2017 Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Report: Dominance
Justin Vreeland looks at an impressive week for closers and also which bullpens are offering fantasy baseball owners the best in saves and holds.
Overall this was a strong week for closers. No one lost their job, blown saves were down, and there were dominant weeks from more than a handful of guys (I will highlight three in particular). Even the middle innings guys were on top of their game this week, with holds coming in at a much higher rate than most weeks.
Closers in flux
Santiago Casilla continues to turn in bad performances, without any consequences. He has been severely outpitched by Ryan Madson and it is just becoming more and more puzzling how Casilla is holding onto his job as the team’s closer. Casilla currently has a 4.66 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 6.98 K/9 meanwhile Madson has a 1.77 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 8.85 K/9. Madson operated at the teams closer in 2016 and there is simply no reason for him to not have the job right now. Their roles will reverse sooner or later.
*Note: I track blown saves that happened by guys who were brought into finish the game. Such as guys in the closer role, or other pitchers who were brought in late in the game. A guy who picks up a “blown save,” for example, in the 6th inning is very irrelevant in my opinion, when tracking fantasy assets.
|Player||BS YTD||Player||BS last 7 days|
|Francisco Rodriguez||4||Corey Knebel||1|
|Sam Dyson||3||Addison Reed||1|
|Roberto Osuna||3||Brandon Kintzler||1|
|Brad Brach||3||Tony Watson||1|
|Jim Johnson||3||Fernando Rodney||1|
|Fernando Rodney||3||J.J. Hoover||1|
|Tony Watson||3||Matt Bush||1|
|7 more tied with||2|
Koda Glover (64% owned) had a great week for the Nationals this week and appears to have locked down the closer gig. He converted all four of his save chances and did not allow a run to score across 3.1 innings. He had four strikeouts and dialed up a perfect 0.00 WHIP for the week. As long as he holds the job Glover should be a great source of saves pitching for one of the league’s top teams. He is not a big strikeout pitcher but could work his way into the middle to upper-tiers of the closing ranks. YTD stats: 17.1 innings, 7 saves, 16 K, 2.08 ERA.
Roberto Osuna (94% owned) much like Glover converted all four of his save chances this week. He gave up one earned run across 3.1 innings and had six strikeouts. It was just the second run against him in the month of May. It was his sixth save since May 21, as he continues to pitch well after a sluggish start to the season. With the return of Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki, the Blue Jays should continue to win more games, meaning additional save chances for Osuna. He should be an upper-tier closer for the remainder of the season. YTD stats: 20.2 innings, 11 saves, 25 K, 3.05 ERA.
Craig Kimbrel (98% owned) matches Greg Holland with his league-high fourth appearance here after yet another week of dominance by the flame-throwing righty. He converted all three of his save chances, and had nine strikeouts in just 4.1 innings. He also did not give up a run and his WHIP checks in at 0.23 for the week. He is currently second in the league in saves and his ratios are absolutely incredible. His 0.38 WHIP and 16.88 K/9 are matched by no one. There is no better closer in baseball right now. YTD stats: 24 innings, 15 saves, 45 K, 0.75 ERA.
Brandon Kintzler (82% owned) fresh off back-to-back strong weeks, did a complete 180 this week. He made two appearences this week, and coughed up three earned runs across 1.2 innings. He converted just one of his two save chances. Kintzler does not have the greatest stuff in the world, so there will be weeks like this where he gets roughed up a few times. He is still in the top-10 for saves and has a solid 2.78 ERA. He remains in the lower-tier of closers. YTD stats: 22.2 innings, 13 saves, 16 K, 2.78 ERA.
Addison Reed (75% owned) had an up-and-down week but for closers a few bad outings can easily land you here. In total he pitched 4 innings, gave up two earned runs, and had five strikeouts. He converted one save on two tries. Reed has a firm grip on the closing job currently but it is unlikely that he will be able to hold onto the job when Jeurys Familia returns. For now, he is in the lower half of the closing ranks. YTD stats: 27.2 innings, 7 saves, 32 K, 3.25 ERA.
Who’s hot, Who’s Cold season Leader board
This table shows who has made the most appearances in these sections.
|Hot Total||Cold Total|
|Greg Holland||4||Francisco Rodriguez||2|
|Craig Kimbrel||4||Roberto Osuna||2|
|Raisel Iglesias||2||Kelvin Herrera||2|
|Brandon Kintzler||2||A.J. Ramos||2|
|Roberto Osuna||2||Brandon Kintzler||2|
|Ken Giles||1||Addison Reed||2|
|Aroldis Chapman||1||Mark Melancon||1|
|David Robertson||1||Sam Dyson||1|
|Seung-Hwan Oh||1||Seung-Hwan Oh||1|
|Matt Bush||1||Joaquin Benoit||1|
|Wade Davis||1||Jim Johnson||1|
|Kenley Jansen||1||Fernando Rodney||1|
|Cody Allen||1||Brad Brach||1|
|Edwin Diaz||1||Tony Watson||1|
Middle Relievers of note
Joe Smith (5% owned) has made himself Holds leagues relevant. With Osuna in front of him locking down saves, there isn’t much upside for save chances outside of an injury. Where Smith can help you, is his ability to get strikeouts. His K/9 currently sits at 13.68 and the Blue Jays send him to the mound at a high frequency. He currently leads the league in appearances and already has 25.2 innings. YTD stats: 25.2 innings, 9 holds, 39 K, 3.16 ERA.
Keone Kela (4% owned) is doing a solid job as the Rangers setup man. Current closer Matt Bush has looked great to this point and has gained some job security, but an injury or a few bad performances could have Kela looking at save chances. His current ratios have been impressive, with an 11.70 K/9 and a 0.90 WHIP. He is worth keeping tabs on, especially if Bush falters. YTD stats: 20 innings, 5 holds, 26 K, 3.15 ERA.
Paul Sewald (0% owned) is someone for deeper leagues to keep an eye. He is quickly gaining the trust of Mets Manager Terry Collins and is moving himself into higher leverage situations. He should soon become own-able in Holds leagues. Addison Reed hasn’t been untouchable, and with Familia expected to be on the shelf for a few months there is an outside shot at saves here in the future. His K/9 is a respectable 10.62 and he has not yet been taken deep. YTD stats: 20.1 innings, 2 holds, 24 K, 2.21 ERA.
The full 2016 breakdown for these 3 guys can be found in the chart below.
|Player||HLD YTD||Player||HLD last 7 days|
|Adam Ottavino||15||Tommy Kahnle||3|
|Andrew Miller||13||Pedro Baez||3|
|Felipe Rivero||12||Ryan Buchter||3|
|Taylor Rogers||12||Alex Wilson||3|
|Arodys Vizcaino||11||Matt Barnes||3|
|Heath Hembree||11||James Pazos||3|
|Corey Knebel||11||Nick Vincent||3|
|Alex Wilson||10||Shane Greene||3|
|Will Harris||10||Marc Rzepczynski||3|
|2 more tied with||10||17 tied with||2|
*Ownership percentages are based off Yahoo