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Bullpen Report 4.21.24: Who Closes in Milwaukee?

We’ve no time to mess around this week. Let’s get right to the bullpens.

Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Report

AL East

Craig Kimbrel continues to get the job done in Baltimore, with three wins, four saves, and a whopping 15.75 K/9.

There’s a mini-crisis in Tampa Bay, where Pete Fairbanks blew a save this week.  On Thursday night, veteran lefty Colin Poche came on and earned his second save of the year. Fairbanks has three saves, but also has suffered two losses and has a 9.00 ERA. Fairbanks should get some leash here as he works through his command issues. Recall that Poche and Jason Adam are two of the best setup guys in the game, and could vulture some saves while Fairbanks works out the kinks.

Clay Holmes has eight saves in New York and has yet to surrender a run (I am the angel of death bringing something like that up).  Holmes continues to return on your investment.

Jordan Romano was activated from the IL this past Tuesday and was immediately back in his old role, earning a save in his first appearance. Top high-leverage guy Erik Swanson is also back. Bump Yimi Garcia and Chad Green back to middle inning roles; check on Green’s status as he was injured on Wednesday night.

AL Central

The Chicago White Sox have won only three games and Michael Kopech has saved two of them. While the velocity has jumped being in the bullpen, the issues remain: six walks and two home runs, including a go-ahead home run to Salvador Perez on Wednesday, earning a blown save and the loss. If you have patience, he may be usable down the road, but I do not recommend rostering Kopech unless you are completely and utterly desperate for saves. The current squad doesn’t look like it will even come close to 60 wins. Buyer beware. In other news, Deivi Garcia earned the save in game two of a doubleheader on Wednesday. Veteran righty Steven Wilson and rookie Jordan Leasure have been great finds for a team looking for a silver lining. Tag Leasure for saves later this year when the Kopech experiment fails.

In Cleveland, where the Guardians have a surprising record of 13-6, Emmanuel Clase has five saves and continues to motor along. Hunter Gaddis is staking his claim to a higher-leverage role and has four holds.

I find the Detroit bullpen fascinating. Jason Foley has six saves thus far and has been supported well by Alex Lange, Shelby Miller, and Andrew Chafin. This is a bullpen where four guys are capable of saves, but right now, the guy to have is Foley. Will that last all season? Hard to know. All are good candidates for holds too.

James McArthur is the closer in Kansas City. Veteran lefty Will Smith only pitched twice this last week while McArthur got two saves. This looks to be a rising Royals squad, and they have a veteran bullpen with Chris Stratton, Nick Anderson, and John Schreiber in supportive roles to McArthur. Schreiber is the best bet for the most holds.

In Minnesota, injured closer Jhoan Duran was scheduled to throw a live bullpen on Friday after a successful 25-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday. The Twins have struggled but the bullpen has held their own led by Griffin Jax and Steven Okert (one save each) and Brock Stewart (four holds). Once Duran returns, hopefully by the end of April, the pecking order will be interesting to see here.

AL West

The Los Angeles Angels received bad news on the Robert Stephenson front: he is out for the year with an elbow injury. This is a brutal blow for him and the team, who just signed him to a three-year contract this winter. It has not been revealed if this is Tommy John surgery, but that seems likely. This creates an opportunity for Luis Garcia and Adam Cimber behind primary setup man Matt Moore. Hunter Strickland has also resurfaced here. Carlos Estevez appears safe in the closer role at this time.

Mason Miller continues to shine in Oakland with four saves and a whopping 17.0K/9.  The four walks are a little bothersome, but he’s borderline unhittable at this time. Continue to use him with confidence. Lucas Erceg has been quietly good in a setup role and has five holds already. Not a ton to like in Oakland, but the back end of the bullpen looks to be in good hands.

Lo and behold, here comes Kirby Yates. A few weeks back we suggested a small FAAB bid on him might get you some early-season saves; Yates had two saves and a win this week for the Texas Rangers. Former closer Jose Leclerc looks more comfortable in an extended setup role, and David Robertson has been the eighth-inning bridge to Yates. Brock Burke is on the IL after hand surgery to repair a fractured bone suffered after punching a wall in frustration. Manager Bruce Bochy gives a master class on how to use a bullpen and get the best out of each piece.

NL East

Raisel Iglesias had three saves this week for Atlanta. A.J. Minter chipped in with two wins and a hold this week.  He’s the handcuff here should Iglesias need to miss any time this season.

Kyle Finnegan has pitched well for the Washington Nationals, for whom he has seven saves. With those seven saves are two losses and a decent 3.24 ERA. However, taking a deeper dive, we see he’s surrendered five walks and two home runs in 8.1 innings.  The xERA is actually 8.11, and his FIP is 6.20, so he has had good luck.  Buyer beware!  This would be a good time to get shares of Hunter Harvey, who has exhibited great stuff: a win, seven holds, and 17 strikeouts in 10 innings.  He’s ready for an opportunity should the Nationals either trade or demote Finnegan.  Poor Finnegan.  He never gets any love.

NL Central

Adbert Alzolay got a save early in the week and then blew one in spectacular fashion on Tuesday. He’s still the best option in Chicago but is a bit of a tightrope act right now. Mark Leiter, Jr, and Hector Neris each have three holds, while Yency Almonte leads the team with four holds.

It’s hard to determine what new manager Pat Murphy is doing with his bullpen. Trevor Megill returned on Friday from his scary concussion this weekend, which throws another wrench in the plans. Murphy used Abner Uribe in the fourth inning one game this week, which makes us believe he has been bumped out of the hierarchy for now. Joel Payamps got a save this week, and a win on Friday night. Payamps blew the save Friday night and has been a little shaky to this point. Hoby Milner earned the save on Friday night, but that was due to the situation and not something to read into at this point. Watching this one, but I still lean Megill when he’s fully ready.

NL West

San Diego: Robert Suarez has six saves and sparkling ratios to boot. Continue to use with confidence.  The competition we thought we might see on the Padres has not materialized yet…

All those worrying about Camilo Doval: he looks to be headed in the right direction, with two saves this week.  He’s chipped his ERA down to 3.60 and has a 14.4 K/9. Tyler Rogers continues to wrack up holds, with three more this week. If you were planning to buy low on Doval, that window is closing.

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