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MLB Closers and Saves Targets for Week 9


More injuries, more committees, more problems, right? This week featured an under-the-radar elite closer hitting the disabled list, a very much average temporary closer hitting the skids, and a formerly solid closer seemingly returning to form.

Oh, and a rookie threw a pitch 105 miles per hour. Jordan Hicks has been the hardest throwing pitcher in baseball this season, by a pretty decent margin. He can consistently hit triple digits with his fastball, and has hit 105 more than once this season. He's recorded 16 pitches so far that have been 102 mph or faster. So, he's the owner of baseball's fastest pitch. Somehow, some way, he's also the owner of baseball's second-lowest strikeout rate this season (among qualified pitchers). He's only striking out 4.3 batters per nine innings, proving yet again that velocity isn't everything if you have no control.

Now that we've let ourselves get distracted by a 21-year-old who had never pitched above Single-A ball before Opening Day this season, let's take a closer look at some other bullpen news around the league. Let's dive into the news, the best performers, and any suggested moves for your fantasy team in this week's MLB Closers and Saves Report:

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Bullpen News for Week 9

Tampa Bay Rays/Seattle Mariners

The Rays and Mariners made a trade on Friday, with Alex Colome and Denard Span heading to Seattle while Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero head to Tampa Bay. It destroys Colome's value, which had been rebounding after a tough start to the season. Colome will slot in as a setup man for Mariners closer Edwin Diaz. In Tampa Bay, Chaz Roe and Jose Alvarado figure to split closer duties until one of them rises to the top. It's another committee folks, at least for now.

Cincinnati Reds

Reds closer Raisel Iglesias is one of those guys who would be much better known if he played on a much better team. He's sporting a 2.08 ERA to go with 11.22 K/9 and eight saves so far this season. The Reds have only won 17 games. Iglesias has saved eight of them. Unfortunately, he was placed on the disabled list this week with a sore left bicep. The good news is, Iglesias throws with his right arm, so an injury to his left arm should be a lot easier to recover from. Still, for at least 10 days, the Reds will need someone else to turn small leads into victories. Manager Jim Riggleman said he trusts Jared Hughes, Amir Garrett, Michael Lorenzen, and Wandy Peralta in the closer's role, but when the first chance for a closer to come in came up, Hughes was the man on the mound. While it may end up being a match-ups game, especially with Garrett if lefties are due up, Hughes seems like the safest bet in this bullpen. That being said, Iglesias shouldn't be out too long, so while Hughes could do well in his place, it would be a very temporary role. He's worth a pickup for owners of Iglesias and for anyone desperate for another save or two over the next week and a half.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John Surgery and still haven't landed on a full time closer, opting for the committee route instead. For a while, it seemed like veteran Jim Johnson would take the lead, then it looked like rookie Justin Anderson was taking the lead. The whole time, Cam Bedrosian was lurking in the shadows as well, but now it seems like perhaps Blake Parker has taken a seat at the head of the bullpen table. Parker got off to a rough start this season, but he's been much better lately and has had some ninth inning success in the past. It's still very much a committee in Anaheim, but at least right now it looks like Parker is the one working as the head of the committee.

Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna has been on administrative leave since being arrested for assault on May 8. He has a court date set for June 18, but is facing a possible suspension after that. It's unlikely Osuna will be back on the mound any time soon, which means the Blue Jays need someone else to close out games for them. The first chance to take over went to veteran Tyler Clippard. Clippard was doing well in the role, operating mostly as the head of the committee and not so much as the bona fide only closer in the bullpen, but well enough that he was looking like he could earn the actual "closer" title before long. Then, this week happened. Clippard blew a save by allowing a grand slam, then came into a game and allowed four runs on two hits and three walks. Ryan Tepera and Seung Hwan Oh are sure to get some ninth inning chances after Clippard's struggles this week. It's a bullpen to keep an eye on, as anyone who takes over as closer full time would be worth picking up in most formats.

 

Roster Moves of the Week

Adds

Jared Hughes, Cincinnati Reds- Hughes is a temporary add only, as Reds closer Raisel Iglesias is expected back somewhat soon. Still, in the meantime, Hughes seems likely to operate as the closer for a team that, if they're going to win, it's going to be close. Hughes won't provide a ton of strikeouts, but he'll help in ERA and WHIP, and should pick up a save or two.

Blake Parker, Los Angeles Angels- Parker is more of a speculative add for now, but he did seem to rise to the top of the closer committee in Anaheim this week. He has the talent to take the role and run with it, and the upside to be a solid mixed league contributor if he does so.

Ryan Tepera/Seung Hwan Oh, Toronto Blue Jays- With the struggles of Tyler Clippard this week, it seems likely the Jays will try a new closer the next time a save chance comes up. It'll be one of Tepera or Oh, and either one would be worth picking up in mixed leagues if he became the team's closer. They could also opt for a committee of the two of them and Clippard, which would leave all of them with very little fantasy value.

Nate Jones, Chicago White Sox- White Sox reliever Nate Jones picked up three saves this week and seems to have taken over the ninth inning for Chicago. The White Sox won't usually offer three save opportunities in a week, but if Jones ends up working the role full time, he'll be worth a pick up in most formats.

Drops

Tyler Clippard, Toronto Blue Jays- Many fantasy managers picked up Clippard after they saw that he had at least risen to head-of-the-committee status, if not full fledged closer. This week though, he struggled mightily, giving up runs in bunches in two separate outings. While it remains possible he'll work his way back into the ninth, it's highly likely the Jays will go another way at least for the next few save chances that present themselves.

 

Best of the Week

Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers- 5 IP, 8 K, 4 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.80 WHIP

Remember when we were all worried about Kenley Jansen? The Dodgers closer had an excellent week, saving four games while striking out eight batters. He gave up just four hits and didn't issue a walk. Looks like Kenley's back.

Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners- 4 IP, 7 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP

Mariners closer Edwin Diaz had another strong week, striking out seven while getting 12 total outs across four games. He recorded three saves and allowed only two hits and no walks.

Blake Treinen, Oakland Athletics- 3 1/3 IP, 8 K, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP

A's closer Blake Treinen was unhittable this week, recording 10 outs, eight by strikeout, without allowing a hit. He also saved two games while allowing just two walks.

 

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