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Fantasy Baseball Week 19: American League Closer Report

Senior Fantasy Baseball Expert Shawn Childs takes an in-depth look at the back end of each team's bullpen in the American League!

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

Over the last three weeks. Zach Britton hasn’t allowed a run or hit in eight innings with ten strikeouts and six saves. He extended his scoreless streak to 38 innings with 42 Ks. Britton has been successful in all 34 save opportunities. Darren O’Day blew up on August 5th when he allowed three runs and four baserunners over one-third of an inning. Since returning from the DL, O’Day has a 3.86 ERA over seven innings with eight strikeouts. Brad Brach hasn’t been sharp in his last six games (three runs and 11 baserunners over 5.1 innings). Baltimore remained 2nd in the majors in bullpen ERA (3.07) after 112 games with 26 wins, nine losses, and 40 saves.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox moved up one notch to 13th in bullpen ERA (3.68) after 104 games with 16 wins, 18 losses, and 28 saves. Craig Kimbrel returned from the DL on August 1st. Over his first two appearances, he threw the ball well (no runs and one baserunner in 2.1 innings with six Ks), but he lost his command in his last outing (one run and four walks in two-thirds of an inning) due to some soreness in his left knee. Craig is 18-for-20 in save opportunities. Brad Ziegler struggled over his last 3.1 innings (one run and seven baserunners) while picking up a pair of saves in his last two games. There may be an issue with Brad as he’s only pitched once in the last nine days. Matt Barnes has been very good over his last 11 games (two runs and ten baserunners in 12 innings with 14 Ks) leading to him earning a vulture save on August 9th when Kimbrel lost command.

New York Yankees

Dellin Betances has two successful save conversions since taking over the job at the beginning of August. Betances hasn’t allowed a run in his last 5.1 innings with ten strikeouts. Over his last 12 games, Dellin has a 1.46 ERA with 20 Ks in 12.1 innings. Tyler Clippard remains on the downward path over his last seven games (seven runs and ten baserunners over 4.1 innings). Adam Warren improved his shutout streak to seven innings with six Ks. New York still ranks 6th in bullpen ERA (3.30) after 112 games with 21 wins, 11 losses, and 33 saves.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays sit 26th in bullpen ERA (4.48) after 111 games with 14 wins, 22 losses, and 30 saves. Alex Colome has been electric in his last six games (no runs in 5.1 innings with nine Ks and six saves). Colome is 27-for-28 in save conversions. Brad Boxberger hasn’t allowed a run in 4.2 innings with five Ks since returning from the DL, but he’s allowed too many baserunners (eight) over this stretch. Kevin Jepsen extended his scoreless streak to 4.2 innings with two strikeouts.

Toronto Blue Jays

Roberto Osuna allowed a run in his last outing on August 8th in one inning of work while picking up his 25th save in 27 chances. This ended his 14.2 inning shutout streak. Over his last 14 games, Osuna has a 0.66 ERA with 17 Ks in 13.2 innings.  Jason Grilli has been a much better pitcher since arriving in Toronto (1.99 ERA with 33 Ks in 22.2 innings). Grilli allowed only one run and two hits over his last nine innings. Joaquin Benoit improved his scoreless streak to eight innings with five Ks. The Blue Jays rank 21st in bullpen ERA (4.07) after 114 games with 14 wins, 23 losses, and 32 saves.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox bullpen fell to 17th in ERA (3.84) after 107 games with 18 wins, 14 losses, and 32 saves. David Robertson is treading water while hanging tightly onto his life raft. He blew his fifth save in 32 tries on August 9th when David allowed a run and two baserunners in one inning. Over his last 11 games, Robertson has a 6.75 ERA and 1.31 WHIP with three wins, four saves, and three blown saves. Nate Jones hasn’t allowed a run in his six innings with six strikeouts. Over his last 30 games, Jones has been closer worthy (1.44 ERA and 36 Ks in 31.1 innings). Dan Jennings looks like the only other pitcher of value in this bullpen. Over his last 25 innings, Dan has a 1.44 ERA with 19 Ks.

Cleveland Indians

The Indians appear to be using a closer by committee between Andrew Miller and Cody Allen with both players earning a save over the last week. Over his last 13 games, Allen has a 0.68 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 13.1 innings. Cody is 21-for-23 in save conversions. Miller allowed a run in three of his last seven games with two saves, a win, a blown save, and two holds. Andrew picked up a save on August 6th against his former team. On the year, Miller converted 10 of his 12 save opportunities. Bryan Shaw extended his shutout streak to 8.2 innings to bring his ERA (3.75) to the lower point of the season since opening day. Cleveland is just above league average in bullpen ERA (3.76 – 14th) after 105 games with 16 wins, 16 losses, and 23 saves.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers continue to have one of the weaker bullpens in baseball. After 111 games, they have a 4.19 ERA with 18 wins, 15 losses, and 35 saves. Francisco Rodriguez pitched poorly in each of his last three games (three runs and seven baserunners in two innings) leading to back-to-back losses and a blown save. Rodriguez has been successful in 32 of his 35 save chances. Justin Wilson allowed a run or more in five of his last seven games (seven runs and 12 baserunners in 6.1 innings). Alex Wilson extended his shutout streak to 14 innings with six Ks. Over his last 24 games, Wilson has a 0.94 ERA with 18 Ks in 28.2 innings.

Kansas City Royals

Kelvin Herrera struggled in two of his last three games when he allowed a pair of HRs leading to four runs and six baserunners over three innings. Herrera still hasn’t blown a save in four tries since taking over the closing job. Wade Davis hopes to return to the majors by the end of the month. As of now, Davis may start throwing in the next week. Joakim Soria strung together two scoreless innings with three Ks after getting drilled for nine runs and 16 baserunners in his previous six innings. The Royals called up Matthew Strahm to beef up the bullpen at the end of July. Over his last 3.1 innings, Strahm hasn’t allowed a run with nine Ks. Over 22 games at AA, Matthew had a 3.43 ERA and 107 Ks in 102.1 innings. The Royals remain 7th in bullpen ERA (3.46) after 111 games with 20 wins, 13 losses, and 26 saves.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins are 23rd in bullpen ERA (4.23) after 110 games with 19 wins, 19 losses, and 19 saves. Brandon Kintzler is 10-for-11 in save conversions with only one run allowed in his last 11.2 innings with seven Ks. Over his last 27 games, Brandon has a 2.05 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 26.1 innings. Taylor Rogers improved his shutout streak to 5.2 innings with four Ks. Rogers has a 2.10 ERA over his last 30 innings with 30 Ks. Ryan Pressly has four wins, four holds, and a save in his last nine games. Over this stretch, he allowed two runs in 10.1 innings with nine strikeouts.

AL West

Houston Astros

Ken Giles earned his first save on August 9th after taking over the closing job, but he did allow a run and two baserunners in one inning of work. This ended his 15-inning scoreless streak with 29 Ks. Will Harris fell on his face over the last month (10 runs and 17 baserunners in nine innings). Michael Feliz is trending back upward after four straight solid games (no runs and six baserunners in six innings with nine Ks). The Astros hope to have Luke Gregerson back this weekend after tossing a bullpen session on August 10th. Houston slipped to 4th in bullpen ERA (3.15) after 111 games with 19 wins, 14 losses, and 29 saves.

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels are 19th in bullpen ERA (3.91) after 109 games with 16 wins, 18 losses, and 18 saves. LA lost Cam Bedrosian for a couple of weeks due to an issue with his middle finger. He allowed a run and five baserunners on August 3rd ending his shutout streak at 24 innings with 33 Ks. This leaves Fernando Salas as the last man starting in this bullpen. Salas pitched better over his last 9.1 innings (two runs and 15 baserunners with eight strikeouts). Fernando has 26 major league saves so he may surprise over the short term. Deolis Guerra moves up the depth chart due to the recent injuries. Over his last 30 games, Deolis has a 2.08 ERA with 22 Ks in 30.1. Jose Valdez could be a dark horse as well. He threw the ball well at AAA (1.50 ERA with 36 Ks in 36 innings). His downside is tied to a high walk rate (4.5 in his minor league career).

Oakland A’s

The A’s are 18th in bullpen ERA after 112 games with 20 wins, 15 losses, and 32 saves. Ryan Madson still hasn’t lost the closing job while pitching better in his last three games (no runs and three baserunners in 3.2 innings with three Ks) leading to a win and two saves. Madson has been successful in 24 of his 30 save opportunities. Ryan Dull has been unable to move into the 9th inning, and his arm hasn’t been as electric in his last 11 games (four runs and six baserunners over 7.1 innings). Liam Hendriks has a 2.03 ERA over his last 26.2 innings with 23 Ks. He did struggle on August 6th when he allowed two runs and three baserunners in one inning.

Seattle Mariners

Greatness in the 9th inning now resides in Seattle. Edwin Diaz has a 1.74 ERA over his last 31 innings with 58 Ks. He picked up five saves already in August. Edwin stole the closing job after Steve Cishek suffered a torn labrum in his last hip. Drew Storen improved his scoreless streak to five innings with two Ks. He’ll battle Tom Wilhelmsen for the 8th inning job. Wilhelmsen hasn’t allowed a run in his last four innings with four Ks, but he’s issued seven walks over his last 5.2 innings. The Mariners drifted back to 11th in bullpen ERA (3.60) after 111 games with 17 wins, 18 losses, and 34 saves.

Texas Rangers

The Rangers moved to 27th in bullpen ERA (4.64) after 113 games with 28 wins, 18 losses, and 40 saves. Sam Dyson blew his third save in 28 chances on August 7th when he allowed a run for the second straight night. Over his last seven games, Sam allowed three runs and 11 baserunners in seven innings with only two Ks. Jeremy Jeffress struggled on August 7th as well when he allowed two runs and three baserunners in one inning of work. Over his four innings in the AL, Jeffress has a 4.50 ERA with four strikeouts. Matt Bush extended his scoreless streak to six innings with three strikeouts.

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