Archie Bradley did indeed get sniped for the closing job in Arizona. The Diamondbacks worked him hard over the first week of the season (one run over 5.1 innings with six Ks). Brad Boxberger has two saves in his three appearances, but he did issue four walks while striking out five batters over three innings.
Arodys Vizcaino doesn’t have a save a week into the season, but he hasn’t allowed a run over three innings with three walks and six Ks. A.J. Minter looked sharp in his first three games in 2018 (no runs or hits over three innings with two and no Ks). No changes to the pecking order in the 9th for Atlanta.
The early closing job for the Orioles is still in limbo. Brad Brach blew his first chance at a save on March 29th when he allowed two runs and four baserunners over two-thirds of an inning with two Ks. His stuff played better in his next two outings (two shutout innings with three Ks). Mychal Givens appeared to be gaining closing momentum after 2.1 shutout innings with three Ks, but Baltimore pitched him in the 6th on the April 3rd when Mychal struggled (two runs over one innings with two Ks). I get the sense that Givens will emerge as the winners early in the season. Darren O’Day remains in the mix after pitching two perfect innings with three Ks.
Boston Red Sox
No bumps in the road for Craig Kimbrel over his first three appearances (no runs, four Ks, and two saves over three innings). Joe Kelly blew up on opening day (four runs, three walks, and a hit over one-third of an inning), but he picked up a save in his next game while tossing three shutout innings with three Ks in his last two games.
The Cubs don’t have a save chance in 2018. Brandon Morrow allowed a hit in his only appearance this year, but he’s yet to record an out. Chicago now has five games played, so Brandon should see more action over the next couple of days. Carl Edwards hasn’t been sharp in his first two games (one run, two hits, and two walks over two innings with three Ks). It’s Morrow’s job to lose.
Chicago White Sox
The Nate Jones supporters in the high-stakes market have been beaten by the manager for saves so far in 2018. Jones tossed 2.1 shutout innings with three Ks, but he’s been bypassed for saves. Joakim Soria struggled in spring training (four runs and nine hits over four innings with one K), yet he stepped onto the mound for the first two saves for the White Sox. Soria allowed no runs and two baserunners in his first two innings with three Ks. Look for Joakim to hold the job as long as he doesn’t post crooked numbers in the 9th.
Raisel Iglesias is batting .500 after his first two games in 2018. He struggled in his first game (home run allowed over one inning with two Ks) while earning a save the next day (1.3 shutout innings with two Ks). The Reds bullpen is loaded with injuries. They lost Michael Lorenzen in spring training with a shoulder issue, and David Hernandez landed on the DL last in March with a shoulder issue. For daily players, Cinci’s backend relievers may allow huge runs in a couple of games over the next week or so.
Cody Allen didn’t allow a run over three innings with two Ks, and a save in his first two games of the year. Andrew Miller threw 2.1 shutout innings to start the year with four Ks, but he did allow five baserunners.
Wade Davis looked sharp in his first three save conversions of the year (no runs and no hits over 2.1 innings with two Ks. Jake McGee will be the top setup man again this year after allowing a run over 3.2 innings with four Ks.
After two games, Shane Greene looks to be at risk. He allowed two runs and six baserunners over 1.7 innings with no save chances. Future closer Joe Jimenez struggled with command in his first game (two walks and hit over two-thirds of an inning). Joe pitched 1.2 perfect innings in his next two games. I would keep a close eye on Mr. Jimenez earlier in the year as he may take the closing job and run with it.
Ken Giles doesn’t have a save chance after the first week of the season. He allowed a run and two hits over his first two innings with two Ks. Chris Devenski remains next in line for save for the Astros. Over 2.1 innings in three games, he gave up a run and three baserunners with three Ks.
Kansas City Royals
Kelvin Herrera may end up being one of the better value closers in 2018. He’s one-for-one in save chances with no runs allowed and five Ks over 2.1 innings. Brandon Maurer blew up in his second game of the year (three runs, four baserunners, and a home run over 1.2 innings). Kansas City has tons of risk in the bullpen behind their closer.
Los Angeles Angels
Blake Parker pitched poorly in his first two games (two runs and six baserunners over 2.1 innings with three Ks) putting his closing job at risk. Blake did rebound in his next two games (two shutout innings with one K). Jim Johnson moved into sleeper closer option in LA after four strong games (no runs or hits over 4.2 innings with six Ks). Keynan Middleton picked up a vulture save on April 1st. Over his four games, Middleton hasn’t allowed a run with four baserunners over five innings with four Ks.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The stud of studs at closer entering 2018 was Kenly Jansen. His season started with two straight down outings (four runs and four baserunners over two innings) leading to a loss, and a blown save. Pedro Baez has three shutout innings with two Ks under his belt this season.
For those who have followed me this baseball season, you must know I’m not a fan of Brad Ziegler. He blew up his second game of the year (four runs and four baserunners over 1.2 innings). Over his three appearances, Brad has a 9.82 ERA and 1.64 WHIP. Kyle Barraclough is the arm to own in this bullpen for saves over the long haul. Over his first three games, Barraclough hasn’t allowed a run or hit with one walks and five Ks over three innings.
Corey Knebel looked shaky in his first game (one run over two innings) leading to a blown save. The next day he rebounded to strikeout the side in a perfect inning to pick up a save. Josh Hader may end up in the rotation later this year, but he’s been electric in his two first two games (no runs over three innings with seven Ks).
The risk in Fernando Rodney’s game still shines through after his first two games (one run and four baserunners over 1.2 innings). He took a loss in one outing while still waiting for a save opportunity. Addison Reed may end up closing for the Twins at some point in 2018. He issued three walks over 1.1 innings in his second appearance, but he didn’t allow a run. On the year, Reed hasn’t allowed a run over 4.1 innings with four Ks.
New York Mets
Despite three walks in his first 3.1 innings, Jeurys Familia hasn’t allowed a run in 2018 while converting all three save chances. A.J. Ramos remains the second fiddle in the Mets bullpen. Ramos started the year with three shutout innings with three Ks.
New York Yankees
Aroldis Chapman hasn’t allowed a walk over three innings with six Ks and a save. His step up in command may be a sign of special year in 2018. There hasn’t been a lot of excitement in the game of Dellin Betances after two games (three runs, five baserunners, and two home runs over three innings with four Ks).
Over two games of action, Blake Treinen tossed 3.2 shutout innings with two Ks and a save. Ryan Buchter looks to be the second-best reliever for Oakland after the first two games (no runs over 3.2 innings with six Ks).
Hector Neris was run over by the Braves in his first game of the season (three runs, three baserunners, and a home run over two-thirds of an inning). Neris rebounded for a perfect inning of work in his next game. Two top relievers (Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek) behind Hector landed on the DL at the start of the season, which sets up disaster risk early in the year.
Coming into the 2018 draft season, Felipe Rivero was respected as one of the top closers in the game. In his first outing, Rivero sent fears of a poor selection on draft day. He allowed four runs over two-thirds of an inning thanks to three walks. Two days later, Felipe dominated in his two saves in one day when he pitched two shutout innings with five Ks. George Kontos looks to be next in line for saves after one week of the season. Kontos hasn’t allowed a run over three innings with one K.
San Diego Padres
Brad Hand lost his way in his first save chance on March 30th (two runs, four baserunners, and a home run over one inning). He rebounded for a one-out save in his next opportunity. On the year, Hand has a 5.40 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 3.1 innings. Kirby Yates hasn’t allowed a run over 2.2 innings with three Ks.
San Francisco Giants
Hunter Strickland emerged at the hot waiver wire closer after the first week of the season after Mark Melancon landed on the DL. Strickland hasn’t allowed a run over three innings with four Ks and two saves. I don’t expect Melancon to be healthy all year giving a long run at saves if he’s up for the job. Sam Dyson pitched well in his first two games (no runs over two innings with no walks and two Ks) after pitching poorly this spring (ten runs and 19 baserunners over eight innings with nine Ks).
One week into the year, Edwin Diaz is the best closer in baseball. He’s thrown three perfect innings with eight Ks and three saves. Diaz looks poised to post a difference maker season. Juan Nicasio struggled out of the gate for the Mariners (three runs, five baserunners, and a home run over three innings with two Ks).
St. Louis Cardinals
The sexy Dominic Leone ended up being a huge trap for Fantasy owners after the Cardinals signed Greg Holland to close. Leone blew his first save chance on April 3rd when he allowed a pair of home runs to the Brewers. Holland will take over the ninth next week.
Tampa Bay Rays
Alex Colome only has one converted save appearance in 2018 when he tossed one shutout inning. Jose Alvarado looks to be next in line after allowing one run over three innings with no walks and three Ks.
As expect at ScoutFantasySports.com, Keone Kela emerged as the early season closer for the Rangers. Kela hasn’t allowed a run in two innings with one K and a converted save. Kevin Jepsen had 22 saves between 2015 and 2016 suggesting he could be next in lien for saves if Keone has an injury. Jepsen allowed two runs and two baserunners over his first 3.1nnings in 2018 with two Ks.
Toronto Blue Jays
Roberto Osuna started off the season with two converted save over three no-hit shutout innings with two Ks. Seung Hwan Oh will be next in line for saves after signing late in spring training. Osuna has a win, and a save over four games (one run over four innings with four Ks).
In his second successful save on April 1st, Sean Doolittle served up a two-run homer. After two games, he’s allowed two runs and two baserunners over two innings with three Ks. Ryan Madsen tossed two shutout innings with no walks and two Ks.
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