Each week I will breakdown closers and middle relievers in many different ways to provide you with all the information you need to have a successful fantasy bullpen. Let’s dive in!

Closers in Flux

Brad Ziegler (29% owned) – Why? Why is this guy still the closer? Can anyone provide an answer to that question that actually makes sense? The answer is no. He seemingly gets bombarded every time he pitches and not only should he not be the Marlins closer anymore, he shouldn’t even be on the team. He pitched twice this week and gave up five runs (four earned) and blew a save, bringing his season ERA to a disgustingly ugly 7.83. To go along with all the runs he gives up, he also has by far the worst strikeout rate of any closer as his K/9 is 5.87 with 15 strikeouts across 23 innings. He also has a 0-5 record, there are no positives here. Meanwhile, setup man Kyle Barraclough ’s ERA is an outstanding 1.48 and he hasn’t given up a run in his last nine outings. Not only has he not given up a run in that span, he also has only given up ONE hit. The Marlins are trying to lose, that is the only way to explain this. Grab Barraclough if he is available.

Quick Hits

Blown Saves

*Top 10

*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
Jeurys Familia 4   Corey Knebel 1
Fernando Rodney 3   Seth Lugo 1
Héctor Neris 3   Tony Watson 1
Craig Kimbrel 3   Chris Devenski 1
Shane Greene 3   Jacob Rhame 1
Felipe Vázquez 3   Brad Ziegler 1
Arodys Vizcaíno 2   Felipe Vázquez 1
Kenley Jansen 2      
Hunter Strickland 2      
10 more tied with  2      

Who’s Hot?

Sean Doolittle (92% owned) – Doolittle picked up four saves this week without giving up a run. He also struck out five, giving fantasy owners a great week in all areas. He has made five straight scoreless appearances and has racked up eight saves in the month. Eight saves not enough? He also picked up two wins this month for fantasy owners, helping bolster his owners across the board. Doolittle is 13-of-14 in save chances this year and his ERA is sitting at a crisp 1.78. That would be a career best mark for him if he is able to maintain it, as his current career low ERA is 2.73 back in 2014 in his lone all-star season. Health will remain a risk/concern for Doolittle, but if he stays on the field he will remain a high-end closer. Top-five. YTD stats: 25.1 innings, 13 saves, 38 Ks, 1.78 ERA.

Blake Treinen (83% owned) – I am a bit confused as to why his ownership is so low in comparison to other closers. This guy has been lights out since joining the A’s last year. This week he pitched three times and picked up two saves without allowing a run. He only allowed one runner to reach base against him and he struck out three. He has made six straight scoreless appearances. For the year, he has the second lowest ERA among all closers thus far, is in the top-10 in saves, and has a rock solid K/9 of 11.00. Top-ten. YTD stats: 27 innings, 12 saves, 33 Ks, 1.00 ERA.

Who’s Cold?

Hunter Strickland (78% owned) – Strickland had a rough week despite picking up two saves. Fantasy owners will take the two saves and be pleased, but it came with poor surrounding stats. He had just one strikeout across 3.1 innings of work and he gave up a pair of runs. The two saves he recorded this week are his only two saves over the last two weeks. May has just not been kind to Strickland, as he has given up five earned runs in 10.1 innings pitched and has just four total saves for the month. He is still a fine closer to own and his job is not in immediate jeopardy, but he needs to start pitching better to keep it that way. Lower-tier. YTD stats: 24 innings, 11 saves, 23 Ks, 2.63 ERA.

Middle Relievers of Note

This section will focus strictly on closers in waiting or closer capable guys and how they are performing. Each player of note will also include their stats from the 2017 season for the foreseeable future. *22 of Gsellman’s 25 appearances in 2017 were as a starter.

Robert Gsellman (11% owned) – Gsellman snagged his second save of the year yesterday as he pitched a three-up, three-down inning. What makes this so important is that regular closer Jeurys Familia pitched the eighth inning. Now this doesn’t mean Familia is no longer the closer, but it does mean things are getting interesting for the Mets. Familia was brought in to face the heart of the Braves order, which signals the club still views him as their top option in the ‘pen, but it could make things turn into more of a committee approach as the Mets try and close out ball games. Familia has blown a league-high four saves, but at the same time has put up very strong numbers in ERA, WHIP, and FIP. Gsellman as well as Seth Lugo could start to be in the mix for some save chances. Also, if the Mets look to sell at the trade deadline, Familia would be a name that would come up. Gsellman has been very solid this year but not dominant, making him only a deep league stash unless he gets the next save. YTD stats: 34.2 innings, 6 holds, 31 Ks, 3.38 ERA.

Kirby Yates (7% owned) – Yates is behind Brad Hand , so he won’t be seeing save chances anytime soon barring an injury, but he is pitching very well and would be the closer if something happened to Hand. He has a microscopic 0.95 ERA and a strong 11.37 K/9. He has given up just one run since April 25th and has at least one strikeout in 10 straight outings. He should be owned in leagues with holds, and with how well he is currently pitching he should be owned in non-holds leagues for his strong ratios and as a possible closer stash. He had pretty good year last year too, with 87 strikeouts in 55.2 innings, a 3.72 ERA, and a .206 BAA, so he is a guy that you can trust at this point. YTD stats: 19 innings, 8 holds, 24 Ks, 0.95 ERA.

Robert Gsellman NYM 25 8 - 1 119.2 138 69 17 42 82 5.19 1.50 0.280 6.17
Kirby Yates SD 61 4 1 20 55.2 42 23 10 19 87 3.72 1.10 0.206 13.98


*Top 10

Player HLD YTD   Player HLD last 7 days
Archie Bradley 14   Amir Garrett 3
Juan Nicasio 14   David Robertson 3
Matt Barnes 13   Joe Kelly 3
Brandon Kintzler 12   Sam Dyson 3
Adam Ottavino 12   Reyes Moronta 3
Jose Alvarado 12   Jordan Hicks 2
Chaz Roe 12   Ryan Cook 2
Michael Feliz 11   Justin Miller 2
Nine tied with  10   Josh Hader 2
      14 more tied with 2

Stat Leaders

This simply provides the current top-5 closers in saves, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP.  

Saves Strikeouts ERA WHIP
Edwin Díaz - 19 Edwin Díaz - 48 Kelvin Herrera - 0.83 Sean Doolittle - 0.63
Craig Kimbrel - 18 Brad Hand - 42 Blake Treinen - 1.00 Kelvin Herrera - 0.74
Wade Davis - 18 Aroldis Chapman - 41 Brandon Morrow - 1.00 Edwin Díaz - 0.84
Brad Hand - 16 Sean Doolittle - 38 Aroldis Chapman - 1.54 Craig Kimbrel - 0.84
Jeurys Familia - 14 Two tied with - 34 Sean Doolittle - 1.78 Aroldis Chapman - 0.94

Team Bullpen ERA

This section will look into the best and worst bullpens in the league, which can be helpful for DFS. If a team has a weak starting pitcher throwing that day and also a poor bullpen it can make for big days for hitters. A bad bullpen ERA also has an effect on how likely a starting pitcher is to pick up a win.

Team ERA IP   Team ERA IP   Team ERA IP
Brewers 2.45 216.2   Mariners 3.74 180.1   Giants 4.27 206.1
Diamondbacks 2.47 185.2   Angels 3.77 212.1   Mets 4.29 201.1
Cubs 2.67 195.1   Blue Jays 3.80 194.1   Orioles 4.30 199.0
Astros 3.02 152.0   Rays 3.87 228.0   Cardinals 4.34 182.1
Red Sox 3.17 190.0   Rangers 3.97 199.2   Twins 4.44 188.2
Padres 3.23 217.2   Reds 3.98 221.2   Rockies 4.52 187.1
Yankees 3.39 188.2   Dodgers 4.01 206.1   Tigers 4.53 196.2
Athletics 3.56 205.0   Nationals 4.09 154.0   Royals 5.30 190.1
Phillies 3.63 178.1   Pirates 4.18 185.1   Marlins 5.80 205.0
Braves 3.72 200.2   White Sox 4.26 190.1   Indians 6.02 145.0

Recently Overworked

This highlights the bullpens that have been seeing both heavy usage and struggling over the last 7 days.

Mets 31.1 6.89
Royals 29.2 5.76
Giants 26.1 5.13
Indians 25.2 8.42
Braves 23.2 5.32


*Ownership percentages are based off Yahoo

Be sure to check out the Closer Grid which has regularly updated rankings. Also feel free to shoot me any questions on Twitter @JustinVreeland