The Cubs were dealt a big blow to their roster yesterday as Adbert Alzolay was placed on the 15-day IL with a forearm strain. Michael Fulmer picked up the save last night in Alzolay’s absence, in what was Fulmer’s first appearance since August.
I think we are most likely to see Julian Merryweather in the closer role down the stretch as he was unavailable last night after pitching the previous three days, including picking up a save himself on Sunday afternoon. Mark Leiter Jr. could also be a factor here as well, but I still see this as Merriweather’s job to lose for as long as Alzolay is out.
- Tanner Scott has yet to allow an earned run since the start of August (2.32 xFIP), while also having an impressive 0.74 WHIP and 28.1% K-BB rate over 17.2 IP. He also now has 5 saves over the past 15 days and looks to be in complete control of the closer role in Miami. With one more year of team control before hitting free agency, Scott should be the opening day closer for the Marlins next year, barring anything unforeseen.
- Andrés Muñoz has been yo-yoing up and down the list the past couple of weeks and moves down the list here as he was dealing with a hip injury that kept him out this weekend. He was able to pitch in last night’s game, but with his injury past and just based on how he’s looked this season, I’m not sure how much trust I have in him down the stretch.
- Ryan Helsley picked up his first save since June this past weekend and has looked great in his four outings since being activated off of the IL on September 1st. He even was able to work on back-to-back days as he had pitched the previous day, but I don’t think we are at the point yet where we see him pitch 3-4 times a week, getting multiple save chances. The goal for him right now is finishing the season healthy.
- Since Jason Foley’s last save, Alex Lange has racked up 6 saves over his past 10.1 IP, posting a respectable 2.61 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in the process. Walks were still an issue into late August, but Lange has walked only 2 over his past 6.1 IP while striking out 6. It appears as if this closer committee is off for now, with Lange being the sole option, probably for the remainder of the season.
- Aroldis Chapman picked up the Rangers’ last save with Will Smith working the 8th inning as the revolving closer door in Texas continues. Chapman definitely holds the most upside here given his strikeout ability but his command has been all over the place recently with a dismal 23.8% BB rate (9 walks total) over his past eight outings. He’s also the only reliever on the roster with more than 1 save since August 8th.
- After a fantastic August that gave us hope, the early season Yennier Cano may be back, he has gone on to allow 5 hits, 4 earned runs, and has 1 walk to 0 strikeouts to begin September. I’m not sure how much wiggle room he has here, although Shintaro Fujinami hasn’t been great either but it does sound like there’s a chance Félix Bautista returns by the end of the season.
- I guess Bryan Shaw is the favorite for saves for the White Sox down the stretch, but is only worth a look in deeper leagues as this team is far from guaranteed multiple save chances the rest of the way. To Shaw’s credit, he’s been quite dominant in September, allowing no runs on just two hits and two walks while striking out nine over 7.1 innings.
- The Carlos Hernández closer experience in Kansas City has been such a disappointment after he looked so great leading into August. He’s managed just 2 saves and has an ERA of 10.97 (6.32 xFIP) to go along with a 2.25 WHIP since the start of August (10.2 IP). I’m not sure who should be closing out games for the Royals right now, but it’s likely to be someone other than Hernandez at this point.
EDIT: Updated after Kenley Jansen was placed on the IL on 9/13
And if you want more daily reliever updates, please check out our Reliever Ranks series
|1.||José Alvarado||PHI||Looks like he may be in a committee with Kimbrel now.|
|2.||Giovanny Gallegos||STL||If Helsley isn’t available, save chance should go to Gallegos.|
|3.||Will Smith||TEX||Been a while since he got a save, the closer situation is still a mess here.|
|4.||Matt Brash||SEA||Could be more involved in the 9th inning as option 1B.|
|5.||Jason Foley||DET||Still hard to trust Lange with his command issues.|
|6.||Michael Fulmer||CHC||Could split the closer role with Merryweather.|
|7.||Shintaro Fujinami||BAL||Could factor into some save chances in a committee with Cano|
|8.||Gregory Santos||CWS||I still like the skills but may be more of a 2024 target at this point.|
|9.||Hunter Harvey||WAS||As good as Finnegan has been, could Harvey still regain the job?|
|10.||Brooks Raley||NYM||Timeshare with Ottavino (and others) for now seems likely.|