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Fantasy Baseball Week 17: American League 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

The dominance of Zach Britton added another week to his great 2016 resume. Zach extended his scoreless streak to 32.2 innings with 37 Ks. His last run allowed came on April 30th. Over his last four innings, Britton hasn’t allowed a baserunner with five strikeouts. He’s been successful in all 32 of his save opportunities while also picking up a pair of wins. Brad Brach saw his 16.2 inning shutout streak end on July 23rd when he allowed two runs and three baserunners over two-thirds of an inning. Over his last two games, he’s allowed two runs and five baserunners in 1.2 innings with one K while his 2016 success remains at an elite level (1.17 ERA and 0.87 WHIP). Darren O’Day returned from the DL on July 24th when he threw one perfect inning with three strikeouts. The Orioles lead the majors in bullpen wins (25) after 99 games with the 3rd lowest bullpen ERA (3.02) resulting in a league-high 36 saves and eight losses.

Boston Red Sox

The regression of the Red Sox bullpen continued last week. They dropped two notches in bullpen ERA (3.86) after 94 games with 13 wins, 15 losses, and 24 saves. Koji Uehara was placed on the DL with a pectoral issue, and it looks like he may miss a month of action just when his game was starting to make a move in the right direction. Craig Kimbrel has an excellent chance of returning to the majors next week. He threw a bullpen session on Monday, and he is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment this weekend. For now, Brad Ziegler will pitch in the 9th inning. Brad improved his scoreless streak to six innings with six Ks while picking up a save in his last appearance on July 24th. Ziegler is 19-for-21 in save conversions.

New York Yankees

With Aroldis Chapman shipped to the Cubs over the last week, Andrew Miller will take over as closer for the Yankees. Miller has been the best reliever in baseball in 2016 when you look at his K ability (77 strikeouts in 45.1 innings) and his improved command (seven walks). Andrew is 9-for-11 in save chances with six wins. He earned two saves in his last two games while not allowing a run over his last three innings with five Ks. Dellin Betances has closer stuff, but his arm has more value when used over multiple innings at times. He’s issued four walks in his last 3.1 innings with one run allowed and seven Ks. On the year, Betances has two wins and 27 holds while still looking for a save. He has 89 Ks over 50.1 innings. I’ll move Chad Green to next in line for saves after being called up last week. Over his last two games in the bullpen, Green hasn’t allowed a run in 4.2 innings with two Ks. His future is in the rotation. New York sits 8th in baseball in bullpen ERA (3.43) after 100 games with 19 wins, 11 losses, and 31 saves.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays remains 26th in bullpen ERA (4.63) after 98 games with 13 wins, 19 losses, and 23 saves. It was heartbreaking to see Alex Colome have his worst outing of the year on July 23rd when he allowed three runs via two HRs leading to his first blown save in 22 chances. I own him on a couple of my high stakes leagues, and I need him to stabilize. Since returning from the DL, Alex allowed three runs and five baserunners over four innings with six Ks. He only has two saves over the last six weeks. For those who continue to carry a flame for Brad Boxberger, his light barely has a flicker as he had another minor setback with his oblique in the minors. At best, he’ll return in a couple of weeks. Kevin Jepsen would be next in line for save based on experience if Colome had another issue. Over his last seven games, Kevin allowed two runs and four baserunners with three Ks after being released by the Twins. Matt Andriese threw the ball well in his last four games in the bullpen (one run and five baserunners over 7.2 innings with ten strikeouts).

Toronto Blue Jays

Roberto Osuna has been impressive over his last seven games (no runs or hits over 6.2 innings with five Ks). He extended his shutout streak to 9.2 innings. Osuna has been successful in 21 of his 23 save tries with an improving ERA (1.99) and WHIP (0.86). Jason Grilli pitched at a high level over his last 24 games (1.61 ERA with 35 Ks in 22.1 innings). Jason hasn’t allowed a run or hit over his last four innings with four strikeouts. The Blue Jays released Drew Storen this week and filled his void by trading for the fading Joaquin Benoit. Over his last nine games, Benoit has a 9.45 ERA and 1.95 WHIP. Toronto slipped to 20th in bullpen ERA (4.12) after 101 games with 12 wins, 21 losses, and 26 saves.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox looked so good in April, but their season is starting to SAIL away. David Robertson doesn’t look healthy as he was TKO’d for the second time in four appearances on July 24th when he allowed three HRs to blow his fourth save in 28 opportunities. Over his last five games, David has a 12.60 ERA and 1.60 WHIP, which is a further step back from his failure over the last 25 games (6.57 ERA and 1.82 WHIP). It’s only a matter of time before Chicago puts the final nail in his 2016 coffin. Nate Jones has started to take on some water over his last five games (two runs and eight baserunners in 3.2 innings) just when he was getting close to pitching in the 9th. Nate has been splendid over his last 15 games (1.98 ERA with 21 Ks in 13.2 innings). Zach Duke is next in line for save after Jones. Over his last 13 innings, Duke has a 2.08 ERA with 17 strikeouts. The White Sox slipped to 13th in bullpen ERA (3.64) after 96 games with 15 wins, 13 losses, and 28 saves.

Cleveland Indians

The Indians are 11th in bullpen ERA (3.62) after 93 games with 14 wins, 16 losses, and 20 saves. Cody Allen extended his shutout streak to 9.2 innings with 13 Ks. Cody has been successful in 19 of his 21 save chances with growth in his ERA (2.55) and WHIP (1.09). Over his last 23 games, Allen has 1.14 ERA with 33 Ks in 23.2 innings. Bryan Shaw bounced back with 2.2 shutout innings over his last three games after getting drilled for four runs and five baserunners over two-thirds of an inning on July 18th. Dan Otero hasn’t allowed a run over his last eight innings, lowering his ERA to 1.13.

Detroit Tigers

Francisco Rodriguez tossed 3.1 shutout innings over the last week with three Ks and three saves. He’s 29-for-31 in save conversions. Over his last 23 innings, Francisco has a 1.96 ERA and 0.87 WHIP with 26 Ks. Justin Wilson struggled in his last two games (two runs and six baserunners over 1.1 innings). Alex Wilson improved his scoreless streak to 7.1 innings with three Ks. The Tigers moved up slightly in bullpen ERA (4.36 – 22nd) after 100 games with 16 wins, 13 losses, and 31 saves.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals bullpen ERA (3.37 – 7th) is trending downward after spending much of the year as the number one slot. After 99 games, they have 18 wins, nine losses, and 23 saves. Wade Davis allowed one run and seven baserunners over 6.1 innings with five Ks since returning from the DL. Davis converted 21 of his 23 saves tries in 2016 with a plus ERA (1.10) and WHIP (0.98). Kevin Herrera hasn’t allowed a run over his last five innings with four Ks. Over his last 11 games, Kelvin has a 1.64 ERA with 16 Ks in 11 innings. Joakim Soria was punched in the mouth in his last two appearances (six runs and eight baserunners in two innings). Kansas City has lost 14 of their last 18 games to fall three games under .500. It looks like they will be sellers at the trade deadline leading to Wade Davis possibly getting moved. If Kelvin Herrera is in the free agent pool, I will grab him before the weekend just in case.

Minnesota Twins

Brandon Kintzler has yet to blow a save in eight opportunities for the Twins. Over his last 12.1 innings, he has a 0.73 ERA with eight strikeouts. Just when Trevor May looks to be on the verge of being an upside arm, he does a face plant. After tossing four shutout innings in July, Trevor blew up on July 21st when he allowed four runs and four baserunners over two innings. Taylor Roger has been electric over his last 9.1 innings (one run and six baserunners allowed with 10 Ks). The Twins are 24th in bullpen ERA (4.41) after 99 games with 16 wins, 18 losses, and 16 saves.

AL West

Houston Astros

The Astros have climbed the bullpen mountain to take over the major league lead in ERA (3.01) after 99 games with 18 wins, 11 losses, and 27 saves. Will Harris picked up only one save since July 5th while showing some risk over his last four games (five runs and seven baserunners over 3.1 innings with four Ks). His ERA (1.76) and WHIP (0.98) remains in a strong area. Luke Gregerson pitched at a high level over the last month (two runs allowed in 13.1 innings with 16 strikeouts). Luke improved his scoreless streak to five innings over the last week. Ken Giles hasn’t allowed a run in his last 10.1 innings with 15 Ks to get his ERA (4.08) almost into a favorable area after a bad start to the year. Over his last 25 games, Giles has 2.25 ERA with 34 Ks in 24 innings.

Los Angeles Angels

Huston Street only has one save since June 14th. His arm continues to show downside risk. Over his last ten games, Street has a 7.88 ERA and a 2.63 WHIP with just as many walks (5) as strikeouts (5). Houston converted eight of his ten save opportunities in 2016. Cam Bedrosian looks poised to earn saves over the last two months of the season if somehow LA can dump Street at the trade deadline. Cam extended his scoreless streak to 20.2 innings with 25 Ks to lower his ERA to 0.97 with 43 Ks in 37 innings. Joe Smith has looked better over his last six games (no runs and four baserunners in 5.1 innings). The Angels are 15th in bullpen ERA (3.83) after 97 games with 14 wins, 15 losses, and 16 saves.

Oakland A’s

The A’s faded to 19th in bullpen ERA (4.11) after 100 games with 18 wins, 14 losses, and 28 saves. Ryan Madson still has a closing job after pitching poorly over his last 14 games (10 runs and 21 baserunners in 14 innings with 14 Ks). Ryan has blown six of his 27 save tries, which included three of his last seven chances. Ryan Dull struggled in two of his last four games (two runs and four baserunners in 4.1 innings) while being impressive over his last 28 games (1.16 ERA and 0.61 WHIP with 29 Ks in 31 innings). His opportunity for saves should come shortly after the trade deadline. Liam Hendriks could be a dark horse for saves as well after showing growth in his last games (no runs and eight baserunners over 9.1 innings with seven Ks).

Seattle Mariners

Steve Cishek regained some of his form over his last four games (no runs and four baserunners in five innings with seven Ks). Cishek is 24-for-29 in save conversion with 58 Ks in 45 innings. Edwin Diaz improved his shutout streak to six innings with no walks and 12 strikeouts. Diaz has 44 Ks in 22.2 major league innings to start his career pointing to a future job in the 9th inning. His average fastball (96.9) remains in an elite area. Tom Wilhelmsen has been a much better pitcher since returning to Seattle (2.03 ERA and 0.75 WHIP over 13.1 innings with 11 Ks). Drew Storen ended up being part of the trade to acquire Joakim Benoit. Seattle is 9th in bullpen ERA (3.43) after 98 games with 14 wins, 15 losses, and 27 saves.

Texas Rangers

After spending much of the last few weeks as the 29th ranked bullpen, Texas moved to 28th in bullpen ERA (4.85) after 100 games with 23 wins, 17 losses, and 34 saves. Sam Dyson saw his 6.2 inning shutout streak end on July 26th when he allowed a run and three baserunners in one inning. Dyson has been successful in 20 of his 22 save chances with some risk over his last 11 games (4.50 ERA and 1.90 WHIP). Matt Bush hasn’t allowed a run in his last 11 innings with nine Ks. His arm has closing potential. Keone Kela threw the ball well in four of his five games since returning from the DL (his one bad outing led to four runs allowed in one inning of work). Kela didn’t allow a run in his other four innings pitched.

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