Will Smith led all closers this past week with FOUR saves, which is certainly a relief to those rostering him worried about Aroldis Chapman potentially taking over the closer role. While Chapman still lurks and could replace Smith after just a few poor outings, Smith to this point has done nothing to lose the job.
The bat-missing ability may not be ideal (29.4% CSW), but it’s hard to argue against Smith’s 2.63 ERA and 0.75 WHIP over his last 24 IP. That does come with a 4.20 xFIP and just a 23.9% K rate, so there could still be some regression which as stated previously, could lead to Chapman taking over the role, and which is why Smith is still outside of the trusted tier.
- Paul Sewald’s Diamondbacks’ save situation debut certainly did not go as planned, as he allowed three earned runs on two home runs without even getting an out against the Twins on Sunday. It’s most likely nothing to worry about, but Sewald hasn’t been quite as dominant dating back to June as he was in the first two months. Since June, Sewald holds a 4.12 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, but it does come with 37% K and 34.8% CSW rates, plus a 2.77 SIERA.
- Jhoan Duran may be hitting a wall as we get deeper into the season, as he has not been great since the start of July with a 6.39 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. Like with Sewald, there is some bad luck involved (2.97 SIERA) but unlike Sewald, it is concerning that Duran is struggling to miss bats now as he has just a 27.4% K rate and 29% CSW rate since July.
- Also similarly to Sewald, David Robertson has had a rough start to his Marlins’ career as the veteran closer has allowed five runs (4 ER) over his past two outings, blowing two saves. Given the cost the Marlins paid for a rental reliever, I’d imagine Robertson will continue to get plenty of save chances, but with A.J. Puk and Tanner Scott pitching well this past week (and most of the season) another blown save from Robertson in his next attempt could shake things up here.
- Gregory Santos was basically the last man standing in the White Sox bullpen after the deadline and should be the favorite for save chances the rest of the season after returning from the bereavement list. There is a ton of upside here with the 23-year-old Santos, and while his value for this season may be limited, he’s a great dynasty league option as someone who could be closing out games for the next 5 years in Chicago.
- Kyle Finnegan continues to be a sneaky saves option as he now has six saves since the All-Star break and has not allowed a run over his past 8.2 IP. Over that stretch, he also holds a 30.3% K rate and 0.52 WHIP, but his 28.9% CSW rate is still below average as he doesn’t have a legitimate swing and miss pitch.
- The Blue Jays have been splitting their closer duties between Jordan Hicks and Erik Swanson with Jordan Romano out, and while there’s a chance Romano is back a week from now, Hicks and Swanson still can be rostered throughout the weekend at least.
- This is likely the last week we see Carlos Estévez on the list after last night’s five earned run outing. Since the All-Star break, Estévez has allowed 16 runs (11 ER) as he has a 9.68 ERA (6.66 xFIP) and 2.23 WHIP while blowing two saves and his 23.2% K rate isn’t exactly anything to be excited about either. With a 1.3% chance to make the playoffs in what is (likely) Shohei Ohtani’s last Angels season, the team should be removing Estévez from the closer role and giving guys like Reynaldo López and Matt Moore a shot.
- The Mets’ closer situation is still TBD as they have yet to produce a save since the trade deadline. It really is up in the air as to who will get the next save chance, but I still have veterans Adam Ottavino and Brooks Raley as the favorites but neither one is a “must roster” player right now.
And if you want more daily reliever updates, please check out our Reliever Ranks series
|1.||Aroldis Chapman||TEX||The situation is still fluid in Texas, both he and Smith should be rostered.|
|2.||Reynaldo López||LAA||Could see him replacing Estevez in the closer role.|
|3.||Erik Swanson||TOR||Timeshare with Hicks until Romano returns.|
|4.||Brooks Raley||NYM||Timeshare with Ottavino for now, as one or both may move.|
|5.||Jason Foley||DET||Lange has been shaky lately, which could give Foley 9th inning.|
|6.||Bryan Shaw||CWS||The vet has pitched well with Santos out.|
|7.||Jason Adam||TB||No closer is more injury prone than Fairbanks…|
|8.||Matt Brash||SEA||…but Muñoz is a close second now.|
|9.||A.J. Puk||MIA||Robertson has struggled in Miami, could they go back to Puk?|
|10.||JoJo Romero||STL||Could share some save chances with Gallegos for now.|