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Week 22 MLB Closers and Saves Report

Little dudes in the Little League World Series this week; big names, big news this week in baseball's bullpens. An elite closer landed on the disabled list, another guy who looked like he was heading toward elite got demoted, and another elite guy came back and looked anything but elite.

Meanwhile, the White Sox laugh in the face of fantasy baseball's bullpens. The Brewers might have baseball's best reliever but he doesn't (usually) close. The Twins looked like they were figuring out their bullpen, but then threw their own curveball. Finally, in a turn of events, Washington finally had someone come off the disabled list.

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 22

New York Yankees

The Yankees placed closer Aroldis Chapman on the disabled list this week due to left knee tendinitis. It's something he's dealt with in the past, and it flared up again during an appearance against the Marlins. He'll rest for the 10 days and then be re-evaluated, but at least for now it seems like he's not expected to miss extended time. In the meantime, Yankees manager Aaron Boone has said he'll mix and match in the ninth inning. Dellin Betances, David Robertson, and Zach Britton will likely all get save chances depending on the matchups. Betances and Robertson should already be owned in any leagues that count holds, but Britton has been disappointing this season and might be on the wire. If he is, he could be worth picking up at least as a speculative add to see what happens in the Bronx Bullpen.

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox have had a carousel of closers lately, and Luis Avilan was firmly in that rotation. Was. Now he's on the Phillies after a trade, and the White Sox called up Ryan Burr to take his place. Burr has the most saves in Arizona State history and he's just as likely as anyone else in the White Sox bullpen to come in to try to hold a lead in the ninth inning. No one in the Chicago bullpen is a must-own by any stretch, but Burr should be available in almost all leagues and fantasy managers desperate for saves could take a shot in the dark with him.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers got Corey Knebel back, but the problem has been Corey Knebel not looking like Corey Knebel at all. In fact, they optioned him to Triple-A so he can continue working on things without costing the big league team any more wins. At least until the real Corey Knebel comes back, it looks like Jeremy Jeffress will be getting the bulk of the save opportunities in Milwaukee. Josh Hader will mix in as well, but just like Hader wasn't closing consistently when Knebel was working the ninth, he likely won't with Jeffress there either. Jeffress becomes an immediate must-own in all formats, as he's having the season of his life and now has a clear path to saves. It's always hard to drop a guy who has pitched as well as Knebel has in the past, but he seems to have a long road back to the ninth inning.


Roster Moves of the Week


Yankees Relievers - As mentioned above, Betances and Robertson might already be owned, but it's worth a quick look on the wire anyway just in case. Britton is more likely to be available, but less likely to be worthy of an immediate add. Still, he could provide some added value until Chapman returns.

Jeremy Jeffress, Milwaukee Brewers - Somehow, Jeremy Jeffress is owned in fewer than 50% of fantasy leagues right now. With the season he's having and the opportunity he's being given, that needs to change. Check your waiver wire and grab Jeffress immediately if you're lucky enough to find him.

Jose Leclerc, Texas Rangers - Leclerc has been closing for the Rangers for a while now, but he's still only on a roster in 46% of fantasy leagues. He needs to be owned everywhere, as he has the ninth all to himself and is capable of weeks like the one he had this week (he'll lead off the Best of the Week section below.)



Owners still hanging onto Corey Knebel need to think really hard about what they could be using that roster spot for. Also, anyone who grabbed Luis Avilan after one of his saves in Chicago can let go right away: he won't be saving many games in Philly.


Best of the Week

Jose Leclerc, Texas Rangers - 4 IP, 8 K, 4 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP

Rangers closer Jose Leclerc had an excellent week, saving all four games he appeared in while striking out eight. He allowed just a hit and two walks all week. Leclerc is still owned in just 46% of leagues and needs to be picked up right away.

Bud Norris, St. Louis Cardinals - 3 IP, 4 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP

Cardinals closer Bud Norris saved all three games he appeared in this week, allowing just a hit and a walk while striking out four.

Wade Davis, Colorado Rockies - 3 IP, 5 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP

Rockies closer Wade Davis has had a bumpy road through 2018, but he had a strong week this week. He saved all three games he pitched in, recording five strikeouts while allowing just two hits.


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