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Fantasy Baseball Week 14: AL Closer Report

Check out a free version of Senior Fantasy Expert Shawn Childs' Closer Report, in which he examines the backend of each team's bullpen in the American League. Join Scout Army for exclusive access to BOTH of Shawn's weekly Closer Reports!

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AL East

Baltimore Orioles

Zach Britton extended his scoreless streak to 24.2 innings with 30 strikeouts. His last run allowed came on April 30th. Britton has been perfect in his 24 saves opportunities with a matching ERA (0.78) and WHIP (0.78). Brad Brach hasn’t allowed a run or hit over his last ten innings with 14 Ks. Brad has five wins, two saves, and 14 holds in 2016. Darren O’Day won’t return until after the All-Star break. Dylan Bundy didn’t throw a pitch in a game since June 30th, which points to him moving into the rotation. After 83 games, the Orioles are 6th in bullpen ERA (3.31) with 20 wins, eight losses, and 28 saves.

Boston Red Sox

The magic in Boston seems like a distant memory. Their starting rotation is fading badly along with their bullpen. They slid to 15th in bullpen ERA (3.99) after 79 games with 11 wins, 13 losses, and 19 saves. Craig Kimbrel has been gutless in three of his last five games (seven runs and 15 baserunners in 4.2 innings with seven strikeouts). All of his runs allowed over this stretch came in non-save situations. Craig is 17-for-19 in save conversions with a ballooning ERA (3.66). Koji “We loved you in 2013” Uehara continues to cough up HRs (seven in 31.2 innings). Over his last six innings, Koji allowed six runs (four HRs) and ten baserunners to push his ERA to 4.83. Junichi Tazawa has allowed five runs and 11 baserunners over his last 7.1 innings.

New York Yankees

Aroldis Chapman has been on the uptick again over his last six games (one runs and three baserunners in five innings with eight Ks, two wins, and three saves. His only bad outing came in a monsoon in New York on June 27th when he walked the only batter he faced leading to a run. Chapman has been successful in 16 of his 17 save tries. Andrew Miller gave up a pair of HRs and five baserunners over his last four innings with six Ks. Miller has 66 Ks in 36.2 innings with five wins, seven saves, and 13 holds. Over his last seven games, Dellin Betances hasn’t allowed a run over 7.2 innings with one walk and 12 Ks; Betances has 74 Ks in 41 innings in 2016. The Yankees climbed to 13th in bullpen ERA (3.93) after 83 games with 16 wins, ten losses, and 24 saves.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays’ bullpen ERA (4.94) has been in a freefall over the last month. They now rank 27th in baseball after 82 games with 13 wins, 16 losses, and 20 saves. Alex Colome returned from the DL on July 5th. He threw one shutout inning with one strikeout in a non-save opportunity. Alex should regain the 9th inning shortly. He’s been successful in all 19 save opportunities in 2016. Tampa hopes to have Brad Boxberger back shortly after the All-Star break. He threw a bullpen session early in July with a rehab assignment coming over the next week if he doesn’t have a setback. Ryan Garton was drilled for four runs and four baserunners on June 30th without recording an out. He bounced back in his next two games (no runs in 2.1 innings with one Ks) while earning a save on July 4th.

Toronto Blue Jays

Over his last 12 games, Roberto Osuna gave up seven runs and 16 baserunners in 12.1 innings with 17 Ks, one loss, three saves, and a blown save. Osuna is 16-for-18 save conversions with 46 K sin 37.2 innings. It’s hard to believe this kid is only 21. Jason Grilli tossed three shutout innings over the last week with seven Ks. Over his last 11 games, Jason has a 2.45 ERA with 21 Ks in 11 innings. Brett Cecil returned from the DL on June 30th. In his three games pitched over the last week, Cecil allowed a run and one baserunner in 2.1 innings with two Ks. The Blue Jays sit 20th in the majors in bullpen ERA (4.21) after 86 games with nine wins, 19 losses, and 21 saves.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox continues to have success in the late innings. They are 9th in bullpen ERA (3.52) after 81 games with 12 wins, ten losses, and 26 saves. David Robertson has been much better over his last 13 games (two runs and 22 baserunners in 13 innings with ten saves and 15 Ks). His WHIP (1.40) still invites disaster innings. On the year, David converted 23 of his 25 save opportunities. Nate Jones has two wins, a save, two holds, and a blown save in his last six games with no runs allowed and nine Ks in 5.2 innings. Zach Duke has a 2.08 ERA and 13 Ks in his last 8.2 innings with two wins, a save, and four holds.

Cleveland Indians

Cody Allen picked up four saves over the last week with one run allowed in four innings. Over his last 23 games, Allen has 1.48 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with 31 Ks in 24.1 innings. Cody has been successful in 18 of his 20 save chances. Bryan Shaw hasn’t allowed a run in his last 7.1 innings with nine Ks. His failure in 2016 is tied to seven HRs allowed in 32.2 innings. Dan Otero has been the Indians second best reliever over the last two months (1.69 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with 25 Ks in 26.2 innings). Cleveland moved to 8th in bullpen ERA (3.50) after 78 games with 13 wins, 12 losses, and 19 saves.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers remain one of the worst teams in baseball in bullpen ERA (4.45 – 24th) after 83 games with 12 wins, ten losses, and 21 saves. Francisco Rodriguez improved his scoreless streak to six innings with five Ks and four saves. Rodriguez is 23-for-25 in save tries. Justin Wilson threw the ball well in his last ten games (two runs and eight baserunners in 9.1 innings with eight strikeouts). Bruce Rondon struggled in his last outing on July 4th (two runs and three baserunners in 1.2 innings). Since being called up from the minors, Bruce has a 3.12 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with nine Ks in 8.2 innings. His average fastball (07.9) remains an elite weapon.

Kansas City Royals

Fantasy owners received a kick to the jimmies over the last week when Wade Davis was placed on the DL with a forearm strain. Davis was one of the top five closers drafted in 2016. He converted 19 of his 21 save opportunities with success in ERA (1.23) and WHIP (1.02). Maybe the telling sign should have been his decline in his K rate (8.6 – 10.4 in 2015 and 13.6 in 2014). Kansas City hopes Wade will only miss 15 days of action, but there may be more underlying damage (my speculation). Joakim Soria has the most closing experience on the roster so I would place my short term bet on him. Over his last 24 games, Soria has a 2.13 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with 22 Ks in 25.1 innings. Kelvin Herrera is clearly the arm with most upside on the roster, and his arm is trending upward with growth in his command (seven walks and 49 Ks in 38.2 innings) in 2016. Over his last 7.2 innings, Herrera allowed no runs and one hit with 12 Ks. The Royals still have the best bullpen ERA (2.82) after 83 games with 16 wins, five losses, and 20 saves.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins are 25th in bullpen ERA (4.46) after 82 games with 12 wins, nine losses, and 12 saves. Brandon Kintzler hasn’t allowed a run in his last 6.1 innings with no walks and four Ks. His ERA (2.19) has moved into elite area while converting all four of his save tries. Fernando Abad struggled in four of his last six games (six runs and ten baserunners in 5.1 innings) to turn into a Fantasy fraud. His loss of command (six walks in his last 8.2 innings) gives him no chance at saves. Ryan Pressly threw the ball well over his last 15 games (1.32 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with 12 Ks in 13.2 innings).

AL West

Houston Astros

The rise of the Astros has been tied to the improvement of their bullpen over the last month or so. Houston pushed their way to 4th in bullpen ERA (3.12) after 83 games with 15 wins, ten losses, and 25 saves. Will Harris has been stellar since taking over the closing role in early June (1.38 ERA with 11 K in 13 innings while converting all nine saves chances)? On the year, Harris only allowed three runs in 37.2 innings with 38 Ks. Luke Gregerson has stabilized since his demotion (1.59 ERA and 18 Ks over 11.1 innings with three wins and four holds). After driving off the tracks in many games over the first two months of the season, Ken Giles has looked sharp in his last 13 games (2.13 ERA and 16 Ks in 12.2 innings) with higher success in his last six games (no runs in 5.2 innings with six strikeouts).

Los Angeles Angels

Huston Street looks ready to be taken behind the woodshed. Over his last ten games, Street allowed eight runs and 25 baserunners in 8.2 innings with seven Ks. His last save conversion came on June 14th. Street is 7-for-9 in save chances in 2016. He doesn’t look healthy, and his average fastball is down to 87.9. Joe Smith returned from the DL on July 1st. Over three innings of work over the last week, he allowed three runs and eight baserunners with two Ks. His arm doesn’t look ready to pitch in the 9th. Cam Bedrosian extended his shutout streak to 13.2 innings with six hits allowed and 12 Ks. Cam has a 1.20 ERA in 30 innings with 30 Ks. His success should be flashing in the night as he looks to be next in line for saves on LA. The Angels are 16th in bullpen ERA (4.06) after 82 games with 13 wins, 14 losses, and 15 saves.

Oakland A’s

The A’s sit 21st in baseball in bullpen ERA (4.23) after 84 games with 14 wins, ten losses, and 22 saves. Ryan Madsen was drilled for three runs and six baserunners in two innings of work on June 28th, but he picked up a save. Over his next two games, Ryan didn’t allow a run in two innings with four baserunners allowed leading to one save. Madson has been successful in 16 of his 19 save opportunities with risk in his ERA (3.63) and WHIP (1.52) in his last 22.1 innings. Sean Doolittle landed on the DL over the last week with a bum left shoulder. His chance at saves now starts at ground zero again. Ryan Dull should be owned in all leagues now as his arm looks ready to steal the closing job in Oakland. Over his last six games, Ryan hasn’t allowed a run in 5.1 innings with one hit, no walks, and five Ks. Over his last 14 games, Dull has 0.64 ERA and 0.36 WHIP over his last 14 innings with 17 Ks.

Seattle Mariners

Steve Cishek improved his scoreless streak to 4.1 innings with six Ks and four saves. Over his last 11 games, Cishek has a 2.19 ERA and 1.14 WHIP with 15 Ks in 12.1 innings. Steve is 20-for-24 in chance conversions. Edwin Diaz has been elite in his last four games (no runs, and 10 Ks in four innings). Since being called up to the majors, Edwin has a 1.76 ERA and 29 Ks over 15.1 innings. His average fastball is 96.6. Joaquin Benoit looks to be fading off into the sunset. Over his last ten games, Benoit allowed eight runs and 18 baserunners in 9.2 innings with 11 strikeouts. Mike Montgomery hasn’t allowed a run in his last 10.2 innings with 11 Ks. He could be a sleeper to move into the starting rotation. The Mariners continue to rank highly in bullpen ERA 3.19) after 83 games with 12 wins, 13 losses, and 22 saves.

Texas Rangers

There is still no progress in the bullpen ERA (5.03 -29th) for the Rangers after 84 games. They have 20 wins, 16 losses, and 31 saves. Sam Dyson blew up on June 29th when he allowed four runs (two HRs) and four baserunners in one-third of an inning to blow his second save in 19 chances. Despite his failure, Sam didn’t allow a run in his other nine games since June 12th. Shawn Tolleson extended his shutout streak to 11.2 innings with eight strikeouts, but his ERA (5.76) remains in a losing area. After a bad run over four games (six runs and seven baserunners), Jake Diekman tossed 3.1 shutout innings with two Ks. Matt Bush also rebounded from a bad end to June (five runs and seven baserunners in 2.2 innings with three Ks) to throw four shutout innings over the last week with four Ks.

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