The carnage is real, people! This week was a challenging one for several struggling closers and unfortunately, a pair of dedicated closers actually lost their jobs. Both Hector Neris and Stefon Crichton were removed from their roles (Crichton removed from the 40-man roster completely) and while it's possible they will be replaced with a single successor, more committees appear on the horizon across Major League Baseball. Let's take a look at the rest of the updates across the league.
Around the League:
-As we mentioned above, Hector Neris seemed like he was on the way out in Philly after blowing his third save over the last five outings on Wednesday. Neris has been a frustrating pitcher to own (and to analyze) over the last several seasons because his strong underling metrics tease his upside, but ultimately he has failed to translate his elite indicator stats into tangible, repeatable results in the 9th inning. Jose Alvarado seems the most likely candidate to replace Neris as closer since he has pitched pretty well in high leverage situations this year and manager Joe Girardi praised him earlier this week and gave him the first save chance in the "post-Neris" era on Friday. Unfortunately, that 9th inning experiment was a nightmare with Jose Alvarado blowing a 5-inning save in the first game on Friday and Archie Bradley blowing a save in the second game, before Hector Neris eventually earned the extra inning save. Alvarado remains the favorite for saves here, but don't sleep on Bradley and definitely don't drop Neris yet.
-In an extremely unusual move, Arizona removed Stefan Crichton from the closing role simply by removing him from the 40-man roster entirely. Boy, that escalated quickly. Crichton never drew high praise in this column, but with Kevin Ginkel also off the roster, Joakim Soria is suddenly positioned to be the primary closer for the Diamondbacks moving forward. Soria is 5th on the active career saves leaderboard.
-Hansel Robles saved two games this week, matching Taylor Rogers' save total. Rocco Baldelli committed to utilizing a committee in the pre-season and he has been one of the few managers that has maintained an equitable split between the committee members. It's also worth mentioning that Alex Colome, the assumed closer in the pre-season, is back to pitching higher leverage roles. It's possible that he might also get a share of the closer pie in the future.
-The Reds closing role has been tumultuous for most of the season, but Tejay Antone has at least been a source of stability in holds leagues given his role as the "firefighter", pitching in the highest leverage situations regardless of role. Unfortunately, he landed on the injured list on Saturday with a forearm strain, just days after Lucas Sims also hit the shelf for at least a month. The Reds signed former Orioles reliever/fill-in closer Brad Brach in early May and he was called up a couple weeks later. Since then, he has pitched pretty well and will likely compete with Amir Garrett for saves (Brach got a save on Thursday). Given Garett's struggles in the closing role earlier this year, Brach might actually have the upper hand here. He's worth adding across all formats, although it's worth noting that Garrett did convert the save on Saturday.
-The Philadelphia experiment in the 9th inning was a nightmare with Jose Alvarado blowing a 5-inning save in the first game on Friday and Archie Bradley blowing a save in the second game before Hector Neris eventually earned the extra inning save. Alvarado remains the favorite for saves here, but don't sleep on Bradley and definitely don't drop Neris yet.
-Th Nationals have kept Brad Hand busy over the last 14 days, racking up 6 saves, the most among any closer. After a rough patch in May, Hand has settled down in June and has been extremely good. With Daniel Hudson landing on the injured list, Hand's role is as safe as anyone's in the league right now.
-With Wade Davis and Josh Staumont back to throwing in low-leverage situations, Greg Holland has garnered the last two save chances for the Royals and seems to be the undisputed closer for the Mike Matheny and the Royals.
-Here's an updates to a few other committee situations:
· Diego Castillo got the only save chance for the Rays this week, which wasn't a given after he imploded and took the loss against the Mariners last weekend when he gave up 4 runs on a homerun.
· The Orioles only saw one save chance this week, but it went to Cole Sulser in extra inning, mainly because Paul Frye had already pitched in the 9th.
· James Karinchak received the last two save chances for the Indians this week, while Clase has served more in the set-up role.
· The Tigers closing situation remains murky. Michael Fulmer got the long save chance heading into Saturday, but Jose Cisnero locked down the first save in a double header against the Astros before Michael Fulmer gave up a lead in the 6th inning in the second game. This remains a committee led by Fulmer and Cisnermo for now.
Relievers on the Rise:
Colin McHugh (TB) - The Rays have been utilizing Colin McHugh as a heavy reliever in recent outings, deploying him for multiple innings which allow him to rack up multiple strikeouts with strong ratios. In deeper formats with questionable starting pitching on the waiver wire, McHugh is a nice option to fill in your starting lineup when injuries hit or there are difficult matchups for your regular starters. Mchugh is throwing his slider substantially more this season (~30% of the time), which has led to tremendous success with a 2.60 wCT/C pitch rating. His called + swinging strike percentage is up to 34%, including an impressive 14% swinging strike rate.
|Fantistics Closer Grid|
|AL EAST||Blue Jays||Jordan Romano||Tyler Chatwood||Tim Mayza|
|Orioles||Paul Fry||Cole Sulser||HunterHarvey|
|Rays||Diego Castillo||Pete Fairbanks||J.P. Feyereisen|
|Red Sox||Matt Barnes||Adam Ottavino||Josh Taylor|
|Yankees||Aroldis Chapman||Chad Green||Jonathan Loaisiga|
|AL CENTRAL||Indians||James Karinchak||Emmanuel Clase||Bryan Shaw|
|Royals||Greg Holland||Scott Barlow||Josh Staumont|
|Tigers||Michael Fulmer||Jose Cisnero||Gregory Soto|
|Twins||Taylor Rogers||Hansel Robles||Alex Colome|
|White Sox||Liam Hendriks||Aaron Bummer||Garrett Crochet|
|AL WEST||Angels||Raisel Iglesias||Mike Mayers||Tony Watson|
|Astros||Ryan Pressly||Ryne Stanek||Brooks Raley|
|Athletics||Lou Trivino||Jake Diekman||Yusmeiro Petit|
|Mariners||Kendall Graveman||Rafael Montero||Drew Steckenrider|
|Rangers||Ian Kennedy||Joely Rodriguez||Josh Sborz|
|NL EAST||Braves||Will Smith||A.J. Minter||Luke Jackson|
|Marlins||Yimi Garcia||Dylan Floro||Anthony Bass|
|Mets||Edwin Diaz||SethLugo||Miguel Castro|
|Nationals||Brad Hand||Tanner Rainey||Wander Suero|
|Phillies||Jose Alvarado||Archie Bradley||RangerSuarez|
|NL CENTRAL||Brewers||Josh Hader||Devin Williams||Brad Boxberger|
|Cardinals||Alex Reyes||Giovanny Gallegos||Genesis Cabrera|
|Cubs||Craig Kimbrel||Ryan Tepera||Andrew Chafin|
|Pirates||Richard Rodriguez||Kyle Crick||Chris Stratton|
|Reds||Brad Brach||Amir Garrett||Heath Hembree|
|NL WEST||Diamondbacks||Joakim Soria||Noe Ramirez||Ryan Buchter|
|Dodgers||Kenley Jansen||Blake Treinen||Jimmy Nelson|
|Giants||Jake McGee||Tyler Rogers||Dominic Leone|
|Padres||Mark Melancon||Emilio Pagan||Craig Stammen|
|Rockies||Daniel Bard||Carlos Estevez||Tyler Kinley|