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Closers and Saves Report - Week 4 Waiver Wire

Hey, is there a way we can have the beginning of Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" play when people open this article? No? Okay, never mind.

Another one bit the dust this week, with the Angels taking Cody Allen out of his ninth-inning role. Other closers are struggling, but Allen is the one who lost his job first. More on the Angels bullpen below. In more exciting news, Trevor Rosenthal lowered his ERA to 36.00 this week and is striking out a batter per inning. The Mariners bullpen continued to confuse everyone on Earth and the Phillies bullpen followed suit.

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 4

Los Angeles Angels

As mentioned above, Cody Allen is out as Angels closer already. He started the season with a fresh $8.5 million, one-year contract and pitched 8 1/3 innings of 5.40 ERA ball. His advanced stats don't paint a pretty picture either, his FIP is 8.15, predicting his ERA was actually better than he'd pitched. Despite excellent luck on batted balls (.143 BABIP allowed), he still struggled to get guys out. A lot of that was due to his seven walks. Basically, Allen was struggling with everything he could control and only succeeding at things based on luck. Manager Brad Ausmus realized that and knew he had to make a move.

For now, the Angels seem like they'll mix-and-match for a bit, but the guy with the best swing-and-miss stuff in the bullpen is Ty Buttrey. Buttrey already has 12 innings under his belt this season, posting a beautiful 0.75 ERA and 16 strikeouts to only three walks. The only reason to believe Buttrey won't end up as the full-time closer is if Ausmus decides to use him in a fireman role, giving him the high-leverage situations regardless of the inning. In that case, either Hansel Robles or Luis Garcia would likely take the ninth. Still, Buttrey is the arm to own in this bullpen. He should be picked up right away in holds leagues and deeper standard leagues.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays bullpen has more or less settled, with Jose Alvarado taking the reins in the ninth inning while Diego Castillo rides closely behind him. Manager Kevin Cash wanted to give both of them consecutive days off, so Emilio Pagan stepped up and saved two games in two days. The Rays are finally starting to get a little attention at the national level, but they're legitimately good at everything, and their bullpen is definitely a strength throughout.

Milwaukee Brewers

Jeremy Jeffress now has four scoreless appearances under his belt this season, tossing 3 2/3 innings without allowing a run. He has four strikeouts and two walks in his four games. He hasn't been given a save situation yet, but he's looked strong enough since his return from the IL and should be getting a ninth inning chance soon.

Josh Hader figures to work his fireman role and will still earn saves, but Jeffress will most likely return to the setup the Brewers used last season, where he was more or less reserved for the ninth inning on days that Hader was needed in earlier innings. Any possible buy-low window on Jeffress is about to slam shut.


Short Relief

  • Rangers closer Jose Leclerc is having a really rough go of it to start the season, but at least for now he doesn't seem in danger of losing his job. He'll have to quickly improve upon his 7.88 ERA and 9:7 strikeout-to-walk ratio for that to remain true.
  • Cubs reliever Brandon Morrow felt some renewed elbow soreness in his rehab and has been shut down again. The current hope is that he will start throwing again in about two weeks, but his recovery from elbow surgery certainly isn't going as planned.
  • Joe Jimenez has struggled early this season and Shane Greene has excelled, so a Tigers bullpen that many expected to see an early-season changing of the guard in has instead been solidified by the veteran.
  • Taylor Rogers picked up his third save for the Twins this week, but it was only because Blake Parker wasn't feeling well. Parker is still the guy in Minnesota, but this week showed that Rogers remains next in line.
  • Hector Neris has looked like the best reliever in Philadelphia, but no one is really trying to predict what Gabe Kapler will do in any given ninth inning.
  • Same with Scott Servais in Seattle. For a while, it looked like Anthony Swarzak was settling into the ninth, then it looked like Roenis Elias was taking the reins. All we know is we don't know who will be on the mound in a Seattle ninth inning.
  • Ryan Brasier had a three-save week and seems to be settling into the ninth inning in Boston. Matt Barnes will serve as the fireman and should get saves here and there too.
  • Raisel Iglesias had his best week of the season and looks to be out of his early-season slump.


Roster Moves of the Week


Ty Buttrey, Los Angeles Angels - Run, don't walk (what are you, Trevor Rosenthal?) to the waiver wire and pick up Ty Buttrey. He has the upside to be an excellent fantasy closer and the only thing possibly holding him back is the potential for him to be used in a fireman's role. Even if that's the case, he'll still have plenty of fantasy value.

Jeremy Jeffress, Milwaukee Brewers - Look at Jeremy Jeffress' numbers from the second half of last season. Look at the Milwaukee bullpen and the fact that Corey Knebel is out for the season. Look at Jeffress' ownership rate in fantasy leagues (less than 30%). You need to own Jeremy Jeffress in your fantasy league. Go get him now.

Ryan Brasier, Boston Red Sox - Looks like the Red Sox bullpen might have figured itself out. Brasier got three saves this week, and Matt Barnes seems to be working as the fireman. Brasier might not get every single save chance going forward, but it's looking like he'll get a lot of them, and that makes him worth a roster spot.


Cody Allen, Los Angeles Angels - Cody Allen was knocked out of the closer's role and there's good reason to believe Ty Buttrey will grab a hold and never look back. In deeper leagues, you can hold onto Allen just in case he gets his job back, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves - Just in case you're a bit behind or still in denial, Vizcaino is out for the year after undergoing shoulder surgery and can be dropped in all formats. It's the A.J. Minter show in Atlanta for ninth innings now.


Best of the Week

Raisel Iglesias, Cincinnati Reds - 4 IP, 3 SV, 9 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.25 WHIP

Reds closer Raisel Iglesias got off to a rough start this season, but this week he showed that his talent is still there and that he deserves a spot on your fantasy team. Three saves, nine strikeouts, and only one hit allowed in four innings of work. It was by far his best week of the season so far but it's not far-fetched to think he'll have more weeks like this one.

Ryan Brasier, Boston Red Sox - 3 IP, 3 SV, 3 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP

The Red Sox bullpen seems to have settled into Matt Barnes operating as fireman and Ryan Brasier working as reserved closer. That means Brasier will get most of the save chances and should have more weeks like this one. He saved all three games he pitched in, struck out three, and allowed just two hits.

Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers - 3 IP, 3 SV, 4 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP

Tigers closer Shane Greene has been excellent this season, and this week was more of the same from him. He saved three games, struck out four, and allowed just a hit and a walk all week.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice

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