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Fantasy Baseball Week 3: American League Closer Report

Senior Fantasy Baseball Expert Shawn Childs takes an in-depth look at the bullpen for every team in the American League!

AL East

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles placed Zach Britton the DL last weekend leading to Fantasy owners chasing Brad Brach on the waiver wire last weekend. Britton converted all five of his save chances in 2017, but his arm didn’t look right after allowing 13 base runners over seven innings (one run). The latest reports suggest his left forearm issue is minor, which might be the company line. The velocity of his curveball (81.7) looks to be down about 1.5 mph so it may hurt him to throw it. Brach has allowed no runs and one hit over six innings with 10 Ks. Baltimore hasn’t named him the closer, but Brad should get the first chance especially with Darren O’Day struggling out of the game (five runs, 13 base runners, and five walks over 4.2 innings). The Orioles are 14th in the majors in bullpen ERA (3.77) with four wins, two losses, and five saves.

Boston Red Sox


Boston moved to 4th in baseball in bullpen ERA (2.25) with four wins, one loss, and six saves. Craig Kimbrel didn’t look sharp in one of his seven outings (one run and three base runners over 1 innings with three Ks on April 9th). His stuff looked electric over his last three games (no runs, hits, or walks over three innings with seven Ks). Matt Barnes struggled through his first save chance in the 9th with Kimbrel needing a night off on April 18th (three runs and three base runners over 1.1 innings). He’s walked five batters over his last four innings of work. Joe Kelly was stretched out in his last two games (2.0 and 2.2 innings). He struggled on April 12th (two runs and three base runners over two innings). Both Kelly and Barnes have two bullpen wins each.

New York Yankees

Aroldis Chapman has yet to allow a run over 5.1 innings leading to eight Ks and four saves. Dellin Betances continues to battle his command (four walks over 5.1 innings) while still posting a low ERA (1.69) with plenty of strikeouts (nine). Tyler Clippard picked up a save on April 15th when Chapman needed a day off. He did allow a run and three base runners while striking out the side. On the year, Tyler has nine Ks over six innings. New York sits second in the majors in bullpen ERA (1.33) with two wins, two losses, and five saves.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays fell to 18th in bullpen ERA (3.99) with two wins, four losses, and three saves. Alex Colome hasn’t had a save chance since April 7th. He’s 3-for-3 in save chances with no runs or hits allowed over his last four innings. Tommy Hunter looks to be the second best late inning reliever for Tampa after 19 days in April (one and four hits over 6.2 innings with six Ks). Jumbo Diaz threw the ball well over 7.1 innings in 2017 (two runs and six base runners with six Ks)

Toronto Blue Jays

Roberto Osuna blew his first save chance, but he was able to secure a win. Over two innings of work, he’s allowed one run and two base runners with two Ks. Jason Grilli allowed a run in two of his five outings this year with a loss and a save. Joe Biagini remains the third option for save in Toronto. Over 9.1 innings, he has a 0.96 ERA with an identical WHIP. The Blue Jays slid to 23rd in bullpen ERA (5.11) with a win, three losses, and one save.

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Somehow the White Sox have the best bullpen ERA (1.30) after 13 games with three wins, a loss, and four saves. Other two walks in his last outing over two-thirds of an inning, David Robertson has looked electric in 2017 (no runs, one hit, and 11 Ks over 5.2 innings). Nate Jones picked up a win and two holds in his last three games, but his stats still look out of line (three runs, 11 base runners, and a home run over 6.1 innings). Zack Putnam continue to be impressive as well (no runs and two hits over seven innings with eight Ks).

Cleveland Indians


Despite allowing seven hits over 5.2 innings, Cody Allen has delivered in all areas (one run, one walk, and 13 Ks) while converting all three save opportunities. Andrew Miller remains one of the best eight inning arms in the game (no runs over seven innings with a walk and eight strikeouts). Bryan Shaw struggled in three of his last five outings (four runs and eight base runners over five innings). Cleveland ranks 12th in bullpen ERA (3.35) with three wins and four losses.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers plummeted to last in the majors in bullpen ERA (6.75) after 13 games with two wins and one loss while leading the league in saves (7). Francisco Rodriguez hasn’t been sharp (three runs and nine base runners over his last five innings). He’s converted five of his six save chances. Detroit shipped Joe Jimenez back to the minors after throwing a clean inning to protect his service time. At AAA, Joe has four shutout innings under his belt with seven Ks and two saves. Justin Wilson extended his scoreless and hitless streak to 6.1 innings with eight strikeouts. Alex Wilson hasn’t allowed a run or hit in his last four innings with three walks and four Ks.

Kansas City Royals

Kelvin Herrera turned the corner over the last week (no runs or hits over three innings with three Ks). He has a win while converting three of his four save chances. So far, so good for Joakim Soria in 2017 (no runs over seven innings with nine Ks). He did issue five walks so there is still some disaster risk. Over seven innings, Peter Moylan allowed only one hit with three walks and six Ks. Even with some success from their top three bullpen arms, the Royals are 27th in bullpen ERA (6.05) with two wins, four losses, and two saves.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins’ bullpen has overachieved over the first 13 games (2.64 ERA with a win, two losses, and four saves). Brandon Kintzler hasn’t allowed a run over 6.1 innings with four Ks and three saves. Tyler Duffey appears closer to the starting rotation than the 9th inning. He’s yet to allow a run over 8.2 innings with seven Ks and a walk. Taylor Rodgers at least has a live arm (no runs over three innings with four strikeouts).

AL West

Houston Astros

Ken Giles fans feel relieved after he at least stabilized in his last outing (one perfect inning with two Ks and a save conversion) after getting drilled in his previous three games (five runs and seven base runners over three innings). Ken hasn’t blown a save in three chances despite some struggles. Will Harris continues to get outs (no runs and two hits over 5.2 innings with five Ks) to remain next in line for saves. Chris Devenski has a massive strikeout total (21 over 11 innings) with only one run and four hits allowed. His arm looks poised to make an impact somewhere. The Astros moved to 10th in bullpen ERA (3.10) with four wins, two losses, and four saves.

Troy Taormina-USA Today Sports

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels are about league average in bullpen ERA (3.49) after 15 games with five wins, two losses, and three saves. Cam Bedrosian extended his shutout streak to six innings leading to eight Ks, a win, and three saves. Blake Parker has allowed too many runs (three in six innings), but he does have 10 Ks and a walk. Bud Norris is starting to shine in the bullpen (no runs over his last 4.2 innings with no walks and six Ks.

Oakland A’s

After pitching in a setup role for two nights when he allowed two runs and two walks, Santiago Casilla picked up his second save in two chances on April 18th. He’s allowed no hits in six innings of work with six Ks. Casilla should be the favorite for saves on this roster. Sean Doolittle is 1-for-2 in save chances with his blown save coming when he allowed a two-run homer. Doolittle has nine Ks over 4.2 innings so he’ll continue to be a threat in the 9th when left hand batters are due up. Ryan Madson has looked flat over four innings (one run and eight base runners over four innings). Oakland is 19th in bullpen ERA (4.08) with no wins, three losses, and three saves.

Seattle Mariners


Seattle struggled out of the bullpen in 2017 (25th in bullpen ERA – 5.83) with two wins, four losses, and two saves. Edwin Diaz pitched poorly over his last three games (four runs and seven base runners over 2.2 innings). He’s been successful in two of his three save opportunities. Dan Altavilla lost his way over the last week (three runs and eight base runners over 2.1 innings with two strikeouts). His role in the Mariners looks to be at risk. Tony Zych return from the DL on April 16th (no runs over 1.1 innings with one strikeout).

Texas Rangers

The Rangers’ relievers already have five losses with plenty of disaster pitched late in games. They rank 24th in bullpen ERA (5.44) with a win and a save. Sam Dyson was placed on the DL removing him from the closer role. Matt Bush gave Fantasy owners a scare last week when he missed almost the whole week with some shoulder soreness. He pitched a perfect inning last Saturday with three Ks to put his name front and center of closing wagon in Texas. Matt has eight Ks over 4.2 innings with two runs allowed. Dyson allowed 13 runs and 19 base runners over 4.1 innings. His injury goes down a hand contusion probably as a result of blowing his third save. Jeremy Jeffress will be close by if Bush Fails. Jeremy hasn’t allowed a run or hit over his last 3.2 innings. Texas called up Keone Kela to replace Dyson on the roster. He’s pitched two shutout innings with three Ks.

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