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Week 26 MLB Closers and Saves Report

Congrats on (probably) making it through the first week or two of the playoffs! I got knocked out in the first round because almost all of my hitters decided to pretty much take a week off from being on base. My closers did great though, so I'm still qualified to create this week's Closers and Saves Report, I guess don't bother asking me about hitters though (unless you want to know how to get your hitters to combine for a .162 batting average and one home run throughout a whole week!)

Aroldis Chapman is back, things are moving around in the White Sox bullpen, and Cleveland is trying new things as well. With expanded rosters and many teams well out of the playoff picture, managers will experiment throughout the last couple of weeks of the season. That makes for some challenges when setting up a fantasy playoff pitching staff. The Phillies, of course, had all 40 players on their 40-man roster active this week, creating some overcrowding issues in the dugout and bullpen.

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 26

New York Yankees

The Yankees finally got their closer back, as Aroldis Chapman was able to rejoin the bullpen this week. He'd been out since August 21 dealing with tendinitis in his left knee. He'll be eased back into things, but the Yankees will surely want him closing out games before the playoffs start, just to get him back into the swing of things. Always an excellent provider of ratios, Chapman should be fantasy-active right away even if he's not getting save situations immediately.

Chicago Cubs

Brandon Morrow reinvented himself as a relief pitcher and quickly became one of the stronger closers in baseball. Then, Brandon Morrow went back to his old ways of spending way too much time on the disabled list. The Cubs closer is out for the season due to a bone bruise. The reliever who took over for Morrow? Pedro Strop. He's also on the DL, in his case it's a hamstring injury. So the Cubs, in an attempt to win the NL Central and go deep in the playoffs, will be using a committee approach to the ninth inning. Their ninth will be led by Steve Cishek, but Brandon Kintzler, Carl Edwards Jr., and Justin Wilson will likely get chances as well.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins have seen the rise and fall of two young, exciting closers this season. Kyle Barraclough was legitimately elite in the first half but has become worse than a batting practice pitcher in the second half. Behind him, Drew Steckenrider showed flashes of elite work in the first half, but now has also become way too easy to hit. In steps Adam Conley, who earned his third save of the season this week. Conley was a promising young starter a few years ago but then fell apart and couldn't get anyone out. He's worked his way into a bullpen role and has mostly looked strong this season. He's had some "blow up" outings where he's allowed handfuls of runs while getting just an out or two, but he's had plenty of scoreless outings as well. His overall inconsistency and propensity for those "blow up" appearances make him hard to trust on a fantasy roster, but he's still someone to keep an eye on going into next season.

Los Angeles Angels

Ty Buttrey, featured in last week's "Adds" section, has now earned the last three saves by an Angels pitcher. It's too soon to call him the closer there, but he's certainly at the top of the committee, at least. Blake Parker has been pitching well, but he's been working in a setup role ahead of Buttrey. For any fantasy players in the playoffs looking for a boost in saves, check for Buttrey on the wire.


Roster Moves of the Week


Ty Buttrey, Los Angeles Angels - Buttrey was on last week's "Adds" list as more of a speculative add, but now that he's earned the last three saves for the Angels, he's reaching must-add status, especially this deep into the season.


No immediate drops this week, but if you own Blake Parker and see Ty Buttrey on the wire, make the swap.


Best of the Week

Ken Giles, Toronto Blue Jays - 3 1/3 IP, 4 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.30 WHIP

Blue Jays closer Ken Giles has had an interesting season. In "high leverage" situations, he allows a .648 OPS to opposing hitters. In "low leverage" that jumps up to .920. Basically, Giles needs the pressure to pitch well. He had it this week, and he did, saving three games while striking out four and allowing just one hit.

Will Smith, San Francisco Giants - 3 IP, 3 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP

Giants closer Will Smith hadn't even sniffed a save in a while since the Giants hadn't won a game in September until this week. He made the most of their renewed confidence though, saving three games in three tries while allowing just two hits and striking out three.

Ty Buttrey, Los Angeles Angels - 3 2/3 IP, 8 K, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.82 WHIP

New committee head Ty Buttrey had a strong week, saving two of the three games he appeared in while striking out eight and allowing just two hits and a walk. He's seemingly jumped over Blake Parker in the Angels bullpen hierarchy.


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