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Week 24 MLB Closers and Saves Report


Many long and circuitous roads have brought us to the fantasy baseball playoffs, my friends. Baseball season is a long one with so many games to keep track of each and every day, so a legitimate congratulations goes out to all of you who made it to the playoffs in your leagues. I made it in mine, but as the third seed I didn't get the first-round bye, so I might be a little nervous about next week.

This week in bullpens was an interesting one, with a guy who hadn't recorded a save in four years locking one down and potentially moving into the closer role. Another closer will miss a whole series on the advice of his heart doctor. The best closer in baseball may be a guy who took over at the trade deadline. Finally, a guy who has been on the periphery of fantasy bullpens all season might finally have a ninth-inning job all to himself.

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 24

St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals closer Bud Norris has had a rough stretch lately and it may have been rough enough to cause him to lose his ninth-inning job. Rookie Jordan Hicks and veteran Carlos Martinez both came in to earn saves this week while Norris watched. It was the first save for Martinez in four years, and he did it by pitching two innings and striking out four batters in the process. After the game, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said that the next save chance for his team would be based on matchups, so while it is possible that Hicks takes the ninth, Martinez seems like the better bet thanks to his experience. He's a guy that should be owned by anyone who has a spare space on their roster.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen will not make the trip to Colorado with his team. Based on advice given by his cardiologist, Jansen will stay home when the Dodgers head to Denver to take on the Rockies for an important weekend series. In his place, manager Dave Roberts will likely use a matchup approach, with Kenta Maeda, Scott Alexander, and perhaps Ross Stripling looking at potential save opportunities. None of the relievers in the Dodgers bullpen outside of Jansen are worth picking up in fantasy at this point.

Texas Rangers

If you asked the vast majority of baseball fans who the best closer in baseball has been since the trade deadline, it's extremely unlikely you'd hear the right answer. Of course, any baseball opinion can be argued, but by several measures, the best closer in baseball since the trade deadline has been: Jose Leclerc of the Rangers. He's come into 12 games since the deadline, allowing just one hit and no runs while striking out 22 batters. Going back even further to before he was officially named closer, Leclerc has coughed up only two earned runs on eight hits since June 20. He's still a free agent in many fantasy leagues and needs to be owned immediately, as he could end up making a big difference in the fantasy playoffs.

New York Mets

What a season it has been for the Mets. At the very least, they seem to have finally found their closer, as Robert Gsellman has been working well in the ninth inning for a while now. It was a committee for a while, with Paul Sewald mixing in from time to time, but Gsellman rose to the top and seems ready to stay there. He should get the vast majority of save chances for the Mets until the end of the season, and that could have some significance in the fantasy playoffs. He should be owned in shallower formats.

 

Roster Moves of the Week

Adds

Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals - Martinez was certainly owned earlier in the season when he was working as a starting pitcher, but he may have been dropped after injuries forced him into the bullpen. He seemed destined for a middle relief role at first, but with Bud Norris struggling, Martinez looks like he might jump into the ninth inning. If he does, he becomes a must-own.

Robert Gsellman, New York Mets - Gsellman isn't exciting, and neither are the Mets, but he'll be working the ninth inning in most of the games where the Mets are trying to lock down a victory. He should have some value in mixed leagues and is available in a lot of formats.

Drops

Bud Norris, St. Louis Cardinals - Norris shouldn't be outright dropped just yet, but his struggles led the Cardinals to make some moves in the bullpen and Norris might be out of the ninth inning. Keep an eye on how the Cardinals use their bullpen over the weekend, and if either Carlos Martinez or Jordan Hicks get the save chances, Norris can be let go.

 

Best of the Week

Edwin Diaz, Seattle Mariners - 3 1/3 IP, 9 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP

Mariners closer Edwin Diaz is having a ridiculously good season in general, and this week was no exception. He struck out nine batters in just 3 1/3 innings, saving three games without allowing a run. He gave up just one hit and one walk all week.

Blake Treinen, Oakland A's - 3 1/3 IP, 2 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP

Speaking of ridiculously good seasons, A's closer Blake Treinen retired every batter he faced this week, saving three games and striking out two in the process.

 

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