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Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: Aroldis Chapman is back to his flamethrowing ways

The Yankees’ closer had a concerning dip in velocity a few days ago, but is back blowing 103 MPH heaters by hitters.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

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

This weekend, we examine Aroldis Chapman and his returning fastball velocity, Josh Hader’s run of brilliance, and Paul Fry’s Saturday implosion.

Arrow Up

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees

Aroldis Chapman has been a little shaky in the last 10 days, allowing six runs (five earned) with two losses and an ugly blown save that we covered here last week. During that specific outing, his four-seam fastball averaged around 96-97 MPH, which was especially concerning since he is known for his trademark 100 MPH gas.

He started this week with a couple of scoreless saves on Tuesday and Wednesday, and while he conceded a run on Saturday, he struck out two in his inning of work and threw the fastest pitch in MLB since 2019: a 103.4 MPH heater to end the game.

As long as his velocity remains elite, Chapman will be one of the best relievers in baseball and a reliable source of saves. Slowly but surely, he’s trending up after that ugly week.

Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers

After Hader slammed the door on the Rockies on Saturday, he is up to 18 saves in the 2021 season. Not only that, he is also back to being a bullpen ace, ratios and all, after a somewhat disappointing (for his lofty standards) 2020 campaign.

The Brewers’ southpaw has a bonkers 0.61 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP in 29 23 innings, with a fantastic 50/11 K/BB ratio that shows just how dominant he has been.

Arrow Down

Paul Fry, Baltimore Orioles

Maybe he just didn’t have it on Saturday, but Paul Fry’s collapse was of epic proportions. He had been the Orioles’ preferred ninth-inning option after Cesar Valdez’s demotion from the role, and had been pitching well until yesterday.

He allowed four earned runs on two hits and two walks against a great Toronto Blue Jays lineup in a game that he entered with the O’s up 7-4. It’s unclear what the manager will do when the next save situation arises, but it will be difficult to trust Fry after Saturday’s clunker.

Jose Cisnero, Detroit Tigers

Last week, Jose Cisnero nailed two saves and was looking like he could seize the vacant closer gig in Detroit. That, however, is an extremely frustrating bullpen for fantasy purposes, one that you should stay away from if at all possible.

This week, the Tigers have generated two save opportunities: one was converted by Gregory Soto rather uneventfully, and the other one went to Michael Fulmer, who allowed two runs and almost blew it. Cisnero pitched a clean eighth in that game, which was on Wednesday.

As long as Fulmer and Soto are healthy, they appear to be the preferred options for saves, thus making Cisnero almost unusable even though he has been really solid this year, with a 3.41 ERA.

Situations to monitor:

Seattle Mariners

Pay attention to Drew Steckenrider. Kendall Graveman hasn’t been as sharp since he got back from the injured list, and Rafael Montero is still inconsistent. Steckenrider notched a save on Monday.

Arizona Diamondbacks

They haven’t won in a while, so good luck figuring out who the closer is between Joakim Soria and Stefan Crichton.

San Francisco Giants

Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers keep alternating save chances, and both have been successful lately.

Kansas City Royals

Greg Holland has been getting some run as the ninth-inning option, even though Josh Staumont is already back to full health.

Closer chart

  • New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman (secure)
  • Baltimore Orioles: Paul Fry (first option), Cole Sulser, Tanner Scott
  • 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: Gregory Soto (first option), Michael Fulmer, Jose Cisnero
  • Kansas City Royals: Greg Holland (first option), Scott Barlow, Josh Staumont
  • Houston Astros: Ryan Pressly (secure)
  • Oakland Athletics: Committee between Lou Trivino and Jake Diekman
  • Los Angeles Angels: Raisel Iglesias (secure)
  • Seattle Mariners: Kendall Graveman (first option), Rafael Montero, Drew Steckenrider
  • Texas Rangers: Ian Kennedy (secure)
  • Atlanta Braves: Will Smith (secure), Chris Martin
  • New York Mets: Edwin Diaz (secure)
  • Philadelphia Phillies: Hector Neris (secure), Connor Brogdon
  • Washington Nationals: Brad Hand (secure)
  • Miami Marlins: Yimi Garcia (first option), Dylan Floro, Anthony Bass
  • Cincinnati Reds: Lucas Sims (secure)
  • 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: Committee between Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Committee between Joakim Soria and Stefan Crichton