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Week 25 MLB Closers and Saves Report

If you're still reading this, you're most likely either in the playoffs or winding down the year in a rotisserie league. Either way: congrats! This week was another interesting one in bullpens across the league, one that will certainly affect not only the fantasy playoffs but also the real MLB playoffs next month.

There's bullpen turmoil in the desert, as the wearer of baseball's best Players' Weekend jersey may not be closing anymore. There's a familiar name in a somewhat unfamiliar position taking over in Missouri. A rookie you might have never heard of is suddenly picking up saves just south of Los Angeles. An excellent closer is finally back on the mound after a long stint on 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 25

St. Louis Cardinals

Last week, MLB Closers and Saves Report posited that Carlos Martinez might have a chance to earn some saves in the Cardinals bullpen. Well, it happened. Martinez earned some saves and has been named the team's closer. Once Bud Norris was removed from the role, it was between rookie Jordan Hicks and Martinez, and manager Mike Shildt went with the more experienced pitcher. As long as Martinez does well, he's earned three saves in three chances so far, he should maintain his role into the playoffs. He needs to be immediately added in all leagues where he was dropped earlier in the season.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Brad Boxberger had the best jersey for MLB's Players' Weekend. Brad Boxberger did not have the best month. He lost his ninth-inning job after a four appearance span in which he allowed six runs while getting just six outs. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo hasn't yet named Boxberger's replacement, instead going with a committee approach. Yoshihisa Hirano seemed like the best bet, and he converted his first save opportunity with a clean inning, but then blew his next chance by giving up a walk-off home run to the Rockies. He and Boxberger will still be part of the committee, but they should be joined by Brad Ziegler and Archie Bradley.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angles have been working with a committee approach for their ninth innings for most of the season. Blake Parker emerged somewhat and has taken a lot of the save opportunities, pitching to a 3.16 ERA with 14 saves so far. Rookie Ty Buttrey has suddenly been surprisingly effective, posting a tiny 0.77 ERA through his first 11 2/3 big league innings with about a strikeout per inning. He's picked up two saves, and with Parker struggling a bit lately, manager Mike Scioscia might throw Buttrey out there for saves a bit more often. It's something to keep an eye on, and Buttrey is someone to add for owners in the playoffs hurting for saves.

Washington Nationals

Twitter's favorite relief pitcher is back, as Sean Doolittle rejoined the Nationals bullpen after spending a couple of months on the disabled list recovering from a stress fracture in his foot. Doolittle hadn't pitched since July 6, but his second appearance back from the DL was a save situation, and he converted it despite allowing a run. He'll presumably be right back in there the next time the Nationals have a small lead late in the game. He's likely owned, but it's worth a quick glance at the wire just in case an impatient owner let him go while he was injured.


Roster Moves of the Week


Ty Buttrey, Los Angeles Angels- With Blake Parker struggling and the Angels committed to using a committee, Buttrey could emerge as the leader of that committee. That's worth a spot on most fantasy rosters, especially in the playoffs.

Yoshihisa Hirano, Arizona Diamondbacks- Despite a blown save in his second save opportunity, Hirano still seems to be atop the committee in Arizona, at least for now. Owners looking for saves should scoop him up quickly.


Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals- Hicks was added in tons of leagues last week when owners thought he had a chance to take over for Bud Norris in the ninth. That job has gone to Carlos Martinez instead, with Hicks maintaining his setup role. He's still worth rostering in holds leagues, but owners in standard formats can let go.


Best of the Week

Roberto Osuna, Houston Astros- 4 IP, 1 K, 4 SV, 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP

It wasn't a dominant week by any means for Astros closer Roberto Osuna, but he did pick up four saves in a week where he only struck out one batter. He allowed two hits, a walk, and a run, but as the only pitcher with four saves this week, he makes the list.

Jeremy Jeffress, Milwaukee Brewers- 4 1/3 IP, 7 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.69 WHIP

Jeremy Jeffress had an excellent week, saving three games while striking out seven batters. He did not allow a run to cross the plate, but he did give up a hit and two walks. Somehow, he's still only owned in 68% of fantasy leagues.

Kirby Yates, San Diego Padres- 4 IP, 6 K, 3 SV, 2.25 ERA, 0.50 WHIP

Padres closer Kirby Yates had been struggling, so a strong week was just what his fantasy owners needed to see. He struck out six and saved three games, allowing a run on a solo home run and just one other hit in four innings of work.


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