guy" in the ninth inning for the surprise Mariners.

A.J. Minter, Atlanta Braves - Minter started the season on the injured list, so a lot of leagues saw him start the season on the waiver wire. He's got a ton of upside and shouldn't have too hard of a time working his way into the ninth inning once he's back on the mound. He's worth picking up in all formats.

Blake Parker, Minnesota Twins - While the Twins bullpen is still a committee and we're likely to see Taylor Rogers get any save situations that involve big lefty bats, Blake Parker seems like he'll be the right-handed side of the ninth inning platoon, making him the one who ends up on the mound more often. He's worth a look in AL-only and deeper mixed formats.



Trevor Rosenthal, Washington Nationals - For anyone who took a chance on Rosenthal, here's the good news: his ERA can only go down from here. There seems to be something not quite right with the former Cardinals closer, and he's miles away from the ninth inning at this point. He can be let go in all formats.

Brad Boxberger, Kansas City Royals - There was some chatter before the season that Boxberger might end up as the preferred ninth-inning option in Kansas City, but a rough start has essentially shut that chatter right up. Boxberger will likely turn out to be a decent enough seventh inning guy, but the closer in Kansas City looks like it will be one of their two converted starters: Ian Kennedy or Wily Peralta.


Best of the Week

Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers - 4 IP, 2 K, 4 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.25 WHIP

Long ignored by the fantasy community, Shane Greene has come out of the gate hot in 2019, earning a save in all four of the games he's appeared in so far. He's allowed just one hit and hasn't given up a walk. He won't be untouchable all season, but as long as he's on the Tigers, he should maintain his ninth-inning role and have solid fantasy value.

Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers - 5 IP, 10 K, 4 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.40 WHIP

Josh Hader doing Josh Hader things. After his first three appearances, Hader had thrown 46 pitches, and all 46 had been fastballs. He's allowed just one walk and one hit while striking out 10 batters in five innings. With Corey Knebel out for an extended period of time, Hader should see more save chances than expected, although Jeremy Jeffress' return could push him back to a complementary role. Hader is worthy of a roster spot in any format, regardless of whether or not he's earning saves.

Blake Treinen, Oakland A's - 6 2/3 IP, 8 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP

Blake Treinen has kicked off the season by looking just as sharp as he did all last season. With the benefit of the two early Japan games, Treinen has eight strikeouts and three saves in his first five appearances. He's allowed just two hits and two walks and should again be one of the best closers in baseball by the time October rolls around.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice

Check out RotoBaller's entire fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!