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Closers and Saves Report - Week 23 Waiver Wire

A particularly quiet bullpen week leading into- or starting, depending on your league- the fantasy playoffs makes for less drama, but maybe more worry? Kind of the whole "calm before the storm" type of thing. It almost seems like since sort of nothing happened in bullpens this week, maybe everything will happen next week, right in the fantasy playoffs. We'll see.

This week, not a lot happened, but an established closer started to struggle again while a brand new closer who wasn't good as a starter showed that (gasp!) he might not be good as a closer either. Meanwhile, a hurt closer got back on the mound and a few young future closers got their first taste of a save. Also, Edwin Diaz.

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 23

Miami Marlins

Jose Urena returned from the injured list and, as promised, he almost immediately slid into the closer's role. Perplexingly overrated by the team as a starter (they called him their ace), Urena does have velocity going for him. He doesn't miss bats and rarely strikes guys out, but if he was throwing 98 as a starter, maybe he could touch 100 in a relief role and get a few more swings and misses. Not so much. Still sitting between 96 and 98, Urena picked up a save in his first chance, pitching a clean 1-2-3 10th inning. His next outing though? Not so good. Urena was handed a two run lead and before long, the Pirates walked off with a win. Urena is still likely to remain in the closer's role until the end of the season as the Marlins will want to see what he might be able to do in the future. How many save chances they'll have to give him remains the issue, though. He's only worth owning on teams desperate for maybe two or three more saves.

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland closer Brad Hand was awesome. He made the All-Star Game. Then he was awful. For almost two months, he posted an ERA close to seven. He got a vote of confidence from his manager, and then just like that, he was good again. For a little while. This week, however, Hand struggled again. Given a four-run lead, Hand gave up a two run blast before loading the bases and only getting one out. He was pulled from the game and Nick Wittgren was able to close it out and earn a save. Hand owes him...a round of applause. He'll likely get another vote of confidence if necessary, but it's clear that Wittgren is his handcuff and Hand's owners may want to handcuff him if they have the roster space.

Washington Nationals

Sean Doolittle is back from the IL, but with the Nationals focusing on the real-life playoffs, he may not be right back into the closer's role. He seems healthy, but he'll work lower-leverage situations at least for now, leaving Daniel Hudson as the most likely National to earn saves. Doolittle should take over before long, though, making him a solid target for teams planning a deep run in the fantasy playoffs.

Chicago Cubs

Craig Kimbrel is hurt. Again. He'll go on the injured list, leaving closing duties to a mix of Rowan Wick, Pedro Strop, and Steve Cishek. Wick might stay in his setup role, leaving Cishek and Strop as the saves candidates. Neither is a must-add, but either one could potentially help a fantasy playoff team with a couple of saves here and there.



Short Relief

  • Edwin Diaz learned a new grip for his slider, borrowing some knowledge from Jacob deGrom. Edwin Diaz is no Jacob deGrom, especially not this season. Seth Lugo continues to be the most valuable member of the Mets bullpen.
  • Andres Munoz earned a save this week. He'll probably earn a ton more in his career, but the Padres ninth inning belongs to Kirby Yates for now.
  • Reyes Moronta is out for the year and at least part of next year as well. He's dealing with a torn labrum and while he still may end up as the closer of the future for the Giants, that future just got a little further away.
  • Josh James also earned a save this week. Sure to earn many more throughout his career, he'll work ahead of Roberto Osuna for at least the rest of this season.


Roster Moves of the Week


Jose Urena, Miami Marlins- Ew, gross. Only the most desperate owners need to target him, but he will at least get the chance to come in for saves for the rest of the month.

Sean Doolittle, Washington Nationals- Dropped in many leagues, Doolittle could be a solid contributor in the later games of a fantasy playoff matchup.

Nick Wittgren, Cleveland Indians- Really, really desperate for saves? Wittgren is the Brad Hand-cuff and might jump into some ninth innings if Hand keeps slumping.

Pedro Strop or Steve Cishek, Chicago Cubs- One of these two will be on the mound in save situations for the Cubs. Owners looking for saves can flip a coin and pick either guy for now. Hopefully, there will be a bit more clarity soon.



Ryne Stanek, Miami Marlins- Stanek's time as Marlins closer was brief and brutal. He'll work in a setup or middle relief role ahead of closer Jose Urena, mostly because Marlins manager Don Mattingly is not creative enough to use him in the opener role he excelled in with the other Florida team.


Best of the Week

Mark Melancon, Atlanta Braves- 2 1/3 IP, 3 SV, 5 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP

Braves closer Mark Melancon had a perfect week, saving three games and striking out five without allowing a single base runner.

Emilio Pagan, Tampa Bay Rays- 5 IP, 3 SV, 7 K, 1.80 ERA, 0.40 WHIP

Rays closer Emilio Pagan pitched five innings this week, striking out seven while saving three games. He allowed a run on two hits.


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