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Closers and Saves Report - Week 2 Waiver Wire


Hey. Hey...Umm, there's baseball! It's pretty much already a mess and who knows how long this season will actually last, but for now? Baseball. We have it. And that's great. Summer's favorite sport is back on our TVs and in stadiums near us that we aren't allowed to go to. But: still baseball. Fantasy leagues are in full swing (pour one out for leagues that drafted before everything changed).

This season, it seems like bullpens will be MUCH more important on the field, and therefore in fantasy baseball as well. With only 60 games all season and expanded rosters at least part of the way, managers will be way more likely to give their starters a quick hook. We've already seen what at least seems like a disproportionate amount of starters being lifted in the third and fourth innings. Fantasy managers in quality start leagues are probably shaking their heads and wishing they'd just gone with Wins (just kidding, pitcher wins is the second worst stat in sports- after QB wins in football).

So, with bullpens being more important, that means Rotoballer's weekly Closers and Saves Report will be even more of a vital resource for fantasy baseball players everywhere. This series will publish every Friday morning and will recap what happened in the week that passed and also look ahead at the week to come.

Editor's Note: Love the strategy of season-long fantasy sports? Live for the short term gratification of DFS? Try Weekly Fantasy Sports on OwnersBox - a new weekly DFS platform. Sign up today for a FREE $50 Deposit Match. Offer expires Thursday night! Sign Up Now!

Take a look at our Closer Depth Chart, which is updated daily. Let's jump in and take a look at what's been going on in the bullpens around baseball.

 

Bullpen News for Week 2

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates bullpen has already been quite the journey this young season. Expected closer Keone Kela still hasn't reported to the team due to COVID-19, and his primary replacement, Kyle Crick, has joined him on the injured list with a shoulder strain. Exciting rookie Nick Burdi is next in line and has looked excellent already this season, but manager Derek Shelton clarified that he would be careful with Burdi and could limit his innings or appearances. Burdi is still the arm to own in the Pittsburgh bullpen, but Richard Rodriguez and Michael Feliz are likely to spend some time on the mound in ninth innings going forward as well.

Texas Rangers

Rangers closer Jose Leclerc was skipped over for a save chance due to shoulder tightness, but the extent of his injury ended up being much worse than just tightness. Leclerc is dealing with the same injury as his teammate, Corey Kluber. They both have a Grade 2 strain of the teres major muscle in their shoulders and won't be able to even throw for four weeks. Nick Goody got a save in his place, but it was more due to game circumstances. With Leclerc set to miss most of the season, the Rangers will likely turn to Jonathan Hernandez or Edinson Volquez.

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals expected Jordan Hicks to be back in their closer's role at some point this season. They expected Giovanny Gallegos to keep the mound warm for him in the meantime. Then...everything changed. Hicks opted out of the season due to concerns with COVID-19, and Gallegos was late to report to Summer Camp because of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. When Carlos Martinez, another candidate for the closer's role, earned a starting rotation spot instead, Cardinals manager Mike Schildt made a decision that no one expected: he made Kwang-Hyun Kim the full-time closer. Kim does not have the kind of swing-and-miss stuff you expect from a closer, but he seems to have the team committed to his role, and any full-time closer is worth a spot on most fantasy rosters.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants bullpen was always expected to be unpredictable and frustrating for fantasy players. Heading into the season, the pitcher with the most saves in his career that would wear a Giants uniform was Tony Watson, with 30. Thirty saves. In his entire career. To lead the team. Combine that with new manager Gabe Kapler's creative bullpen usage and...you end up with Trevor Gott looking like the early favorite for ninth inning work. It's early, things can and will change, and Kapler's gonna Kapler, but for now, Gott looks like he may actually be worth a roster spot in deeper formats.

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles bullpen was never expected to be much of a strength, but fantasy players were excited to see the one real bright spot in the Birds' bullpen, Hunter Harvey. Mychal Givens was expected to get some save chances to start things off, but Harvey wasn't thought to be too far behind. Instead, Harvey finds himself on the injured list with elbow soreness, and Givens remains atop the Orioles bullpen committee.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays were another team not fully expected to have strictly defined roles in their bullpen. Nick Anderson was the fantasy favorite because of his gaudy strikeout numbers and his role to end last season, but as expected, the Rays have not done things according to other people's plans. Oliver Drake looked like he was ascending to the ninth inning after earning saves in two games in a row, but he followed that up with a blown save in another outing. He's still tentatively atop the Rays committee, but Anderson and Jose Alvarado are waiting for their turns as well.

Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays had one of the more solid bullpens heading into the season, with Ken Giles set fast in the ninth inning. That didn't last too long, as Giles is now on the injured list dealing with a forearm strain. It's unclear just how long he'll be out, but it's not often that "forearm strain" ends up as a short trip to the IL. In his place, the Blue Jays will likely try a committee at least until a hot hand appears. Anthony Bass, Rafael Dolis, and Jordan Romano will all work the late innings for Toronto (but never in Toronto, thanks 2020!). Bass is slightly ahead right now and would be the best choice for any managers desperate for saves.

Seattle Mariners

Much like the Giants bullpen mentioned above, the Mariners bullpen was always expected to be a mess. Many thought Matt Magill would be the favorite for saves given the role he played near the end of last season, but he appeared in the fifth inning on Sunday for his first appearance of the season. Taylor Williams earned a tough save with three strikeouts of very good hitters, but it looks like Dan Altavilla is the head of this committee, at least for now. The Mariners bullpen may end up being a lot like what we expected the Giants bullpen to be.

 

 

Short Relief

  • Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman is reportedly "doing well" but still hasn't been able to rejoin the team. He's been dealing with a case of COVID-19 since Summer Camp. Zach Britton will work the ninth until Chapman can return.
  • Cleveland closer Brad Hand struggled at the end of last season and seems to be struggling again this year. He's still the closer in Cleveland, but it's worth keeping an eye on. Nick Wittgren and James Karinchak would be next in line, with Karinchak earning the save on Thursday night.
  • Ian Kennedy was strong as a closer for the Royals last year, as he basically reinvented his career. He remains atop the Royals committee this year, but he might have some challenges from fellow veteran righties Trevor Rosenthal and Greg Holland, both of whom have earned saves before Kennedy this season.
  • Mets closer Edwin Diaz has continued to struggle a bit, and it's easy to assume his role is in jeopardy. He's still the head of the Mets bullpen, but Seth Lugo, Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia are looming.
  • Craig Kimbrel hasn't looked good, and Jeremy Jeffress has the veteran bullpen guy energy managers like David Ross (presumably) crave, so keep an eye on the Cubs bullpen.
  • Padres closer Kirby Yates gave up eight earned runs all of last season. Eight! He's already allowed two this year, but the early blip is likely nothing to worry about.
  • Sean Doolittle isn't off to a great start for the defending champion Washington Nationals. He's still the closer, but Daniel Hudson is breathing down his neck.

 

Roster Moves of the Week

Adds

Nick Burdi, Pittsburgh Pirates- Burdi was already a decent fantasy asset due to his high-strikeout potential, but now that he's found himself in the closer's role, he's a must-own in pretty much all formats.

Oliver Drake, Tampa Bay Rays- As mentioned above, Drake may not have a super tight hold on the ninth inning in Tampa, but he's the one to own for now.

Jeremy Jeffress, Chicago Cubs- If Kimbrel keeps struggling, Jeffress will be next man up.

Nick Wittgren, Cleveland Indians- Similar to the Cubs situation, if Hand keeps struggling, Wittgren goes next.

Trevor Gott, San Francisco Giants- He might be the closest the Giants come to a closer this season.

Anthony Bass, Toronto Blue Jays- Bass seems like he'll take Giles' spot for as long as he's out.

 

Drops

There are no immediate drops this week, but it will all come down to roster space. If you have an IL spot available for guys like Chapman and Giles, use it, because if they make it back onto the mound, they will be giving you significant production.

 

Best of the Week

This section will usually be, as the title says, a place to highlight the best relievers of the week. Since this is our first regular Closers and Saves report of the season, however, we'll go all the way back to Opening Day this time.

Joe Jimenez, Detroit Tigers- 4 IP, 4 SV, 2 K, 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP

Tigers closer Joe Jimenez leads the league in saves, with four (no one else even has three as of the writing of this article.) He hasn't been fooling many hitters, as his two strikeouts show, but he's been able to do his job and lock down wins for Detroit.

Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks- 2 2/3 IP, 1 SV, 5 K, 3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP

Bradley hasn't been great, as he's already blown a save, but he is tied for the lead among one-save relievers with five strikeouts, and he's only gotten eight outs total.

Seth Lugo, New York Mets- 4 1/3 IP, 1 SV, 5 K, 2.08 ERA, 0.46 WHIP

Even better numbers overall for Mets reliever Seth Lugo, who also has five strikeouts and one save, but he's not expected to be the full time closer in Queens, at least not yet.



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Dissecting Contact Quality In Search Of Fantasy Bargains

Of the 1,015 hitters sampled(1) between 2015 and 2019, there were only 14 instances of hitters making more productive contact against pitches outside of the strike zone than against pitches inside of the strike zone based on xwOBAcon. Based on the same sample, the average hitter was a whopping .116 points better against pitches inside... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 23rd, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 23rd, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Lineup Order Risers and Fallers: AL West 2020 Review

It’s the offseason and there are about to be a bunch of moving parts. This allows for speculation in terms of players gaining or losing playing time, moving up or down a batting order and much more. The idea here is to highlight some lineup situations for each team and some potential winners or losers... Read More


2021 1st & 2nd Year Players with James Anderson - Benched with Bubba (Episode 317)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by James Anderson (@RealJRAnderson) on episode 317. The guys will go over 30+ first and second-year players. They will discuss their current ADP's in the 2 Early Mocks, what to expect of the players in 2021, and much more. They also go over some listener questions, compare Juan Soto to Mike... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 21st, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 21st, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 20th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 20th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 54: 2 Early Mocks APD Player Debates - Benched with Bubba (Episode 316)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They go over some of the positions and look at players with similar ADPs and debate. Going around the diamond discussing some players people are high on and some they are down on with a... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 18th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 18th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 17th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 17th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


2021 Early Mock ADP Values & Reaches: WPC+ Videocast

Pierre Camus and Nicklaus Gaut prepare for the 2021 fantasy baseball season with a look at early mock draft results from the RotoBaller Expert mock. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller... Read More


Statcast Season Review: 2020 Barrel Leaders (Hitters)

The 2020 MLB season will always be one for the record books, even if everything that took place will have multiple asterisks attached to it. Evaluating Statcast numbers is a nice way to find hot and cold hitters, as well as underachievers and overachievers. Now that the regular season is over, let's reflect on the... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 16th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 16th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More