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Closers and Saves Report - Week 9 Waiver Wire

There are currently at least NINE bullpens in Major League Baseball operating with a closer-by-committee approach. While it has been heavily discussed and essentially proven to be the best option in a "real" game, it sure makes for a headache in the fantasy baseball world where there can oftentimes be a bicycle race (✔) to get the most saves.

A few bullpens are defaulting back to what they used to do, with managers essentially admitting that they may have jumped the gun in removing a closer after one or two bad appearances. Still, it's getting harder and harder to keep track of what's going on with relief pitchers these days, so keep an eye on this weekly article and the depth charts to stay one step/inning/save ahead of the rest of your league.

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 9

Atlanta Braves

After weeks of me recommending Luke Jackson and adding him to my own main fantasy team, he had a bad outing and the Braves decided to try Sean Newcomb in the ninth inning instead. That didn't last long, as Jackson is right back in the closer's role where he belongs. Maybe we should temper our expectations a bit and understand that his leash is shorter than it might have seemed, but Newcomb is not the answer in the ninth and does not have the swing-and-miss stuff that Jackson features. He was likely dropped in a lot of leagues, so it's worth taking a look at the waiver wire: if he's there, get him on your team.

Boston Red Sox

Ryan Brasier was on thin ice after some bad performances last week. This week, he performed...badly, again. The closer's role in Boston doesn't belong to anyone right now, as they look like they're going with a committee approach to the ninth inning. Matt Barnes is the best pitcher in that bullpen, but he's likely to still be used in the highest leverage situations regardless of inning. He could start earning a few more saves here and there though since there won't be anyone waiting around for the ninth. Brandon Workman and Marcus Walden should see save opportunities as well, and Brasier should make his way back into the mix sooner or later. Keep an eye on the Red Sox bullpen to see how things shake up, but for right now Barnes is looking like the only one worth owning in most formats.

Baltimore Orioles

The 2019 Orioles were never going to be a great source of saves, but at least they were entering the season with Mychal Givens, a guy who can strike other guys out, as their full-time closer. A full-time closer, even on the worst team in baseball, is still worth something in fantasy. Givens went ahead and worked himself right out of the closer's role though, leaving the Orioles with yet another committee. Shawn Armstrong seems to be leading that committee, with Paul Fry and Branden Kline along for the ride. Armstrong is the pick up here for owners desperate for saves, but he's not a guy that you'll need to run to the wire to pick up in most formats.


Short Relief

  • It looks like it's still Shawn Kelley in Texas, but probably not for long. Jose Leclerc was working his way back into significant innings before shoulder stiffness and calf soreness forced him to take a little time off. I still think it's Leclerc's job before the end of June, but Kelley has been solid in the meantime.
  • Pedro Strop should be back in the Chicago Cubs bullpen this weekend, but it's unclear how the roles will shake up. Steve Cishek has been solid as the leader of the committee, but Strop might step back into the closer's role he had before he got hurt and move everyone else down an inning. Stay tuned.
  • Since May 15, the Tampa Bay Rays have had only three save opportunities. Two of those have gone to Jose Alvarado, and the other to Diego Castillo. That's likely the way things will shake up in Tampa Bay all season, it's a full-on committee approach but Alvarado and Castillo will be the two arms most commonly seen in the ninth inning.


Roster Moves of the Week


Shawn Armstrong, Baltimore Orioles - If your team is desperate for saves, Armstrong might be worth looking at on the waiver wire. He's a decent enough pitcher that he should pick up saves on most of the times he gets save chances, but he's just part of a committee and not great in any other categories, so he's not someone that needs to be owned in most formats.

Luke Jackson, Atlanta Braves - Just in case Jackson was dropped with the whole Newcomb experiment last week, he needs to be picked back up immediately.


Sean Newcomb, Atlanta Braves - Yeah, that didn't happen.

Mychal Givens, Baltimore Orioles - Givens is no longer the closer, and a middle reliever on a bad team has no fantasy value. Even if he might get the job back eventually, he's not worth keeping on your roster until then.


Best of the Week

Brad Hand, Cleveland Indians - 3 2/3 IP, 3 SV, 6 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.36 WHIP

Cleveland closer Brad Hand had yet another strong week, saving three games and striking out six while allowing no runs but two walks and three hits.

Hector Neris, Philadelphia Phillies - 3 1/3 IP, 3 SV, 7 K, 2.70 ERA, 0.90 WHIP

Phillies closer-by-committee leader Hector Neris saved three games this week, striking out seven batters while allowing a run on two hits and a walk. It's the first appearance this season for a Phillies pitcher on the Best of the Week list.

Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers - 4 IP, 3 SV, 3 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

Tigers closer Shane Greene had an interesting week, mostly because he didn't really pitch well, but his numbers ended up being quite good for fantasy purposes. Greene allowed five runs in just four innings, but all five runs were unearned so his ERA stayed a pristine 0.00 for the week.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice

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