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Bullpen Report 6.8.24: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Another week, another round of closer rollercoaster rides. Let’s take a look at the statistical category we love to hate, saves.

MLB Bullpen Depth Charts and Closer Updates


Clay Holmes earned his 17th and 18th saves this week.  Holmes has not allowed a run since his four-run horror outing on May 20th.  He’s an SP1 currently pitching for one of the best teams in baseball.

Pete Fairbanks had three saves this week for the Tampa Bay Rays, seemingly putting to rest any closer controversy there. He is up to eight saves on the season, lowering his ERA to 3.32 and boasting a 27.5K%. Continue to use him with confidence.

Yimi Garcia is now the closer for the Toronto Blue Jays with Justin Romano out for some time with an ailing elbow. Romano had a platelet-rich injection in the elbow last week. There is no word yet on a schedule for his return. Garcia earned two saves and a win this week. The chances of him being on your waiver wire are becoming slim. If you need saves, he’s a great buy in shallower leagues.

AL Central

Michael Kopech cannot be trusted with a lead. He has five saves for a team that has 16 wins but also has six losses.  His manager also tends to misuse him, bringing him into tie games. If you have not already, it is fine to jettison him for a better option. Kopech will not get many opportunities and could find himself on the move to another team that feels they can fix him and make him a legitimate bullpen arm. Kopech has a nice 31.5 K% but has an unsightly 4.21 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. The best bet is that rookie Jordan Leasure gets save chances should the Sox trade Kopech.

AL West

Carlos Estevez remains in the closer role for the Los Angeles Angels, earning two saves to run his season total to 10. Luis Garcia earned a hold. Veteran lefty Matt Moore also earned his third save this week, on a night when Estevez was unavailable. Chances can be scant here too, but it appears that Estevez will get the bulk of them at this time.

Andres Munoz has missed time this week with a balky back. Ryne Stanek was the next man up, and earned a save on Thursday night, his fourth of the season. Stanek then blew the save and took a spectacular loss on Friday night, getting walked off by  Bobby Witt Jr. and the Kansas City Royals. Munoz played catch on Wednesday and is not on the IL at this time, and is considered day-to-day. When Munoz is ready, the job is his; he has 12 saves with a 1.73 ERA, a .96 WHIP, and a 35.6 K%.

Things are quiet in Texas, but Kirby Yates is still the closer, even though he has not had a chance this week and has only pitched once.

NL East

Raisel Iglesias keeps on motoring in Atlanta, earning two saves this week to push his season total to 16 despite a very low 17.4K%. He continues to limit walks (a 5.4BB%) and has a 48.6GB% which is helping him limit barrels despite the lack of strikeouts.

Jake Diekman got the only save this week for the New York Mets. While this seems to remain a fluid situation where any of Diekman, Adam Ottavino, or Reed Garrett could get opportunities, Edwin Diaz announced after his first rehab outing on Thursday that he anticipated one or two more outings before being activated midweek this coming week. The question before us is, will Diaz assume the closer role again immediately? No word on that. It would seem to make sense that they might ease him back in before taking on the highest-leverage role. Continue to watch this one with interest.

Philadelphia: there were only two save chances in Philly this week, and Jose Alvarado got and converted both of them. In both of those games, Jeff Hoffman pitched in front of him and earned his eighth and ninth holds. It’s hard to say on any given night who will get the save opportunity here; it’s based on the matchups. Matt Strahm and Orion Kerkering are the other top options for holds, pushing other veterans Gregory Soto and Seranthony Dominguez to middle relief roles.  This is a fascinating bullpen to me.

Kyle Finnegan keeps getting the job done in Washington. He’s got 17 saves now, a 1.80 ERA, and a 25.8K%. Those of you who rostered him as an RP2 are reaping solid rewards right now. Great work!

NL Central

Hector Neris keeps rolling in Chicago, earning a win and a save this week. He now has eight saves for the Cubs. The underlying stats paint a troubling picture: an xERA of 5.02, a 17BB%, and a middling 20K%. But, he’s got a 50GB% and an 86.1 MPH average exit velocity, so he is keeping the ball on the ground and limiting hard contact. Yet, this is a bit of a highwire act, and the Cubs have been scuffling over the last two weeks. Opportunities may be hard to come by right now.

Alexis Diaz fought back in Cincinnati with two saves this week, giving him 13 on the season. After a terrible May, Diaz has a 3.00 ERA in June, albeit in a small sample size, with two saves. Walks continue to be an issue, with one surrendered in each of his last four outings, giving him a whopping 16.4 BB% on the season. He should hold the job for now, but should he continue to struggle, Fernando Cruz looks primed to get a chance with his whopping 45.2K%.

David Bednar has 13 saves in Pittsburgh, but the 5.47 ERA seems to scare people off.  Do not be one of them.  Take a deeper dive and see what is happening: after a terrible April, Bednar earned two wins and six saves in May, with a .203 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. H’s continuing that trend in June. If a fantasy player in your league has become crestfallen by Bednar’s performance and wants to move him, make an offer. The strikeout rate is down but Bednar is the clear option in Pittsburgh. Grab him if he’s available.

NL West

Paul Sewald with three saves this week for Arizona. He often feels like a forgotten man out in the Arizona desert, but he continues to get the job done wherever he goes. He is up to seven saves now and appears to be healthy, with a .87 ERA and a 29.7K%. Continue to use in all formats. Youngster Justin Martinez has climbed into the pecking order with a 100 MPH fastball and earned a win and a hold this week.  A name to watch if you are looking for holds; Kevin Ginkel should also be good for holds as well.

Tyler Kinley looks to have moved to a closer role with the demotion of Jalen Beeks back to a setup role. Kinley earned a save this week, his third, but has some unsightly peripherals: an 8.03 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP. His May was decent but the mantra holds true here: it’s never a good idea to roster a Colorado pitcher.

Evan Phillips is back in Los Angeles and in the closer role.  However, after throwing 31 pitches on Thursday, he was unavailable Friday night, and veteran Yohan Ramirez got the save. No worries here.  It is Phillips’ job.

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