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Week 23 MLB Closers and Saves Report

This week was another interesting one in the bullpens around the league. The Phillies continued to be unpredictable, the Nationals continued to struggle to end games with a lead, and the Twins seem to have finally settled on a ninth-inning arm.

Meanwhile, formerly elite closers are struggling in Cleveland and Los Angeles, but only one is in danger of losing his job (if he hasn't already.) The bullpen in San Francisco seems to be sticking to what's been working, but there was a little cause for concern this week as well.

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 23

Cleveland Indians

When Cleveland acquired Brad Hand before the trade deadline, many people thought the end of their bullpen would be an embarrassment of riches. Hand, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen should have formed a vicious three-headed monster that would shorten games to just six innings before those three would shut the door. Well, one of those heads is still standing. Brad Hand has been excellent since joining the Cleveland bullpen, posting a 1.15 ERA and 31.8 strikeout percentage. Meanwhile, Andrew Miller is back on the disabled list and has only pitched 24 innings this season. Cody Allen, who began the season as the closer, has continued to struggle. His season ERA is now 4.66, and other peripherals show he may actually be lucky for it to be under five. Manager Terry Francona insists Allen will continue pitching in high leverage situations, but the ninth is starting to turn into Brad Hand's inning. Allen came in as early as the seventh this week. Hand is the arm to own (ha!) in the Cleveland pen.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies bullpen has been unpredictable since Gabe Kapler took over managing duties. While they've been frustrating to watch from a fantasy perspective, Kapler is actually doing things "the right way" in that he's using his best arms against the opposition's best bats. But that means a guy like Seranthony Dominguez might not always be around to pitch the ninth inning. He usually comes into the most critical late-game moments, making him incredibly valuable in "real life," but limiting his stats in fantasy leagues. No one on the Phillies roster has more than 14 saves, and there are currently nine pitchers on the team who have earned at least one save in 2018. Seranthony is still the arm to own in the Philly pen, but it could be a frustrating ride.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins traded away their closer before the deadline, and while they haven't really settled on anything officially, Trevor Hildenberger seems to have settled into the ninth inning. He's not the type of reliever with tons of upside, but he's one of those guys whose situation makes him worth owning. He has a very pedestrian 4.38 ERA and 21.9 K%, but he's racked up five saves and peripherals show he's been a bit unlucky. While he's not a guy that everyone needs to rush to pick up, he's worth a look for owners who need a few more saves.


Roster Moves of the Week


Jace Fry, Chicago White Sox - The White Sox bullpen has been messy for a while, but at least this week, Jace Fry came in to help clean up. He might end up working the ninth inning for the rest of the season, and he has some nice upside if he does. He should be added by any owners in search of a few more saves. Fry is currently owned in just six percent of fantasy leagues, so he should be available.

Nationals Relievers - The Nationals have had a hard time deciding on a closer, mostly due to injuries but also due to ineffectiveness. It seems like it's anyone's guess who the Nats will trot out in the ninth, but fantasy owners desperate for saves might want to take a shot and hope that it sticks. The best bets seem to be Koda Glover, Ryan Madson, and Justin Miller.



Cody Allen, Cleveland Indians - Allen is by no means a guy who needs to be immediately dropped, but owners who have their eye on someone on the waiver wire can probably get away with dropping the Cleveland reliever. He's been struggling for as long as Brad Hand has been excelling, and it's hard to see Terry Francona going to Allen for a save at this point unless Hand is getting a day off.


Best of the Week

Jace Fry, Chicago White Sox - 4 1/3 IP, 6 K, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.69 WHIP

New White Sox closer (maybe?) Jace Fry picked up two saves this week and struck out six while allowing just three hits. In a week where no one saved three games, that's good enough for top billing.

Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners - 2 IP, 1 K, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP

Mariners closer Edwin Diaz has had some ridiculous weeks this season which have landed him in the Best of the Week list. This week was not one of his best, but it was good enough. He saved both games he pitched in, allowing just two hits while recording a single strikeout.


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