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Closers and Saves Report - Week 26 Waiver Wire

Well, it's over. Baseball's regular season comes to a close this weekend, and with it most fantasy leagues will wrap up as well. Daily fantasy will go strong into the postseason, but most standard leagues will be looking toward next season, especially dynasty and keeper leagues. While the vast majority of fantasy players play in redraft leagues, a dedicated few keep their rosters (or at least parts of their rosters) year in and year out.

This week's Closers and Saves Report will take a look at who is most likely to close for each team to kick off the 2020 season. This is very, very far from a science, as players will get injured, free agents will be signed, and trades will reshape bullpens throughout the offseason. But based on what we know right now, assumptions can be made. And you know what they say about assumptions, right? "Go ahead and make them, because we don't know anything else." That's the quote, right?

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.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!


Bullpen News for Week 26

Washington Nationals

The only pressing bullpen news this week is that it looks like Sean Doolittle has reclaimed his role. He should be the team's closer for the playoffs and could perhaps nab another save this weekend before the regular season ends.


Short Relief- Bullpen Crystal Ball

Baltimore Orioles- Hunter Harvey

Hunter Harvey has impressed enough this season (while all other Orioles relievers have disappointed more than enough) to make it a safe bet that Harvey works as the closer in Baltimore next year.

Boston Red Sox- Brandon Workman

Brasier was supposed to do it. Barnes was supposed to do it. Eovaldi was supposed to do it. None of them did, so Brandon Workman got a chance and actually did it. Workman has been solid and should go into the 2020 season as the Red Sox closer.

New York Yankees- Aroldis Chapman

It's Aroldis Chapman, he's not worried about competition. Ottavino will continue to set him up as part of one of the league's best bullpens again in 2020.

Tampa Bay Rays- Jose Alvarado/Emilio Pagan

The Rays don't really like setting a closer and pigeon-holing him into the ninth inning, so they probably won't do that next year either. A healthy Jose Alvarado will likely pair up with Emilio Pagan to lock down games in 2020. Nick Anderson will have a role as well.

Toronto Blue Jays- Ken Giles

Ken Giles was very much expected to be traded before the deadline this season. He remained in Toronto, however, and will keep the closer's role there assuming he remains with the team through the winter. Next in line would likely be Derek Law.


Chicago White Sox- Alex Colome

Alex Colome was also expected to be traded but wasn't and should retain his role if he sticks around. If not, Aaron Bummer would be ready to take over the closer's role and has much more upside than Colome.

Cleveland Indians- Brad Hand

Brad Hand has struggled a bit in the second half this season, but he's still easily the best reliever in Cleveland. Strikeout artist James Karinchak is exciting, but he won't supplant Hand next season.

Detroit Tigers- Joe Jimenez

The Tigers "closer of the future" finally got a chance to close this season after the Tigers sent Shane Greene to the Braves at the deadline. Jimenez will resume his role next season, but isn't a particularly exciting fantasy prospect.

Kansas City Royals- Ian Kennedy

Ian Kennedy, ladies and gentlemen. He came out of the failed starter ranks and dominated (at times) as the closer in Kansas City. He should be right back in there next season and could be a valuable trade chip for the rebuilding Royals at the 2020 deadline.

Minnesota Twins- Taylor Rogers

It took a while and a few committees, but Rogers emerged as the closer for the AL Central Champion Twins and will be right back in there next season. The team may pair him with a right-handed reliever sometimes, but Rogers will be the arm to own in Minnesota for sure.


Houston Astros- Roberto Osuna

The Astros bullpen has a ton of talent but hasn't been as good as it should be this season. Osuna should return as closer next season, but Ryan Pressly and Will Harris should be around as well.

Los Angeles Angels- Hansel Robles

Ty Buttrey had some dominant stretches this season and if he can improve his consistency a bit heading into 2020, he could be one of the better relievers in baseball. He was used in a fireman role this season, and should return to that role next year with Hansel Robles, who has been solid in his own right, returning to the closer's role.

Oakland A's- Liam Hendriks

Liam Hendriks took over the ninth inning from Blake Treinen this season and never looked back. Hendriks should return to the ninth inning next year in what will be his first full season as a closer, and he's a safe bet to make the All-Star team again.

Seattle Mariners- Anthony Bass/Matt Magill

The Mariners have relied on a closer-by-committee most of this season and that's unlikely to change going into next year. Barring trades or free agent signings, Matt Magill and Anthony Bass should be the main closers in Seattle next season. Bass gets the slight nod based on usage this year.

Texas Rangers- Jose Leclerc

Jose Leclerc went through some very rough patches this season but was ultimately able to put together a decent year. He'll enter next season as the closer and ideally will be able to keep the job throughout the season. He still has plenty of upside if he can avoid the deep slumps.



Atlanta Braves- Shane Greene/Mark Melancon

The Braves needed bullpen help at the deadline, so they strengthened their bullpen with Mark Melancon and Chris Martin, and nabbed the closer they wanted in Shane Greene. Then things went awry. Greene's peripherals finally caught up to him while Melancon went 11-for-11 in save chances. Greene is still likely to take over in 2020 based on what the Braves gave up to get him, but if his struggles continue, Melancon would be the next to step in.

Miami Marlins- Jose Urena/Drew Steckenrider

The Marlins have tried Jose Urena in many different roles: starter (failed), ace (laughable), and now closer (failing). He hasn't been good in any of them, but the Marlins seem to think he has what it takes to be a closer. He might head into next season with the job, but Drew Steckenrider should be healthy for the start of the season and could take the job as well. It'll be an awfully unexciting competition in Spring Training.

New York Mets- Edwin Diaz

Edwin Diaz's 2019 was, in one word, bad. But he still showed signs of being the pitcher the Mets thought he was when they traded for him. He should enter 2020 as the closer unless his struggles visibly continue in the spring. Seth Lugo will resume his fireman role or may reportedly even get a shot at the rotation.

Philadelphia Phillies- Hector Neris

The Phillies bullpen went through several stretches of closer-by-committee this season, but Hector Neris ultimately settled into the ninth on his own. He should retain that role next season, although the Phillies are one of the top teams that could look to add to their bullpen in the offseason.

Washington Nationals- Sean Doolittle

Sean Doolittle was the only good part of the Nats bullpen this season for a while, but then he started to pitch like the rest of them. Then he got hurt. But he's back and pitching well again and should have a hold of the ninth inning going into next season.


Chicago Cubs- Craig Kimbrel

The Craig Kimbrel signing has mostly been a disaster for the Cubs. But they won't admit that by making Rowan Wick their closer in 2020, right? It would be a shock to see anyone besides Kimbrel named the closer regardless of his stats to start the season, although unless Kimbrel figures things out, he won't stick in the ninth for too long.

Cincinnati Reds- Raisel Iglesias

Raisel Iglesias had some ups and downs this season but was overall a solid closer for the surging Reds. He'll return to the role in 2020 and should have an improved team around him, perhaps leading to more save chances.

Milwaukee Brewers- Josh Hader

Josh Hader is one of the hardest pitchers to hit in baseball, and that, of course, makes for a great closer. Corey Knebel should be back and healthy, but Hader has seemingly graduated from the role of fireman and into the role of closer.

Pittsburgh Pirates- Keone Kela

Kela only recently took over as closer in Pittsburgh but he should have the inside track to the role for the 2020 season. With Felipe Vazquez's playing future unknown, Kela could be the one in 2020.

St. Louis Cardinals- Carlos Martinez

Jordan Hicks won't be back on the mound until late next season, so Carlos Martinez should get more chances to close out games for the Cardinals. Unless he's stretched back out into the rotation, Martinez should keep up his solid but unspectacular ninth innings in 2020.


Arizona Diamondbacks- Archie Bradley

After a season where the Diamondbacks tried throwing all kinds of things to make them stick, Archie Bradley was the one who finally did. He's been solid in the ninth inning and should be the team's closer heading into 2020.

Colorado Rockies- Jairo Diaz

The Rockies bullpen was an absolute disaster almost all season, with Opening Day closer Wade Davis posting an ERA close to NINE! Jairo Diaz brought a bit of stability to the ninth inning towards the end of the season and might have the inside track for 2020. Davis will certainly be given another chance, but there's no reason to think he'll suddenly figure it out in the spring.

Los Angeles Dodgers- Kenley Jansen

Kenley Jansen hasn't been nearly as dominant this season as in previous years, but he's been good enough to still have the closer's job in 2020. The Dodgers will likely try to rebuild some of their bullpen in the offseason, but Jansen's job should be safe.

San Diego Padres- Kirby Yates

Kirby Yates has been one of the best closers in the game this season and will continue his role as closer in 2020. He should draw plenty of trade interest in the offseason, but he'd close for almost any other team as well, so his job is in little danger.

San Francisco Giants- Shaun Anderson/Jandel Gustave

Will Smith has been a very solid closer for the Giants this season, but he's an impending free agent. Shaun Anderson has the "stuff" to close but hasn't quite had the results yet. He may be the front-runner for now, but he and Jandel Gustave could battle it out in Spring Training 2020.



Best of the Season

Kirby Yates, San Diego Padres- 60 2/3 IP, 41 SV, 101 K, 1.19 ERA, 0.89 WHIP

Padres closer Kirby Yates doesn't just lead the league in saves, he's also second in fWAR (3.4) and third in strikeout-to-walk ratio. It's been an excellent season for the 32-year-old, and there's no reason to think he won't be just as good next year.

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees- 56 IP, 37 SV, 84 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.13 WHIP

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman was not quite as untouchable this season as he's been other years, but he still racked up almost 40 saves and posted a solid 2.0 fWAR. Much was made of his decline in velocity, but he was still able to be an effective closer all season long.

Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers- 73 1/3 IP, 36 SV, 134 K, 2.58 ERA, 0.79 WHIP

Josh Hader had a very interesting season in that he was very hard to hit, but when he did get hit, he got hit hard. Still, he posted 36 saves and led the league in K% with an astounding 48.2%.

Liam Hendriks, Oakland A's- 83 1/3 IP, 24 SV, 121 K, 1.62 ERA, 0.95 WHIP

A's closer Liam Hendriks took over after Blake Treinen proved ineffective, which limited the number of save chances he was given. Hendriks is on this list because he led all relief pitchers in fWAR with a 3.6 mark. He was seventh in K% and fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio. With a full season in the closer's role next year, Hendriks should develop into one of the game's best.


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