Iglesias Burned

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·9 min read
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With the trade deadline behind us, there's a lot to cover on the closer front – and some stolen base news too! Try to keep up!

The last week belonged to Jordan Romano. He notched four saves. Emmanuel Clase was the only other to cross the three-save barrier. Only five pitchers nabbed a pair of saves. Among them were Pete Fairbanks and Luis Garcia. Josh Hader (29) holds a narrow lead over Taylor Rogers (28), one that's likely to rapidly expand. Romano (25), Kenley Jansen (24), Edwin Diaz (23) and Clase (23) round out the Top Six.

Closer Tiers

Tier 1: Crème de la Crème (4)

Edwin Diaz, New York Mets
Josh Hader, San Diego Padres
Liam Hendriks, Chicago White Sox
Emmanuel Clase, Cleveland Guardians

Hader had a clean save on Friday, his final appearance as a Brewer. He made his Padres debut last night and came away with a victory. Hendriks scored a win and a save in two appearances. Clase has faced the minimum over his last nine innings, allowing just one hit and no walks in the process.

Tier 2: The Elite (6)

Ryan Helsley, St. Louis Cardinals
Jordan Romano, Toronto Blue Jays
Ryan Pressly, Houston Astros
Clay Holmes, New York Yankees
Kenley Jansen, Raisel Iglesias, Atlanta Braves
Devin Williams, Taylor Rogers, Milwaukee Brewers

Giovanny Gallegos is slumping so Helsley's only internal competition is his own availability. Romano, as we mentioned in the intro, locked down four saves in 4.1 innings. He allowed one run via homer. Pressly's run of 10 perfect innings ended last Thursday. He even took a loss on Saturday. Still, there's little cause for concern. Holmes was roughed up for three runs on Sunday. He also allowed his first home run of the season. Aroldis Chapman has quietly pitched very well of late. Consider taking a flier if he's on your wire. I do think Holmes will hold the job, but a little planning ahead rarely hurts.

Speaking of planning ahead, Iglesias' managers might be cutting bait in disgust. Give it a few days. While Jansen will probably retain the closer gig, there's a chance Iglesias steps into some kind of job share. In the past, he has not been enthusiastic about pitching in non-save situations.

Williams will likely rank near the top of this tier once it's fully confirmed he's the closer. Remember, the Brewers are basically the Rays at heart. Besides a brief stint from Nick Anderson, Tampa just hasn't had a closer of Hader's capacity - or Williams' for that matter. It's possible Milwaukee will take this opportunity to install a Rays-like committee. With Williams, Rogers, Trevor Rosenthal (eventually), Dinelson Lamet, Brad Boxberger, and Matt Bush, they could certainly play the matchups.

Tier 3: Core Performers (7)

David Bednar, Pittsburgh Pirates
Paul Sewald, Seattle Mariners
Scott Barlow, Kansas City Royals
Felix Bautista, Baltimore Orioles
Camilo Doval, San Francisco Giants
Gregory Soto, Detroit Tigers
Daniel Bard, Colorado Rockies

Bednar is day-to-day with a back injury. Sewald was used in the seventh inning yesterday with Andrés Muñoz locking down a perilous save. The Yankees managed to load the bases before Munoz escaped. This is a reminder that the Mariners pen can devolve into a committee at any time.

Barlow had a rough start to the week. He lost two consecutive appearances, allowing a combined seven runs (three earned) over just one inning. He's since rebounded with a two-inning, scoreless save.

Bautista is a more traditional closer type than Jorge Lopez. I perceive some fragility to his profile. In brief, I think his seasons might look a lot like Hector Neris – quite good for most of the year with occasional painful blips. We haven't seen such a blip yet so keep riding the 11.75 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, and 1.65 ERA.

I've bumped Bard up a tier since he's been one of the most productive relievers in fantasy. However, I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. Coors Field looms large.

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Tier 4: Uncertainty with Upside (5)

Tanner Houck, Garrett Whitlock, Boston Red Sox
Craig Kimbrel, Los Angeles Dodgers
David Robertson, Seranthony Domínguez, Philadelphia Phillies
Jorge Lopez, Michael Fulmer, Jhoan Duran, Minnesota Twins
Kyle Finnegan, Washington Nationals

Houck has the Red Sox two most recent saves. Whitlock had the pair prior. While both are closer caliber relievers, Whitlock is the better of the two. Incidentally, Houck has a better chance of sticking as a starting pitcher if the Sox are still entertaining that possibility.

Kimbrel allowed another couple of runs on Friday, but it was at Coors Field. I always give visitors a pass for their elevation blunders. On the season, Kimbrel has a 4.25 ERA, 13.00 K/9, and 1.92 FIP. If he was playing to his FIP, he'd be in the first or second tier without a second thought.

As I prophesied, Robertson landed in Philadelphia. As yet, it's unclear if he or Dominguez will close. My money is on Robertson with Dominguez resuming a fireman role. We'll stash them in this tier until we receive clarity.

Similarly, Duran has probably shifted from closer to fireman. Lopez seemingly should be the closer in that situation. Or maybe they'll run it as a full committee. After all, Lopez, Fulmer, Duran, and Griffin Jax are all distinctly different, closer-caliber relievers. The Twins are sufficiently well-run to leverage their distinct strengths.

Finnegan seems to have improved just enough to fit here. His velocity is surging upwards from around an average of 95 mph back in April to 98.5-mph in his most recent outing. While that makes him a buy, it's also a clear indicator of incipient injury.

Tier 5: Better Left to Others (8)

Jonathan Hernández, Matt Moore, Texas Rangers
Rowan Wick, Chicago Cubs
Tanner Scott, Anthony Bender, Miami Marlins
Zach Jackson, A.J. Puk, Oakland Athletics
Pete Fairbanks, Jason Adam, Brooks Raley, Colin Poche, Tampa Bay Rays
Mark Melancon, Arizona Diamondbacks
Jose Quijada, Ryan Tepera, Los Angeles Angels
Hunter Strickland, Alexis Diaz, Cincinnati Reds

We've got a bit of a mess down here in the basement. Brett Martin's run as the Rangers closer was brief. He's allowed runs in six of his last seven appearances. Meanwhile, Hernandez is pitching decently and picked up the most recent save. Moore also grabbed a save in the last week.

In Miami, Scott had another shaky appearance. Bender has returned from the injured list. We'll see if he gets yet another chance to close. He probably should, if only to rule it out for next season.

As for the Athletics, they're finally beyond the Lou Trivino era. Jackson has a shiny 2.90 ERA, 12.27 K/9, and… 6.25 BB/9. He's an effectively wild, extreme flyball pitcher. There's a reason this archetype doesn't have a long shelf-life in the Majors.

Fairbanks snagged the Rays last two saves, but that doesn't mean he'll continue to do so. It's all hands on deck in Tampa. Melancon dumped a couple of losses on the Diamondbacks. Wick is the last recognizable pitcher standing for the Cubbies, but he's not pitching particularly well. It's unclear which of Tepera or Quijada will close. Again, not much to dream about with this duo.

Strickland emerged from the ash heap to collect two saves and three of the Reds last four. Diaz has the most recent save – possibly because Strickland wasn't available. Diaz is a usable fantasy asset. Strickland is not.

Injured

Dany Jiménez, Oakland Athletics (strained shoulder)
Andrew Kittredge, Tampa Bay Rays (TJS – out for season)
Lucas Sims, Cincinnati Reds (bulging disc – out for season)
Tanner Rainey, Washington Nationals (UCL sprain – out for season)

Steals Department

Andres Gimenez dusted off his wheels this week, swiping four bases over seven games. Only two others tallied three thefts, and you won't believe who they are: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Yuli Gurriel. Whaaaa? Jon Berti, he of the multi-week injury still holds the league lead with 28 steals. He's trailed by Jorge Mateo (25), Cedric Mullins (23), Ronald Acuña (22), and Tommy Edman (21).

Turning to the trade deadline fallout, there is much to discuss. Possible fantasy hero Esteury Ruiz was sent from San Diego to Milwaukee in the Josh Hader trade. The Brewers immediately optioned him, but I have to imagine he was an important part of that swap. The Brew Crew isn't getting much out of Tyrone Taylor. Should he be set free, Ruiz could build upon the 13 home runs and 60 stolen bases he compiled in 376 minor league plate appearances.

The Nationals trade of Juan Soto quietly opened the door for an unheralded outfielder – Josh Palacios. He's not assured playing time, but he was activated. He hit .299/.378/.437 in Triple-A with seven home runs and 18 stolen bases. He's a well-rounded player who could help out in deeper leagues.

Brandon Marsh switched franchises of futility, joining a Phillies ballclub that desperately needs a center fielder who can hit and/or defend. Really, just one of those traits will do. That's good since Marsh's bat has a long way to go. He's great when he makes contact. Which isn't often. He's also a speedster who should take 20 bases a year.

The Reds subtractions mean Jake Fraley has a clear path to regular reps. Of their many patchwork players – Aristides Aquino, Mike Moustakas, and Donovan Solano to name a few – Fraley is the likeliest to morph into something of modest value. He's a discipline-first hitter with enough power and speed to make a dent.

The Diamondbacks discharge of David Peralta ensures Jake McCarthy can continue in an everyday role. He's hitting a decent .266/.324/.422 with five steals and three home runs in 140 plate appearances. That's a solid fantasy asset when extrapolated over a full season.

In the near term, Jose Siri is going to play a lot for the Rays. Siri also happens to have double-plus speed. If the Rays can figure out how to get him on base – he's batting just .174/.233/.297 – then he'll see an uptick from his six steals in 150 plate appearances.

The Blue Jays added Whit Merrifield. Frankly, the utility man's value might be hurt by the trade. The Royals are a run-first org while the Jays tend to go station-to-station in deference to their awesome collection of hitters.