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Fantasy Baseball Closer Report for Week 17: Kendall Graveman is in a groove

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The Mariners’ top ninth-inning option is back to his dominating ways.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

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

This week, Kendall Graveman, Gregory Soto, and Aroldis Chapman are all trending up, while Kenley Jansen’s struggles are getting worrisome.

Arrow up:

Kendall Graveman, Seattle Mariners

Last week, Mariners’ reliever Paul Sewald was racking up saves and we were speculating that he could get a few more from this point to the end of the regular season. And that still may be true. But Kendall Graveman was always the closer, and this week, he has pitched well enough to dissipate any doubts.

The right-hander saved games on Tuesday and Friday, and got the win on Saturday. In those three scoreless innings, he conceded just two walks (no hits) and struck out five hitters, recapturing some of the dominance he showed in the first half.

For the year, he has a 0.84 ERA and a 0.69 WHIP and needs to be in your lineup going forward.

Gregory Soto, Detroit Tigers

Jose Cisnero is one of the best relievers on the Detroit Tigers, and manager AJ Hinch has shown he trusts him. He could see some saves, but if this week has taught us something, it is that Soto should see even more.

In the last four games Soto has pitched, he has earned saves, extending from last week. He got the precious SV stat on July 17, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, covering four scoreless innings over that span with one hit, one free pass, and five punchouts.

For the season, Soto’s ERA is down to 2.70. If we were to assign percentages to the Tigers’ save opportunities share going forward, we would say it’s 70-30 Soto-Cisnero.

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees

Chapman is not all the way back yet, but he is getting there. After an ugly stretch to end June and to begin July, the Yankees’ closer has allowed only one run (a homer) on six innings. Over that span, he has 11 strikeouts.

So why isn’t he fully back? Well, he also has five walks in those six frames. Most of his issues were associated with fastball command, and while he has never been a control artist, five free passes in six innings is too much. Still, he has made strides and is getting closer to his most dominant version. Stay patient.

Arrow down:

Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers

Yes, Jansen closed out the Dodgers’ victory on Saturday with a scoreless inning. But we can’t ignore what happened over the week. It all started last Sunday, when he blew a save against the Colorado Rockies.

But things got ugly on Wednesday and Thursday, against the San Francisco Giants, no less. Between the two disastrous outings, he accumulated seven earned runs allowed, a home run, four walks, and three whiffs. Wow. It was brutal to watch. Those three games (Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday) were blown saves, too.

It remains to be seen if the Dodgers will continue to employ Jansen as their ninth-inning stopper or if they will look for an upgrade (relievers such as Taylor Rogers, Craig Kimbrel, and Ian Kennedy) prior to the deadline.

Situations to monitor

Kansas City Royals

Greg Holland earned the save Friday but couldn’t finish the job and Wade Davis did it on Saturday. Scott Barlow also saved a game on the week, so while Holland should get most chances, he doesn’t have the greatest job security.

Minnesota Twins

Taylor Rogers is a trade candidate, so pay attention to his successor if a deal comes to fruition. Hansel Robles would be the logical choice, but there is a non-zero chance he is traded, too.

Chicago Cubs

Craig Kimbrel is a trade candidate. So Ryan Tepera and Andrew Chafin—if they aren’t on other teams by July 30 as well—could become closers.

Baltimore Orioles

Dillon Tate, Cole Sulser, Paul Fry, and Tanner Scott have received save chances recently, so good luck figuring out who will get the next one.

Closer chart:

  • New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman (secure)
  • Baltimore Orioles: Committee between Dillon Tate, Cole Sulser.
  • 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), Adam Ottavino
  • Chicago White Sox: Liam Hendriks (secure)
  • Minnesota Twins: Committee between Hansel Robles and Taylor Rogers
  • Cleveland: James Karinchak (first option), Emmanuel Clase
  • Detroit Tigers: Gregory Soto (first option), Jose Cisnero
  • Kansas City Royals: Committee between Greg Holland, Scott Barlow, and Wade Davis
  • 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), Paul Sewald
  • Texas Rangers: Ian Kennedy (secure)
  • Atlanta Braves: Will Smith (secure), Chris Martin
  • New York Mets: Edwin Diaz (secure)
  • Philadelphia Phillies: Ranger Suarez (first option), Hector Neris, Jose Alvarado
  • Washington Nationals: Brad Hand (secure)
  • Miami Marlins: Yimi Garcia (first option), Anthony Bender, Dylan Floro, Anthony Bass
  • Cincinnati Reds: Heath Hembree (secure), 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 (first option), trade addition?
  • San Diego Padres: Mark Melancon (secure)
  • Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard (secure)
  • San Francisco Giants: Committee between Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Joakim Soria (secure)