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MLB Closers and Saves Report Week 10


The Mariners and Rays lit up the stove last week with the first major trade of the season, with the Rays sending Alex Colome and Denard Span to the Mariners. Colome had finally started to figure things out as the Rays closer, but he immediately moved into a setup role behind Mariners star closer Edwin Diaz. It's probably a better fit for Colome in terms of "real life" baseball, but it makes him worthless in standard fantasy leagues.

Nothing as exciting as a closer being traded happened this week, but there were still some meaningful moves happening in bullpens across the league. A veteran closer blew his first save of the season and already may have lost his job. An injured closer returned and got a save on the very first chance he had. An elite closer on the disabled list showed signs of life and could be a huge boost to fantasy teams before long.

All that and more in this week's Closers and Saves Report, so let's dive into the news, the best performers, and any suggested moves for your fantasy team this week:

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Bullpen News for Week 10

Miami Marlins

Marlins closer Brad Ziegler was somehow 9-for-9 in save chances despite an ERA that hovered around 7.00 all season. Reality reared its ugly head on Wednesday night, with Ziegler taking his first blown save after allowing two runs in the bottom of the ninth while only getting one out. It was his first official blown save of the season, but his fifth loss. It also shot his ERA up to 7.83 for the season. Never a strikeout machine, Ziegler was effective when he was able to induce weak contact and ground balls. He's been hit hard all season and most of last season though, and the Marlins may be about ready to make a change in the ninth inning. It's no secret that Ziegler was being kept in the closer's role in an attempt to build up his trade value, but seeing that any value he may have had has become nonexistent, the Fish may finally opt to do what's best for the 2018 team instead of future teams. Setup man Kyle Barraclough has been excellent this season and would almost certainly be first up for closing duties if Ziegler is removed from the role. Barraclough has a 1.48 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 27 strikeouts in just over 24 innings. He has the potential to be an excellent fantasy closer, even considering the fact that save chances won't be coming too often in Miami. He should be picked up in all formats soon.

Cincinnati Reds

Reds closer Raisel Iglesias was placed on the 10-day disabled list with an injury to his non-throwing arm a couple of weeks ago. Just as predicted, he was able to be activated on the first day he was eligible and was right back on the mound in a save situation. He converted the save, although it wasn't easy. He allowed three hits but was able to work around them for a four-out save. Iglesias is an excellent closer and has been one of the few exciting players on a rebuilding Reds team. He's posted a 1.96 ERA and almost 11 K/9 to go with his nine saves. He should be owned in most formats, although owners should expect fewer save opportunities from Iglesias than from some of their other closers. Jared Hughes did an admirable job filling in for Iglesias for 10 days, but he'll head back to his setup role now. Without the strikeout upside of some other setup men, Hughes is droppable in most formats.

San Francisco Giants

Giants closer Hunter Strickland has been solid so far this season, saving 12 games in 14 chances and posting a 2.63 ERA. He hasn't been elite by any means, as shown by his 8.63 K/9, but he's done nothing to lose the job. Still, with veteran Mark Melancon looking to come off the disabled list this week, it's possible Strickland's ninth inning days are numbered. Melancon hasn't allowed a run in 3 2/3 minor league rehab innings, but he hasn't pitched in a major league game since September 5. He only worked 30 innings last season, and he wasn't particularly effective in them. Still, he has the clout of being a veteran closer with several excellent seasons under his belt, so it's possible the Giants will want him back in the ninth inning regardless of Strickland's success. It won't happen right away though, so Strickland's fantasy owners have at least another week of saves. Melancon should be picked up in most formats, however. As long as he's healthy, he's likely to start picking up saves before long.

Baltimore Orioles

Orioles closer Zach Britton, a frequent visitor to the disabled list in recent months, is almost ready to come back. His first rehab appearance went well, and he'll have a few more before rejoining the Orioles bullpen. While he won't be thrown right back into the ninth inning right away, he'll work his way back into it fairly quickly. The goal for the Orioles is to show other teams that Britton is healthy and as elite as ever so that they can turn him into a nice package of prospects at the trade deadline. Brad Brach has been the head of the committee in Baltimore, but he's had an up-and-down season so far. Britton is a must-own in all formats, and his value could go up even higher after he's dealt to a team that will give him more save chances.

 

Roster Moves of the Week

Adds

Kyle Barraclough, Miami Marlins- Marlins closer Brad Ziegler is on his last legs, and while the team may not DFA him right away, they'd be wise to move him out of the ninth inning. Kyle Barraclough would be the next man up, and he's been having another excellent season. Since it's only a matter of time until Ziegler is officially removed from the closer's role, Barraclough is rapidly approaching "must-own" status.

Mark Melancon, San Francisco Giants- It may not happen right away since Hunter Strickland has been doing a good job in the ninth inning, but Mark Melancon will likely work his way back into the closer's role sooner or later. He's likely available on many waiver wires and should be picked up by patient owners in most formats.

Drops

Brad Ziegler, Miami Marlins- Brad Ziegler blew his first save this week, but his ERA is approaching eight and he already has five losses. It won't be long before he's officially removed from the closer's role, and even while in it he hasn't been returning much fantasy value. He can be dropped in most formats.

Jared Hughes, Cincinnati Reds- Temporarily the closer while Raisel Iglesias was on the disabled list, Jared Hughes did an admirable job for 10 days. With Iglesias back though, Hughes returns to his setup role and won't have value in standard leagues. Even in holds leagues, Hughes does not have much value because he lacks the strikeout upside of other setup men likely available on the wire.

 

Best of the Week

Sean Doolittle, Washington Nationals- 4 2/3 IP, 5 K, 4 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.64 WHIP

Nationals closer Sean Doolittle had the only four save week, and it was a good one. He struck out five and allowed just three hits in his 4 2/3 innings of work. Doolittle is having an excellent season and is flying somewhat under the radar as one of the best closers in baseball.

Blake Treinen, Oakland Athletics- 3 1/3 IP, 3 K, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.30 WHIP

Making his second consecutive appearance in Closer and Saves Report's Best of the Week, A's closer Blake Treinen saved three games, struck out two batters, and allowed only one hit this week. He's quickly climbing up the ranks of fantasy closers.

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees- 4 1/3 IP, 5 K, 3 SV, 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman had a strong week, striking out five batters in just over four innings and picking up three saves while allowing just one run on two hits and two walks.

 

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