The Cubs beat Brad Boxberger for three runs, four baserunners, and two home runs last week leading to his fifth blown save in 30 chances. Despite his one bad outing, Boxberger has a 2.92 ERA and 0.81 WHIP over his last 12.1 innings with 17 Ks and nine saves. Archie Bradley allowed one run over three innings with three Ks over the last week. Yoshihisa Hirano had the worst month of his major league career in July (6.52 ERA and 1.55 WHIP).
A.J. Minter continues to do a nice job in the Braves’ bullpen as their closer. Over his last five games, he pitched five shutout innings with two hits, no walks, and seven Ks while converting both save chances. Minter has six successful saves in as many opportunities. Atlanta added Brad Brach as the trade deadline, but his arm has been unimpressive over July (9.39 ERA and 2.09 WHIP). Dan Winkler allowed a run in three of his last six games (three runs over 5.1 innings with six baserunners and five Ks).
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.
Boston Red Sox
Craig Kimbrel is 33-for-36 in save conversions with strength in his ERA (2.20) and Ks (64 over 45 innings), but he can still deliver a clunker game. Over his last 3.1 innings, Kimbrell gave up three runs and six baserunners leading to a blown save in three chances. Matt Barnes has a 1.10 ERA and 33 Ks over his last 16.1 innings. His ceiling could be much higher if he can clean up his walks (25 over 47 innings). Joe Kelly pitched better over the last week (three shutout innings with two Ks), but his ERA (4.47) is way too high to be trusted in important innings in October.
Over the last couple of weeks, Pedro Strop has emerged as the top option for saves with Brandon Morrow on the DL. Strop threw the ball well over his last 13 games (1.54 ERA and 0.86 WHIP over 11.2 innings with 11 Ks), which led to four saves in five tries. Steve Cishek pitched well over the last six weeks (1.89 ERA with 20 Ks over 19 innings), but the Cubs don’t seem to trust him in the 9th. Carl Edwards has the most explosive arm. His month on the DL led to him falling on the bullpen depth chart in Chicago. Over 7.2 innings in July, Edwards allowed two runs and seven baserunners with 11 Ks.
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.
Raisel Iglesias improved his scoreless run to 9.1 innings with six hits, seven Ks, and five saves. Iglesias has three failed saves in 24 chances with an improving ERA (2.11). Jared Hughes didn’t allow a run over his last 4.1 innings with one hit and three Ks. David Hernandez has 0.90 ERA and 0.70 WHIP over his last ten innings with eight Ks.
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).
Shane Greene survived the trading frenzy at the All-Star break, but his arm continues to fade as a closing option. Over his last ten games, Greene allowed seven runs and 14 baserunners over 9.2 innings with seven Ks and three saves. Shane has three blown saves in 25 chances. Joe Jimenez didn’t pitch well in his two games over the last week (three runs and four baserunners over 1.1 innings with one K). Alex Wilson improved his scoreless run to 8.1 innings with three hits, no walks, and five Ks.
Hector Rondon pitched poorly in a none save situation over the last week when he allowed four runs, three hits, and one home run to the Texas Rangers over one inning of work. Even with his failure, Rondon has a 2.28 ERA and 1.06 WHIP over his last 23.2 innings with 31 Ks. Over this span, he converted ten of his 12 saves. Houston added Roberto Osuna at the trade deadline to replace the banished Ken Giles. Osuna could move right into the closing role when he returns to the majors later this week. Over his six games in the minors over the last 2+ weeks, Roberto threw six shutout innings with seven hits, two walks, and seven Ks. Collin McHugh continues to give the Astros good innings in relief. Over his last 18 games, McHugh has a 0.71 ERA and 0.43 WHIP with 32 Ks in 25.1 innings.
Kansas City Royals
So far, so good with Wily Peralta closing for the Royals. Since taking over the 9th inning, Peralta has a 3.09 ERA in his six save conversions. His lack of command (11 walks over 14.1 innings) will get him at some point over the next couple of weeks. Jason Hammel threw the ball well over his last three games in relief (no runs over four innings with five baserunners and five Ks). He may become an option for saves if Peralta starts to run off the tracks. Tim Hill allowed one run over his last 3.1 innings with three Ks.
Los Angeles Angels
Blake Parker lost his way again over the last two weeks (four runs, ten baserunners, and two home runs over 5.1 innings). His last save came on July 4th, and his last blown save came on July 14th. It appears that Parker is no longer an option for saves for the Angels. Justin Anderson allowed one run over his last 9.2 innings with six hits, six walks, and eight Ks leading to one save. His high volume of walks still puts him at risk in high leverage situations. Jim Johnson gave up one run over his last 5.1 innings with six hits and three Ks.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers only needed Kenley Janson for one game over the last week, which led to a converted save over 1.1 no-hit shutout innings with two Ks. Janson is 30-for-33 in save conversions with continued improvement in his ERA (2.28) and WHIP (0.92). Pedro Baez allowed a run in three of his last five outings (three runs and seven baserunners over six innings with five Ks). Scott Alexander posted a 0.73 ERA and 0.65 WHIP over 12.1 innings in July with 14 Ks.
Kyle Barraclough appears to have pitched his way out of the closer role with a disastrous run over his last four games (seven runs, nine baserunners, and two home runs over 3.2 innings with four Ks) leading to his fifth blown save in 15 chances. Drew Steckenrider can be erratic as well. He tossed four shutout innings with two Ks over the last ten days or so of July. Adam Conley could be an option as well after showing improvement in his game as a reliever in 2018 (3.38 ERA and 1.02 WHIP over 29.1 innings with 33 Ks.
Corey Knebel did not throw the ball well over his last ten game 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.
Over the last 18 days in July, Fernando Rodney had a 5.40 ERA and 1.80 WHIP over 6.2 innings with one save and one blown save. Rodney has six failed saves in 28 tries with a fading WHIP (1.36). Over his last seven games, Trevor Hildenberger allowed seven runs and 14 baserunners over his last 6.1 innings with four Ks. Addison Reed returned from the DL on July 30th. In his only appearance, he pitched one shutout inning with no Ks.
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).
New York Yankees
After a tough outing on July 21st (three runs and four baserunners while failing to record an out), Aroldis Chapman pitched great in his last three games (no runs over three innings with one hit, eight Ks, and three saves). Chapman has one blown save in 30 chances. Zach Britton has 0.90 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over his last ten innings with six walk and eight Ks. David Robertson struggled in his last two games (four runs, four baserunners, and two home runs over two innings).
Blake Treinen hasn’t allowed a run over his last four innings with no walks, five Ks, and three saves. Treinen is 27-for-31 in save opportunities with an elite ERA (1.00) and WHIP (0.96). Jeurys Familia didn’t allow a run over 14 innings in July with four hits, 14 Ks, three wins, and three saves. Lou Trivino has a 0.49 ERA and 0.76 WHIP over his last 18.1 innings with 23 Ks.
Over his last 13 games, Seranthony Dominguez allowed two runs over 14 innings with four hits, nine walks, 17 Ks, and seven successful saves. Dominguez has one blown save in 2018 in 12 chances. Victor Arano posted a 1.04 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over his last 8.2 innings with ten Ks. In his 11 games pitched in 2018, Pat Neshek didn’t allow a run over 9.2 innings with seven Ks and one save.
Felipe Vazquez allowed a run in two of his last four games, but he still hasn’t blown a save since May 31st. Over his last 20 games, Vazquez has a 0.95 ERA and 0.89 WHIP over 19 innings with 34 Ks and 12 saves. Overall, he is 24-for-28 in save conversions. Keone Kela moves into the 8th inning after being acquired from the Texas Rangers. Kela did struggle a bit over his last six games (4.05 ERA and 1.50 WHIP), but he handled himself well as a closer in 2018 (one failed save in 25 chances). Kyle Crick has a 0.47 ERA and 0.79 WHIP over his last 19 innings with 23 Ks)
San Diego Padres
The Padres wanted too much for Kirby Yates at the trade deadline, which allows him to continue to get saves in San Diego. Yates allowed one run over his last eight innings with four hits, one walk, and 11 Ks while picking up his third save on the year. Craig Stammen improved his scoreless streak to eight innings with four hits, one walk, and 13 Ks. Jose Castillo has a 2.25 ERA over his last eight innings with four Ks.
San Francisco Giants
Will Smith has a win and three saves in his last four games, which came after struggling in back-to-back games in mid-July (two runs and seven baserunners over 1.2 innings with two Ks). Smith has yet to blow a save in his six chance since taking over the closing role while owning strength in his ERA (1.31) and WHIP (0.82) on the year. Mark Melancon struggled in three of his last four games (four runs and ten baserunners over 3.2 innings), which may a sign of another trip to the DL. Tony Watson allowed one run over his last 4.2 innings with three Ks.
Edwin Diaz pushed his save total to 40 over the last week while having three failed outings on his 2018 resume. Diaz hasn’t allowed a run over his last 14 innings with four hits, two walks, 23 Ks, and 13 saves. Edwin has 87 Ks over 53 innings, which puts him a notch below Josh Hader on the year. Alex Colome extended his shutout streak to 12.2 innings with ten hits, four walks, and 16 Ks. Juan Nicasio gave up one run over his last 3.1 innings with no walks and five Ks.
St. Louis Cardinals
Over his last four games, Bud Norris didn’t allow a run over four innings with four Ks and two saves. Norris is 20-for-23 in save conversions while being on pace for his best season in his major league career. Jordan Hicks improved his scoreless run to 6.2 innings with four hits, two walks, and three Ks. Dakota Hudson tossed two shutout innings with three Ks to start his major league career.
Tampa Bay Rays
Sergio Romo has a 0.90 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over his last 20 innings with 17 Ks and nine saves in 11 tries. Since taking over the closing job, Romo blew three of his 15 opportunities. Jose Alvarado has a 0.79 ERA over his last 11.1 innings with six walks, nine Ks, and three saves. Jaime Schultz pitched much better over his last six games (two runs and nine baserunners over 11.1 innings with 16 Ks).
With Keone Kela shipped to Pittsburgh, Jose Leclerc looks poised to take over the closing role for the Rangers. Over his last 15 games, Leclerc has 1.23 ERA and 0.82 WHIP with 22 Ks over 14.2 innings. Alex Claudio earned saves for Texas late in 2017, but his arm hasn’t been the same in 2018 (4.53 ERA and 1.66 WHIP). Over his last nine innings, Claudio has a 3.00 ERA with risk in his WHIP (2.00). Cory Gearrin has 2.35 ERA and 0.78 WHIP over his last 15.1 innings with 15 Ks. Gearin should be net in line for saves if Leclerc struggles.
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.
Kelvin Herrera has been terrible over his last 13 games (six runs, 23 baserunners, and three home runs over 11.2 innings) for the Royals and the Nationals, which is why Washington was willing to dump him at the trade deadline. Herrera has the last save in D.C. while looking a little better in his last five games (2.25 ERA and 2.00 WHIP). Kelvin has two blown saves in 17 tries in 2018. Ryan Madson improved his shutout run to 6.1 innings with four Ks. Justin Miller allowed two runs and two hits over his last 7.1 innings with five Ks.