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, Jonathan Loaisiga takes over for an injured Aroldis Chapman and Ian Kennedy settles in after a few rough outings with Philadelphia.
Jonathan Loaisiga, New York Yankees
Yankees’ closer Aroldis Chapman was placed on the injured list with elbow issues, just when it seemed like he had finally turned a corner. The lefty’s loss is Jonathan Loaisiga’s gain, though, and the talented right-hander appears to be Aaron Boone’s first option to close while the Cuban Missile is out.
Loaisiga finished things off on Saturday in a smooth way against the Seattle Mariners, and while Chad Green may steal a chance or two away from him, Loaisiga will handle most of the ninth-inning work.
He has been having a superb season, with a 2.48 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in 54.1 innings, adding 53 punchouts.
Ian Kennedy, Philadelphia Phillies
After a rocky start to his Phillies’ career (four runs in two innings), Ian Kennedy has settled in and is back to being a reliable ninth-inning option with his new team. He earned saves on Friday and Saturday, and should get many more chances in a competitive Philadelphia team that is now in first place of the NL East.
For the year, Kennedy has a 3.44 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 36.2 innings. He has struck out 41 hitters.
Gregory Soto, Detroit Tigers
At one point a few weeks ago, it looked like Gregory Soto would share save opportunities with righty Jose Cisnero. The latter converted some chances, and the split looked something like 65-35 in favor of Soto.
Forget about that. It has been over a month since Cisnero last saved a game (July 4), while Soto has seven over that span. There is no closer controversy in Detroit anymore: Gregory Soto is the guy to own.
He has a 2.96 ERA for the season, albeit with a less-than-ideal 1.36 WHIP.
Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox
Matt Barnes is a phenomenal pitcher. He has a 2.40 ERA and a fantastic 0.80 WHIP, to go along with 69 whiffs in 45 frames. But he will not get 100 percent—or even 90 percent—of the saves chances in Boston.
For the year, Barnes has 24 saves, but Adam Ottavino has eight, including one in yesterday’s doubleheader after Barnes lost the first contest by allowing a walk-off home run to Marcus Semien.
Barnes is a very good fantasy closer, but be prepared for Ottavino to get around 20-30 percent of the chances, too.
Craig Kimbrel, Chicago White Sox
Craig Kimbrel is having a historic season, with 23 saves, a 1.12 ERA, a 0.74 WHIP and 68 strikeouts in 40.1 innings. The bad news is that all of those 23 saves came when he was with the Chicago Cubs.
He was traded at the deadline to the White Sox, a team that has Liam Hendriks closing, no less. With his new team, Kimbrel has no saves, and while he has thrown clean innings in three of his four appearances, he was rocked for three runs in 0.2 frames in the other one.
He may get a handful of chances, but as long as Hendriks is healthy, Kimbrel will lose a significant amount of his fantasy value.
Situations to monitor
Alex Colome seems to be the man to own in Minnesota while Taylor Rogers is out. He seems improved as of late and earned two saves this week.
Sean Poppen earned a two-inning save on Friday night, but is more of a multi-inning reliever than a reliable ninth-inning option.
Dylan Floro should get most of the Marlins’ save chances going forward, but Anthony Bender will also get some looks.
The Royals sent Jake Brentz to the fire in their last save chance this week, and he delivered. No one seems to have separated from the pack in this bullpen.
Manuel Rodriguez earned a clean save for the Cubs on Wednesday, but was battered in his next outing in a tied game, although he suffered part of the damage while starting an extra-inning with a runner on second. He also lost a tied game on Monday.
Michael Lorenzen and Mychal Givens both got saves for Cincinnati this week. Yeah.
Matt Wisler saved Monday’s game against Boston, but Ryan Sheriff got a clean save for the Rays on Wednesday, adding yet another name to the mix.
- New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman (injured), Jonathan Loaisiga (first option), Chad Green
- Baltimore Orioles: Cole Sulser (first option), Paul Fry
- Tampa Bay Rays: All top options injured (Pete Fairbanks, JP Feyereisen, Nick Anderson); top options in the meantime: Matt Wisler, Ryan Sheriff.
- Toronto Blue Jays: Jordan Romano (first option), Brad Hand, Joakim Soria
- Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes (first option), Adam Ottavino, Hansel Robles
- Chicago White Sox: Liam Hendriks (secure), Craig Kimbrel
- Minnesota Twins: Taylor Rogers (injured), Alex Colome (first option), Tyler Duffey
- Cleveland: Committee between Emmanuel Clase and James Karinchak
- Detroit Tigers: Gregory Soto (secure)
- Kansas City Royals: Committee between Greg Holland, Scott Barlow, Jake Brentz, and Wade Davis
- Houston Astros: Ryan Pressly (secure), Kendall Graveman
- Oakland Athletics: Committee between Lou Trivino and Jake Diekman
- Los Angeles Angels: Raisel Iglesias (secure)
- Seattle Mariners: Diego Castillo (first option), Paul Sewald
- Texas Rangers: Spencer Patton (first option)
- Atlanta Braves: Will Smith (secure), Richard Rodriguez
- New York Mets: Edwin Diaz (secure)
- Philadelphia Phillies: Ian Kennedy (secure)
- Washington Nationals: Kyle Finnegan (first option), Tanner Rainey
- Miami Marlins: Committee. Options: Anthony Bender, Dylan Floro, Anthony Bass
- Cincinnati Reds: Committee. Options: Heath Hembree, Michael Lorenzen, Mychal Givens
- St. Louis Cardinals: Alex Reyes (secure), Giovanny Gallegos
- Milwaukee Brewers: Josh Hader (injured), top fill-in options: Devin Williams, Brad Boxberger
- Chicago Cubs: Codi Heuer (first option), Manuel Rodriguez
- Pittsburgh Pirates: David Bednar (first option)
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Kenley Jansen (first option)
- San Diego Padres: Mark Melancon (secure), Daniel Hudson
- Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard (secure)
- San Francisco Giants: Committee between Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers
- Arizona Diamondbacks: Tyler Clippard (first option)