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Florio's Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Report - Yankees, A's, Phillies Keep on Changing!

Michael King - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News

It's hard to believe we are nearly a third through the MLB season. We are about to hit Memorial Day weekend, which is a big moment in the fantasy baseball season. No, not because you can cook outside, eat food, and watch baseball all day -- who wouldn’t want to do that?

It marks a vital time when MLB franchises start to take stock of their team and what their needs are moving forward -- but also it's when they start to consider if they are going to be buyers or sellers. It's the time of the year when trade rumors start to percolate and we see teams try to beat the deadline rush and pull off early trades. It is also a time when fantasy baseball players need to take a hard look in the mirror at their squad. 

This is a vital time because there is still enough season left to correct things, but there has been enough time to know what your team is good at and where it needs help. If you need saves, this article could greatly help you. Your options are to either trade for a closer or try to find saves on the wire. Paying close attention to bullpens can help you roster a closer in waiting before they get the chance. It's also not a bad idea to start thinking of teams that could trade relievers and try to get out in front of it. 

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Changing Bullpens for Fantasy Baseball

The Phillies are no strangers to this article. With Jose Alvarado sidelined, it has been Craig Kimbrel leading the way for Philly. He has picked up two saves in the last two weeks, and the lone save for them in the last week. It has been a bit of an up-and-down season for Kimbrel, but he has been pitching well as of late and needs to be started as long as he is closing out games. He leads all relievers with a 53 percent strikeout rate in the last month. Seranthony Dominguez and Gregory Soto are next in line until Alvarado returns, that is. 

The A’s placed Zach Jackson on the IL, making their bullpen even more of a guessing game. Jackson was someone I preached not to be too aggressive on as the A’s just don’t win many games and seemingly have been willing to mix it up in late-inning situations. They have not picked up a save in weeks and have four on the season.

Every pitcher that has a save for them has either been placed on the IL or DFA’d. Yes, it is rough. Richard Lovelady is certainly in consideration for saves but he is a lefty. Austin Pruitt remains an option and Trevor May, I mean they paid him for some reason, which means he will always remain an option. 

The Yankees have had four different pitchers pick up a save in the last week. Ron Marinaccio, Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta, and Ryan Weber each picked one up for the Bronx Bombers. That doesn’t even include Michael King, who has three saves on the season. This bullpen is a mess right now.

There are three Yankee relievers worth rostering for those in need of saves: Peralta, King, and Holmes. I believe that the Yankees want Holmes to be the guy, which is why he would be my top option with King and Peralta, in that order, as the fallbacks. All are worth using in fantasy baseball until one runs away with the gig. 

The White Sox have frequently been covered here. Reynaldo Lopez opened the year as the closer, but in the last week, Kendall Graveman picked up three saves to Joe Kelly’s one. Keynan Middleton has also been used in save situations. Graveman is the one to roster right now, but Liam Hendriks continues to work his way back. It may take him a little bit to take over the ninth fully, but that is the full expectation. He should be stashed, while Graveman should be started in all leagues. 


Speculative Saves for Fantasy Baseball 

The Cardinals have a loaded bullpen with plenty of arms worth rostering. While Ryan Helsley is the primary closer, others can provide fantasy value. Giovanny Gallegos actually has more saves in the last month than Helsley does. Gallegos has three saves despite having shaky ratios and struggling to miss many bats. He can be rostered and started for those in need of saves right now.

Genesis Cabrera has struggled a bit as of late but he can provide ratios and a strong strikeout rate. Jordan Hicks has the closer experience and has been lights out as of late. He has pitched to a 2.08 ERA, 2.82 xFIP, and 41 percent strikeout rate with a 1.00 WHIP. He can be rostered for those in need of ratios and strikeouts. For fantasy, I rank these pitchers in this order: Helsley, Gallegos, Hicks, and Cabrera. 

The Cubs have not picked up a save in the last two weeks. It has been a bullpen to avoid for the most part. However, Mark Leiter Jr. has been their most effective reliever. He has pitched to a 2.00 ERA, 3.23 xERA, and 1.00 WHIP with a 38 percent strikeout rate. He also gets used in the saves mix. He is the one reliever worth rostering in this bullpen right now. 

The Diamondbacks have used Andrew Chafin for the most part this season as he has a team-high seven saves. However, they have turned to Miguel Castro more as of late. In the last two weeks, he has three saves to Chafin’s two. Both have been extremely effective in that span and have been striking out over a third of the batters they have faced. Both are worth rostering and starting for the time being.

The Rays have two legit options they can use to pick up saves. Pete Fairbanks returned a little over a week ago and he has two saves while Jason Adam has one. Both have been extremely effective and happen to play for the best team in baseball, meaning there will be plenty of save chances. While Fairbanks is the preferred option of the two, both are worth rostering and starting moving forward. 


Elite Strikeouts and Ratios 

Hunter Harvey has pitched to a 3.00 ERA, 3.74 xERA, and 0.95 WHIP with a 30 percent strikeout rate. Not only can he provide ratios and strikeouts, but he has picked up two saves. The Nationals have used Kyle Finnegan as their primary closer, but as of late, they have been using him more in the middle innings.

That leaves the save chances to go to Harvey. There is also the chance that Finnegan is traded, which would likely leave Harvey as the closer unless he too is dealt. But as long as he is proving these sorts of numbers with the occasional save, he is the top non-closer to pick up and roster for the time being. 

Aroldis Chapman may only have one save this season but he has pitched to a 3.06 ERA, 2.89 xERA, and 1.30 WHIP with a 39 percent strikeout rate. Not only can he get you a ton of strikeouts right now, but Chapman looks like a lock to be traded. Perhaps he lands on a team that needs a closer, like the Mets or Phillies. That would see his fantasy value shoot up. And you can roster him now for a much lower cost than if you wait until he is traded. 

Joe Kelly has been extremely effective over the last month. He has pitched to a 0.84 ERA, 1.03 xFIP, and 0.28 WHIP with a 46 percent strikeout rate in 10.2 innings in that span. He is pitching well, providing great ratios and strikeouts all while being used often. He picked up a save in this span as well. While the White Sox bullpen has a lot of late-inning options, Kelly can provide the best ratios of the bunch right now. He could also be a trade candidate or see others from his bullpen get traded, which could lead to some future save chances for him. 

Dauri Moreta has thrown 13 innings in the last month while pitching to a 0.69 ERA, 1.88 xFIP, 0.46 WHIP, and a 44 percent strikeout ratio. He has actually outpitched his teammate David Bednar in that span. While it likely will take an injury or a huge trade to get him some save chances, he does provide great ratios and strikeouts for those in deeper leagues. 

Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.

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