Can Hector Neris save your fantasy playoffs?

September 22, 2018

Philadelphia Phillies — The Phillies bullpen fell apart last night, with Pat Neshek giving up four runs and taking the loss. Seranthony Dominguez pitched a scoreless 6th inning, and his use in the late innings has not been consistent. The guy to watch here is Hector Neris, who pitched the 9th inning last night and has only allowed four earned runs in the last 15 innings, including a scoreless August. His overall numbers are not great, but if you are chasing saves in the playoffs, Neris may sneak one or two for you. He got the last save opportunity, and in this wide open committee, that’s as good a sign as any.

Updated hierarchy: *Hunter | Neshek | Neris.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees — Aroldis Chapman was given the night off after returning from the DL on Thursday. This left the save chance to Dellin Betances, who converted. With the Yankees almost locked into the Wild Card game, they will be careful with Chpaman and may rest other pieces of their bullpen in the final week. Aaron Boone said that he hopes that Chapman will be closing out games by the playoffs, but that he will be seeing some lower-leverage work to ease him back. We think that the Yankees will try to get him to the 9th inning sooner rather than later, but ultimately they will be careful with their All-Star.

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Betances | Robertson.

Tampa Bay Rays — Austin Pruitt pitched the final three innings of an 11-3 win to pick up his third save of the season. He’s combined for 10 IP in those three saves, including a 5.2 IP save back in May.

Hierarchy remains: *Romo | Alvarado | Roe. 
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Jonny Venters/Dan Winkler — AJ Minter has pitched two of the last three, throwing 26 pitches last night and 22 on Wednesday. Johnny Venters has pitched in three of four, but has thrown only 18 pitches in those three games.
2. Steven Wright — Craig Kimbrel has gone in two straight and the Sox have already clinched the division.
3. Dellin Betances/Zach Britton — Aroldis Chapman may not see a save chance just yet, and Britton is more well-rested than Betances.
4. Craig Stammen/Matt Strahm — Kirby Yates threw 30 pitches last night while Craig Stammen has pitched three of the last four. 

Sunday:
1. Kevin McCarthy — Today would be three in a row for Wily Peralta.
2. Seth Lugo/Anthony Swarzak – Both Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo have pitched in back-to-back games. If either makes an appearance today they should be unavailable Sunday.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated
BALGivensFryWright Jr.9/17/18ATLMinterVentersWinkler9/15/18
BOSKimbrelWrightBrasier9/17/18MIA*SteckenriderConleyBarraclough9/18/18
NYYChapmanBetancesRobertson9/22/18NYMGsellmanLugoSwarzak9/21/18
TB*RomoAlvaradoRoe9/22/18PHI*HunterNeshekNeris9/22/18
TORGilesTeperaClippard8/16/18WAS*DoolittleHollandMiller9/12/18
        
CHW*FryJonesMinaya9/20/18CHC*CishekWilsonEdwards9/21/18
CLE*HandAllenMiller9/19/18CINIglesiasHughesHernandez7/30/18
DETGreeneJimenezWilson9/4/18MIL*JeffressHaderKnebel9/18/18
KCPeraltaMcCarthyHill9/4/18PITVazquezCrickRodriguez9/17/18
MIN*HildenbergerRogersMay8/30/18STLMartinezHicksHudson9/10/18
        
HOUOsunaRondonMcHugh9/13/18ARI*HiranoZieglerBradley9/19/18
LAA*ButtreyParkerAnderson9/17/18COLDavisOttavinoOh9/6/18
OAKTreinenFamiliaRodney9/12/18LADJansenMaedaAlexander9/10/18
SEADiazColomeVincent9/2/18SDYatesStammenStrahm9/4/18
TEXLeclercMartinClaudio9/5/18SFSmithMelanconStrickland8/28/18

* = closer-by-committee

Keep an eye on Justin Wilson in Cubs bullpen

September 21, 2018

Chicago Cubs — Now that Brandon Morrow is out for the season and Pedro Strop is uncertain to return, the Cubs will be hunting for a possible October closer over the final two weeks. One writer theorizes that Justin Wilson will emerge from a crowd that includes Steve Cishek, Jesse Chavez, CJ Edwards and Jorge de la Rosa, among others. Joe Maddon seemed to agree, calling Wilson a possible “linchpin.” Wilson doesn’t have a save this season, but that may change over the final 10 games.

Hierarchy remains: *Cishek | Wilson | Edwards.
* = closer-by-committee

Tampa Bay Rays — The Rays went into the bottom of the ninth up six runs on Toronto, but after Jamie Schultz gave four of them back, they brought in closer Sergio Romo to nail things down. But after a strikeout and a bloop single to center, Romo yielded back-to-back home runs for his eighth blown save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: *Romo | Alvarado | Roe. 
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees — Aroldis Chapman made his return to game action Thursday and was given a chance in a pretty tight spot against the Red Sox, down 8-6 in the eighth inning. He appeared rusty, allowing a single, a walk, and a three-run shot to Mookie Betts before being pulled. He will continue to get eased in, so the Yankees’ relievers aren’t likely to help you a ton during the fantasy playoffs.

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Betances | Robertson.

New York Mets — Extra innings and a win for the away team are a perfect recipe for a vulture save, and Paul Sewald (5.93 ERA) did the honors on Thursday. It was his second save this month, but don’t fret, all regular hierarchy members pitched earlier in the game.

Hierarchy remains: Gsellman | Lugo | Swarzak.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Cody Allen — Allen has gotten five straight days off and Brad Hand has pitched in the last two.
2. Jose Alvarado — Sergio Romo could use a night off maybe.
3. Jared Hughes — Raisel Iglesias threw 28 pitches Thursday and has gone in three of five.
4. Zach Britton/Dellin Betances — If Aroldis Chapman isn’t going in two straight, Britton is the best-rested Yankee.
5. Kyle Crick — As we told you yesterday, Felipe Vazquez has pitched on four of the last six days.

Saturday:
1. Justin Miller — Entering Friday, Sean Doolittle and Greg Holland have each pitched in three of five.

Aroldis Chapman returns for the stretch run

September 20, 2018

New York Yankees — Aroldis Chapman is back from the disabled list, although he’ll be eased back into action over the next 10 days. If New York’s relievers are right, their playoff bullpen might be the best in baseball.

Updated hierarchy: Chapman | Betances | Robertson.

Chicago White Sox — If Ian Hamilton turns out to be Chicago’s closer of the future, he’ll have nowhere to go but up. Called on for his first save chance with one out, two on, and a one-run lead, Hamilton hit Yan Gomes to load the bases, then gave up a walk-off grand slam. Better days are coming.

Hierarchy remains: *Fry | Jones | Minaya.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Dellin Betances/David Robertson — Aroldis Chapman is unlikely to make his debut in the ninth.

Friday:
1. Kyle Crick — The Pirates don’t play Thursday, but Felipe Vazquez has still pitched on four of the last five days.

Aroldis Chapman could be activated Wednesday

September 19, 2018

New York Yankees – Zach Britton picked up his sixth save of the season on Tuesday night after David Robertson pitched the eighth inning. The biggest bullpen news out of the Bronx came before the game, however, as Aaron Boone said that Aroldis Chapman will be activated either today or Thursday. The Yankees are likely to be careful with Chapman prior to the postseason, so Britton, Robertson and Dellin Betances may still see save chances depending on Chapman’s usage.

Hierarchy remains: *Betances | Robertson | Britton.
* = closer-by-committee

Cleveland Indians – Andrew Miller recorded three strikeouts as part of a four-out ninth inning to pick up his second save of the season. Terry Francona thought Miller had his best stuff on Tuesday, which is encouraging news for a team planning for October. With Cleveland having already clinched the AL Central, Francona can rest both Brad Hand and Cody Allen whenever he pleases. Francona can also give Miller the necessary work he needs to get ready for the playoffs, which means Miller may vulture a couple more saves over the final dozen games.

Hierarchy remains: *Hand | Allen | Miller.
* = closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies — On this episode of “It’s Always a Committee in Philadelphia,” four different relievers kept the Mets scoreless over the final 3.1 innings, with Hector Neris ultimately recording his 11th save of the season. Pat Neshek recorded the final out of the sixth inning to keep the Phillies trailing by just two. After the Phillies took the lead in the bottom half of the frame, Seranthony Dominguez and Tommy Hunter pitched the seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Neshek has been the best of the bunch lately, as he hasn’t allowed an earned run over his last seven appearances, but the next save chance could go to any of the aforementioned arms.

Hierarchy remains: *Hunter | Neshek | Dominguez.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago Cubs — Brandon Morrow will miss the rest of the season because of a nagging bone bruise. With Pedro Strop still nursing a strained hamstring, the Cubs will continue to rely on a committee to help clinch another division title.

Hierarchy remains: *Cishek | Wilson | Edwards.
* = closer-by-committee

Arizona Diamondbacks – Jake Diekman has allowed three earned runs in each of his last two outings. Given his recent struggles (and the fact he pitched the fourth and innings with his team trailing by four), It’s unlikely that he’ll see a save chance unless there’s a matchup Torey Lovullo really likes. Archie Bradley hasn’t been exceptional over his last three outings, but all three were scoreless, so we’ll move him into the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: *Hirano | Ziegler | Bradley.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Blake Parker – Ty Buttrey has pitched in three of four, including a five-out save last night.
2. Pat Neshek – The other three guys in Philadelphia’s bullpen have all pitched two straight days, with Tommy Hunter and Hector Neris having gone in three of four.
3. Hunter Strickland – Will Smith and Mark Melancon have both pitched two straight and three of four.
4. Ryan Tepera – Ken Giles has pitched in three of four, though he only threw nine pitches yesterday.

Tomorrow
1. Jared Hughes – If Raisel Iglesias goes tonight, it’ll be back to back and three of four.
2. Ryan Tepera – A Ken Giles appearance tonight will be his fourth in five days.

Marlins committee continues work down stretch

September 18, 2018

Miami Marlins – Adam Conley recorded his third save of the season on Monday. Drew Steckenrider had pitched the previous two nights, but while Steckenrider is nominally the first choice for saves here, this should continue to be a committee for the remainder of the season.

Hierarchy remains: *Steckenrider | Conley | Barraclough.
* = closer-by-committee

Milwaukee Brewers – Brandon Woodruff pitched the final three innings of an 8-run blowout to record his first save. He does not factor in to Milwaukee’s usual late inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: *Jeffress | Hader | Knebel.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
None.

Tomorrow
1. Alex Colome – If Edwin Diaz goes tonight, it’ll be back to back and three of four.
2. Mark Melancon/Hunter Strickland – If Will Smith goes tonight, it’ll be back to back and three of four.