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Week 16 MLB Closers and Saves Report


Another mostly quiet week in bullpens around baseball, leading up to what is sure to be a wild trade deadline in a couple of weeks. A big name closer said a big word and got himself sent to the minors. A guy who was a closer very recently is a closer again due to an injury. A couple of committees seem to be working themselves out.

Guys like Zach Britton, Shane Greene, Brad Brach, Joe Jimenez, and Kyle Barraclough (among many others) are looking at potential new roles once the calendar turns to August. Things have stayed more or less the same for the last few weeks, but it's just the calm before the storm. Rumors have been flying already, and we're still more than two weeks away from the trade deadline. The early Herrera-to-the-Nationals trade didn't spark any more early trades, as some expected.

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 16

Houston Astros

One of the most frustrating bullpens in fantasy baseball mostly worked itself out with Hector Rondon taking the ninth inning and running away with it. Ken Giles was still somewhat hanging around and making Rondon's fantasy owners nervous, but he got himself sent all the way to Fresno, as he was optioned to Triple-A this week. Giles' performance likely merited a demotion, but his reaction to his manager on the mound definitely did. He greeted manager A.J. Hinch with some less than friendly words as he was being removed from a game. It'll be Giles' first time in the minors since 2014, his rookie year. He can be safely dropped in all fantasy formats, with Rondon getting a nice little bump here.

Washington Nationals

The Nationals picked up Kelvin Herrera from the Royals to deepen their bullpen, and now he'll serve as closer once again. All-Star closer Sean Doolittle landed on the disabled list this week with a toe injury so Herrera will scoot up to the ninth inning while Doolittle is out. There's no closer controversy here at all, as Doolittle will get his inning back once he's ready to return, but Herrera could be a useful temporary pick up.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants have been going with a committee for their ninth inning lately, but it seems to be working itself out, with Will Smith rising to the top. Manager Bruce Bochy has lately preferred the late-inning combination of Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, and Will Smith. While no announcement has been made officially, another save or two from Smith should be enough to call him the full-time closer in San Francisco.

Detroit Tigers

Tigers closer Shane Greene should be back from the disabled list soon, and he'll immediately resume his ninth inning role. For now. Greene is a likely trade candidate and probably won't stay in the ninth inning with his new team, but he should have some temporary value in standard leagues and will retain some value in holds leagues as he's almost certain to remain in the late innings. Joe Jimenez has been filling in while Greene has been out, and will regain the ninth inning if Greene gets traded.

 

Roster Moves of the Week

Adds

Shane Greene, Detroit Tigers- Some owners may have dropped Greene when he landed on the disabled list, but he'll resume his role in the ninth inning and should put up some fantasy value between now and the trade deadline. He'll lose most if not all of his value if he's traded, so this may be more of a temporary add in standard leagues.

Joe Jimenez, Detroit Tigers- Related to Greene above, Joe Jimenez has been filling in as closer but will move back into a setup role. That may lead a lot of owners to drop Jimenez in fantasy leagues. Greene is a very likely trade candidate, and Jimenez is sure to step back into the ninth inning if Greene leaves. He may not have much fantasy value for a week or two, but owners who jump on Jimenez now could get him for very little and see some nice returns in August and September.

Will Smith, San Francisco Giants- Will Smith seems to be the reliever who has risen to the top of the San Francisco committee. He has the upside and the experience to be a very strong fantasy closer, and he seems to be maybe a save or two away from officially taking the ninth inning to himself.

Kelvin Herrera, Washington Nationals- The Nationals will turn to the newly-acquired Kelvin Herrera for a bit as closer Sean Doolittle heads to the disabled list. This is certainly a temporary add, as Doolittle will keep his closer role once he's healthy, but Herrera could have some nice temporary value in the meantime.

Drops

Ken Giles, Houston Astros- The Astros bullpen has finally figured itself out, and this week that included Ken Giles heading down to Triple-A Fresno. He's been struggling, and he cursed out his manager on the mound. That's as good a recipe for a demotion as any.

 

Best of the Week

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

A perfect week from Mariners closer Edwin Diaz, who is certainly making a bid for best closer in baseball honors this season. Diaz faced nine batters, retired all nine (seven via strikeout) and saved three games in the process.

Felipe Vázquez, Pittsburgh Pirates- 4 IP, 9 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez has had a bit of an up-and-down season, but this week was definitely an up. He struck out nine batters in four innings, saving three games while allowing no runs despite three hits and two walks.

Sergio Romo, Tampa Bay Rays- 3 2/3 IP, 5 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.55 WHIP

Rays closer/opener Sergio Romo had a strong week, striking out five batters in 3 2/3 innings. He saved three games, allowing no runs and just two hits across his four games. He's currently owned in fewer than 40% of fantasy leagues. While the Rays bullpen can certainly be called "quirky and unpredictable," Romo seems like a safe bet to provide solid fantasy value going forward.

 

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