Rowan Wick led all relievers this past week with three saves (tied with Liam Hendriks), with those three saves being the most on the team since the trade of Craig Kimbrel. He also struck out eight batters this past week, so why didn’t I move him further up the list? I like what Wick has done since returning from the IL but these next two weeks won’t be easy for this Cubs team, as they finish up their series with the Reds before welcoming the Giants. Next week they go on the road to face the Phillies and Brewers. Those are not the matchups you are looking for from a fringe reliever as playoffs start in most leagues.
- Ian Kennedy’s transition to the Philly bullpen has been anything but smooth, but the veteran is coming off a strong week and remains the closer for a team that has the easiest strength of schedule remaining in all of baseball. The Phillies have two games left with the Brewers and three with Braves, but they also get series with the Orioles, Pirates, Marlins, Cubs, and the Rockies the rest of the way.
- Gregory Soto has mostly shed the co-closer title over the past month, picking up five saves to Michael Fulmer’s two, and should continue seeing most of the save opportunities. Soto hasn’t allowed a run in his last 9.2 innings of work, but the remaining schedule is not ideal for Soto or this Tigers team as they have two series each with the Rays and White Sox.
- Giovanny Gallegos looked like he was on his way to securing the Cardinal’s closer role before Sunday’s meltdown, allowing four earned runs in the ninth inning. Alex Reyes served up the game-winning grand slam in that one following Gallegos, so he didn’t do anything to retake his job either. Perhaps Luis García gets a chance to close out games as he’s been lights out since his July call-up.
- After picking up three saves in three consecutive outings, Adam Ottavino has entered two games in the seventh inning and blown one save in the ninth. At this point Garrett Whitlock looks more likely to be the team’s closer, however, neither one has pitched well to start September. Matt Barnes is eligible to return this weekend and could wind up sliding right back into the role he was removed from back in August.
|1.||Diego Castillo / Drew Steckenrider||Seattle||With Castillo back, expect a three-man committee for save chances|
|2.||Nick Anderson / Pete Fairbanks||Tampa Bay||Anderson could return this weekend. Fairbanks could also slide into the role|
|3.||Garrett Whitlock / Matt Barnes||Boston||Ottavino’s role isn’t set in stone, and Barnes could be back this week|
|4.||Sergio Romo / Jake Diekman||Oakland||With Trivino out, expect some sort of committee with Chafin and these two|
|5.||Luis García / Alex Reyes||St. Louis||Reyes is out for the time being and Gallegos is coming off a bad meltdown|
|6.||Héctor Neris / José Alvarado||Philadelphia||Neris has been awesome over his last 25+ IP, and Alvarado is the top lefty option|
|7.||Lucas Sims / Michael Lorenzen||Cincinnati||As it’s been all season long, who knows who will close out games here|
|8.||Spencer Patton||Texas||Patton recorded the Rangers last save, may mix in with Joe Barlow|
|9.||Michael Fulmer||Detroit||Fulmer continues to be a right-handed complement to Soto on occasion|
|10.||Anthony Bender||Miami||Struggled a bit in August, but he still has more overall upside than Floro|
Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
Consider adding Tyler Wells (BAL) as someone to watch. It seems he’s built himself a solid campaign as a rookie. His BABIP may be an issue but there are a lot of things to like about his profile. Low walks with solid strikeouts, his velocity, and his plate discipline metrics all appear promising. Since he’s a rookie, a grating Barrel% is expected. As the Orioles are a poor source of saves, his recent addition to their committee is being overlooked, and the belief that Harvey is still relevant may persist, despite how dreadful his injury bug has been, seems to overshadow Wells’ contributions. Depending on the last month, if Wells’ game leverage bumps up and he can manage to float above the weight closing holds, then I think he may be the leading candidate for next season.
I actually do like Wells a lot, I just don’t see the closer role in Baltimore really having any fantasy value from here on out (maybe that Texas series?). I think the Orioles could have a sneaky good bullpen next year though with Wells being a big piece (assuming he doesn’t move into the rotation).