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Closers and Saves Report - Week 11 Waiver Wire

Hockey is over (congrats, Blues), basketball is done very soon, and football won't start for a while. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage: BASEBALL! School's out, the sun is beating down across America, it's summer folks. And that means baseball takes center stage. This season is already showing the importance of relief pitchers, and the emergence of bullpen committees across the league and more and more teams using openers is rearranging the landscape of relief pitching league wide.

This week, as Toronto watched their Raptors try to take home an NBA championship, their baseball team lost their closer to an injury. Meanwhile, the Seattle bullpen continued to be a mess while things seemed to take on a more specific shape in the Minnesota pen. Down in Texas, the Rangers showed that even closer committees are bigger there, with four guys taking on the role as the possible ninth-inning arm.

Take a look at our Closer Depth Chart, which is updated daily. Let's jump in and take a look at what's been going on in the bullpens around baseball.

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Bullpen News for Week 11

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays placed closer Ken Giles on the injured list this week due to elbow inflammation. Giles was having a great season, saving 11 games while blowing just one. He'd posted a sparkling 1.08 ERA backed up by a 1.15 FIP. His 42.4% K% and 7.1% BB% were also both elite rates. Giles told reporters he had a hard time recovering from back-to-back outings, but he doesn't expect to be on the shelf any longer than the required 10 days. Elbow issues are concerning though, so hopefully he's right. In the mean time, Toronto needs someone to close out games. Joe Biagini was the immediate favorite for the role, but he struggled in his first save chance and had to be bailed out by Daniel Hudson, who was able to earn his fist save of the season. Biagini and Hudson will likely split duties, and either can be picked up by owners desperate for a temporary source of saves. Neither guy is a must-own at this point, however.

Minnesota Twins

Blake Parker continues to struggle, and his current 4.37 ERA is actually better than how he's pitched (6.46 FIP). He's been slowly falling out of favor in the Twins bullpen, and it might not be long before he's back in middle relief at best. This week, Taylor Rogers, who has been amazing all year, was unavailable for a save chance. Instead of going with Parker, the Twins gave the ball to Trevor May, who was able to convert his first save of the year. Rogers has worked his way to the top of the Minnesota closer hierarchy and is clearly the arm to own for fantasy, but it looks like May could be jumping ahead of Parker in the committee. Keep an eye on how the three relievers are used this weekend.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers bullpen has been in flux all season, with Jose Leclerc starting out as closer, then getting demoted for Chris Martin, who was then replaced by Shawn Kelley, and now we're into an all out all-arms-on-deck approach. Rangers manager Chris Woodward announced that, "no one is the closer" in Texas, and the team would go with some mix of Leclerc, Kelley, Martin, and Jesse Chavez for closing opportunities. It still seems inevitable that Leclerc will take over the role and keep it for himself sooner or later, but it is certainly taking longer than anyone expected. Still, Leclerc is the long-term own here, but Kelley could still have value over the next couple of weeks.


Short Relief

  • Hunter Strickland had a setback in his rehab and won't be ready as soon as expected. He's still on his way back to the Seattle bullpen, but it won't be as soon as originally expected. Meanwhile, the Mariners bullpen is still a mess so Strickland has a chance to work his way into the ninth inning pretty quickly.
  • Miguel Castro earned a save for the Orioles when Mychal Givens was unavailable, but it seems like it's still mostly Givens' job.
  • Anthony Swarzak has been very good since joining the Braves. He's not a threat to Luke Jackson's closer role, but he has become a solid option in holds leagues.
  • Vince Velasquez seems like a solid late-game option in the Phillies bullpen all of a sudden. You could do worse in holds leagues, but there's not much there in standard leagues just yet.
  • Ian Kennedy came up with two saves this week, and it looks like he's taken the lead in the Royals bullpen. There's not a ton of value there, but he could sprinkle in a save or two a week going forward.


Roster Moves of the Week


Joe Biagini and/or Daniel Hudson, Toronto Blue Jays - With Ken Giles injured, Biagini and Hudson figure to split closer duties for a bit. Biagini was the immediate favorite, but he needed to be bailed out by Hudson in the first non-Giles save chance, so that may have already changed. Neither guy is a must-own, but anyone looking for a couple of saves over the next week or two could take a closer look at the bullpen of the north.

Hunter Strickland, Seattle Mariners - Strickland won't be back this week as expected, but he should still be back soon and he'll be rejoining a Mariners bullpen that has been a complete disaster of late. Strickland himself isn't guaranteed to not join forces in the disaster, but there's a chance he could stake his claim to the ninth inning fairly quickly. Owners willing to take the risk on a speculative add can look in his direction.

Ian Kennedy, Kansas City Royals - With two saves this week, Kennedy looks like he's become the guy to own out of the KC bullpen. He won't have a ton of value, but he's been very good this year and could provide a sprinkling of saves and strikeouts.


Blake Parker, Minnesota Twins - Parker is still officially part of the closer committee in Minnesota, so this may be jumping the gun a bit, but he's been pretty bad this season and it won't be long before the Twins realize that and relegate him to middle relief. If there's someone with more upside available on your waiver wire, Parker is absolutely not a guy you need to hang onto at this point.


Best of the Week

Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers - 4 1/3 IP, 3 SV, 9 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.92 WHIP

Brewers closer Josh Hader had a strong week, saving three games and striking out nine batters in just 4 1/3 innings. He did walk four, but when you don't allow a single hit all week, four walks are just fine thank you.

Will Smith, San Francisco Giants - 4 IP, 3 SV, 6 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

Giants closer Will Smith put up a scoreless week, saving three games and striking out six. He did allow three hits and two walks, but none of those base runners were able to come around to score.

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