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Week 21 MLB Closers and Saves Report


The buzz around preseason football means we are making our way closer and closer to fantasy baseball playoffs! While parity can be an issue in some fantasy leagues, once you make the playoffs, you're facing off against some pretty solid owners. We're sure you loyal Rotoballer readers are well on your way to another playoff berth, and when things are that close, it could all come down to one save, one hold, a few ERA points, a couple of strikeouts...it's going to be close.

A new closer may be emerging in Minnesota, and an old one seems to have worked his way back in Toronto. The White Sox bullpen is still a mess, but the Nationals weathered another injury and named a closer for now. Finally, the Dodgers got some good news after several instances of bad news which will hopefully put an end to the several instances of bad relief pitching.

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:

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Bullpen News for Week 21

Minnesota Twins

The Twins had a mostly-solid-albeit-always-exciting closer in Fernando Rodney earlier this season, but they shipped him away to Oakland before the trade deadline. The quick assumption was that Addison Reed would get the gig in Minnesota, but Trevor Hildenberger has had three save chances since the trade and converted all three. Manager Paul Molitor refused to name him the closer though, and reports out of Minnesota state that Hildenberger, Reed, Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, and Tyler Duffey were all asked to select a closer entrance song this week. So while the Twins bullpen is still a mostly unsettled committee, it does seem like Hildenberger is getting the closest to claiming the job as his own.

Toronto Blue Jays

Ken Giles had a hard time in Houston this year, and many assumed that would continue when he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays. He hasn't been great as his 10.80 ERA in a Blue Jays uniform shows, but he was able to convert three saves in four days this week. While certainly not pretty, that shows that he's working as the team's closer. It may not last long if he keeps allowing home runs in bunches, but if he can get right, he's already in the ninth inning and could return some value down the stretch.

Washington Nationals

The Nationals had an excellent closer in Sean Doolittle. He got hurt. The Nationals had an excellent replacement in Kelvin Herrera. He got hurt. The Nationals had a good-enough replacement in Ryan Madson. He got hurt. So now, Koda Glover will step into the ninth inning and work as the team's closer until someone else is healthy enough to take the mound. Glover has the "stuff" to be a solid closer, but he's only worked 1 2/3 major league innings so far this year. He has the upside to be a strong closer, but he's unlikely to keep the job once the other guys are back on the field.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers bullpen has been an unmitigated disaster since Kenley Jansen went on the disabled list. While he was first expected to miss at least a month, Jansen likely brought tears of joy to the faces of Dodgers fans this week when he said he would be back much sooner. He's dealing with a heart issue that he faced in a previous season, but he threw to hitters on Wednesday and was scheduled to do so again on Friday.

 

Roster Moves of the Week

Adds

Trevor Hildenberger, Minnesota Twins- Hildenberger is still not officially the Twins closer, but it looks more and more like that's where he's heading. He's not a huge strikeout guy, but he's solid enough to worth owning in most formats if he's consistently coming in for save situations.

Koda Glover, Washington Nationals- Glover is serving as closer until someone with more experience comes back from the disabled list. He has the upside to do well in that role, though. He should be added in most formats, especially by owners looking for a few quick saves.

 

Drops

There are no immediate drops this week, but owners who are trying to predict the White Sox bullpen should probably just give up at this point and shoot for one of the two guys in the Adds section.

 

Best of the Week

Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners- 5 IP, 12 K, 5 SV, 1.80 ERA, 0.60 WHIP

Mariners closer Edwin Diaz is having a video game season, so why wouldn't he have a video game week? Diaz retired 15 batters this week, 12 through strikeout. He saved five games and allowed only a run on three hits without issuing a walk. It's one of the best "Best of the Week" weeks (yikes) in a long time.

Blake Treinen, Oakland Athletics- 3 IP, 7 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP

Another week, another three saves and plenty of strikeouts for A's closer Blake Treinen. He wasn't perfect this week though, as he got away with allowing four hits, but none of those came across to score. The seven strikeouts probably helped ensure that.

Will Smith, San Francisco Giants- 4 IP, 6 K, 3 SV, 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP

Giants closer Will Smith did his best to hold onto his ninth-inning job this week, earning three saves and striking out six while allowing just one run on two hits and a walk in four innings of work.

 

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