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MLB Closers and Saves Report Week 20

The playoffs are coming! Fantasy baseball life comes at you fast, and even though we can all probably remember drafting our teams, it's already almost playoff time.

With the trade deadline well behind us (despite some intriguing post-deadline deals still going on), teams have their bullpens more or less set. Injuries, however, are unpredictable.

You've made it this far and you're looking good heading into the last few weeks of the regular season (hopefully). Let's see what we can do to help you make that last push into the playoffs.

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Bullpen News for Week 20

Los Angeles Angels

With Bud Norris removed from the ninth inning, Cam Bedrosian has earned three saves in the past week. Normally, someone earning three saves in a week would be considered a team's closer, but due to the fact that he's still recovering from the groin injury that kept him off the field for a good chunk of the season, Bedrosian is still unable to pitch in back-to-back games. Basically, Bedrosian is the team's closer, as long as he didn't pitch the day before. That leads to a strange committee that will include Blake Parker and Keynan Middleton. Bedrosian is the one to own in this bullpen, but the other two should retain some value as well.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal was a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities since officially taking over the role. The Cardinals and their fans felt comfortable that they had finally found a closer, a solid rock to lock down their wins. Then Wednesday happened. Rosenthal came in for a save, faced two batters, allowed a home run and a walk, and was pulled from the game. While Rosenthal had not allowed a hit on a fastball slower than 96 mph this season, the home run he allowed was on a 91 mph meatball. Combine diminished velocity with Rosenthal complaining about tightness in his throwing arm, and there's a lot to worry about.

Not even 24 hours after the game, Rosenthal was placed on the disabled list with the official diagnosis of "right elbow irritation." Former closer Seung Hwan Oh seems to have fixed the issues that got him booted from the ninth inning in the first place. He's allowed just one run over his past 12 appearances. Meanwhile, lefty Tyler Lyons is working on 14 consecutive scoreless appearances. Manager Mike Matheny may mix things up based on the batters due to hit in the ninth, but with Rosenthal out of the picture for what may be a while, Oh would seem to be the one to own.

New York Yankees

The Yankees bullpen is something special: almost all of their relievers could be great closers if they were on different teams. Still, that does not mean the Yankees have no issues in their relief corps. Closer Aroldis Chapman hasn't quite been his usual dominant self lately, and recently has complained about tightness in his hamstring. While it may not be a serious injury, the Yankees may take the opportunity to switch a few roles in the bullpen, giving Dellin Betances the ninth inning and shifting Chapman to an earlier role. It's unclear what manager Joe Girardi will do, but it's no longer a given that Chapman will continue in the ninth inning for the remainder of the season.


Odds and Ends

Cleveland Indians reliever Andrew Miller (knee) tossed a successful rehab inning this week and is expected to rejoin the Indians on Friday.

Miami Marlins reliever Kyle Barraclough (shoulder) came back and tossed an inning in a low leverage situation while setup man Junichi Tazawa (bad) allowed four hits to the four batters he faced. Barraclough will quickly begin working in higher leverage situations and may take over the closer role from Brad Ziegler before too long.

The Chicago White Sox bullpen is a smoldering dumpster fire, but owners absolutely desperate for saves might look into Juan Minaya. Honestly, just leaving a RP slot empty might be a better option than a White Sox reliever.

New York Mets reliever Jeurys Familia (shoulder) made his first rehab appearance, tossing a scoreless inning. He'll need several more rehab innings and won't jump into meaningful innings right away when he rejoins the Mets, but there's a chance he's given a few save opportunities before the end of the season.



Roster Moves of the Week


Cam Bedrosian, Los Angeles Angels- Bedrosian still can't pitch in two games in a row, but he'll likely be looking at a save opportunity whenever he is on the mound. He's still part of a committee in Anaheim, but he's the leader of the committee and should eventually take over full time.

Seung Hwan Oh, St. Louis Cardinals- Oh was certainly owned earlier this season, but was likely dropped once he lost his job as closer. With Trevor Rosenthal looking like he might miss a long time, Oh is the most likely Cardinals reliever to earn saves until Rosey comes back.


Tyler Clippard, Houston Astros- If you grabbed Clippard when he was on the White Sox, hoping he'd pick up some saves now and then, you can go ahead and cut him now that he's on the Astros. He won't see any save opportunities in Houston, and doesn't have the ratio upside to be worth keeping around.


Best of the Week

 Corey Knebel, Milwaukee Brewers- 5 IP, 6 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP

Brewers closer Corey Knebel had a busy but very successful week. In five innings, he struck out six batters and earned three saves and a win. Meanwhile, he only allowed two hits and a walk.

Sean Doolittle, Washington Nationals- 4 IP, 3 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP

Nationals closer Sean Doolittle had a strong week, saving three games while tossing four scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits and a walk while striking out three. Doolittle is only owned in 64% of fantasy leagues right now. That should be much closer to 100.

Cam Bedrosian, Los Angeles Angels AND Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers-  3 IP, 3 SV, 3 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP

The two Los Angeles-area closers had almost identical weeks, with both righties tossing three innings, recording three strike outs, and picking up a save in all three games they appeared in. Bedrosian allowed just a hit and a walk while Jansen allowed two hits. The two closers are juxtaposed here not only because they both pitch their home games near Interstate 5, but also to show that Bedrosian can be an elite fantasy closer. He's owned in just 34% of leagues (compared to 99% for Jansen), and Bedrosian's role will only grow as we move into the fantasy playoffs.


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