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Fantasy Baseball: Week 6 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!

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AL East

Baltimore Orioles

The good news for Zach Britton owners is that his elbow looks to be intact, but the Orioles have shut him down for six to eight weeks to clear up his left forearm issue. It’s too bad they rushed him back as a two inning stint back in the majors wasn’t worth the price of his next DL move. Brad Brach is 8-for-9 in his save chances, but his game hasn’t been as impressive over his last seven outings (five runs and 10 base runners over 6.2 innings with four Ks). His overall stats for 2017 still look closer worthy (2.41 ERA and 0.91 WHIP over 18.2 innings with 18 Ks). Darren O'Day picked up a save over the last week, but his game still looks well below his previous success. Over his last 4.2 innings, Darren allowed three runs and seven base runners with five Ks. Baltimore ranks 9th in the majors in bullpen ERA (3.54) after 32 games with 10 wins, three losses, and 15 saves.

Boston Red Sox


After 32 games, Boston is 4th in baseball in bullpen ERA (2.68) with six wins, two losses, and 10 saves. Craig Kimbrel still hasn’t allowed a hit to a right-hand batter (27 plate appearances) with 13 Ks. Over his last five innings, batters have one hit with no walks, nine Ks, and four saves. He’s been successful in 10 of his 11 save opportunities. His step forward is due to tremendous improvement in his command (two walks) leading to 26 Ks over 14 innings. His start points to him being the best closer in baseball in 2017. After a nice first month of the year, Heath Hembree has shown risk over his last 3.1 innings (three runs and eight base runners with five Ks). Joe Kelly hasn’t allowed a run over his last 3.2 innings with two Ks.

New York Yankees

Aroldis Chapman posted a disaster outing on May 7th when he allowed three runs and five base runners over two-thirds of an inning. It was his first blown save in eight chances. Dellin Betances extended his scoreless streak to 10.1 innings with three hits and 21 Ks, but he’s issued eight walks over this stretch. Tyler Clippard hasn’t allowed a run over his last 8.1 innings with nine strikeouts. New York remains one of the top bullpens in the game in ERA (2.55 – 3rd) after 30 games with seven wins, three losses, and eight saves.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays are about league average in bullpen ERA (4.20 – 16th) after 35 games with seven wins, 10 losses, and nine saves. Alex Colome rebounded from a bad couple of days at the end of April to pitch 3.1 shutout innings with no hits allowed, four Ks, and three saves. Alex is 8-for-10 in save conversions. Danny Farquhar improved his shutout streak to 5.2 innings with five Ks. He continues to have some downside risk due to nine walks allowed over 15 innings. Chase Whitley has been the next best reliever in this bullpen so far in 2017. He’s allowed only one run over 14.2 innings nine Ks.

Toronto Blue Jays

I had my doubts about Roberto Osuna at the end of April, but he’s looked much improved over his last six innings (no runs, two hits, nine Ks, and four saves). He’s improved to 5-for-8 in save chances and his game should continue to improve going forward. Joe Smith moved up a notch in this bullpen with Joe Biagini pushed to the starting rotation. Smith looks to be off to the best start of his career. Over 16 innings, he has 23 Ks with no runs allowed over his last 3.2 innings and seven Ks. Jason Grilli is trying to regain his form. He threw 1.1 shutout innings over the last week with two walks and three Ks. The Blue Jays are 22nd in bullpen ERA (4.51) after 31 games with six wins, seven losses, and eight saves.

© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

AL Central

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox continue to have the second-best bullpen ERA (2.39) in the majors after 31 games with six wins, one loss, and five saves. David Robertson struggled in two of his last four outings (three runs and eight base runners over five innings with four Ks, a win, a blown save, and a save). He has been successful in five of his six save opportunities. Chicago placed Nathan Jones on the DL with a right elbow injury. This pushes Tommy Kahnle to the 8th inning setup role after his great start in 2017 (one run over 11 innings with 21 Ks and two walks). Kahnle hasn’t allowed a run or hit over his last 4.1 innings with seven Ks. Anthony Swarzak is on an incredible pace to start 2017 as well (no runs, three hits, one walk, and 17 Ks) over 14.2 innings.

Cleveland Indians


Cody Allen remains perfect in his nine save chances while extending his shutout streak to 11 innings with 18 Ks and saves. His command has faded over this last three innings (four walks). Andrew Miller hasn’t allowed a run in 2017 over 16.2 innings with 22 Ks leading to a pair of wins. Bryan Shaw extended his scoreless streak to 7.2 innings with seven Ks to get his ERA (2.63) and WHIP (1.24) back in line. The Indians moved to the top spot in bullpen ERA (1.75) after 31 games with four wins, no losses, and 10 saves.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers have the worst bullpen ERA (5.74) after 31 games with three wins, seven loses, and nine saves. Francisco Rodriguez pitched his way out of the 9th inning after a tough weekend in Oakland. He blew back-to-back saves when he allowed five runs and six base runners over one inning. He now has four blown saves in 11 chances. Over his last 8.1 innings, Rodriguez allowed 10 runs, 20 base runners, and three home runs. His failure will lead to Justin Wilson getting a chance at saves. He’s only allowed one run and four hits over 14.2 innings with 23 Ks, which included a stretch with no runs or hits allowed over 9.2 innings with 15 Ks. Alex Wilson is now next in line after tossing six straight shutout innings with three Ks.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals

There’s been talk of Kelvin Herrera getting traded, but he has a short resume of pitching in the 9th inning. Over the last two seasons, Herrera is 17-for-21 in save conversions (5-for-6 in 2017). Over the last week, he picked up two saves while taking a loss when he allowed two home runs to the Indians. Joakim Soria rebounded from a tough outing to end April (three runs and four base runners over two-thirds of an inning) to toss five innings with one run, no walks, and 11 Ks. His closing experience will draw interest in the trade market. Matt Strahm has nine Ks over his last 4.2 innings, but he’s allowed two runs coming via the home run. Mike Minor extended his shutout streak to 5.2 innings with nine Ks. The Royals are 23rd in bullpen ERA (4.60) after 32 games with three wins, eight losses, and five saves.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins bullpen took a couple of beating last week leading to them falling to 24th in bullpen ERA (4.79) after 29 games with three wins, five losses, and eight saves. Brandon Kintzler blew his first save in eight chances on May 5th while struggling in three straight games (four runs and nine base runners over three innings. His job could be at risk. Tyler Duffey remains the best arm in this bullpen after the first month or so of the season (1.62 ERA and 1.02 WHIP). Over his last 7.2 innings, Tyler allowed one run with seven Ks. Taylor Rogers allowed one run over his last four innings with five Ks.

AL West

Houston Astros


Ken Giles blew his first save in nine chances on May 5th when he allowed a run and three hits, but he did pick up the win. Over his last eight innings, Giles allowed a run and four hits with eight Ks. Chris Devenski took a pair of losses over his last seven games when he allowed four runs, eight base runners, and two home runs with 17 Ks. Will Harris continues to pitch well (no runs over his last four innings with five Ks). Luke Gregerson remains the weak link in this bullpen. The Rangers hammered him in back-to-back games last week (five runs and six base runners over one inning). Houston is 6th in bullpen ERA (3.01) after 32 games with nine wins, four losses, and 11 saves.

Los Angeles Angels

LA sits 15th in bullpen ERA (4.19) after 35 games with nine wins, seven losses, and 10 saves. Bud Norris picked up a win, a save, and a loss over the last week when he allowed a run over three innings with two Ks. Since moving to the 9th inning, Bud allowed two runs and 10 base runners over 9.1 innings with 12 Ks while converting six of their seven save chances. Cameron Bedrosian has just started throwing from flat ground so he may be a couple of weeks away from returning to the majors. David Hernandez allowed his first run over seven innings of work with the Angels with no walks and eight Ks. After blowing up on May 3rd (four runs and five base runners over two-thirds of an inning), Blake Parker tossed 2.2 innings over the last week with three Ks.

Oakland A’s


Santiago Casilla is 5-for-6 in save chances with no runs allowed over his last four innings. He’s only allowed five hits in 13 innings this year. Sean Doolittle landed on the DL with a left shoulder issue. He’s expected to miss a month. Ryan Madson has been sharp over his last 8.1 innings (one run and four hits allowed with 10 Ks) and remains next in line for saves. Liam Hendriks extended his shutout streak to 10 innings with four hits allowed and 10 Ks. The A’s are 18th in baseball in bullpen ERA (4.26) after 33 games with four wins, four losses, and seven saves.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners remains one of the weaker bullpens in ERA (5.25) after 33 games with seven wins, seven losses, and seven saves. After allowing a home run in back-to-back outings, Edwin Diaz pitched much better in his last three games (three shutout innings with four Ks and two saves). He’s 7-for-9 in save conversions with two runs allowed over his last 7.2 innings with 13 Ks. Tony Zych gave up a run in two straight games followed up with one shutout inning with two Ks. Steve Cishek now has four innings under his belt in the minors where he allowed two runs and eight base runners. His game doesn’t look ready to be a factor in the majors.

Texas Rangers

Saves opportunities continue to be a struggle in Texas. Over the last two weeks since taking over the closing role, Matt Bush has two wins and one converted save. He improved his scoreless streak to seven innings with nine Ks. Matt did allow five base runners over his last two innings. Sam Dyson remains miles away from the 9th inning, but he’s pitched better since returning from the DL (two runs over 6.1 innings with three Ks). Jeremy Jeffress has been a disaster over his last six innings (five runs and 18 base runners with four Ks). The Rangers are 31st in bullpen ERA (5.61) after 33 games with four wins, eight losses, and a league low three saves.

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