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Fantasy Baseball: Week 5 National League Closer Report

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

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NL East

Atlanta Braves

After struggling in back-to-back games (four runs and seven baserunners over 1.2 innings), Jim Johnson picked up a pair of saves in his next two games while tossing 1.1 perfect innings. Jim is 5-for-7 in save chances. Over his last six games, Arodys Vizcaino allowed five runs and eight baserunners over 4.1 innings with seven Ks. Mauricio Cabrera now has four shutout innings under his belt in the minors with four Ks. The Braves called up Jason Motte for the minors where he threw 5.1 shutout innings with six Ks. Jason struggled in both games in the majors (two runs and five baserunners over two innings). Jose Ramirez only allowed one hit and no runs over his last 8.2 innings with seven Ks. Atlanta is 21st in bullpen ERA (4.89) after 25 games with four wins, four losses, and five saves.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins rank 8th in the majors in bullpen ERA (3.28) after 25 games with six wins, five losses, and three saves. A.J. Ramos hasn’t been sharp in his last four innings (three runs and eight baserunners with six Ks). He only had one save chance over the last two weeks while converting all three of his chances on the year. Walks have crept back onto Kyle Barraclough’s resume (four over his last 3.2 innings), but he’s allowed one run over his last 9.2 innings with 10 Ks. Command will be the key to his success in the 9th inning if given a chance for saves. Brad Ziegler walked three batters in his last outing covering two-thirds of an inning leading to a run allowed and a loss. His ERA (1.35) offers an edge, but he needs to clean up his command.

New York Mets

Jeurys Familia now has six innings under his belt in the majors after missing 15 games. He picked up a pair of saves over the last week while his WHIP (1.83) remains out of line due to six walks. Addison Reed hasn’t been the same pitcher in 2017. Over his last seven innings, Reed allowed five runs and 11 baserunners which include three home runs. Hansel Robles already has four wins. He extended his scoreless streak to 10.1 innings with 13 Ks. New York needs to show improvement in their bullpen ERA (4.99 – 26th) if they want to get back in the playoff hunt. The Mets relievers have five wins, six losses, and seven saves after 26 games.

Philadelphia Phillies

There remains plenty of disaster risk in the Phillies bullpen. They are 18th in bullpen ERA (4.59) after 25 games with four wins, six losses, and five saves. Just when Fantasy owners thought Hector Neris would take the closer job and run with it, he allowed seven runs, 15 baserunners, and four HRs over his last 5.1 innings with five Ks leading to a blown save in three chances. Meanwhile, Joaquin Benoit improved his shutout streak to six innings with six innings. I believe Benoit gets the next save chance and keep the job for an extended period. Joely Rodriguez hasn’t allowed a run over his last seven innings with no walks and four Ks.

Washington Nationals

The Nationals have scored a ton of runs lately leading to no save chances since April 23rd. Washington expected to have Koda Glover back from the DL on May 6th. Shawn Kelley remains at risk for saves after allowing a pair of HRs in his last two innings or work. Kelley is 3-for-4 in save conversions, but he’s allowed five HRs over ten innings. Blake Treinen remains a train wreck after allowing six runs and 13 baserunners over his last five innings. Washington is 28th in bullpen ERA (5.71) after 26 games with five wins, four losses, and eight saves. I have to believe the Nationals add some bullpen arms via a trade at some point in 2017

NL Central

Cincinnati Reds

Cinci is 9th in bullpen ERA (3.34) after 26 games with six wins, three losses, and six saves. Their relievers have pitched the most innings (110.1) in the majors leading to the top total in strikeouts (131). Raisel Iglesias has pitched an inning in six of his last seven outings, but he only has one save chance since April 11th. Raisel has been successful in all four of his save chances with a 1.26 ERA, a 0.84 WHIP, and 16 Ks over 14.1 innings. Drew Storen saw his nine-inning scoreless streak end in his last game when he allowed a home run. During this stretch, he has 13 Ks and one walk. The Nationals could use an arm like him. Michael Lorenzen is trying to rebuild his 2017 resume after getting lit up for five games in mid-April (eight runs and 14 baserunners over six innings). He hasn’t allowed a run over his last 3.1 innings with three Ks.

Chicago Cubs

Wade Davis has yet to allow a run over 11.1 innings with 13 Ks and six saves. He’s only allowed one hit over his last seven innings with 10 Ks. Hector Rondon improved his shutout streak to 7.2 innings with two hits allowed and eight Ks. Carl Edwards has been impressive in 2017. He’s allowed no runs and only two hits over 12 innings with 15 Ks. The Cubs have the fifth-best bullpen ERA (2.80) after 26 games with four wins, five losses, and six saves.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers are 12th in bullpen ERA (4.05) after 28 games with three wins, eight losses (major league high), and nine saves. Neftali Feliz has job loss risk due to four HRs allowed over 11.2 innings. His ERA (6.17) is way out of line when looking at his WHIP (1.03). Over his last six innings, Feliz allowed seven runs, eight baserunners, and three HRs). Neftali is 7-for-8 in save chances. Corey Knebel remains next in line even after allowing two runs over 13.1 innings in 2017 with 18 Ks. He just needs to clean up his walks (7). Jacob Barnes crashed and burned over the last week (five runs and ten baserunners over two innings) removing himself from the save conversation.

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Pittsburgh Pirates

Tony Watson is 7-for-7 in save conversions with one run allowed over 9.1 innings. He’s only pitched once (1.1 shutout innings) since April 23rd. The Daniel Hudson lovers in the offseason got what they deserve over the last week (seven runs and nine baserunners over 1.2 innings). Hudson just isn’t any good, and the writing was on the wall last summer. Juan Nicasio should be next in line after allowing no runs and no hits over his last 4.1 innings with three Ks. Johnny Barbato was called up last week. He has some closing experience in the minors (39 saves). Over his 3.2 innings in the majors, Johnny allowed a run and four baserunners. The Pirates are 16th in bullpen ERA (4.29) after 24 games with four wins, six losses, and eight saves.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals still have a lot of work to do to correct their bullpen ERA (5.15 – 25th). After 26 games, their relievers have two wins, four losses, and nine saves. Seung-Hwan Oh struggled in his last outing on May 1st vs. the Brewers when he was extended into a second inning. Oh ended up with a loss after allowing three unearned runs and three baserunners over 1.2 innings. Seung-Hwan hasn’t allowed an earned run over his last eight innings with 10 Ks. He’s 6-for-7 in saves chances. Trevor Rosenthal picked up his third save on May 2nd when Oh was unavailable. Over his last six innings, Trevor has a 3.00 ERA with 12 Ks and two walks. St. Louis still hasn’t used him in back-to-back games. Brett Cecil improved his shutout streak to 7.2 innings with nine Ks.

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

Fernando Rodney has been successful in seven of his nine save opportunities, but he posted some disgusting crooked numbers along the way. Over his last three games, he allowed eight runs and ten baserunners over 2.2 innings to push his ERA to 11.45 and his WHIP to 2.09. His job is at risk. Archie Bradley remains the top choice to move in the 9th with his improved skill set as a reliever (1.13 ERA with 19 Ks and three walks over 16 innings). I saw many Fantasy owners in the high-stakes market add J.J. Hoover last week after he improved his scoreless streak to 9.1 innings with 14 Ks. His risk does come with his walks (six in 10.2 innings) plus he failed once as a closing option for the Reds. I would keep an eye on Jake Barrett who threw one shutout inning at High-A last week with three Ks as he works his way back from a shoulder issue. He has command risk as well, but there were reports of him getting in better shape over the winter. Tom Wilhelmsen hasn’t allowed a run over his last 4.1 innings with three strikeouts. The Diamondbacks are 17th in bullpen ERA (4.48) after 27 games with six wins, two losses, and seven saves.

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Colorado Rockies

The Rockies fell to 15th in bullpen ERA (4.16) after 26 games with seven wins, one loss, and a league-high 12 saves. Their failure in the bullpen last week came from the hot hitting Washington Nationals. Greg Holland remains perfect in his 11 save chances. He has a four-inning shutout streak in the works with four Ks. Adam Ottavino has been impressive over his last nine innings (one run, five hits, and 10 Ks) to remain next in line for saves. Colorado placed Mike Dunn on the DL with a back issue last week, but they expect him to be activated mid-week. He’s only allowed one run over 7.2 innings with 10 strikeouts.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Over his last four games, Kenley Jansen has a win and three saves. His stuff has been elite over his last 7.2 innings (no runs or walks with 15 Ks). Pedro Baez allowed his first run of the season on April 26th when served up a home run to the Giants. He’s only allowed two hits in 9.1 innings, but batters have seven walks. Grant Dayton returned from the DL on April 29th when he extended his scoreless streak to 7.1 innings. He then struggled the next night against the Phillies (two runs and two baserunners over two-thirds of an inning). Josh Fields also saw his shutout streak end last week. On the year, he’s allowed one run over nine innings with 14 Ks. LA slipped to 7th in bullpen ERA (2.97) after 28 games with three wins, four losses, and seven saves.

San Diego Padres

The Padres moved to 20th in bullpen ERA (4.81) after 28 games with four wins, five losses, and six saves. Brandon Maurer still hasn’t blown a save in his four chances. Over his last 6.2 innings, he’s been unscored upon with two hits allowed, no walks, and 11 Ks. It looks like he has a firm hold on the closing job for San Diego. Carter Capps has been a disaster at AAA (nine runs and 11 baserunners over five innings with six Ks). Brad Hand remains the next best option for saves on this team. He’s only allowed one run and six hits over 14 innings with 17 Ks.

San Francisco Giants

Mark Melancon blew his second save in seven opportunities on April 30th when he allowed a home run. It ended his eight-inning shutout streak. Hunter Strickland still hasn’t allowed a run over ten innings with 11 Ks. Derek Law pitched better over his last 8.1 innings (one run and eight hits with seven Ks). Cory Gearrin lost command of the strike zone over the last week or so. He issued seven walks over his last six innings leading to a pair of runs. The Giants fell to 24th in bullpen ERA (5.07) after 27 games with three wins, five losses, and nine saves.


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