Aroldis Chapman shaky again for Rangers; Tanner Scott back for Marlins

September 29, 2023

Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc, who we like the most in the Texas bullpen, entered in the eighth inning on Thursday, tossing a scoreless frame. That left the ninth for Aroldis Chapman, who struggled again. He was charged with two runs on two hits and a walk and did not record an out. Jonathan Hernandez relieved him and got the first two outs before allowing a game-ending RBI double to J.P. Crawford. Leclerc is the best bet for saves this weekend, though Will Smith could be in line for one Friday because he is the most-rested member of the hierarchy.

Hierarchy remains: *Leclerc | Chapman | Smith.
* = closer-by-committee

Miami Marlins — Thursday’s game against the Mets was suspended after the Marlins took the lead in the ninth inning. The game is set to resume Monday – after the regular season ends for everyone else. Whoever pitches — aside from Andrew Nardi, who got the final out of the eighth inning and could be in line for a win if he re-enters — will be facing a save situation. Meanwhile, Tanner Scott has been activated from the paternity list. 

Updated hierarchy: Scott | Nardi | Robertson

Baltimore Orioles – Baltimore won its 100th game Thursday and clinched the AL East title for the first time in nine years. Their strong bullpen carried them to the end in a tight game. After Yennier Cano and Cionel Perez finished things off in the eighth, former starter Tyler Wells shut the Red Sox down in the ninth for his first save. Perez has pitched in a lot of late-and-close situations lately and deserves recognition in this hierarchy. Shintaro Fujinami, meanwhile, will get the boot now that his ERA is near 5.00 in his time with Baltimore.

Updated hierarchy: Cano | Perez | Coulombe.

Boston Red Sox — The Red Sox placed Chris Martin on the injured list with a viral infection. He ends the year with three saves, a 1.05 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 46 strikeouts across 51.1 innings. Garret Whitlock could see some extra late-inning looks this weekend.

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Winckowski | Whitlock.

Milwaukee Brewers — Recalled from the minors earlier this week, Ethan Small was called into an unusual situation: the ninth inning with a three-run lead. He held it together, mixing in a couple of walks with a strikeout to earn his first career save. After the game, he told reporters he was surprised to enter the game at that time, adding that he needed a “win” in the majors “pretty bad.” While wins are important in fantasy baseball, we admire the chase for saves here at Closer Monkey, so well done, Mr. Small!

Hierarchy remains: Williams | Payamps | Uribe.

1. Aaron Bummer (CHW) – Bryan Shaw has gone in two straight.
2. Will Smith (TEX) – Jose Leclerc and Aroldis Chapman each have gone in two straight.

1. Carmen Mlodzinski (PIT) – A Friday appearance would be three of four for David Bednar.
2. Jose Alvarado (PHI) – Same as above for Craig Kimbrel.
3. A.J. Minter (ATL) – An outing Friday would be three of four and four of six for Raisel Iglesias.
4. Matt Brash (SEA) – Andres Munoz also faces three-in-four and four-in-six if he goes Friday.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in lineUpdatedCloser1st in line2nd in lineUpdated
CHW*ShawBummerCrochet9/24/23CHC*MerryweatherCuasLeiter Jr.9/28/23

* = closer-by-committee

Jose Leclerc looks like Texas’s playoff closer

September 28, 2023

Texas Rangers — Aroldis Chapman pitched the eighth with a two-run lead, facing the 8-9-1 hitters in the Angel lineup. Though the Rangers scored three more in the ninth, eliminating the save chance, it was Jose Leclerc who came out for the final inning. We’re going to move Jose to the top of this committee.

Updated hierarchy: *Leclerc | Chapman | Smith.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago Cubs – It’s not official yet, but Adbert Alzolay believes he’ll be activated from the injured list on Friday. He should immediately return to the closer role, especially after Wednesday’s loss, which included blown saves by Mark Leiter Jr., Julian Merryweather, and Daniel Palencia.

Hierarchy remains: *Merryweather | Cuas | Leiter Jr.
* = closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies — The day after Jose Alvarado and Craig Kimbrel pitched to a blown save, Philly turned to Gregory Soto in the ninth (after using Seranthony Dominguez in the fifth and sixth). Soto struck out the side and can be safely returned to the hierarchy for the final few games.

Updated hierarchy: *Kimbrel | Alvarado | Soto.
* = closer-by-committee

Minnesota Twins — Jhoan Duran was used in the seventh inning of a tight game (and struck out the side), so Dallas Keuchel got the eighth and ninth for Minnesota. Griffin Jax relieved him with one out to go and picked up a very vulturey save. In other news, Brock Stewart returned after a few months on the injured list and could return to high-leverage work just in time for the playoffs.

Hierarchy remains: Duran | Jax | Pagan.

San Diego Padres — The Padres’ big three all did their jobs to keep the game tied, and in the tenth inning, it was lefty Tom Cosgrove who earned his first career save.

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Suarez | Barlow.

1. Jason Foley (DET) — The Royals and Tigers are playing a game and a half today.
2. Carlos Hernandez/Taylor Clarke (KC) — See above.

1. Ian Hamilton (NYY) — An appearance today would be three in four days for Clay Holmes.

Tanner Scott placed on paternity list

September 27, 2023

Miami Marlins — Tanner Scott was placed on the paternity list Tuesday, which means the Marlins will turn to Andrew Nardi, David Robertson and A.J. Puk to close games over the next couple days as they fight for a playoff spot.

Updated hierarchy: *Nardi | Robertson | Puk.
* = closer-by-committee


1. David Robertson (MIA) – The Marlins have a doubleheader…
2. Drew Smith (NYM) – …against the Mets
3. Ian Hamilton (NYY) – Clay Holmes has gone back-to-back.
4. AJ Minter (ATL) – Raisel Iglesias has pitched in two of three and the Braves aren’t likely to make him go three of four as they get ready for the playoffs.
5. Ian Gibaut (CIN) – Alexis Diaz has pitched in three of four, but the Reds are fighting for a playoff spot and have Thursday off, so they may pitch Diaz anyway.

1. Shintaro Fujinami (BAL) – If Yennier Cano goes today it’ll be two straight.
2. Jordan Hicks (TOR) – The same is true of Jordan Romano.
3. Matt Brash/Justin Topa (SEA) – It’s also true for Andres Munoz and the entire Seattle hierarchy.
4. Carmen Mlodzinski/Ryan Borucki (PIT) – Same for David Bednar and the Pittsburgh hierarchy.
5. Justin Lawrence/Jake Bird (COL) – Ditto for Tyler Kinley and the Colorado hierarchy.
6. John King/Drew VerHagen (STL) – And for Ryan Helsley.

Tommy Kahnle’s season is over

September 26, 2023

New York Yankees – Tommy Kahnle was placed on the IL with right shoulder inflammation, effectively ending his season. Look for Ian Hamilton to get any opportunities that don’t go to Clay Holmes in the final week.

Updated hierarchy: Holmes | Hamilton | Weissert.


1. Brusdar Graterol – The Dodgers have a doubleheader…
2. Justin Lawrence – …against the Rockies.
3. Jose Cuas – The Cubs may given Julian Merryweather a second day off after he threw 62 pitches in a four day stretch ending Sunday.

1. Ian Hamilton – If Clay Holmes goes today, it’s back to back.
2. AJ Minter – If Raisel Iglesias goes today, it’s two of three, and the Braves aren’t likely to make him go three of four as they get ready for the playoffs.
3. Andrew Nardi/AJ Puk – If Tanner Scott or Andrew Nardi go today, it’s three of four.
4. Ian Gibaut – Same for Alexis Diaz.

Rangers look to an old friend for 9th inning help

September 25, 2023

Cincinnati Reds – Coming off two rough outings on Wednesday and Saturday, the Reds opted to pitch Alexis Diaz in the 8th inning with a 1-run lead. Diaz did his job, leaving the 9th for Ian Gibaut, who converted for the save. Diaz had been so good all season long — save for the last two outings — and has been used as a traditional closer virtually the whole time, so we’re chalking this up as a blip for now. We will move Gibaut into the handcuff slot, though.

Updated hierarchy: Diaz | Gibaut | Sims.

Texas Rangers – With Will Smith scuffling for the past month or so, and Aroldis Chapman coming off back to back outings, the Rangers threw it back to 2022, relying on Jonathan Hernandez, Brock Burke, and then Jose Leclerc to navigate the late innings. It’s Leclerc’s 4th save of the season and his second in the past week, so we’ll move him up a rung in this patchwork committee.

Updated hierarchy: *Chapman | Leclerc | Smith.
* = closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies – Craig Kimbrel had pitched three straight from Wednesday to Friday, and Jose Alvarado had gone in three of the last four, so the Phillies decided to look elsewhere to protect a seemingly-comfortable 3-run lead in the late innings. The strategy paid off, as the debuting Orion Kerkering (already a candidate for the hierarchy of top middle reliever names — watch out Arquimedes Caminero) and veteran Michael Lorenzen both pitched perfect innings to close out the Mets. It was Lorenzen’s first save of the year.

Hierarchy remains: *Kimbrel | Alvarado | Dominguez.
* = closer-by-committee


1. Tyler Rogers – Camilo Doval has gone two of three, including a loss last night.

1. Bryan Abreu – If Ryan Pressly goes today, it’s back to back.
2. Matt Brash – Same for Andres Munoz.