Each weekend, we will take a look at the closing situations for each of the 30 MLB teams, and profile specific players whose arrow is pointing up or down as far as the ninth inning is concerned for fantasy baseball purposes.
This week, the closer carousel continues in Seattle and Cincinnati, while Aroldis Chapman is having a historically dominant season and Taylor Rogers looks like the man in Minnesota.
Taylor Rogers, Minnesota Twins
Taylor Rogers looks like the best option for saves in Minnesota after manager Rocco Baldelli decided to move co-closer Alex Colome to a low-leverage role.
Baldelli, at least for the time being, had enough of Colome, who has an 8.31 ERA, 1.96 WHIP, and blew one save chance after another.
On the other hand, Rogers has a 0.00 ERA and nailed down a save chance on April 23. He should get the bulk of the opportunities moving forward until Colome shows something.
Kendall Graveman, Seattle Mariners
Trying to figure out the Mariners’ bullpen has become a frustrating exercise this season. It’s clear that Rafael Montero would be the preferred option for closer duties if he were pitching well, but it’s also evident that he has had some issues.
After a rocky start to the season, Montero had seemingly righted the ship recently, but then he proceeded to allow five runs (three earned) in his last two appearances, making the figure of Kendall Graveman reemerge.
Graveman, of course, has been lights out this year, with an immaculate ERA and a 0.38 WHIP. After Montero’s issues this week, Graveman was the one who received and converted Seattle’s last save chance on Thursday.
Montero did finish Friday’s game, but it was a non-save situation.
If I were to guess, I would say Graveman will get most of the opportunities going forward until Montero puts together another streak of scoreless appearances.
Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees
Not that Aroldis Chapman is in any other closer tier that isn’t the first one, but he has been so good in 2021 that he may move into the top overall RP in baseball soon, if he hasn’t already. The Yankees’ fireballer added a splitter to his explosive fastball-slider combo, and since he also added some more velocity to his heater, he has been unhittable.
Chapman has 22 strikeouts in nine innings, a 0.00 ERA, a negative FIP (-0.82) and xFIP (-0.24), a 0.56 WHIP, and 0.7 fWAR. As long as he is healthy, he will be the ninth inning option for the Yankees, but those ratios make him the best closer in baseball over Josh Hader, Liam Hendriks, and others.
Yimi Garcia, Miami Marlins
It feels like Garcia has appeared several times on both sections of this report in the last month. While he is an okay reliever, he is prone to an occasional meltdown, so you need to be very aware of a potential closer change by manager Don Mattingly.
Garcia conceded a game-ending two-run jack to Kyle Schwarber on Friday, and also allowed a homer on April 24. When planning for the future, be aware of the fact that the Marlins probably prefer Anthony Bass to be the closer, so Garcia owners need to have him as insurance.
Amir Garrett/Lucas Sims, Cincinnati Reds
On paper, the Cincinnati Reds have three options on their roster capable of closing games, four if you count Tejay Antone. But it seems that no one from the group of Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims, or Sean Doolittle want the job.
After an April 21 meltdown in which he allowed three runs while getting only two outs, the lefty conceded another run on Monday, on a solo homer.
Sims received the Reds’ save chance on Friday, but walked three of the five batters he faced and Antone had to finish the job. Doolittle got the save on Tuesday, but has a 4.66 ERA for the season. This bullpen is a mess.
- New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman (secure)
- Baltimore Orioles: Cesar Valdez (secure)
- Tampa Bay Rays: Diego Castillo (secure)
- Toronto Blue Jays: Jordan Romano (first option), Rafael Dolis
- Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes (secure)
- Chicago White Sox: Liam Hendriks (secure)
- Minnesota Twins: Taylor Rogers (first option), Alex Colome
- Cleveland: Emmanuel Clase (secure)
- Detroit Tigers: Gregory Soto (first option), Bryan Garcia
- Kansas City Royals: Josh Staumont (first option)
- Houston Astros: Ryan Pressly (secure)
- Oakland Athletics: Lou Trivino (first option), Jake Diekman
- Los Angeles Angels: Raisel Iglesias (secure)
- Seattle Mariners: Potential committee between Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero
- Texas Rangers: Ian Kennedy (secure)
- Atlanta Braves: Will Smith (secure)
- New York Mets: Edwin Diaz (secure)
- Philadelphia Phillies: Hector Neris (secure)
- Washington Nationals: Brad Hand (secure)
- Miami Marlins: Yimi Garcia (first option), Anthony Bass
- Cincinnati Reds: Potential committee between Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims, and Sean Doolittle
- St. Louis Cardinals: Alex Reyes (first option), Jordan Hicks
- Milwaukee Brewers: Josh Hader (secure)
- Chicago Cubs: Craig Kimbrel (secure)
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Richard Rodriguez (secure)
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Kenley Jansen (secure)
- San Diego Padres: Mark Melancon (secure)
- Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard (secure)
- San Francisco Giants: Jake McGee (secure)
- Arizona Diamondbacks: Stefan Crichton (first option)