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

The Giants. Over the last 14 days the Giants have had three different relievers convert a save. Will Smith seems to have taken the lead on the job, converting the last two saves, but one slip up and it will be a full closer carousel. With Smith being a lefty and Sam Dyson and Mark Melancon being right-handed the Giants could choose to mix and match their relievers in many different ways. For now, Smith is the main guy worth owning, but things could change as quickly as tonight with this situation. That being said, Smith has been pitching very well with only one earned run against across his last 14.2 innings pitched.

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
Fernando Rodney 5   Fernando Rodney 2
Wade Davis 4   Sam Dyson 1
Hunter Strickland 4   Joe Jimenez 1
Jeurys Familia 4   Kyle Barraclough 1
Felipe Vázquez 4      
Brad Hand 4      
Brad Boxberger 4      
Héctor Neris 3      
Craig Kimbrel 3      
Shane Greene 3      
Edwin Díaz 3      

Who’s Hot?

Blake Treinen (87% owned) – Treinen converted on three saves this week and struck out five across four shutout innings. Treinen is now 22-for-24 on save chances this year and his ERA is down to an outstanding 0.84. He has not given up a run in his last nine outings, a span of 10.2 innings pitched. He has a .178 BAA on the year, a mark nearly fifty points better than his previous career best of .224 which came in 2016. His WHIP is a strong 0.94 and he has given up only one home run. His 10.97 K/9 is also in line to be a career best. Top-ten. YTD stats: 42.2 innings, 22 saves, 52 Ks, 0.84 ERA.

Craig Kimbrel (99% owned) – Kimbrel pitched three times this week and converted on all three of his save chances. He struck out six across 3.1 shutout innings and now has 52 strikeouts in 35.2 innings pitched (13.12 K/9). His 26 saves are good for second in baseball only behind Edwin Díaz and his .148 BAA is beyond elite. Kimbrel is providing fantasy owners with exactly what they expected when they used an early round selection on the dominant closer. Top-three. YTD stats: 35.2 innings, 26 saves, 52 Ks, 2.02 ERA.

Who’s Cold?

Brad Hand (96% owned) – Hand pitched only one time this week and despite giving up two earned runs he was still able to convert the save. Over his last six innings, Hand has been smacked around for seven earned runs on ten hits and two dingers. His ERA has jumped from 1.78 to 3.12 over that span. His .197 BAA is still strong, but not the elite .156 mark that it was prior to this recent stretch. Hand is still one of the top ranking closers in the game, but his recent struggles could lead to a few chances for setup man Kirby Yates who has been lights out this year. Upper-half. YTD stats: 40.1 innings, 23 saves, 58 Ks, 3.12 ERA.

Fernando Rodney (76% owned) – Rodney pitched two times this week and blew both save chances that he received. He gave up four hits, two walks, and two earned runs across two innings pitched. He now has five blown saves on the year, which leads all of MLB. He has given up four earned runs across his last 7.1 innings pitched. Rodney is a roller coaster each and every year and this season is proving to be no different. His 1.27 WHIP is among the worst of all closers and he will need to turn it around quickly to avoid having his job come under fire. Bottom-half. YTD stats: 28.1 innings, 17 saves, 31 Ks, 3.18 ERA.

Middle Relievers of Note

This section will focus on closers in waiting or closer capable guys and how they are performing.

Trevor Hildenberger (7% owned) – Hildenberger is currently third in line for closing duties for the Twins, but he has been effective. He made scoreless appearances in 17 of his last 18 outings and has a solid .213 BAA. With Rodney blowing two saves this week and now leading the league in blown saves with five the door could soon start to open up for Hildenberger and/or Addison Reed . Reed is currently ahead of Hildenberger given his experience, but he has really struggled lately as he posted an 8.68 ERA in June and now has an unimpressive 4.15 ERA for the year. For now, Hildenberger is not worth owning in most leagues, but he is worth monitoring and keeping an eye on. YTD stats: 41.0 innings, 11 holds, 35 Ks, 3.07 ERA.

Lou Trivino (18% owned) – Trivino picked up his third save this week and has pitched well all year. He isn’t going to steal the full-time closer job away from Treinen (who has been one of the best closers in the game this year), but he is providing strong ratios and the occasional save. He would take over the job if Treinen were to fall victim to an injury and that in itself is enough to own him in deeper leagues. He has made five straight scoreless appearances and has given up just one earned run over his last 15 innings. He also has SEVEN wins on the season, showing added value to a wide range of categories. His .159 BAA is a strong mark, but his 3.35 FIP shows some regression could be on the horizon. YTD stats: 36.1 innings, 9 holds, 39 Ks, 1.49 ERA.


*Top 10

Player HLD YTD   Player HLD last 7 days
Archie Bradley 22   Joe Kelly 3
Tony Watson 20   Ryan Buchter 3
Chaz Roe 20   Chris Devenski 2
Yoshihisa Hirano 19   Álex Colomé 2
Amir Garrett 17   Oliver Pérez 2
Jose Alvarado 17   Adam Conley 2
Juan Nicasio 17   Josh Hader 2
Joe Kelly 17   Amir Garrett 2
Matt Barnes 17   Jeremy Jeffress 2
Three tied with 16   15 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 - 33 Edwin Díaz - 72 Blake Treinen - 0.84 Will Smith - 0.70
Craig Kimbrel - 26 Aroldis Chapman - 65 Kyle Barraclough - 1.17 Seranthony Dominguez - 0.73
Wade Davis - 25 Brad Hand - 58 Wily Peralta - 1.35 Edwin Díaz - 0.84
Aroldis Chapman - 24 Craig Kimbrel - 52 Brandon Morrow - 1.40 Aroldis Chapman - 0.85
Two tied with - 23 Blake Treinen - 52 Aroldis Chapman - 1.43 Kyle Barraclough - 0.86

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
Astros 2.54 244.2   Giants 3.67 313.2   Braves 4.21 310.0
Diamondbacks 2.57 294.0   Nationals 3.77 272.1   Pirates 4.31 296.1
Yankees 2.72 297.1   Mariners 3.80 272.2   Orioles 4.36 301.1
Brewers 3.03 .09.0   Reds 3.90 329.2   Twins 4.47 298.0
Red Sox 3.15 285.2   Dodgers 3.92 333.1   Marlins 4.63 350.0
Cubs 3.19 310.1   Angels 3.98 323.0   Tigers 4.69 301.0
Rays 3.44 392.0   White Sox 4.02 298.0   Mets 4.85 300.2
Padres 3.53 326.1   Cardinals 4.05 293.0   Indians 5.01 230.0
Athletics 3.63 309.2   Blue Jays 4.06 305.2   Royals 5.08 278.1
Rangers 3.67 297.0   Phillies 4.15 284.0   Rockies 5.45 280.2

Recently Overworked

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

White Sox 30.1 5.04
Twins 29.1 6.44
Brewers 23.2 6.46
Pirates 23.1 6.17
Braves 22.2 5.56
Dodgers 21.1 6.33


*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