Brad Boxberger tossed seven shutout innings with ten Ks to start the year while converting all five of his saves. Over his last four innings, he’s cleaned up his walks (none) with five Ks. Archie Bradley struggled in his last outing on April 13th when he allowed two runs and five baserunners over one inning of work. Bradley will need an injury to work his way into a save opportunity. Yoshihisa Hirano had a 2.45 ERA and five Ks over his first 7.1 innings in the majors.
Over his last three games, Arodys Vizcaino didn’t allow a run over three innings with two Ks while earning his first saves of the year. Vizcaino issued seven walks over his first 8.2 innings, so he does have disaster and failure risk until he corrects his mechanics. A.J. Minter extended his shutout streak to 8.1 innings with three hits allowed. He’s walked five batters, which was an area of strength in the majors in 2017 (two walks over 15 innings). Minter has an excellent skill set to close down the road.
Brad Brach is 3-for-4 in save conversion with no runs allowed over his last seven innings. Walks (six) have been an issue in multiple games in 2018. Darren O’Day remains next in line for saves after posting a 1.35 ERA over his first 6.2 innings with seven Ks. Mychal Givens pitched his way out of contention for saves after a brutal start to the year (6.52 ERA and 1.55 WHIP). Pedro Araujo is gaining momentum in the Orioles’ bullpen after pitching great in his last three games (no runs over 6.1 innings with nine Ks).
Boston Red Sox
Over the last week, Craig Kimbrel picked up a pair of saves with two perfect innings with four Ks. Both RH and LH batters are hitting 0.091 against him with five Ks in 13 plate appearances. Kimbrel has five saves on the year with no runs allowed over seven innings with ten Ks. Joe Kelly has been sharp over his last 6.1 innings (no runs, three hits, one walk, and five Ks).
Brandon Morrow has yet to allow a run over five innings in 2018 while converting both of his saves chances. There’s a lot to like about Carl Edwards’ game over his last six appearances (no runs and four baserunners with 12 Ks). I loved his closing upside before the season, but injuries forced me to drop him in some leagues. If Morrow has an issue, Edwards has the skill set to be an electric closing option. Steve Cishek has a 1.00 ERA over his first nine innings with eight Ks.
Chicago White Sox
The best arm in the White Sox bullpen after three weeks has been Nate Jones. He picked up a save last week while allowing one run over 5.1 innings on the year with eight Ks. With Joakim Soria showing risk in his last three games (three runs and seven baserunners over three innings with five Ks), Jones looks poised to be the White Sox closer going forward. Danny Farquhar threw the ball great over his last four games (no runs, one hit, and seven Ks over 4.2 innings).
Raisel Iglesias has two saves on the year while allowing a run over 7.1 innings with 11 Ks. Right-hand batters don’t have a hit against him over 17 plate appearances. Wandy Peralta continues to allow two walks (nine) over 7.2 innings, but Peralta still hasn’t allowed a run with eight Ks. Amir Garrett has been impressive as a reliever over his first 9.1 innings (no runs with one walk and 11 Ks).
Over six games, Cody Allen hasn’t allowed a run with seven Ks, a win, and three saves. Andrew Miller has a 0.00 ERA after 7.1 innings with a dozen Ks, a win, and a save. The Indians’ bullpen appears weak in the seventh inning, which will be an area they will need to address over the next couple of months in the trade market if they want to be contenders.
Wade Davis is 8-for-9 in save opportunities with two runs allowed over 8.1 innings and ten Ks. Over the last week, Davis tossed four no-hit shutout innings with five Ks. Jake McGee continues to pitch well for the Rockies. He has a 2.16 ERA over 8.1 innings with seven Ks. Adam Ottavino has been special over his first 10.2 innings (one run, two hits, one walk, and 22 Ks).
After struggling in his first outing (two runs and three hits over two-thirds of an inning), Shane Greene improved his shutout streak to five innings with five Ks and three saves. The future closer for the Tigers is on the move. Joe Jimenez extended his scoreless streak to 7.2 innings with seven Ks. Drew VerHagen has 2.35 ERA over 7.2 innings with seven Ks.
Let’s just say Houston has trust issues with Ken Giles over the first three weeks of the year or he has an underlying issue. Over his last three games, Giles pitched two shutout innings with no Ks. He has a 3.60 ERA on the year over five innings with two Ks, and a save. Chris Devenski earned two saves over the last week while allowing no runs over his last seven innings with nine Ks. Brad Peacock struggled in his last two games (four runs, four hits, and three HRs over 2.2 innings). The 9th inning for the Astros will be fluid over the next few weeks while Devenski appears to be the top option as of now.
Kansas City Royals
Kelvin Herrera only has two saves after three weeks, but he’s thrown the ball well (no runs over 4.2 innings with no walks and eight Ks. His success will lead to him being a player of interest for a playoff contender this summer. Tim Hill hasn’t allowed a hit or run over 6.2 innings with five Ks. Burch Smith threw the ball over his last six innings (no runs, two hits, and eight Ks) to move to the top setup option on the roster.
Los Angeles Angels
Over the last week, Keynan Middleton converted all three of his saves for the Angels. On the year, he allowed a run over 9.2 innings with seven Ks with four successful saves. Middleton will continue to close for LA, but he needs to throw more strikes while showing no downside in home runs. Blake Parker continues to pitch poorly (5.40 ERA and 1.92 WHIP over 8.1 innings) giving no chance of regaining a closing role. Cam Bedrosian is trending backward as well (four runs, six baserunners, and three HRs over his last four innings). Jim Johnson turned into a fraud over his last five games (four runs and 11 baserunners over 5.2 innings with three Ks). Jose Alvarez is the only other arm of value in the Angels’ bullpen (no runs over eight innings with nine Ks).
Los Angeles Dodgers
The frustration with Kenley Jansen added another chapter on April 17th when he allowed two runs, three baserunners, and a home run in the 9th to blow a two-run lead. On the year, Jansen already has three disaster outings in his seven games leading to two blown saves with a poor ERA (8.10) and WHIP (1.65). His AFB (93.6) is well below 2016 (95.1) and 2017 (95.2), but in line with his 2015 season (93.5) when he posted a 2.41 ERA with 80 Ks over 52.1 innings. Josh Fields may need to be picked up for insurance. Fields allowed one run over nine innings with five hits, two walks, and 12 Ks. Pedro Baez is rounding into form over his last three games (3.1 perfect innings with eight Ks).
The $2 investment into Brad Ziegler in auction leagues in the high stakes has led to 8.22 ERA and 1.70 WHIP over 7.2 innings with five Ks. Over his last three innings, Ziegler allowed a run in each game. Brad already has three losses while converting his only save chance. Kyle Barraclough pitched a high level in six of his seven games in 2018 leading to a 2.70 ERA and 13 Ks over 6.2 innings. He’s in a battle with Drew Steckenrider to be the next and long-term closer for the Marlins. Steckenrider hasn’t allowed a run over 8.2 innings with 11 Ks. Barraclough continues to pitch after Drew in most games, so I would bet on him to get the first shot at closing in Miami after Ziegler is put out of his closing misery.
It’s showtime for Josh Hader for the Brewers. He’s been one of the top relievers in baseball after seven games (two runs over 11.2 innings with 25 Ks) while picking up two two-inning saves over the last week. If Milwaukee is going to use him over multiple innings, someone else on the roster will need to earn saves until Corey Knebel returns. Matt Albers doesn’t look closer-worthy after allowing two runs and six baserunners over his last 3.1 innings with four Ks. Albers has two wins, a save, a loss, and blown save in his last four games. Jacob Barnes pitched better in his last three games (no runs over 3.1 innings with five Ks).
The window for Fernando Rodney to close in Minnesota will be longer than most Fantasy owners would like. Over five games, Rodney has two saves, and one blown save with a 3.86 ERA and 1.93 WHIP. Addison Reed has a 1.13 ERA over eight innings with nine Ks. Trevor Hildenberger struggled in two of his last three games (three runs and six baserunners over 3.2 innings with two Ks).
New York Mets
Jeurys Familia hasn’t allowed a run over 10.1 innings with 13 Ks and seven saves, but he did blow a save in his last game. Familia pitched in the 8th inning with runners on base when he allowed a hit, a walk, and hit a batter. A.J. Ramos saw his 6.1 innings scoreless streak end in his last game when he allowed two runs over one-third of an inning. Ramos already has seven walks in 6.2 innings.
New York Yankees
Over seven innings of work, Aroldis Chapman has two saves with 14 Ks and a 2.57 ERA. David Robertson improved his shutout run to 7.2 innings with two hits, no walks, and 11 Ks. Disaster still lies behind the arm of Dellin Betances (six runs, 14 baserunners, and three HRs over 7.2 innings with 14 Ks). Chad Green should pass Betances in the late-inning rotation after allowing two runs over 8.1 innings with 14 Ks.
Blake Treinen made only one appearance since April 7th. Over 7.1 innings, Treinen hasn’t allowed a run with eight Ks while earning three saves in four chances. Ryan Dull returned from the DL on Tuesday night. In his first game, he allowed a two-run homer over an inning of work with four Ks. Dull should move to next in line for saves once he has some innings under his belt. Santiago Casilla looks closer-worthy over his first six innings (one run, no hits, and seven Ks).
Over his last four games, Hector Neris has two saves, a win, and a blown save. Neris has a 1.50 ERA over his last six innings with eight Ks. Luis Garcia tossed 4.1 shutout innings over his last five games with three Ks. Edubray Ramos continues to play well over his first eight games (no runs over 7.1 innings with nine Ks).
Felipe Vazquez is 5-for-5 in save conversions with no runs, one hit, and nine Ks over his last 7.1 innings, but he still needs some work to get his ERA (4.50) back in line. Michael Feliz hasn’t allowed a run over his last 6.1 innings with two hits and seven Ks. Tyler Glasnow continues to struggle in the majors. Over his first five games, Glasnow has a 6.23 ERA and 1.50 WHIP with 11 Ks over 8.2 innings.
San Diego Padres
After struggling on March 30th, Brad Hand improved his shutout streak to seven innings with 12 Ks and six saves. Craig Stammen remains unscored upon in 2018 (11.1 innings with one walk and 11 Ks. Adam Cimber pitched well over his first 13 innings in the majors (1.38 ERA with 16 Ks).
San Francisco Giants
The hot free agent closer in 2018 Hunter Strickland doesn’t have a save in April. Strickland has a 1.29 ERA over seven innings with six Ks and two saves. Tony Watson allowed his first run of the year in his last game on April 17th ending his 6.2 innings shutout run. Sam Dyson lost his way over his last four games (five runs and seven baserunners over 4.1 innings with two Ks).
Edwin Diaz gave up his first hit of the year over the last week. Diaz is perfect in his seven save chances with no runs allowed over eight innings with 16 Ks. Juan Nicasio still hasn’t found his form (5.19 ERA) while allowing a run or more in four of his eight outings. Dan Altavilla came up short in his last game (two runs, two baserunners, and a home run over eight innings with 11 Ks).
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals may regret giving Greg Holland $14 million this season. Over his first 2.1 innings, Holland allowed three runs and nine baserunners with one his K. His failure is due to seven walks. Bud Norris remains the best arm in the bullpen (1.93 ERA and 1.07 WHIP) over 9.1 innings with 17 Ks and four saves. Norris will keep this job for a while. Dominic Leone has a 5.14 ERA over seven innings with 11 Ks, but his Whip (1.14) points to more upside.
Tampa Bay Rays
It’s been a tough two weeks for Alex Colome. Over his last six games covering five innings, Colome allowed six runs and 16 baserunners with five Ks. Alex has two saves, two losses, and two blown saves. Jose Alvarado has the arm to take over the closing job possibly. He has a 1.29 ERA over seven innings with nine Ks. Sergio Romo has closing experience, but his fastball (85.2) has a Brad Ziegler feel. Romo has a 1.69 ERA over 5.1 innings with eight Ks. I would view him as a trap for long-term saves if the opportunity presented itself.
The Rangers have struggled to win games and score runs leading to Keone Kela only picking up two saves on the year. Kela picked up a pair of wins last week while improving his scoreless streak to 5.1 innings with six Ks. Kevin Jepsen has a 2.00 ERA over nine innings with four walks and four Ks. Alex Claudio threw the ball better over his last seven games (two runs over 5.2 innings with one K).
Toronto Blue Jays
Roberto Osuna is 5-for-5 in save chances with no runs over 8.1 innings with no walks and six Ks. Seung Hwan Oh doesn’t look closer-worthy after allowing 12 baserunners over his first seven innings, but he has a 2.57 ERA with seven Ks. Ryan Tepera allowed a run in three of his last six appearances over six innings with five Ks.
Sean Doolittle has three saves and a loss over his first nine innings with a 3.00 ERA and 18 Ks. He only has one save over the last two and half weeks. Ryan Madsen earned two saves over the last eight days. Madsen has a 1.86 ERA over 9.2 innings with ten Ks. Shawn Kelley pitched poorly in two of his last four games (two runs over three innings with five Ks).
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