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Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: Some clarity in Cincinnati, at long last

Lucas Sims seems to be solidifying his position as the preferred option to close for the Reds.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Each weekend, we discuss the saves situations for each and every one of the 30 teams in the league, with special emphasis on who is trending up and who is slipping.

This week, Lucas Sims is separating from the rest of the options to close in Cincinnati, while Cesar Valdez is losing appeal in a hurry.

Arrow Up

Lucas Sims, Cincinnati Reds

Some clarity in the back of the Reds’ bullpen, finally! After his ugly three-run, 0.1-inning performance on May 21, Lucas Sims hasn’t allowed any runs in his last two appearances. That’s the good news.

The great news? Both of those games resulted in saves for Sims. With Amir Garrett struggling and Tejay Antone as the versatile multi-inning fireman, Sims seems to be running away with the closer role in Cincinnati, and rightfully so. When healthy, he is a very good pitcher, as evidenced by his 2.45 ERA last season in 25.2 frames.

JP Feyereisen, Tampa Bay Rays

Feyereisen, recently acquired in the Willy Adames trade, got a save on Saturday in the same way that Jeffrey Springs, Pete Fairbanks, and other Rays relievers have earned them: by seeing the ‘alleged’ closer, Diego Castillo, get used in a fireman’s role earlier in the game. He also racked up the save on May 23.

If you have the space, roster the right-hander, as he is a very good hurler (2.96 ERA and 0.99 WHIP this season) and could get some occasional saves in the Rays’ volatile bullpen.

Jordan Romano, Toronto Blue Jays

After a rocky season with an injury and some messy bullpen usage by Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo, Romano nailed a save on Thursday against the Yankees by throwing five of his eight pitches for strikes.

Romano, if healthy, should be the Blue Jays’ first option to close as long as Julian Merryweather is out. Romano has a dominant 2.04 ERA and is firing on all cylinders, with 12 strikeouts over his last seven frames.

Arrow Down

Cesar Valdez, Baltimore Orioles

Valdez, one of the early-season success stories when it comes to closers, has been so bad lately that, per Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, other relievers will enter the ninth-inning mix. The skipper said the closer’s role will be a “mixed bag” from now on.

The right-handed changeup artist is coming off consecutive three-run implosions on Monday and Thursday. He could only get one out in both games, and his ERA—which was a minuscule 1.23 as recently as May 10—is now 5.30.

Paul Fry is among the most reliable arms in the Orioles bullpen, but this is a situation to avoid.

Stefan Crichton, Arizona Diamondbacks

With a 6.14 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP, Stefan Crichton just hasn’t been pitching like a reliable closer. Since May 16th, the right-hander has conceded six runs (five earned) in 3.1 frames, and it has included walk-off home runs, hits, and only one strikeout.

Fantasy owners should be wise to add Joakim Soria if he’s available, as he has strung together six consecutive scoreless outings and could potentially claim the closer’s role from Crichton.

Situations to monitor:

St. Louis Cardinals

Daniel Ponce de Leon converted two recent save chances, one in which closer Alex Reyes was unavailable. Keep an eye on the situation, but it still should be Reyes’ job to lose.

Seattle Mariners

Erik Swanson saved a game this week, as Kendall Graveman hit the injured list. Swanson and Rafael Montero should both see chances until Graveman returns.

Detroit Tigers

After Michael Fulmer had apparently seized the closer’s role in Detroit, he suffered a walk-off loss to the Kansas City Royals last weekend. This week, Gregory Soto converted a save chance in which Fulmer was used in the eighth inning. Both men figure to see opportunities going forward.

Kansas City Royals

Regular closer Josh Staumont hit the injured list with a left knee sprain. It’s pure speculation at this point, but Kyle Zimmer, Scott Barlow and Greg Holland could all get chances.

Closer chart

  • New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman (secure)
  • Baltimore Orioles: Potential committee. Options: Paul Fry, Tanner Scott, Cesar Valdez
  • Tampa Bay Rays: Diego Castillo (first option), JP Feyereisen, Pete Fairbanks, Jeffrey Springs
  • Toronto Blue Jays: Jordan Romano (first option), Rafael Dolis
  • Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes (secure)
  • Chicago White Sox: Liam Hendriks (secure)
  • Minnesota Twins: Committee between Hansel Robles and Taylor Rogers
  • Cleveland: Emmanuel Clase (secure)
  • Detroit Tigers: Committee between Michael Fulmer and Gregory Soto
  • Kansas City Royals: Josh Staumont (injured). Options to close: Scott Barlow, Greg Holland, Kyle Zimmer.
  • Houston Astros: Ryan Pressly (secure)
  • Oakland Athletics: Committee between Lou Trivino and Jake Diekman
  • Los Angeles Angels: Raisel Iglesias (secure)
  • Seattle Mariners: Kendall Graveman (injured). Options: Erik Swanson and Rafael Montero
  • Texas Rangers: Ian Kennedy (secure)
  • Atlanta Braves: Will Smith (secure), Chris Martin
  • 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: Lucas Sims (first option), Tejay Antone, Amir Garrett
  • St. Louis Cardinals: Alex Reyes (secure)
  • 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: Potential committee between Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Stefan Crichton (first option for now), Joakim Soria