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Closers and Saves Report - Week 21 Waiver Wire

The more NFL rumblings we hear, the closer we are to the fantasy baseball playoffs. With sports news fully engrossed with helmets and frostbitten feet, baseball rumbles along through August. The lack of a waiver trade deadline has made August a bit quieter than usual in the baseball world, but there's still tons going on, especially in bullpens.

One of the best closers of the first half got a vote of confidence from his manager this week after an awful stretch. One of the worst bullpens in baseball added a bunch of guys at the deadline only to...still be really, really bad. A guy who used to be one of baseball's best got a late start to the season then wasn't quite the best anymore, then made it worse by getting hurt and leaving his team's bullpen in shambles. Okay, was that all dramatic enough? Cool, let's jump in.

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 21

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland closer Brad Hand was one of the best closers in baseball for the first half of this season and for most of last season. He was named to the All-Star Team but struggled in his appearance. Hand blew a save on Wednesday to mark three straight blown saves, capping off an awful two-month stretch where he's put up a 7.32 ERA and a 2.03 WHIP. He's looked like the Brad Hand the Marlins gave up on several years ago, not the one who they regretted not trying out in a high leverage role. Still, Hand's velocity seems fine, so it's likely not an injury that's leading to his struggles. It's been mostly his location that has changed, but that's something that he might be able to fix from one outing to the next. Nick Wittgren and Adam Cimber would be alternate options, but Hand is by far the most talented reliever in Cleveland's bullpen. Manager Terry Francona said, "We can't run from Brad," so it looks like he'll hold down the role and should come out of his funk before long.

Colorado Rockies

Okay folks, so the Rockies bullpen...what a mess. Wade Davis struggled all year (at home) and was eventually replaced by Scott Oberg. Oberg did fairly well for a while, but his season is over due to a blood clot issue. Davis got a chance to jump back in and gave up three runs in his first two outings. Not three runs total, but three runs in each of his first two outings. He just cannot get guys out in Denver. Carlos Estevez looks like he's leading the current closer committee for the Rockies, but Jake McGee, Jairo Diaz, and Bryan Shaw might all get some ninth innings looks as well.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners traded two of their top relievers to the Nationals at the deadline, and have had a bullpen in flux since then. Anthony Bass seemed like the logical choice, and he did work out for a bit, earning two saves. But Matt Magill kind of appeared out of thick Pacific Northwest air and earned two saves in two days, quickly taking the throne as head of Seattle's committee. He got a third straight save chance, but three wasn't the charm this time, as he blew a save against the Rays. Still, his usage shows that he should remain atop the committee, at least until he has another bad outing.

Washington Nationals

Sean Doolittle, the only somewhat solid and consistent member of the Nationals bullpen, ended up on the IL this week after a rough four-run outing. It's a huge blow to the Nationals pen, who were already having plenty of trouble getting a lead to the ninth inning. With Doolittle out, Daniel Hudson looks like he might head the committee in the meantime. He's been the most consistent arm in the bullpen since the trade deadline. Hunter Strickland and Wander Suero figure to see some chances as well, along with everyone's favorite: Fernando Rodney.


Short Relief

  • Craig Kimbrel is back, so no more Pedro Strop blowing saves for the Cubs. Rowan Wick has worked his way up the bullpen hierarchy and looks like the top setup man to Kimbrel.
  • Not that he was going to take Kimbrel's inning anyway, but the Cubs confirmed that Brandon Morrow will not be back this year and in fact may be done with his baseball career all together. He needs another surgery on his elbow and hasn't decided if he's going to try to rehab it all the way back into pitching shape.


Roster Moves of the Week


Matt Magill, Seattle Mariners - Magill took hold of the committee in Seattle and looked good in his first two save chances. He blew the third, but did well enough that he should have a chance to close again soon. He's not a must-add, but could be a decent source of saves if he can hang onto the job.

Daniel Hudson or Hunter Strickland, Washington Nationals - It's probably best to avoid the Nationals bullpen entirely with Sean Doolittle on the IL, but those desperate for saves could take a chance on Hudson or Strickland. Someone is going to close games while Doolittle is gone, and these two make the most sense.

Carlos Estevez, Colorado Rockies - Another head-of-the-committee guy, Estevez looks like the only guy in Colorado who might be able to take the job and run with it. He's not a must-own either, but could be a decent under-the-radar grab for a team in dire need of saves.



Scott Oberg, Colorado Rockies - Oberg finally got his chance to be the closer in Colorado, but a blood clot had a different idea, knocking him out for the rest of the season.

Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs - With Craig Kimbrel back and Rowan Wick jumping Strop in the hierarchy for top setup man in Chicago, Strop can be let go.


Best of the Week

Roberto Osuna, Houston Astros - 4 IP, 3 SV, 5 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP

Astros closer Roberto Osuna had the best week among closers, saving four games and striking out five while allowing just two hits in four scoreless innings.

Raisel Iglesias, Cincinnati Reds - 3 1/3 IP, 3 SV, 5 K, 2.70 ERA, 0.60 WHIP

Reds closer Raisel Iglesias had a three-save week as well, closing out every game he pitched in this week. He struck out five and allowed just a solo home run and a walk.

Kirby Yates, San Diego Padres - 3 IP, 3 SV, 5 K, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP

Rounding out the three closers who earned three saves this week is Padres stopper Kirby Yates. He struck out five and allowed a run on three hits, but saved every game he pitched in.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice

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