Paul Sewald the favorite for saves in Seattle after Kendall Graveman trade

July 28, 2021

Houston Astros – As we reported yesterday, the Astros acquired Kendall Graveman from the Mariners. Dusty Baker said after the trade that Ryan Pressly will remain the team’s closer, though Graveman gives them a great option when Pressly isn’t available.

Updated hierarchy: Pressly | Graveman | Stanek.

Seattle Mariners – The Mariners traded Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero to the Astros, which is great news for anyone who has Paul Sewald on their team. Scott Servais didn’t name a closer yesterday, but Sewald should be in the lead for saves in Seattle, with Drew Steckenrider right behind him.

Updated hierarchy: *Sewald | Steckenrider | Misiewicz.
* = closer-by-committee

Minnesota Twins – We alerted you yesterday that Taylor Rogers is headed to the IL with a left middle finger sprain. Hansel Robles didn’t exactly seize the opportunity to impress potential suitors later that night when he allowed a game-tying grand slam in the ninth. Robles had to leave the game shortly after that because he felt dizzy and lightheaded. This is not what the Twins, who stink, were hoping for two days before the trade deadline.

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

Los Angeles Angels — Joe Maddon told reporters prior to Tuesday’s tilt that he’s going to avoid using Mike Mayers in high-leverage situations for the time being. Teams are reportedly reaching out to the Angels about Raisel Iglesias, so if the Angels do decide to waive the white flag, someone like Steve Cishek could see a boost in fantasy value.

Updated hierarchy: Iglesias | Cishek | Watson.

Detroit Tigers — Gregory Soto was unavailable after throwing 42 pitches on Monday, so Daniel Norris picked up an extra-inning save after Kyle Funkouser and Jose Cisnero had already pitched. The bigger news for the Tigers bullpen is the return of Michael Fulmer. AJ Hinch said that after today’s planned middle-inning appearance he will read and react in terms of Fulmer’s ability to go back-to-back or multiple innings, though otherwise Fulmer is not restricted. We’ll add Fulmer back to the hierarchy for now and see what type of high-leverage work he gets.

Updated hierarchy: Soto | Cisnero | Fulmer.

Texas Rangers — The Rangers snapped a 12-game losing streak on Tuesday, which means Ian Kennedy might have earned his last save as a member of that organization. Who replaces him? Well, with Josh Sborz on paternity leave, the Rangers went to Joe Barlow in the seventh and Spencer Patton in the eighth. Patton gave up two runs and needed Joely Rodriguez to bail him out of trouble, but he entered the game with an impressive 17.19 K/9 ratio in July. Despite last night not going exactly to plan and the Rangers not being too fond of winning, Patton may be worth speculating on as a potential replacement for Kennedy, especially if Rodriguez also gets dealt. Keep an eye on Barlow as well, though – he’s allowed just one earned run (on July 3) in 7.2 IP since being called up in late June.

Updated hierarchy: Kennedy | Rodriguez | Patton.

Milwaukee Brewers – Devin Williams was activated from the IL on Tuesday and should return to his usual setup role for the Brewers. 

Updated hierarchy: Hader | Williams | Boxberger.


1. Jose Cisnero/Kyle Funkhouser (DET) – Gregory Soto may need a second day off and Cisnero has pitched in two straight. Michael Fulmer only threw seven pitches in his return from the IL last night, but it’s not certain he’d be available today.
2. Kendall Graveman (HOU) – Ryan Pressly has gone in three of four, including a 24-pitch outing yesterday.
3. Alex Colome (MIN) – Hansel Robles has made two straight appearances and threw 29 pitches yesterday.
4. Daniel Hudson/Austin Voth (WAS) – Brad Hand and Kyle Finnegan have both pitched three in a row. Hudson had yesterday off after pitching three in a row.
5. Adam Ottavino (BOS) – The Red Sox play a doubleheader…
6. Tim Mayza (TOR) – …against the Blue Jays.

1. Michael Kopech/Ryan Burr (CHW) – If Liam Hendriks pitches today that will be two straight and three of four. The same would be true of Kopech.
2. Trevor May (NYM) – If Edwin Diaz goes today that will be three of four.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated

* = closer-by-committee

Mariners trade Kendall Graveman to Astros

July 27, 2021

Seattle Mariners – The Mariners traded Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero to the Astros, with Joe Smith coming to Seattle in the deal. We’ll see how the Mariners deploy their bullpen now, but Paul Sewald and Drew Steckenrider are the best bets for saves.

Updated hierarchy: *Sewald | Steckenrider | Misiewicz.
* = closer-by-committee

Houston Astros – The Astros acquired Kendall Graveman from the Mariners. Expect Graveman to handle the eighth inning and provide a big boost for a beleaguered bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Pressly | Graveman | Stanek.

Taylor Rogers leaves game early; Andrew Chafin dealt to Oakland

July 27, 2021

Minnesota Twins – Taylor Rogers threw five pitches in Monday night’s game, then exited with a finger injury. In a weird twist, this might actually raise his fantasy value over the season’s final months — assuming the injury makes him an unattractive trade target, but is mild enough that he can return to closing once he’s healthy again. No word yet on whether he’ll need an IL stint; expect an alert later today if he does.

Hierarchy remains: *Rogers | Robles | Colome.
* = closer-by-committee

Oakland A’s – Andrew Chafin was dealt to the A’s on Monday, and joins a strong bullpen where he probably won’t have as prominent a role as he did with the Cubs. We’ll tentatively add him to the hierarchy and watch how they deploy him over the next couple weeks.

Updated hierarchy: Trivino | Diekman | Chafin.

Chicago Cubs – Andrew Chafin was the favorite to take over closing duties should Craig Kimbrel be dealt, so with the trade, Ryan Tepera, Dan Winkler, and Rex Brothers all see slight increases in their value. We’d pick Tepera if forced to choose, but it’s possible he gets dealt, too. Might be last man standing, here.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Tepera | Brothers.

Seattle Mariners – After Kendall Graveman kept the game close in the 8th, the Mariners took the lead, leaving Paul Sewald to pitch the 9th for his fourth save of the year. Graveman remains the favorite for saves on most nights.

Hierarchy remains: Graveman | Sewald | Steckenrider.


1. Austin Voth – Brad Hand has gone back to back (both bad outings) and figures to get today off, while Daniel Hudson has gone three straight and Kyle Finnegan has pitched 2.2 innings over the last two games.
2. Drew Smith – A doubleheader and bullpen game has left the entire Mets pen gassed, so look for Drew Smith and Yennsy Diaz to get innings today. Whoever goes last might get the save.
3. Ryan Tepera – Craig Kimbrel has gone back to back, including 28 pitches yesterday.

1. Mike Mayers – If Raisel Iglesias goes today, it’s back to back and five of six.