Hansel Robles and Tejay Antone move to the head of their committees

May 16, 2021

Minnesota Twins — The Twins scored four runs in the 8th to take a one-run lead into the 9th inning, and Hansel Robles got the call to try and close it out.  Robles worked around a one-out double to pitch a scoreless inning and record his first save of the season.  Taylor Rogers has struggled recently, giving up at least one run in three of his last four outings, while Robles has only allowed one run in his last eight outings.  Those stats along with Robles getting the save over Rogers yesterday are enough for us to move him to the head of this committee.

Updated hierarchy: *Robles | Rogers | Duffey.
*closer-by-committee

Cincinnati Reds — Tejay Antone pitched the 8th and 9th innings of a tie game yesterday and responded with two perfect innings.  Since allowing 4 runs on May 2nd, Antone has responded with 5.1 hitless innings, striking out 8.  Lucas Sims got the extra-innings save opportunity in the 11th inning, but he could not convert.  After the Reds took the lead again in the top of 12th, it was Heath Hembree who got the call and picked up his first save of the season.  Hembree has yet to allow an earned run in 9.1 innings so far this season.  We are going to shake things up based on yesterday’s usage and recent results and switch Anotone to head of the committee and slide Hembree into 2nd in line. 

Updated hierarchy: *Antone | Sims | Hembree.
* = closer-by-committee

Detroit Tigers — With the game tied in the top of the 9th inning, a spot where a team will typically use its closer, the Tigers sent Michael Fulmer to the mound.  Fulmer threw a scoreless 9th and then came back out for the 10th with the game still tied.  He allowed the extra-innings runner to score but nothing else and ended up with the win after the Tigers rallied for two in the bottom of the inning.  Fulmer is certainly trending up and we will slide him up one spot on the hierarchy.  We will continue to monitor this and see how the Tigers use Fulmer and Gregory Soto moving forward.

Updated hierarchy: *Soto | Fulmer | Cisnero.
* = closer-by-committee

St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals used five “pitchers” in their blowout loss yesterday and only one of them did not allow an earned run.  The reason for the quotes around pitchers is because the one person who did not allow a run was actually position player Matt Carpenter.  Carpenter is only hitting .111 on the season so maybe he should consider a change to a relief pitcher and try to become a Closer Monkey cult hero like the one and only Fernando Rodney.

Hierarchy remains: Reyes | Gallegos | Helsley.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. AJ Minter/Tyler Matzek (ATL) – Will Smith has pitched in three in a row. Chris Martin has pitched in two of three and just got back from injury. AJ Minter has also pitched in two of three so it could be Tyler Matzek if they want to rest all three.
2. Andrew Chafin (CHC) – Craig Kimbrell has pitched in two straight and took the loss yesterday.
3. Mychal Givens/Justin Lawrence (COL) – Daniel Bard has pitched in two straight and three of four. Mychal Givens and Robert Stephenson have both pitched in three of four so if the Rockies want to rest all three, Justin Lawrence could get a shot.
4. Greg Holland (KC) – Josh Staumont has pitched in two straight and three of four.
5. David Bednar (PIT) – Richard Rodriguez has pitched in two straight and four of five. Christ Stratton has pitched in two of three, throwing a total of 61 pitches.
6. Tyler Rogers (SF) – Jake McGee has pitched in two straight.

Monday
1. Aaron Bummer (CHW) – If Liam Hendriks pitches on Sunday, it will be four out of five.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated
BALValdezFryScott5/11/21ATLSmithMartinMinter5/13/21
BOSBarnesOttavinoAndriese5/14/21MIAY.GarciaFloroBass4/29/21
NYYChapmanLoaisigaGreen5/15/21NYMDiazMayFamilia5/9/21
TB*CastilloSpringsFairbanks5/15/21PHINerisAlvaradoCoonrod5/6/21
TOR*RomanoChatwoodCole5/13/21WASHandHudsonHarris5/13/21
        
CHWHendriksBummerCrochet5/14/21CHCKimbrelChafinBrothers5/8/21
CLEClaseKarinchakShaw5/6/21CIN*AntoneSimsHembree5/16/21
DET*SotoFulmerCisnero5/16/21MILHaderWilliamsFeyereisen5/10/21
KC*StaumontHollandBarlow4/27/21PITRodriguezStrattonBednar5/12/21
MIN*RoblesRogersDuffey5/16/21STLReyesGallegosHelsley5/16/21
        
HOUPresslyStanekSmith4/29/21ARICrichtonGinkelSoria5/11/21
LAAIglesiasMayersWatson5/10/21COLBardGivensStephenson5/3/21
OAK*DiekmanTrivinoPetit5/13/21LADJansenTreinenGonzalez5/9/21
SEA*GravemanMonteroMisiewicz5/15/21SDMelanconPaganHill5/14/21
TEXKennedyRodriguezKing5/7/21SF*McGeeRogersDoval5/14/21

* = closer-by-committee

Jonathan Loaisiga picks up another save while Diego Castillo is activated from the IL

May 15, 2021

New York Yankees — The Yankees did indeed give Aroldis Chapman a second day off after his recent heavy workload, but it was Jonathan Loaisiga who got the vulture save over Chad Green.  Green pitched a scoreless 7th after the Yankees took the lead in the top of the inning while Loaisiga pitched a perfect 9th for his second save of the season.  Green has been quite good in his set-up role, but the last couple of times that Chapman has needed a spell, the Yankees have gone with Loasigia to close out the game. That’s enough to boost him to first in line.

Updated hierarchy: Chapman | Loaisiga | Green.

Tampa Bay Rays – The Rays activated Diego Castillo from the IL on Friday.  We will move Castillo back to the top of the hierarchy but we won’t dare mention the possibility of removing the asterisk because we all know how that went last time…

Updated hierarchy: *Castillo | Springs | Fairbanks.
* = closer-by-committee

Seattle Mariners — Rafael Montero got the call in arguably the easiest possible save situation and converted for his 5th save of the season.  The Mariners were up 4 runs with 2 outs in the 9th and 2 men on when Montero came on to get the final out.  Kendall Graveman pitched 1.1 scoreless innings earlier in the game when the Mariners were protecting a 3-1 lead.  Graveman has been lights out this season and he has yet to allow a run and has only allowed 5 hits in 15.2 innings.  However, the Mariners have not used him as a traditional closer as evidenced by last night.  We will keep Graveman at the top of the hierarchy for now since he is without question their best reliever, but this is still a committee.

Hierarchy remains: *Graveman | Montero | Misiewicz.
* = closer-by-committee

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Chris Stratton (PIT) – Richard Rodriguez has pitched in 4 of the last 6, while Stratton got the night off yesterday.
2. Aaron Bummer (CHW) – Liam Hendriks had pitched in 3 straight.
3. Sam Coonrod/Jose Alvarado (PHI) – Hector Neris has pitched in 3 of the last 4. Alvarado has had the same workload, so it may be Sam Coonrod getting the call today.
4.  Chris Martin (ATL) – Will Smith has pitched in back-to-back games.

Sunday:
1. James Karinchak (CLE) – Emmanuel Clase got last night off, but today would still be 4 of 5 for him.
2. Mychal Givens (COL) – Today would be back to back and 3 of 4 for Daniel Bard.
3. Greg Holland (KC) – Same for Josh Staumont.
4. Emilio Pagan/Tim Hill (SD) – and for Mark Melancon and Emilio Pagan.

Michael Fulmer emerging for Tigers

May 14, 2021

Detroit Tigers — Gregory Soto was given his customary save chance Thursday, but when he ran into trouble (just one out and 2 ER), Michael Fulmer came on to get the final two outs on five pitches to earn his second save. It’s the second time this month Fulmer has come into the game to rescue Soto, who allowed a couple of runs in the 10th inning of a win against Boston last week. Fulmer (3.71 ERA, 1.13 WHIP) has done it all for the Tigers this season, starting four games and saving two, but it appears his most recent work might be something he continues to do more often. 

Updated hierarchy: *Soto | Cisnero | Fulmer.
* = closer-by-committee


Cleveland Indians — Emannuel Clase ran into trouble in the ninth inning Thursday, yielding three walks before Bryan Shaw came on to get the final out for his first save. Clase is still the man at this point, but he has allowed at least two baserunners in his last five appearances, totaling 12 baserunners over 3.2 innings.  Meanwhile, James Karinchak has
only allowed 8 baserunners all season, over a total of 17.1 innings.  Clase has mostly been getting the job done, but it’s tough to keep closing out games with so much traffic on the bases so it will be something to keep an eye on.

Hierarchy remains: Clase | Karinchak | Shaw.

Chicago White Sox – 2020 first-rounder Garret Crochet continues to pitch well in a relief role, collecting his fourth hold on Thursday with a scoreless seventh inning. Crochet projects as a starter long term, and has a higher WHIP than you’d think (1.50 WHIP), but he is more likely to get future late-inning looks than Evan Marshall, who has allowed six earned runs in his last five appearances.

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Bummer | Crochet.

San Francisco Giants — Manager Gabe Kapler wanted to give Jake McGee a consecutive day off after he pitched Monday and Tuesday, so that led to Tyler Rogers getting his third save Thursday. McGee is still the clear leader for saves, but this is Kapler we’re talking about, and this is most certainly a committee.

Hierarchy remains: *McGee | Rogers | Doval.
* = closer-by-committee


Boston Red Sox — Garret Whitlock pitched the last three innings of an 8-1 win to earn his first save. Whitlock (1.77 ERA) has been quite the find for the Red Sox and is someone to target in deep leagues or dynasty leagues, though his long-term appeal is likely as a starting pitcher. 

Hierarchy remains: Barnes | Ottavino | Andriese.

San Diego Padres – Drew Pomeranz (lat tightness) was placed on the 10-day IL on Thursday. Tim Hill could factor into the late-innings mix more often now.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Pagan | Hill.

Tampa Bay Rays – Could the Rays be veering away from a committee again? Well, we won’t go that far yet, but saves-leader Diego Castillo is set to be activated when he’s first eligible on Friday.

Hierarchy remains: *Springs | Thompson | Fairbanks.
* = closer-by-committee


VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today
1. Jose Cisnero (DET) – Gregory Soto has gone in three straight. Michael Fulmer only threw five pitches Thursday but he has gone in two straight. Cisnero has the most rest of the bunch.
2. James Karinchak (CLE) – Emmanuel Clase has pitched in three straight.  
3. Chad Green (NYY) – Aroldis Chapman was off Thursday, but even so, he has gone in four of six and might need an extra day of rest. 
4. Devin Williams (MIL) – Josh Hader didn’t pitch Thursday and still has gone in four of six. Williams has had the same workload, but he only three two pitches Wednesday so he could conceivably be available.
5. Greg Holland (KC) – The Royals play a doubleheader Friday…
6. Aaron Bummer (CHW) – …and so do the White Sox. 

Saturday:
1. Tyler Chatwood (TOR) – A Friday outing would be three of four for Jordan Romano.
2. Giovanny Gallegos (STL) – Same as above for Alex Reyes.
3. Ryne Stanek (HOU) – Ditto for Ryan Pressly. 
4. Jose Alvarado (PHI) – Yup, same for Hector Neris. 
5. Lou Trivino (OAK) – Sensing a pattern? Same as the previous four for Jake Diekman. 
6. Chris Stratton (PIT) –  A Friday appearance would be four of six for Richard Rodriguez.

Consider Daniel Hudson as Brad Hand insurance

May 13, 2021

Washington Nationals — A week ago, Brad Hand was humming along — 0 runs, 4 hits, 3 saves, and 9 Ks over 8.1 innings. But over his last three appearances, Hand has picked up two blown saves, two losses, and a very hot seat. Daniel Hudson wasn’t great as the closer last season, but he’s been effective in setup this year, and he’s most likely to inherit the job if Hand needs a break. Speculators take note.

Hierarchy remains: Hand  | Hudson | Harris.

Oakland A’s — Consider us inspired. A second save in two days for Jake Diekman, this one following a Lou Trivino eighth, means it’s time to swap the two heads of the Oakland save monster — likely guaranteeing a Trivino renaissance.

Updated hierarchy: *Diekman | Trivino | Petit.
* = closer-by-committee

Toronto Blue Jays — Jordan Romano indeed got Wednesday off, but Tyler Chatwood was kept in the eighth inning, allowing A.J. Cole, fresh off the bus from AAA, to pick up his first save of the year. Since Cole was the choice over the rest of Toronto’s bullpen, we’ll slot him in at second in line for now.

Updated hierarchy: *Romano | Chatwood | Cole.
* = closer-by-committee

Atlanta Braves — Chris Martin returned to Atlanta after about five weeks, and the recently signed Shane Greene will start building up arm strength at AAA as well.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Martin | Minter. 

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today:
1. Chad Green (NYY) — Aroldis Chapman has pitched in four of five, meaning Mike Ford is more likely to pitch tomorrow than Chapman is. (Don’t laugh — last time we actually got this right.)
2. J.P. Feyereisen (MIL) — Josh Hader and Devin Williams have each pitched in two straight and four of five, although Williams threw only two pitches last night.
3. Chris Stratton (PIT) — Richard Rodriguez has pitched in two straight and three of four.
4. Sam Coonrod (PHI) — Hector Neris and Jose Alvarado have gone back-to-back.
5. Bryan Shaw (CLE) — James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase have each pitched in two straight.
6. Lou Trivino (OAK) — In addition to Bob Melvin just wanting to mess with us, Jake Diekman has appeared in two straight games.
7. Jose Cisnero (DET) — Gregory Soto has gone back-to-back.
8. Mychal Givens (COL) — Daniel Bard threw 29 pitches over 1.2 innings in a blown save on Wednesday.

Friday:
1. Greg Holland (KC)— The Royals have a doubleheader…
2. Aaron Bummer (CHW) — …against the White Sox.
3. Tyler Rogers (SF) — A Thursday appearance for Jake McGee would be three out of four.
4. Daniel Hudson (WAS) — If Brad Hand pitches again on Thursday, he’s not likely to go in three straight.
5. Tejay Antone (CIN) — Lucas Sims threw 32 pitches Wednesday.

Jake Diekman nabs a save for the Athletics

May 12, 2021

Oakland A’s — With the Athletics clinging to a one-run lead in the ninth, they turned to Jake Diekman to get the final three outs. Diekman issued two walks, but even with Lou Trivino warming in the ‘pen, the lefty hung on to pick up his fourth save of the season. Tuesday’s performance isn’t inspiring us to move Diekman to the top of the hierarchy, but we will add the asterisk back on there for the time being.

Updated hierarchy: *Trivino | Diekman | Petit.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees — The Yankees had a bit of a scare during the ninth inning of Tuesday’s game when the trainer came out to check on Aroldis Chapman, who was only hitting 96 with his “fastball.” Chapman finished the game and earned the save, and afterwards Aaron Boone confirmed that Chapman had an issue with his fingernail and that he’s fine.

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Green | Loaisiga.

San Francisco Giants — Since Gabe Kapler announced that Tyler Rogers might be in the mix more for the ninth inning on May 5, Jake McGee has converted all three of the Giants’ saves, including his 10th of the year yesterday. After seeing how we mushed Diego Castillo once we removed the Rays’ asterisk, we’ll do our readers (and McGee himself) a service by keeping the committee tag on the Giants for now.  

Hierarchy remains: *McGee | Rogers | Doval.
* = closer-by-committee

Pittsburgh Pirates – Kyle Crick landed on the IL, retroactive to May 10, 2021, with a right triceps strain. David Bednar should see additional high-leverage opportunities in Crick’s absence.

Updated hierarchy: Rodriguez | Stratton | Bednar.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
Today

1. Paul Fry (BAL) Cesar Valdez has pitched two straight days, including a 23-pitch blown save on Tuesday.
2. Chad Green (NYY) – Aroldis Chapman has pitched in three of four.
3. Ryan Helsley (STL) – Alex Reyes (28 pitches) and Giovanny Gallegos (27 pitches) each threw two innings last night.
4. Jose Alvarado/Sam Coonrod (PHI) – Hector Neris threw 30 pitches last night, while both Alvarado (22 pitches) and Coonrod (20 pitches) had lengthy appearances last night as well.
5. Tyler Chatwood (TOR) – Jordan Romano recorded a 29-pitch save last night.

Tomorrow
1. Ryne Stanek (HOU) – If Ryan Pressly pitches tonight it will be two straight and three of four.
2. Chris Stratton (PIT) – Same goes for Richard Rodriguez.
3. Brad Boxberger (MIL) – All three of the Brewers’ hierarchy members enter Wednesday having gone in three of four. If all three pitch again tonight, Boxberger could steal a save chance on Thursday.