Ah, do you smell that? That's the sweet, sweet smell of victory. It's so close, yet the next two or three weeks will likely feel like the longest of the year. With the NFL season starting, it's possible you've lifted off the gas pedal a bit and haven't paid attention to *every* save recorded over the past few weeks. To help you stay on top of the recent events, here's a quick recap of what we've seen from the position since August 1st.
Archie Bradley - 11
Emilio Pagan - 10
Aroldis Chapman - 9
Liam Hendriks - 9
Raisel Iglesias - 9
Josh Hader - 4
Ryne Stanek - 4
Kenley Jansen - 3
Brad Hand - 3
Strikeout Leaders (min 10 IP):
Nick Anderson (TB) - 60.5%. (That's 26 in 13 innings with NO walks!)
Liam Hendriks - 51.9%
Aroldis Chapman (NYY) - 48.8%
Tyler Duffey (MIN) - 45.3%
Drew Pomeranz (MIL) - 41.5%
Around The League:
-The Cubs placed closer Craig Kimbrel back on the injured list with elbow inflammation, leaving Rowan Wickas the best add for saves in the interim. Wick has pitched very well for the Cubs in the second half of this year. His 58% ground ball rate helps offset his pedestrian 16.8% K%-BB% rate. Wick has contact rates around league average and he gets hitters to chase less frequently than the league average, but he has the confidence of manager Joe Maddon and could hold considerable value if he is the primary closer for the Cubs down the stretch.
-Brad Hand blew another save for the Indians and Nick Wittgrenonce again had a clean inning behind him. It's crunch time for the Indians and while shaking up their bullpen right before the playoffs is not optimal, it might be necessary. Wittgren succeeds by limiting his free passes, but like Wick, doesn't have an overpowering repertoire, which leads to more balls in play. Fortunately, he's a heavy flyball pitcher and pitches in a pretty spacious park. He's worth the speculative add for the final couple of weeks, but don't start him unless an official change is made by the Indians in the 9thinning.
-Sean Doolittle was activated from the injured list earlier this week after spending about two weeks on it due to a knee injury. Since his activation, he has a pair of scoreless appearances. He struggled before going down with the injury, so hopefully the time off has served him well. It's been a great season for Doolittle, who, for the most part, has shaken the injury tag that plagued him early in his career. He'll be a top-10 closer in 2020.
-One day after converting his first save for the Marlins, Jose Urenagot to experience the other end of the spectrum in the life of a closer as he blew a two-run lead. Urena has the full backing from Marlins management to take the job and run with it. He remains the best guy to own, but it still seems unlikely he will prove to be too valuable to a championship run over the next two weeks.
-One potential troubling situation is in Los Angeles where Kenley Jansencontinues to pitch like he's lost. Jansen has allowed runs in 4 of his last 6 and his manager has suggested that he might be used in non-save situations to try and help him right the ship. What this means is Joe Kellyand Pedro Baezhave the potential to grab saves over the coming weeks. Kelly is the more enticing skillset, but Robert used Baez in a save situation over the weekend and has four straight scoreless outings.
-Roberto Osunablew his 6thsave of the seasonwhile there hasn't been any talk of a change in the 9thinning, Osuna has looked off in the second half, posting a 5.21 ERA compared with 1.95 in the first. Ryan Presslyis working his way back, but probably won't factor into the save picture this year.
-Just when Edwin Diazwas getting back into the save mix for the Mets, he had an utter meltdown on Tuesday and recording his 6thblown save. Seth Lugo remains a must-own, even if he will continue to be used in the highest leverage situation rather than in the ninth inning every time.
Closer Tiers and Handcuff Grades: