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Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Report: Diaz Returns, Suarez Dominates, Neris Struggles

It’s been an interesting week with a shortage of save opportunities throughout major league baseball. Let’s take a look at some of the action this week. As always, if you have questions, comments, or concerns, you can message me @mdrc0508. I love interacting with folks, discussing, and bantering over all things fantasy baseball-related! Hit me up.

Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Report

AL East

Craig Kimbrel is locked in the ninth-inning role in Baltimore, earning three saves this calendar week. He has 16 on the year.

Clay Holmes showed us he is human with a blown save on Thursday night. He also earned one this week, giving him 19 on the season. Luke Weaver and Ian Hamilton continue to be the top setup options, both with nine holds.

Yimi Garcia remains in the top role in Toronto as the team awaits the return of closer Jordan Romano. Romano has largely struggled this year, and you have to wonder if an underlying injury may have been part of the culprit in that. Garcia has posted a win and a save this week. Romano has just started a throwing program with his sore elbow this week, so he should be shelved a bit longer, providing more opportunities for Garcia.

AL Central

While Michael Kopech is the closer in Chicago, he’s not getting much work on a team that is 18-52. The fastball usage is absurdly high, at 79%, and that seems to be by design because he can’t locate the slider.  Kopech figures to be a popular trade candidate on a very bad White Sox team, and the best guess here is that someone out there in MLB thinks they can fix this because the raw materials to be dominant are there, but most likely not as a closer. On Thursday night, Kopech was tasked to defend a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, only to surrender a home run to slugger Julio Rodriguez, who deposited a fastball into the bleachers.  Tanner Banks pitched the tenth and got the save, allowing Kopech a win on the night he blew the save. Baseball is a fickle mistress. The White Sox activated Steven Wilson this week and sent rookie Jordan Leasure to AAA for more seasoning. Leasure could be the closer of the future.

James McArthur continues to close games for a fun-to-watch Kansas City team, and he has 12 saves thus far. However, the 5.08 ERA and paltry 20.2 K% leave room for improvement. He had a bad outing last Sunday, giving up two earned runs, but has a win, a save, and a 3.86 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in five June appearances. If the Royals think they can win the AL Central, they may look to acquire help for their bullpen.

AL West

Seattle: Andres Munoz is having back trouble, which can prove problematic in closing games.  Ryne Stanek had replaced him, but Munoz is back and pitched in the game on Thursday night and took the loss against the White Sox. Interestingly on Friday night, Munoz came on in the eighth, striking out three around one walk, and Stanek got the save, his sixth of the season. A little misleading as Munoz was called on to face Marcus Semien and Adolis Garcia, the top of the Texas order, leaving the ninth for Stanek. Munoz was called upon for the tougher three outs and got them.

NL East

Raisel Iglesias continues to rack up saves despite underwhelming strikeout numbers at a bizarre 16.8% rate. He makes up for it by having a paltry 1.3 barrel%, a 5 BB%, and a very good 49.4 groundball %. Iglesias has 18 saves this season. Joe Jimenez has 14 holds in support of Iglesias.

Edwin Diaz returned for the New York Mets on Thursday and earned a win, and looked to be himself and healthy.  The question remains, what role will he be in immediately? Unknown, but based on his usage yesterday, it’s fair to assume that he steps right back into the highest leverage role in the bullpen. Recall they are paying him lots of money to close games, and both Reed Garrett and Adam Ottavino seem more comfortable in setup roles. And as if on cue, last night, Diaz pitched the ninth in a 2-1 game and earned his sixth save, striking out two.

Kyle Finnegan keeps rolling in Washington, with two saves and a win this week.  Finnegan might end up being the best reliever on the market at the trade deadline. He has 19 saves, two wins, a 1.91 ERA, and a sparkling .85 WHIP.

NL Central

The Chicago Cubs continue to use Hector Neris in the ninth inning, and he’s skating on thin ice as most games have been an adventure with him even as he often gets the job done. Neris has 10 saves on the season. Neris has a 4.21 ERA and ghastly 1.64 WHIP, and his 20.9K% and whopping 16.5BB% are concerning.  He had a bad series in Tampa Bay, coughing up five runs in two days. Look elsewhere for save help.  The bullpen has largely been a disaster the last few weeks for the Cubs, who are really struggling as we hit the midpoint of June.

Trevor Megill earned three saves this week, but it was not without some misadventure. He’s up to 11 saves on the year. Megill has a tidy 1.89 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, with 25 strikeouts in 19 innings. His average fastball velocity is 98.7 MPH, which puts him in the 99th percentile of all MLB. The 32.5K% plays well and he limits walks at a 6.5% clip. Continue to use with confidence.

Ryan Helsley earned his 23rd save for the St. Louis Cardinals last night and continues to lead MLB in saves.  He shows no signs of weakening. After pitching two nights in a row this week, Andrew Kittredge got the opportunity and converted on Thursday night, earning his first save of the year. He and JoJo Romero have proven to be two of the best setup men in baseball, with 18 and 19 holds, respectively.

NL West

In Colorado, Tyler Kinley got two save opportunities this week, and converted both of them. However, due to the inconsistent nature of his performance, I cannot recommend rostering him unless you have ratios that can withstand an 8.10 ERA and 1.80 WHIP.  Egads! Jalen Beeks earned holds in both of those saves.

San Diego: Let’s review the dominance of Robert Suarez. He has four wins, 17 saves, a minuscule 0.61 ERA, a 0.68 WHIP, and 28 strikeouts in 29.1 innings. He’s doing it with a 98.5 MPH fastball in the 98th percentile of all MLB, a 26.7K%, and a very good 5.7BB%.  Suarez earned two wins this week and continues to reward fantasy players who took a chance on him earlier this season. Right now, Jeremiah Estrada and Adrian Morejon appear to be the best bets for holds.

Camilo Doval continues his reign of dominance in San Francisco, where he now has 12 saves. Is there a quieter, more productive closer in baseball?  Doval just gets the job done; a 28K% and a 59.2 GB% help while the 15.2BB% doesn’t usually hurt him. He hasn’t given up a run since getting blown up in his first June appearance, a streak covering four games now. Continue to deploy with confidence.

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