MLB Closers and Saves Report Week 25

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Looks like we made it, folks. With only about nine or ten games left for each team, the baseball season is just about over. Of course, there's the playoffs to look forward to, but for most fantasy leagues, things end with Game 162.

If you're still here, if you're still following along with our weekly MLB Closers and Saves Report, then congratulations! You must have done well enough this season to either be in the playoffs or still relevant in season-long leagues!

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Or maybe you just really, really like my writing? Yeah, that's probably it! Let's get to it, then:

 

Bullpen News for Week 25

Baltimore Orioles

The struggle that was the 2017 season is now over for Orioles closer Zach Britton. Britton will receive an injection in his troublesome knee and won't pitch again this year. He's officially dealing with an MCL strain. Brad Brach will take his place in the ninth inning, where he's been more often than the team expected this year. Brach should be a good source of saves for the last week or so of the season, and should be picked up wherever he is available.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals have an interesting situation on their hands (wings?) They acquired reliever Juan Nicasio after August 31, meaning he is ineligible for the playoff roster. The Cardinals are very much within striking distance of the second wild card in the National League, and Nicasio has been pitching fairly well as the team's closer. Will they continue to use him up until the last day of the regular season, then potentially make a switch at closer heading into the postseason, or will they try to move him out of the ninth inning and give someone else that experience? This week, Nicasio got into a little trouble in a save spot, and manager Mike Matheny called on lefty Tyler Lyons to bail him out. Lyons got the last two outs of the game and earned his third save of the year. Perhaps Matheny will use Lyons in the postseason, but Seung Hwan Oh has more closing experience and despite a rough 2017, was lights out last year. It'll be interesting to see how the team plays it, assuming of course that they don't slump and drop out of the race before things get interesting.

New York Yankees

The Yankees saw closer Aroldis Chapman struggle earlier this season, something that hasn't happened all that often in his big league career. It got to a point, however, that manager Joe Girardi was forced to make a move, removing Chapman from his closing position. Dellin Betances got most of the save chances while Chapman was out of the role, but he ended up struggling a bit as well, leading Chapman back in, originally as part of a committee. He's now pitched six scoreless innings in a row since regaining his chance at the ninth, and should be considered the closer again, no longer just a member of the committee. Chapman is, of course, an excellent reliever to own in fantasy regardless of his earlier struggles.

 

Odds and Ends

 

Miami Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler is over his nagging back injury and ready to pitch out the bullpen again. He was working as the closer for a while before he got hurt, but Kyle Barraclough has been working the ninth in his place. It'll be interesting to see in the last week or so if manager Don Mattingly will go with the veteran Ziegler or if he will give the younger Barraclough the chance to gain some closing experience.

Kansas City Royals reliever Mike Minor, long thought of as part of the closing committee in KC, finally earned his first save this week. He's been very good this year, as has Scott Alexander. Minor and Alexander should be considered the favorites for saves for the rest of the season.

Roster Moves of the Week

Adds

Brad Brach, Baltimore Orioles- With Zach Britton done for the year with an MCL strain, Brach will take over the ninth inning until Game 162. He's a solid pickup for a quick shot in the arm for a team that needs saves.

Drops

Zach Britton, Baltimore Orioles- Britton is done for the year with an MCL strain and should be dropped in all non-keeper/dynasty formats.

Kelvin Herrera, Kansas City Royals- Any teams still holding onto the former Royals closer can go ahead and drop him. He was removed from the ninth inning, then eventually given another chance to close, only to blow the game. He's unlikely to see another save chance this year.

 

Best of the Week

 Wade Davis, Chicago Cubs- 4 IP, 6 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.46 WHIP

Cubs closer Wade Davis had an excellent week, tossing four scoreless innings while striking out six and saving three games. He gave up just one hit and one walk in his four appearances.

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees- 3 IP, 3 K, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.38 WHIP

He's back! Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman worked his way back into the closer's role and excelled this week, saving two games while striking out three and allowing just one hit.

Alex Claudio, Texas Rangers- 4 IP, 2 K, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP

Rangers reliever Alex Claudio had a strong week, saving two games in four scoreless innings. He gave up just two hits in this three appearances. While he's not the full-time closer, he's the head of the committee and could be a nice source of saves for the last week.

 

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