Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

Bullpen Report: Struggling Closers, RP to Add Before Trade Deadline

This is a very busy time in the sports world. This week we have the NBA Finals, but more importantly, the Scott Fish Bowl kicking off. Every year that indicates the start of fantasy football draft season and you will see a lot of content on radio shows, podcasts, articles and on Twitter turn from fantasy baseball to fantasy football. 

Do not check to make sure you clicked the right link, this is in fact a fantasy baseball article. So why am I starting it off talking about fantasy football? Well, this is a time of year where some managers take their eyes off the prize and shift their focus to football draft season. This is the time of year you may start to see some players go for less FAB just because there is less attention. This is a good time of year to grab relievers for cheap that can help you both in saves, but also with your ratios and strikeouts. 

The All-Star break is next week, which is also a prime chance to jump on players while some of your league mates enjoy the few days off. After that is the trade deadline and we know that will mix things up with some closers going to new teams. That could lead to a current closer ending up a setup man somewhere. But it also leads to teams having save opportunities open up if they trade their closer. Being proactive is a great way to grab a potential closer in waiting, without having to pay high FAAB amounts after the move goes down. 

Featured Promo: Want a free RotoBaller Premium Pass? Check out these sports betting promo offers from the top sportsbooks! All new sign-ups get a free bonus offer on their first deposit, and a free year of RotoBaller's Premium Pass for all sports ($450 value)! Sign Up Now!


Changing Bullpens 

Baltimore Orioles 

This bullpen has been unreliable the past couple of years, but that seemed to be changing early on when all the save chances went to Cesar Valdez. He blew that opportunity and then landed on the injured list. He is nearing a return so we will have to continue to monitor this situation, but with him out the expectation is that Paul Fry would be the next man up. That has not been the case though as he has not had a save chance in the past two weeks.

While Fry does have two saves on the season (and two blown saves), the chances lately have gone to Cole Sulser. He has three saves on the year, two coming in the last two weeks. His ratios or strikeouts are not worth rostering if he is not getting the saves, but as long as he is, he will have a roster spot on save needy teams. In the last two weeks, Adam Plutko and Dillon Tate also picked up a save. I rank the arms here for fantasy: Sulser, Fry, Valdez, Tate, Plutko, but this is a very fluid situation. 

Cincinnati Reds

There has not been a week when the Reds bullpen has not been included in this article as a changing bullpen. It’s been a maddening situation all year. Just in the last week we have seen three different pitchers pick up a save, and that is with both Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone both sidelined. In the past two weeks, Amir Garrett has three saves, Heath Hembree has two (both this week), and Brad Brach has one. We have seen the Reds mix and match when they use Garrett. At times they save him for the ninth, but at other times, even in the past week, we have seen him deployed in the middle innings. Much of it depends on who is due up for the opposing lineup.

If Garrett is not used, Hembree is next in line followed by Brach. One thing is for certain - they do not want to use Sean Doolittle for save chances. This bullpen will remain fluid, but for now, Garrett and Hembree are who you want to roster. 

Kansas City Royals 

The Royals have six different relievers who have picked up saves this season, but no one with more than five. They have three pitchers with at least four saves, making this a difficult situation to figure out. But in recent weeks the save chances have gone to Scott Barlow and Greg Holland. In the last 14 days, Barlow has two saves, while Holland has one (and one blown save). Barlow has been the better pitcher with the better ERA, WHIP and strikeout rate both on the season and in recent weeks. He is the top pitcher to roster here, but Holland should be on save needy teams in deeper formats. 

Miami Marlins

Yimi Garcia is still the closer here, but he was treated like a firework getting lit up on July 4th, giving up four runs on four hits and three walks, blowing a four-run lead. Then on Monday Anthony Bender came in and picked up the save. It is not enough yet to indicate a change, as Garcia has been reliable for the most part, but it is nice to get a clearer sense of who is next up. You can grab Bender now for cheap and if Garcia continues to struggle, he could see more save chances. 

New York Yankees

Aroldis Chapman looked like the best closer in baseball for the first part of the season, but that has certainly changed as of late. He has blown both his last two save chances, including an ugly outing against the Mets where he took the loss and allowed three earned runs without picking up an out. His ERA sits at 60.75 with a 10.99 SIERA, 8.25 WHIP and a very uncharacteristic 13 percent strikeout rate in that span. He now has three losses and four blown saves on the season. This has been ugly for Chapman and it is possible if he continues to struggle we could see a change or a phantom IL stint. Next in line is likely Jonathan Loaisiga, who has been the Yankees' best reliever this season, but we also could see Chad Green get some chances. Both are solid stash options. 

Philadelphia Phillies

There is no bullpen more up in the air right now than the Phillies. In the last two weeks, they have had four different relievers pick up a save, with none getting more than one. Hector Neris is one of those pitchers, but he continues to implode and should not be trusted in fantasy. That leaves Ranger Suarez, Jose Alvarado and Archie Bradley as the top options to use in fantasy. The issue is, there is no certainty at who will get the save call in a given night. I would rank Alvarado first, but with him being a lefty, they may not always save him for the ninth. Suarez has been the best pitcher as of late, but he has just one career save. Bradley has closing experience, but also has the least swing and miss stuff of this bunch. For fantasy value them in this order (as of now): Suarez, Alvarado, Bradley. 


Ratio Relievers to Add

Ryan Tepera is on the IL, but that only means he can be had for cheap. The Cubs have struggled as of late, while the Brewers have been surging. That leaves them over eight games out of the division, and nearly as far out of the wild card. With a lot of expiring contracts, the Cubs could look to blow things up and if they do, they could try to sell Craig Kimbrel, who has been great, and get his contract off the books. Tepera would be the frontrunner to closer if so once he is healthy, as he has been lights out this season. 

Jonathan Loasigia is someone that should be stashed right now. As mentioned above, things have gone south for Chapman and fast. There is the possibility that the Yankees, who are seeing their season sink before their eyes, determine that they can not trust him in the ninth. We also could see a phantom IL stint to attempt to get him right. Loasigia gives great ratios and strikeouts, but he also could be thrust into the save picture in New York soon.  

Kyle Crick is someone I have written up in recent weeks and will continue to do so until the trade deadline. The Pirates could elect to hold Richard Rodriguez as he is not an expiring contract, but, the last thing a rebuilding team needs is a reliable closer. Also, with relievers being so volatile year to year, there is a chance Pittsburgh considers moving their closer. If they were to deal Rodriguez, Crick would take over as the primary ninth-inning arm in the burg. 

Joely Rodriguez is another pitcher that could benefit from deadline deals. The Rangers are already out of it, but Ian Kennedy has been a very effective reliever for them this season, who also happens to be 36 years old with an expiring contract. What I am saying is they have no reason at all to hold him. If and when they deal Kennedy, Rodriguez is in a great position to be the next man up and serve as their closer in the second half of the season. Spencer Patton and Joe Barlow are the other candidates there. 

Drew Steckenrider/Paul Sewald are currently set up men, but that could change if Seattle trades Kendall Graveman, who is set to become a free agent at year's end. Graveman’s contract situation along with the fact that he has been lights out makes him one of the better trade candidates out there. If the Mariners do move on, these two would be prime save candidates, along with Rafael Montero, but he has had a very up and down season. Steckenrider is the preferred add, but Sewald should be stashed in deeper formats as well. 

J.B. Bukauskas could see save chances in the second half if the D-Backs ever actually have any save chances. Joakim Soria is operating as the closer for now, but he has an expiring contract and the DBacks are as far out of contention as you can be at this point in the season. If they deal him, they could elect to give their young reliever the chance to close. Bukauskas has struggled a bit in the bigs this year, but throughout his minor league career he showed the ability to pick up a lot of strikeouts and pitch to a low ERA. 

Julian Merryweather is working his way back from the IL and should return to the later-inning role he had prior to getting injured. Will he become the primary closer? Probably not, unless something happens to Jordan Romano. But could we see both of them get save chances like we did in April? That is very possible. At the very least he offers elite ratios and strikeouts. Get him now as his price will surely increase as he gets close to returning. 

Blake Treinen has filthy stuff and has pitched to a 2.94 ERA, 2.48 xERA, with a 1.16 WHIP and 28 percent strikeout rate. He also has three saves on the season already. He provides strikeouts and ratios and is the next man up for the Dodgers should anything happen to Kenley Jansen. He will get saves when Jansen is unavailable as well. 

Seth Lugo has pitched to a 2.40 ERA with a 3.32 xERA, 1.13 WHIP and a 35 percent strikeout rate. He provides great ratios and is the next man up for saves should anything happen to Edwin Diaz. He also can give you multiple innings in outings, which only helps his fantasy value. 

All stats entering Tuesday, July 6th. 

Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio

Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy baseball app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, sleepers, prospects & more. All free!

More Fantasy Baseball Advice


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts


Damien Harris9 mins ago

Not Expected To Play Thursday Night
Joel Embiid55 mins ago

Returns Against Hawks
Los Angeles Rams59 mins ago

Aaron Donald Dealing With High-Ankle Sprain
Clint Capela60 mins ago

De'Andre Hunter To Play On Monday
Melvin Gordon III1 hour ago

Expected To Sign With Chiefs
Anthony Davis1 hour ago

Likely To Suit Up Monday
Christian McCaffrey1 hour ago

Dealing With Knee Irritation
Brandon Ingram1 hour ago

Downgraded To Out
Jaylen Brown1 hour ago

To Miss Monday's Game
Elijah Mitchell1 hour ago

Likely Out 6-8 Weeks
Pascal Siakam1 hour ago

Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam To Play Monday
Michael Carter1 hour ago

Has A Low-Ankle Sprain
Terry Rozier2 hours ago

Ruled Out On Monday
Joe Mixon2 hours ago

Trending In The Right Direction For Week 13
Darnell Mooney2 hours ago

Done For The Season
James Reimer2 hours ago

Placed On Injured Reserve
Linus Ullmark2 hours ago

Available For The Next Game
Alex Pietrangelo2 hours ago

Out Monday For Personal Reasons
Nick Perbix2 hours ago

Returns On Monday
Robert Thomas2 hours ago

Misses Monday's Game
Warren Foegele2 hours ago

Ryan McLeod Out Monday
John Gibson3 hours ago

Joins Team For Trip To Nashville
Justin Verlander5 hours ago

Dodgers Meeting With Justin Verlander Monday
J.K. Dobbins5 hours ago

To Practice This Week
José Abreu5 hours ago

Astros "Finalizing A Deal For" Jose Abreu
Mike Clevinger5 hours ago

Signs With White Sox
Jameson Williams5 hours ago

A Long Shot To Face Jaguars
Kadarius Toney6 hours ago

Day-To-Day With Hamstring Injury
Caris LeVert6 hours ago

Probable For Monday
Dallas Mavericks6 hours ago

Kemba Walker Expected To Sign With Mavericks
Jarrett Allen6 hours ago

Remains Sidelined Monday
Kevin Love6 hours ago

To Sit Out On Monday
Jaden McDaniels6 hours ago

To Miss Monday's Game
Joel Embiid6 hours ago

Tagged As Questionable For Monday
Travis Etienne Jr.8 hours ago

Says He's Fine
Ja'Marr Chase8 hours ago

Expected To Return In Week 13
Mo Bamba11 hours ago

Exits With Back Spasms
Evan Mobley11 hours ago

Stands Out Versus Detroit
Jaylen Brown11 hours ago

Scores Season-High 36 Points
Bradley Beal11 hours ago

Scores 30 Points In Sunday's Loss
Tyler Herro11 hours ago

Notches A Triple-Double Versus Atlanta
Draymond Green11 hours ago

Logs First Double-Double Of The Season
Grayson Allen11 hours ago

Nets Season-High 25 Points
Aaron Rodgers11 hours ago

To Undergo More Testing
Aaron Rodgers21 hours ago

Questionable To Return On Sunday
Elijah Mitchell21 hours ago

May Have An MCL Sprain
Jalen Brunson21 hours ago

Scores 30 Points In Losing Effort
Darnell Mooney22 hours ago

May Be Done For The Year
Allen Robinson II24 hours ago

Needs Surgery, Won't Return This Season
Elijah Mitchell1 day ago

Won't Return On Sunday
Elijah Mitchell1 day ago

Questionable To Return Against Saints
Kirill Kaprizov1 day ago

Extends Scoring Streak To Career-High Nine Games
Matias Maccelli1 day ago

Returns With Two Assists
Johnny Gaudreau1 day ago

Sits Out Sunday's Practice With An Illness
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1 day ago

X-Rays Negative On Tristan Wirfs
Adam Fox1 day ago

Misses Practice With An Illness
Sam Lafferty1 day ago

Sits Again Sunday
Aleksander Barkov1 day ago

Set To Miss Two More Games
Brock Boeser1 day ago

Matches Career-High Point Streak
J.T. Miller1 day ago

Leads The Way With Three Points
Ryan Pulock1 day ago

Hands Out Four Assists
Auston Matthews1 day ago

Notches Three Points Against Pittsburgh
Jack Hughes1 day ago

Gets His First Career Hat Trick
Jordan Kyrou1 day ago

Extends Point Streak With Two Goals
Brayden Schenn1 day ago

Getting Evaluated For A Lower-Body Injury
Ryan McLeod2 days ago

Delivers Three Assists Saturday
Carlos Santana3 days ago

Pirates Agree With Carlos Santana On Friday
Narciso Crook3 days ago

Red Sox Sign Narciso Crook To Minor-League Deal
Denyi Reyes3 days ago

Mets Sign Denyi Reyes
Milwaukee Brewers3 days ago

Blake Perkins Signs With Brewers
Elliot Soto3 days ago

Twins Re-Sign Elliot Soto
Los Angeles Angels3 days ago

Angels Sign Jacob Webb
Xander Bogaerts3 days ago

Padres Looking At Xander Bogaerts?
Brandon Nimmo3 days ago

Rays Among Teams Interested In Brandon Nimmo
Michael Conforto3 days ago

Cubs Considering Michael Conforto
Hoy Park4 days ago

Red Sox Acquire Hoy Park From Pirates
Chad Wallach5 days ago

Angels Re-Sign Chad Wallach
Cody Bellinger5 days ago

Rockies Interested In Cody Bellinger
Carlos Rodón5 days ago

Rangers Have Serious Interest In Carlos Rodon
Aaron Judge5 days ago

Giants Expected To Make Formal Offer To Aaron Judge
Bryce Harper5 days ago

Undergoes Tommy John Surgery
Hoy Park5 days ago

Pirates Designate Hoy Park For Assignment
Joely Rodríguez5 days ago

Red Sox Sign Joely Rodriguez
Hunter Renfroe5 days ago

Brewers Acquire Janson Junk In Hunter Renfroe Trade