The trade of Brad Brach and Zach Britton over the last couple of weeks left Fantasy owners trolling for cheap saves in Baltimore this past weekend. Most Fantasy owners placed their bet on the up and Mychal Givens. Over his last five games, Givens allowed five runs and nine baserunners over 4.1 innings with three Ks adding more failure to his poor ERA (4.78) and WHIP (1.44). My shot at saves in the high-stakes market went to Mike Wright. Over his last 12 games, Wright allowed three runs and 21 baserunners over 19.2 innings with 18 Ks. His arm should be improved when asked to pitch only one inning. The dark horse in the Orioles bullpen is Cody Carroll who was called up from AAA. Over 43 innings in the minors in 2018, Carroll posted a 2.47 ERA and 1.05 WHIP with 55 Ks and nine saves. Walks can be an issue, so Cody will need more successful innings in the majors before being asked to pitch in the 9th.
Chicago White Sox
Finding saves on the White Sox is going to be a dart throwing contest over the month. Most options don’t have closing resumes or talent. Luis Avilan pitched great in July (one run over 6.2 innings with no walks and ten Ks), which puts him in the mix for saves. Chicago seems to want to ride Jace Fry over the short-term, but his stuff has been sharp in July (11 runs and 11 baserunners over 8.1 innings with ten Ks). In fairness, his runs allowed over the last month have been a bit unlucky. Xavier Cedeno pitched well in his 19 games in the majors in 2018 (1.17 ERA and 1.17 WHIP), but his high walk total (10 over 15.1 innings) invites failure risk if asked to pitch in the 9th.
Over his last five games, Cody Allen threw five shutout innings with no walks, two Ks, and one save. Allen has been successful in 21 of his 23 save opportunities with a sketchy ERA (4.43). Brad Hand threw the ball much better over his last four games (no runs over 4.1 innings with four Ks and one save). If he finds his early 2018 rhythm, Hand will push Allen for saves in Cleveland. Andrew Miller struggled in two games last week (six runs and six baserunners over one inning) in the minors pushing back his return to the majors. Over seven games on the farm, Miller has an 11.12 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. I can’t expect him to regain his top form until he returns to full health.
After getting trashed on July 24th (five runs and five baserunners over 1.1 innings), Wade Davis regained his value in his last four games (no runs or hits over four innings with five Ks, a win, and three saves). Davis is 31-for-35 in save tries with correction still needed in his ERA (4.20). Adam Ottavino extended his shutout streak to 13 innings with seven hits, four walks, 17 Ks, and two saves. Colorado added Seung Hwan Oh at the trade deadline to help the depth of their bullpen. Oh has been exceptions over his last 10.2 innings (no runs, five hits, one walk, and nine Ks).
Corey Knebel did not throw the ball well over his last ten games in July (seven runs, 18 baserunners, and two home runs over ten innings with seven Ks and five saves). On the year, Knebel has three blown saves in 17 tries. Josh Hader has a win in his last two games while extending his shutout run to 7.1 innings with two hits, two walks, and 14 Ks. Hader now has 99 Ks over 53.2 innings with an elite ERA (1.34) and WHIP (0.78). Joakim Soria hasn’t allowed a run over his last 8.2 innings with 12 Ks. If Knebel continues to struggle Soria may emerge as the new closer for the Brewers.
New York Mets
Anthony Swarzak picked up the last two saves for the Mets. Over the last week, Swarzak tossed 3.1 shutout innings with one hit, no walks, and six Ks. His ERA (6.30) and WHIP (1.70) for the season does invite plenty of failure risk. Robert Gsellman has a 3.24 ERA over his last 8.1 innings with five walks and five Ks as he tries to work his way back to the 9th inning in New York. Seth Lugo struggled over his last four games (four runs and 12 baserunners over 6.2 innings with four Ks).
Toronto Blue Jays
Ken Giles blew up in his last outing at AAA on July 27th (four runs and four baserunners one inning), which follows his 2018 path in the majors. Over six appearances in the minors, Giles has 8.44 ERA and 2.06 WHIP over 5.1 innings with eight Ks. A change of scenery should treat him well, but it may take some time to regain saves in the majors. Ryan Tepera doesn’t look healthy after his trip to the DL and a poor showing in his last two games (five runs and five baserunners over one inning of work). He’s blown three out of his last four save chances. Tyler Clippard pitched poorly as well over his last six games (9.00 ERA and 1.67 WHIP). Based on the weakness in this bullpen, Giles should still be an upgrade in the 9th inning.