Command has been an issue for Arodys Vizcaino over his last four games (six walks over 3.2 innings). On the year, Vizcaino still doesn’t have a save while allowing a run over 4.3 innings with six walks and eight Ks. A.J. Minter walked three batters over five innings on the year as well, but he hasn’t allowed a run with two hits and a K. Minter is an intriguing closer in waiting as he may talk the job and run with it if given the opportunity.
Brad Boxberger is 4-for-4 in save conversions while not allowing a run over five innings with four walks and seven Ks. Arizona gave him the night off on April 9th, which led to Archie Bradley picking up a vulture save. Bradley continues to look impressive over his seven appearances in 2018 (one run over 7.2 innings with one walk and ten Ks). Archie is still the arm to own long-term.
After about two weeks of the season, Mychal Givens removed himself from being an option for saves. Over his last four games, Givens allowed six runs and 12 baserunners over 5.1 innings with six Ks. Brad Brach looked sharp over his last five games (no runs and one hit over five innings with three walks and seven Ks). Brach converted two of his three saves so far this season. Darren O’Day assumes the 8th inning role by allowing one run over 5.2 innings with six Ks.
Boston Red Sox
Other than four walks over five innings, Craig Kimbrel looks the closing part again in 2018. He’s allowed no runs over five innings with six Ks and three successful saves. Joe Kelly only saw the mound for one shutout inning over the last week. Matt Barnes hasn’t pitched since April 3rd. On the year, he allowed one run over 3.2 innings with four walks and three Ks.
Brandon Morrow picked up a pair of saves over the last week when he tossed two shutout innings with two Ks. His average fastball is a tad under 97 mph (96.9) after three appearances. Injuries have forced me to release Carl Edwards on multiple season long teams, but I need to find a way to get him back in the fold. Over his last three innings, Edwards allowed no runs and one hit with six Ks. If Morrow has an issue, Carl is going to be a great closing option if he continues to throw a high level of strikes.
Chicago White Sox
Disaster hit Joakim Soria on April 5th when he allowed three runs, four hits, and a home run over one inning in a blow save. In his only game over the last week, Soria pitched a clean inning. He’s 2-for-3 in saves conversion while being somewhat at risk. Nate Jones hasn’t pitched since the April 5th. He struggled in his last outing (one run and three baserunners in one inning).
On the year, Raisel Iglesias has a 2.70 ERA and 0.900 WHIP over 3.1 innings with five Ks and two saves. He’s only pitched once since April 2nd. Wandy Peralta has done a nice job for the Reds over his first five appearances (no runs and a hit over five innings with four walks and six Ks). Amir Garrett is waiting for his chance to start for the Reds while adding some quality innings in the bullpen (five scoreless innings with one walk and five Ks).
Twice over the last three seasons, Cody Allen started off slow in April (2015 – 11.57 and 2016 – 6.97 ERA). His game has been on after his first five outings (no runs over six innings with six Ks) while converting all three of his save opportunities. Andrew Miller has a win and a save over his last two games while tossing 5.1 shutout innings on the year with nine Ks.
Shane Greene stabilized over his last three games (no runs and two hits over three innings with two walks, and five Ks) while earning two saves. Joe Jimenez is trending forward after pitching great over his last five games (no runs, one hit, and four Ks over 4.2 innings). His average fastball is 95.1 so far in 2018. Jimenez is the future closer for the Tigers.
The best arm in the Astros bullpen this year is Brad Peacock. Over his last three games, he has a win, a save, and a hold. Peacock hasn’t allowed a run over 6.1 innings with a walk and nine Ks. He may be more of a factor for saves than a starting job in 2018. Houston appears to have trust issues with Ken Giles after his first five games. Giles picked up a one-out save in his last game, but he’s allowed two runs and six baserunners over four innings with two Ks this season. Buying insurance isn’t an option since Mr. Peacock and Chris Devenski are owned in most formats.
Kansas City Royals
Kelvin Herrera is off to a good start. He converted both of his saves while not allowing a run over 3.1 innings with no walks and six Ks. Kelvin continues to have an elite fastball (97.3). Brandon Maurer remains a weak link in the Royals’ bullpen (five runs and eight baserunners over three innings). Justin Grimm moves to top 8th inning man after allowing no runs over his last four innings with two Ks.
Los Angeles Angels
I’d have to say that Blake Parker has lost his chance to close for the Angels. Over 5.2 innings, he allowed four runs and nine baserunners with six Ks. In his last two games, Parker pitched in the 8th inning and the 7th inning. All signs point to Keynan Middleton (no runs over six innings with four Ks) earning the next save chance in LA after Jim Johnson tripped up over the last week (two runs and four baserunners over 2.2 innings with two Ks).
Los Angeles Dodgers
Kenley Jansen pitched much better in his last three games (no runs, two hits, and four Ks over 2.2 innings) while picking up two saves. Josh Fields has been impressive through his first five games (no runs and two hits over five innings with no walks and five Ks). Pedro Baez struggled in his last game (one run and two hits over 1.1 innings).
After five games, Brad Ziegler has a 7.94 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP, which was expected after his poor 2017 season (4.79 ERA). Ziegler has two losses and one converted save. Drew Steckenrider gained the edge over the last week after extending his shutout streak to 5.2 innings with seven Ks. Kyle Barraclough was matching him stride for stride before struggling on April 10th (two runs via the home run over one inning). The closing funeral for Ziegler will come, but it’s a coin flip on who has the best shot to replace him. Last week I would have said, Barraclough, while Steckenrider looks to be the favorite now.
The Brewers late-inning relievers have struggled to close out games over the last week. Jacob Barnes has two blown saves and a hold since Corey Knebel went down with an injury. Over this span, he allowed two runs and seven baserunners over 2.1 innings with three Ks. Milwaukee gave Matt Albers a chance to close on the April 9th, but he blew the lead. Albers did pick up a win when he pitched in the 10th. Matt has a 1.29 ERA over seven innings with five Ks and a pair wins. He looks poised to get another save opportunity. Josh Hader remains a stud in this bullpen (one run over 6.1 innings with three walks and 14 Ks). Hader is the best arm, but his future is in the starting rotation.
Fernando Rodney earned his first two saves over the last week while improving his shutout run to three innings with four Ks. Addison Reed struggled in his last outing (one run over one inning with two Ks). On the year, Reed has a 1.42 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over 6.1 innings with eight Ks.
New York Mets
The Mets have won seven straight games helping Jeurys Familia to a hot start in saves (6-for-6). Familia hasn’t allowed a run over eight innings with ten Ks. He’s already matched his 2017 save total. A.J. Ramos upped his scoreless run to five innings with five Ks.
New York Yankees
Aroldis Chapman only has one converted save chance over his five games (one run over five innings with nine Ks). Dellin Betances rebounded in his last three games (no runs and three baserunners with six Ks) after struggling out the game (three runs, five baserunners, and two HRs over three innings). David Robertson regained his form as well in his last four games (no runs or hits over 4.2 innings with five Ks).
I’m not sure Blake Treinen will keep the closing job all year. He’s 2-for-3 save conversions with no runs allowed over six innings, but Treinen did allow nine baserunners and a home run. Ryan Buchter allowed a hit or more in his last five outings covering 4.2 innings (seven hits total). On the year, Buchter has a 1.59 ERA with risk in his WHIP (1.59). Emilio Pagan may be next in line for saves by default. Last season with Seattle, Pagan had a 3.22 ERA with 56 Ks in 50.1 innings. He allowed two runs over his first 6.2 innings in 2018 with two Ks.
Hector Neris settled down in his last three games (no runs over three innings) leading to his first save of the year. He has work to do to correct his poor ERA (7.36) after getting drilled for three runs in his first game of the year. Adam Morgan remains the second-best arm on the roster with Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek on the DL. Morgan threw the ball better in his last five games (one run over 4.1 innings with five Ks).
Over the last week, Felipe Rivero changed his name to Felipe Vazquez in support of his sister who has been a lifelong mentor to him. Vazquez/Rivero pitched at a high level over his last four games (no runs over 4.1 innings with seven Ks) leading to four saves. Michael Feliz turned the corner in his last four appearances (no runs and one hit over four innings with four Ks). Tyler Glasnow has a 1.50 ERA through six innings with eight Ks, but he’s walked five batters.
San Diego Padres
Brad Hand has four saves in his last five games with no runs allowed over four innings with eight Ks. On the year, Hand is 4-for-5 in save chances with a 2.57 ERA and ten Ks over seven innings. Kazuhisa Makita moved to next in line for saves with Kirby Yates placed on the DL. Makita hasn’t allowed a run over his last three innings with three Ks. Craig has been sharp all season (no runs over 8.1 innings with one walk and eight Ks).
San Francisco Giants
After tossing five shutout innings with two saves to start the year, Hunter Strickland blew a save in his last outing on April 10th when he served up a home run. Hunter did pick up the win after the Giants rallied in the bottom of the 9th. Sam Dyson has a 2.70 ERA through 3.1 innings with three Ks. Tony Watson extended his scoreless run to 5.2 innings with eight Ks. Watson could be a dark horse for saves in San Fran if Strickland struggles.
Edwin Diaz continued his elite ways after adding a perfect three-strikeout inning to his already electric 2018 resume (four perfect innings with 11 Ks and three saves). Juan Nicasio tossed 1.2 shutout innings with two Ks, which came after two poor outings (three runs and five baserunners over two innings with one K).
St. Louis Cardinals
In his first appearance of the year, Greg Holland showed plenty of rust (one run and four walks over two-thirds inning). Holland is expected to close going forward. Bud Norris picked up a save over the last week while showing upside to his game. Over 5.2 innings, Norris has a 1.59 ERA with no walks and nine Ks. His success moves him to next in line for saves. Dominic Leone has two bad outings on the year (four runs, five hits, and three home runs), but he does have no walks and ten Ks over 5.2 innings. With more seasoning, Leone has a chance to become closer-worthy.
Tampa Bay Rays
There’s hasn’t been a lot of excitement in Alex Colome’ game after five appearances. He has two blown saves in five chances while allowing five runs and 11 baserunners over four innings. Colome is at risk with continued failure. Jose Alvarado should be the top option behind Alex after allowing one run over 5.1 innings with five Ks. Sergio Romo has closing experience while doing a nice job for Tampa (one run over 4.1 innings with eight Ks).
Keone Kela hasn’t allowed a run over 3.1 innings with four Ks and two saves. He pitched only one-third of an inning over the last week. Kevin Jepsen has a 2.35 ERA over 7.2 innings with three Ks to position himself in competitive late innings for the Rangers. Alex Claudio struggled in two of his last five innings (five runs and ten baserunners).
Toronto Blue Jays
After six games, Roberto Osuna has lived up to his preseason billing. Osuna converted all five of his save opportunities over six shutout innings with no walks and five Ks. Seung Hwan Oh allowed a hit or more in each of his six appearances leading to a 3.60 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. Ryan Tepera is on a path for another strong season (2.57 ERA with eight Ks over seven innings).
Sean Doolittle threw three shutout innings with six Ks over the last week, but he didn’t have a save chance since April 1st. Doolittle has a pair of saves on the year. Ryan Madson hasn’t allowed a run in 2018 over 5.2 innings with four Ks.
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