Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers Fantasy Baseball Daily Bullpen Updates and Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in line2025 CloserUpdated
TEX*José LeclercDavid RobertsonJosh SborzEmiliano Teodo2/21/24

* = closer-by-committee

Previous updates:

February 22, 2024

Texas Rangers – Handicapping this bullpen may be difficult, but Kennedi Landry, of MLB.com, reveals quotes from Bruce Bochy about four relievers competing for the “closer” role this spring. It intimates José Leclerc enters with an edge based on his role in the playoffs, but will he remain atop the hierarchy until Opening Day? 

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

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

September 25, 2023
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

September 20, 2023
Texas Rangers — The Rangers called on Aroldis Chapman to face Rafael Devers and Justin Turner with runners on second and third in a tie game. Chapman struck out Devers and got Turner to ground out to end the threat. Chapman stayed on for a 1-2-3 eighth when the Rangers regained the lead, which left the ninth for Jose Leclerc. The righty completed a perfect inning of his own for the save. Chapman remains the best bet for a save on any given night, but Tuesday proved the Rangers are willing to pitch him in what they deem is the most important spot, regardless of inning.

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

September 10, 2023
Texas Rangers — Aroldis Chapman worked around a pair of walks to pitch a scoreless inning and close out a 3-2 Rangers win.  Will Smith picked up the win with a scoreless 8th inning.  The Rangers have been struggling so there haven’t been a ton of save chances but Chapman has recorded the last two saves and should continue to lead this committee.

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

September 3, 2023
Texas Rangers — In a tie game, the Rangers summoned Will Smith for the 8th inning and he responded with a scoreless inning.  Smith came back out for the first batter of the 9th inning with the game still tied and recorded an out before giving way to Aroldis Chapman.  Chapman retired both batters he faced to send the game to extra innings.  Chapman came back out for the 10th inning but the results were much worse.  He walked the first batter before giving up a pair of singles and was removed without recording an out.  Chapman has now given up at least one run in five of his last six appearances.  Will Smith has four straight scoreless appearances after also having a stretch of giving up runs in five of six appearances.

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

August 31, 2023
Texas Rangers — Will Smith had a bounce-back outing on Wednesday, retiring five batters and allowing only one walk in a tie game. Unfortunately for the Rangers, after they failed to score in the top of the tenth, Aroldis Chapman ended things with an intentional walk, an unintentional walk, and a bases-loaded hit by pitch. The game was tied, by the way, because Jose Leclerc gave up a two-run homer in the eighth before Smith came on. With Texas in the thick of races for the division and the wild card, now is not the time for bullpen uncertainty.

Hierarchy remains: *Chapman | Smith | Leclerc.

August 30, 2023
Texas Rangers – With both Aroldis Chapman and Will Smith available, the Rangers went to Smith in the eighth inning to protect a 1-0 lead against the top of the Mets order. Smith needed just seven pitches to retire the side, leaving the final three outs for Chapman. The Rangers added an insurance run in the top of the ninth to make it a 2-0 game, which turned out to be huge as Chapman allowed a two-out homer that cut the lead to 2-1. Chapman rebounded by inducing a groundout to earn the save. There’s still a possibility that Smith gets another save chance or two, but Chapman appears to have the inside track based on what we’ve seen so far this week.

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

August 29, 2023
Texas Rangers – After Aroldis Chapman worked in back-to-back games over the weekend, he was apparently unavailable Monday. But that meant Will Smith did the job in a save situation, right? Well, no. Enter old friend Jose Leclerc, who mixed in a walk with two strikeouts to earn his second save. Reading between the lines, recent usage would indicate Chapman is the committee leader and Leclerc is a part of the mix with Smith. Smith not being used in an obvious situation for a closer Monday is very telling. It’s also worth noting Rangers beat writer Evan Grant said that Leclerc got the save chance after Chapman and Brock Burke had worked in the previous two days — and he did not mention Smith. We’ll make the swap in our hierarchy now and this situation is definitely worth monitoring.

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

August 28, 2023
Texas Rangers – Will Smith notched a clutch strikeout against the only batter he faced to finish off the eighth inning in Sunday’s game, leaving Aroldis Chapman to handle the ninth inning in a save situation. Chapman did not deliver, though, allowing the tying run to send the game to extras. The Rangers eventually lost, which is something happening a lot lately. Texas has lost nine of 10, and the struggles in the late innings are a big part of it. It appears manager Bruce Bochy is starting to play the matchups again in the ninth inning, so we’ll slap on the committee tag with Smith still in the lead role, for now. 

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

August 25, 2023
Texas Rangers – Will Smith allowed a solo home run Thursday in his inning of work. That on its own is no big deal, but the appearance was his third straight that he’s been scored upon. He has allowed runs in six of his last eight appearances, raising his season ERA from 2.70 on Aug. 3 to 4.27 after Thursday’s action. He has just three strikeouts in his 6.1 innings over that stretch. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, did allow a run in his previous appearance Monday, but he has mostly been lights out with the Rangers. Across his 17 appearances with Texas, he has allowed runs in just two of them and has 33 strikeouts in just 18 innings. This isn’t a committee yet, but it’s veering that way. 

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Chapman | Sborz.

August 14, 2023
Texas Rangers – In the least awful — but perhaps most consequential — blown save of the evening, Will Smith had the Giants down to their final out, but then served up a walkoff 2-run home run to Patrick Bailey. Given how good Aroldis Chapman has been, this could push Bruce Bochy back to a committee. We’ll see how it plays out.

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Chapman | Sborz.

August 8, 2023
Texas Rangers – When Aroldis Chapman showed up, Bruce Bochy was all “committee now!” and we slapped an asterisk on accordingly. But Will Smith has now gotten the team’s last six saves, with Chapman’s most recent coming more than 3 weeks ago. Obviously we’ll put this asterisk back quickly should things shift, but for now, Smith is the clear leader here.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Chapman | Sborz.

August 6, 2023
Texas Rangers – Will Smith was a little shaky yesterday, giving up a two-run homer, but luckily he was staked with a three run lead and was able to close out the win for his 20th save of the season.  Smith has three saves already in August and has five saves since Aroldis Chapman’s save on July 15th. 

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

August 5, 2023
Texas Rangers – Josh Sborz pitched the 7th inning of a 2 run game last night. Texas expanded their lead so it did not end up as a save situation, but Sborz now has 7th inning holds in his last 3 appearances, and looks to have jumped to 2nd in line for the Rangers.

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

July 19, 2023
Texas Rangers – Will Smith needed just 10 pitches to complete a 1-2-3 ninth inning and secure the save in Tuesday’s win over the Rays. Aroldis Chapman did not pitch, having gone in three of four, but could very well see a save chance today as Smith has now appeared in three of four.

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

July 16, 2023
Texas Rangers – Aroldis Chapman struck out a pair in a scoreless 9th inning and recorded his first save as a Ranger.  Manager Bruce Bochy said that Chapman is not the Rangers’ closer but that he and Will Smith will share the duties.  We will see if either one can establish himself as the primary closer or if this will be a true committee.   On other Rangers’ bullpen news, Josh Sborz was placed on the IL so Brock Burke replaces him on the hierarchy.

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

July 5, 2023
Texas Rangers – A day after a deflating blown save, Will Smith was called into the game Tuesday in a save situation with two runners on, two outs and a four-run lead and delivered for his 15th save.

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

July 4, 2023
Texas Rangers – An absolutely wild affair with the Astros which saw the Rangers surrender 10 runs in the first four innings was seemingly calming down after a stellar long relief outing from Cody Bradford and another scoreless inning from Aroldis Chapman, which allowed Texas to claw back and take an 11-10 lead in the bottom of the 8th inning. But Will Smith wasn’t able to close the door, allowing two runs in the top of the 9th and taking the loss. He now has a 3.19 ERA on the season, compared with Chapman’s 2.37 (to go along with his always-otherworldly strikeout rates) and could be on the verge of losing the job.

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

July 3, 2023
Texas Rangers – Time to pump the brakes a bit — at least temporarily — on the Aroldis Chapman Fantasy Renaissance. Chapman got the 7th in a tie game and kept it that way only to see Josh Sborz blow up in the 8th. We’ll continue to monitor the usage here, but for now, Will Smith is back in the driver’s seat.

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

July 2, 2023
Texas Rangers — The Rangers were up 5-0 headed into the 9th innning but after Joe Barlow gave up a couple runs to make it 5-2, Will Smith came on to record the final out of the game and pick up his 15th save of the season. It’s hard to read too much into this one out save so we will leave the hierarchy as is until we get a more traditional save opportunity.

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

July 1, 2023
Texas Rangers — Aroldis Chapman was traded to the Texas Rangers last night in the first major move of trade deadline season. Chapman re-discovered some of the fire that made him the top closer in the game a few years ago, sporting a 16.45 K/9 and a 2.45 ERA. This would normally be good enough to immediately seize a closers role, but Will Smith is having an excellent season as well and hasn’t given up any runs since June 14, although he hasn’t pitched since June 23. GM Chris Young said it would ultimately be up to Bruce Bochy how he deploys the back end of the bullpen, but that Young envisioned it being “sort of matchup based to start and we will see how it evolves after that.” If you’re comparing the two: Chapman has better underlying raw numbers in terms of K/9, whiff rate, and FIP, but has mainly been used in a set up role. Smith has been extremely successful in the closers role in Texas (14 saves, 1 blown) and has done nothing to indicate his job is in jeopardy. We think that Chapman has more upside and will be given a real chance to take over the 9th inning, but it probably requires Will Smith to falter. This looks like a committee for now, and the first few save chances will give us a lot more to go off of, but both Chapman and Smith are worth owning until it all shakes out. 

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

June 30, 2023
Texas Rangers — The Texas Rangers acquired Aroldis Chapman in a trade on Friday afternoon. While Will smith has been excellent, Chapman has seen a real return to his early career form and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him take over the lead spot in a committee. Chapman is worth a speculative add (and certainly don’t drop Smith), but given how solid Smith has been Chapman may just be an elite set up option. 

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

June 29, 2023
Texas Rangers — Alex Speas, a former top prospect who left the game for a while, is blowing away hitters in the minors and has been promoted to Triple-A. He could be with the big club before too long.

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Sborz | Anderson.

June 3, 2023
Texas Rangers – With a fully rested bullpen the Rangers gave the ball to rookie Grant Anderson in the 8th inning of a 2 run game. He successfully bridged the gap to Will Smith for his first career hold. Anderson turned some heads with a 7 strikeout debut, and this hold suggests he may already be in the mix for the late innings. We will slot him to second in line for now, but he may ascend quickly if Texas keeps giving him chances. 

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Sborz | Anderson.

May 17, 2023
Texas Rangers – Josh Sborz has a hold in each of his last three appearances, including the eighth inning of last night’s win. Jonathan Hernandez had a second consecutive rough outing on Tuesday and may soon be surpassed by Jose Leclerc, who continues to work through his own struggles, or the recently recalled Joe Barlow.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Sborz | Hernandez.

May 5, 2023
Texas Rangers – Bruce Bochy thinks Closer Monkey should remove the asterisk for Will Smith. OK, he didn’t specifically say that, but as an old school manager, he felt it necessary to publicly proclaim Will Smith as his closer this week. So, we will act accordingly here.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Leclerc | Hernandez.

May 3, 2023
Texas Rangers – Will Smith recorded the final four outs of Tuesday’s win for his fourth save of the season. Jonathan Hernandez secured the last out of the seventh and the first two outs of the eighth ahead of Smith. Jose Leclerc, who hasn’t pitched since Thursday, was warming up when Smith ran into trouble in the ninth. With Smith likely unavailable on Wednesday after throwing 27 pitches last night, we’ll get a good sense into what Bruce Bochy thinks of Leclerc if the Rangers have a late-inning lead.

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

April 29, 2023
Texas Rangers – With Texas holding a 2 run lead in the 9th, it was Will Smith, not Jose Leclerc, coming out of the bullpen for the save. Smith was facing a right-switch-left batting order, so this wasn’t just a matchup based save chance. Smith converted for his 3rd save of the year to Jose Leclerc’s 1. Leclerc did pitch on Thursday, but only threw 14 pitches, and while he has only given up 1 earned run this season, he has struggled with his command at times. After Thursday’s game Bruce Bochy said they need him to “get on track” which is never a good sign for a closer. Given the recent usage it seems Will Smith is the arm to own in Texas, but with Leclerc still sporting very good stats don’t be surprised to see them splitting save chances. 

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

April 25, 2023
Texas Rangers – It was a rough night for Jose Leclerc, as the co-closer allowed two runs to score on bases loaded walks in the 8th, then walked the leadoff hitter in the 9th and ended up with the loss. His ERA stayed at 0.00, because the inherited runners weren’t his, and the 9th-inning batter that he faced advanced a base on an error before scoring the winning run, but obviously this was still Leclerc’s worst outing of the season. We’ll monitor to see if this means Will Smith’s share of save chances increases.

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

April 24, 2023
Texas Rangers – With two lefties due up in the 9th, Will Smith was summoned to protect the Rangers’ three-run lead, and the veteran got the job done, allowing just one hit in a scoreless frame. Though the lefty now has two saves to Jose Leclerc’s one, we’ll leave this committee as is for the time being, as Leclerc (0.00 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) hasn’t exactly done anything wrong thus far, and will likely get more matchup-based opportunities, since he’s righthanded.

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

April 3, 2023
Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc was the presumed closer coming in to the season, and picked up the first save chance on Thursday. But last night’s game was a reminder that Bruce Bochy never actually declared a closer before the season, as a presumably well-rested Leclerc was bypassed in favor of Will Smith. Smith hadn’t appeared yet — and a lefty was due up second in the inning — so it’s possible this was a one-off. But Smith had his best seasons under Bochy in San Francisco, and Bochy could be setting up a committee approach. We’ll slap an asterisk here and see what unfolds.

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

March 13, 2023
Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc has the edge of incumbency in the Texas bullpen, but an early battle with neck tightness could provide an opportunity for Jonathan Hernandez, Brock Burke, Joe Barlow, or even the recently signed Will Smith. 

Starting 2023 hierarchy: Leclerc | Hernandez | Burke.
Holds candidates: Hernandez, Burke, Barlow, Smith.

October 5, 2022
Texas Rangers – Matt Moore earned the save in game two of the Rangers’ doubleheader with the Yankees. Jonathan Hernandez had already pitched in the first game, with Jose Leclerc interestingly absent from the day’s action.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Hernandez | Moore.

September 12, 2022
Texas Rangers – The Rangers have won exactly three times since August 26, and Jose Leclerc has saved all three games. Goodbye, asterisk. “Jonathan Hernandez, closer,” we hardly knew ye.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Hernandez | Moore.

September 11, 2022
Texas Rangers – Jonathan Hernandez pitched the 8th inning yesterday with the Rangers down four runs.  That’s certainly not the spot for a closer to pitch and although he didn’t allow any runs, he allowed a hit and two walks in the inning.  Hernandez has allowed eight walks in his last four innings.  Jose Leclerc recorded the last save for the Rangers and with the way Hernandez has been pitching, it seems likely he will get the next save chance as well so we will move Leclerc to the head of this committee. 

Updated hierarchy: *Leclerc | Hernandez | Moore.
* = closer-by-committee

September 7, 2022
Texas Rangers – With Jonathan Hernandez presumably available after pitching Sunday, the Rangers turned to Jose Leclerc in the ninth inning to protect a one-run lead, which he did for his third save of the year. Leclerc actually has the Rangers’ last two saves, albeit with the last one coming on August 26. Meanwhile, Hernandez was terrible in his last ninth-inning appearance, giving up four runs to blow a save against the Red Sox last Thursday. Leclerc’s save last night bumps him up in this committee, one he may lead if the Rangers continue to avoid using Hernandez, who should definitely be available tonight.

Updated hierarchy: *Hernandez | Leclerc | Moore.
* = closer-by-committee

August 27, 2022
Texas Rangers – With Jonathan Hernandez having pitched the 8th the Rangers gave the ball to Jose Leclerc with a 3 run lead. He made it interesting, giving up a 2 run homer, but shut the door for his second save. Hernandez faced the toughest part of the Tigers lineup, and given Leclerc’s struggle through the 9th inning there is little reason to think that Hernandez is in danger of losing his job, but with Texas on a bit of a hot streak now (won 5 of their last 6) we could see some more vulture saves out of this bullpen. 

Hierarchy remains: Hernandez | Moore | Leclerc.

August 23, 2022
Texas Rangers – With Jonathan Hernandez needing a second day off after pitching two innings on Sunday, the Rangers turned to Matt Moore for Monday’s save chance. The lefty converted for his third save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Hernandez | Moore | Leclerc.

August 22, 2022
Texas Rangers – Taylor Hearn picked up a three-inning save in a Rangers blowout on Sunday. He doesn’t factor in to the usual late inning plans for Texas.

Hierarchy remains: Hernandez | Moore | Leclerc.

August 19, 2022
Texas Rangers — Matt Moore was activated Thursday from his one-day stay on the bereavement list, which followed his time on the paternity list. As we told you yesterday, mom and baby are doing fine, so don’t worry, but it’s likely everyone is a bit tired. That didn’t seem to affect Moore, who appeared in his first game back and tossed a scoreless inning with a walk and two strikeouts. We’ll add Moore back to the hierarchy, but remove Brock Burke and leave Jose Leclerc. Burke has been excellent (1.29 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 69 strikeouts but no saves), but there are a lot of interesting names at the back end for Texas (including Joe Barlow, too, who might be fourth in line).

Updated hierarchy: Hernandez | Moore | Leclerc.

August 18, 2022
Texas Rangers — Matt Moore’s move from the paternity list to the bereavement list is fortunately not a sign of tragedy, but rather an indication that Texas is willing to let Moore have more than three days away from the team to spend with his wife and newborn. Former closer Joe Barlow returned from the injured list on Wednesday and pitched a scoreless sixth, albeit with two baserunners.

Hierarchy remains: Hernandez | Burke | Leclerc.

August 15, 2022
Texas Rangers – Speaking of the VSW, we told you yesterday that due to a heavily-taxed Rangers bullpen, Jose Leclerc could get a save on Sunday, even though he wasn’t even listed on Closer Monkey’s hierarchy yet. BUT DID YOU LISTEN?!?! NOOOOOOOO. Direct all apologies to [email protected]. (PS. Matt Moore is on the paternity list for a couple days, so Leclerc ascends for the time being.)

Updated hierarchy: Hernandez | Burke | Leclerc.

August 14, 2022
Texas Rangers – The Rangers used their hierarchy in order yesterday with Brock Burke pitched the 6th and 7th, Matt Moore in the 8th and Jonathan Hernandez with a scoreless 9th inning.  Hernandez now has three straight saves and that’s enough to kick the asterisk.  

Hierarchy remains: Hernandez | Moore | Burke.

August 5, 2022
Texas Rangers – Jonathan Hernandez was impressive Thursday to earn his second save (he has the Rangers’ past two saves). Thursday was his second game of a back-to-back coming off Tommy John surgery, which is a good sign that he appears to have the durability for the closer’s role. If he gets another uncontested save, the job is his and the asterisk is kicked.

Hierarchy remains: *Hernandez | Moore | Burke.
* = closer-by-committee

August 1, 2022
Texas Rangers – Jonathan Hernandez would have gotten the 9th on Saturday had the Rangers held the lead; instead, he got his first save chance on Sunday, which he converted. Hernandez, who was activated in mid-July, was one of the Rangers’ best arms in 2020 before Tommy John surgery cost him over a year of time. But Chris Woodward apparently remembers, as he was willing to give Hernandez a shot at the 9th inning after only four appearances this season. We’ll shuffle him to the top of this very uncertain hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: *Hernandez | Moore | Burke.
* = closer-by-committee

July 31, 2022
Texas Rangers — Brett Martin struggled again yesterday as he blew the save in the 8th inning and took his 7th loss of the season.  Martin has now given up seven runs in his last four appearances.  Meanwhile, fellow lefty Matt Moore has only given up one earned run since June 4th and his ERA is down to 1.66 on the season.  We will move Moore to the top of the committee for now and see how things play out.  Also, Joe Barlow will start a rehab assignment today and could be back next week.

Updated hierarchy: *Moore | Burke | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

July 29, 2022
Texas Rangers — After Brett Martin pitched three of four, Matt Moore was called Thursday upon to earn his second save, as referenced in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch. Moore has been excellent this season (1.70 ERA, 52 Ks in 47.2 IP) and could be in consideration for future save chances. Former closer Joe Barlow, meanwhile, will go on a rehab assignment this weekend as he works his way back. Martin hasn’t been impressive, so Barlow could return to the role at some point.

Updated hierarchy: *Martin | Moore | Burke.
* = closer-by-committee

July 14, 2022
Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc struggled with a five-run lead in the ninth, but Garrett Richards needed only one pitch to induce a game-ending flyout and pick up the save.

Hierarchy remains: *Martin | Santana | Burke.
* = closer-by-committee

July 10, 2022
Texas Rangers — Dennis Santana got the call in the 8th inning with the Rangers up one but he couldn’t hold the lead as he allowed the tying run to score.  After the Rangers scored two runs to take the lead again, Brett Martin pitched a scoreless 9th inning and recorded his second straight save.  We aren’t ready to remove the asterisk after just two games but it’s a great start for Martin and any fantasy owners who have taken a chance on him.

Hierarchy remains: *Martin | Santana | Burke.
* = closer-by-committee

July 9, 2022
Texas Rangers — After announcing that Joe Barlow would no longer handle closing duties, the Rangers had a 1 run lead and turned to Brock Burke for the 7th inning, Dennis Santana for the 8th and Brett Martin faced the 2-3-4 hitters in the 9th. Martin converted for his first save of the season. Barlow’s removal is “temporary” and they still believe he can be the closer. In the meantime the Rangers will play matchups, but last night seems like a good indicator of how they would like to deploy their relievers and we will adjust accordingly.

Updated hierarchy: *Martin | Santana | Burke.
* = closer-by-committee

July 8, 2022
Texas Rangers — Joe Barlow is out of the closer role in Texas at least “temporarily.” The ninth inning will be matchup-based going forward, with Dennis Santana, Brett Martin, Matt Moore, and Brock Burke all in the mix.

Updated hierarchy: *Santana | Martin | Moore.
* = closer-by-committee

June 28, 2022
Texas Rangers – Matt Bush was placed on the IL over the weekend, which means Dennis Santana will be in line for more 8th inning opportunities. Lefties Brett Martin and Matt Moore could also see a few more holds as a result.

Updated hierarchy: Barlow | Santana | Martin.

June 17, 2022
Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc (remember him?) was finally activated from the injured list on Thursday after nearly two years. He had battled various arm injuries. The former ninth-inning man could eventually factor into the late innings. We’ll first have to see how he looks and how he’s deployed, of course.

Hierarchy remains: Barlow | Bush | Santana.

June 14, 2022
Texas Rangers – Joe Barlow got the day off on Monday as anticipated, and it was veteran Matt Moore who got the save chance in his stead; Moore converted with a 1-2-3 inning. After posting a 6.29 ERA in 2021, the lefty’s career prospects seemed uncertain, but he’s found new life in the bullpen in the season, with his high strikeout rate covering a higher-than-ideal walk rate (28.2 IP, 2.54 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 35 Ks, 16 BBs). After Monday’s successful outing, look for him to get more high-leverage spots ahead of Barlow.

Hierarchy remains: Barlow | Bush | Santana.

May 28, 2022
Texas Rangers — With Joe Barlow getting the night off, the Rangers turned to Dennis Santana to secure the win. He pitched a perfect 9th to earn his first career save. Both Barlow and Matt Bush had pitched on Thursday, which led to the Santana Save op. Santana has been excellent this year, and has found himself in more high leverage situations recently. Especially after last night’s performance in earning the save, he has bumped himself ahead of Brett Martin in Texas. 

Updated Hierarchy: Barlow | Bush | Santana.

May 19, 2022
Texas Rangers — With a two-run lead going into the ninth, Rangers fans were surprised and eventually dismayed by the appearance of Matt Bush instead of Joe Barlow. After the game, won by Texas in 10, Barlow revealed that he had a throbbing finger blister that might keep him out another day or two, but is not expected to require time on the IL.

Hierarchy remains: Barlow | Bush | Martin.

May 13, 2022
Texas Rangers – Joe Barlow has six straight saves for the Rangers and has effectively booted the asterisk in our hierarchy. He’s the guy in Texas.

Updated hierarchy: Barlow | Bush | Martin.

May 1, 2022
Texas Rangers – Joe Barlow pitched a perfect 9th inning for his first save of the season.  The Rangers have said they want Barlow to be their closer and if he can convert another save or two, we will be able to kick the asterisk.

Hierarchy remains: *Barlow | Bush | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

April 26, 2022
Texas Rangers – Spencer Patton went on the IL over the weekend; look for Brett Martin to get a few more holds opportunities as a result.

Updated hierarchy: *Barlow | Bush | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

April 24, 2022
Texas Rangers — Matt Bush closed out a 2-0 victory yesterday, but he only got the call because Joe Barlow was unavailable.  Manager Chris Woodward said that Joe Barlow is his closer, but forgive us for not removing the asterisk yet since we have some trust issues with Woodward after his comments before the season that he wouldn’t use Barlow as his closer.  

Hierarchy remains: *Barlow | Bush | Patton.
* = closer-by-committee

April 22, 2022
Texas Rangers — With just two wins for Texas coming into Thursday and facing a 5-0 deficit after the first inning, it did not seem like we’d get clarity with the Rangers bullpen. But, to their credit, the bats battled back and handed a ninth-inning lead to Joe Barlow. Barlow came into a tie game in the eighth after Matt Bush allowed an RBI single. Barlow got out of the jam and retired the side in the ninth to earn the win. If the Rangers start winning more consistently, we’ll get a better idea of what’s going on here, but it’s safe to say that at this point, Barlow is their best option in the late innings.

Hierarchy remains: *Barlow | Bush | Patton.
* = closer-by-committee

April 20, 2022
Texas Rangers — The Rangers designated Greg Holland for assignment, which means we welcome Spencer Patton to the hierarchy for the two-win Rangers.

Updated hierarchy: *Barlow | Bush | Patton.
* = closer-by-committee

April 15, 2022
Texas Rangers — The Rangers have decided to use Matt Bush as the opener for tonight’s game against the Angels. While the Rangers have yet to record a save this year, Bush hasn’t seen much of the high leverage work in the early going. With Bush opening tonight, it seems as though this might be Joe Barlow’s committee to lead, despite manager Chris Woodward’s pre-season comments. While the overall save situation isn’t settled, it does seem like Matt Bush has dropped in the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: *Barlow | Holland | Bush.
* = closer-by-committee

April 6, 2022
Texas Rangers – In a flurry of bullpen roster moves, the Rangers sent Spencer Patton to Triple-A, placed Garrett Richards on the IL, and added Greg Holland to the roster.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t do much to clarify who will be getting saves for the Rangers when the season begins.  We will move veteran Matt Bush to the top of the committee, but we think that Joe Barlow, Greg Holland, and maybe even Josh Sborz will be in the mix for saves.  We will continue to monitor this situation closely to see if anybody emerges as the primary source of saves.

Updated hierarchy: *Bush | Barlow | Holland.
* = closer-by-committee

April 4, 2022
Texas Rangers
– As teams finalize their Opening Day rosters, it’s becoming clear how the Rangers plan to deploy their bullpen corps. Earlier in the spring, manager Chris Woodward indicated he’d move away from Joe Barlow in favor of a committee approach given the rise in the team’s expectations. Now, it appears members of that committee will include Spencer Patton, Matt Bush, Garrett Richards, Josh Sborz and others. Watch for non-roster invitee Greg Holland, who could still make the team, though a corresponding 40-man roster move would be needed to squeeze him in. Barlow also made the team, it’s worth noting, so we’ll give him the nod at second in line over other more established veterans until we see this unit deployed in the regular season.

Updated Hierarchy: *Patton | Bush | Barlow 
* = closer-by-committee

March 21, 2022
Texas Rangers — Last year, Joe Barlow made his major league debut towards the end of June and less than two months later he was closing out games. Barlow finished the season with 11 saves and an ERA of 1.55 and will enter 2022 as the Rangers’ closer. Spencer Patton and Josh Sborz finished last year setting up Barlow and could return to that role again this year. The Rangers also signed veterans Greg Holland and Garrett Richards and both should complete for time in the late innings.

Starting 2022 hierarchy: Barlow | Patton | Sborz.
Holds candidates: Patton, Sborz, Greg Holland, Garrett Richards.

September 25, 2021
Texas Rangers – After the Rangers rallied for five runs in the top of the 9th, Joe Barlow closed out the win and earned his 8th save of the season.  Barlow has recorded all five Rangers’ saves in the month of September and we will reward him by removing his asterisk.

Hierarchy remains: Barlow | Patton | Sborz.

Septemer 1, 2021
Texas Rangers – A day after Joe Barlow came off the IL and recorded a seven-pitch save, the Rangers stayed away from him and instead went to Spencer Patton to close out Tuesday’s win. Patton, who allowed a two-run homer on Monday, threw a perfect ninth to notch his second save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: *Barlow | Patton | Sborz.
* = closer-by-committee

August 31, 2021
Texas Rangers – Joe Barlow came off the IL and immediately picked up his third save of the season, lowering his ERA to 1.02 in the process. While his peripherals suggest he’s been a bit fortunate thus far, he’s getting results, and might continue getting save chances, too. We’ll put him right back in front of this committee.

Updated hierarchy: *Barlow | Patton | Sborz.
* = closer-by-committee

August 21, 2021
Texas Rangers – The Rangers placed Joe Barlow on the 10-day IL with a blistered finger yesterday. Barlow had been the most effective reliever for Texas and had begun to establish himself as the primary closing option prior to this injury. Spencer Patton and Josh Sborz will likely split any save chances in Barlow’s absence, while Brett Martin will get a chance for some high-leverage work as well.

Updated Hierarchy: *Patton | Sborz | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

August 20, 2021
Texas Rangers – Joe Barlow was placed on the 10-day IL with a blistered finger today. Spencer Patton will take over as the head of this committee with Josh Sborz and Demarcus Evans helping to bridge the gap.

Updated Hierarchy: *Patton | Sborz | Evans.
* = closer-by-committee

August 14, 2021
Texas Rangers — Spencer Patton got the ball in the 8th inning with a 3 run lead, leaving the 9th inning for Joe Barlow.  Barlow has been excellent this year, and hasn’t given up a run since his first appearance in July.  Meanwhile, Spencer Patton has blown two of his three save chances since Ian Kennedy was traded.  Texas is still likely in committee mode, but it looks like Barlow might have jumped to the top of the list.

Updated hierarchy: *Barlow | Patton | Sborz.
* = closer-by-committee

August 1, 2021
Texas Rangers — Spencer Patton got the first save chance after the Rangers traded their closer Ian Kennedy, but he was unable to convert as he gave up a game-tying homer in the 9th inning.   Patton stuck around for the 10th inning and allowed the free runner at second base to score but got out of the inning without allowing any earned runs and ended up with the win after the Rangers rallied in the bottom of the 10th.  It was not an ideal start for Patton but we still think he is the best bet for saves at this point.

Hierarchy remains: *Patton | Sborz | Barlow.
* = closer-by-committee

July 31, 2021
Texas Rangers — The Rangers shipped Ian Kennedy off to the Phillies, which leaves a wide-open committee for the Rangers. Spencer Patton will likely get the first crack at saves, but we expect Josh Sborz and Joe Barlow to be in the mix as well. 

Updated hierarchy: *Patton | Sborz | Barlow.
* = closer-by-committee

July 30, 2021
Texas Rangers — Ian Kennedy is headed to Philadelphia, leaving Spencer Patton, Josh Sborz (when he returns from paternity leave), and Joe Barlow at the head of the Rangers’ pen. 

Updated hierarchy: *Patton | Sborz | Barlow.
* = closer-by-committee

July 29, 2021
Texas Rangers – The Rangers sent Joely Rodriguez to the Yankees as part of yesterday’s Joey Gallo trade, leaving Spencer Patton and Josh Sborz (the latter of whom figures to be on paternity leave for another couple days) as the top two arms behind Ian Kennedy.

Updated hierarchy: Kennedy | Patton | Sborz.

July 28, 2021
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.

June 24, 2021
Texas Rangers — Ian Kennedy was sick Wednesday, so the Rangers called on Joely Rodriguez for his first career save. Rodriguez has been getting the eighth inning ahead of Kennedy this week, and this cemented his move back into the setup role.

Updated hierarchy: Kennedy | Rodriguez | Sborz.

June 17, 2021
Texas Rangers — Ian Kennedy was officially activated from the IL yesterday and immediately got the eighth inning. Granted, the Rangers were down by three and he gave up another run, but he is by far the best option the Rangers have out of the bullpen.

Hierarchy remains: Kennedy | Sborz | Martin.

June 16, 2021
Texas Rangers — Josh Sborz was one strike away from earning his second save of the year on Tuesday, but he allowed a solo homer to Carlos Correia that sent the game to extras. In the 10th, it was Demarcus Evans’ turn to blow a save, as he allowed a walk-off grand slam after throwing seven straight balls at one point (along with some strikes that were called balls). There was good news from Tuesday, though, as Chris Woodward said that Ian Kennedy is expected to be activated today. No Ranger recorded a save in Kennedy’s absence, including Joely Rodriguez, who was unavailable on Tuesday despite not having pitched since Saturday.

Updated hierarchy: Kennedy | Sborz | Martin.

June 10, 2021
Texas Rangers — As the worst non-Baltimore team in the American League, Texas’s closer situation is of interest only to true bullpen obsessives, the type who are just aching to know that Spencer Patton returned from four years with the Yokohama Bay Stars to pitch a scoreless ninth on Wednesday. Brett Martin pitched well in the 10th and 11th innings to earn only the second win for the Rangers in the last 17 days — and all this came after John King held the Giants scoreless in the seventh and eighth. We don’t expect this level of relief competence to continue going forward, but if you’re desperate for saves in Ian Kennedy’s absence, Joely Rodriguez, King, and Josh Sborz await your selection.

Hierarchy remains: *Rodriguez | King | Sborz.
* = closer-by-committee

June 9, 2021
Texas Rangers – The Rangers have placed closer Ian Kennedy on the injured list, retroactive to June 6, with a mild left hamstring strain. The bullpen is already without Jose Leclerc, Jonathan Hernandez, and Matt Bush. We think a committee that might be worth avoiding takes over, with Joely Rodriguez likely leading a group that includes John King and Josh Sborz.

Updated hierarchy: *Rodriguez | King | Sborz.
* = closer-by-committee

May 7, 2021
Texas Rangers – In a near-hit for the Vulture Save Watch, Ian Kennedy was given the day off Thursday. The entire hierarchy joined him in getting some rest, though, leading Josh Sborz to convert his first save. He’s probably third in line behind Kennedy at this point, but we’ll keep an eye on his usage.

Hierarchy remains: Kennedy | Rodriguez | King.

April 20, 2021
Texas Rangers – The recently activated Joely Rodriguez got the 8th inning for the Rangers on Monday, tossing a scoreless inning with 2 Ks to bridge the gap to Ian Kennedy. With the rest of this bullpen in shambles, that’s enough to move him into the handcuff position.

Updated hierarchy: Kennedy | Rodriguez | King.

April 10, 2021
Texas Rangers — The Rangers became the answer to a trivia question last night, ending up on the receiving end of the first no-hitter in Padres history after managing to only get one man on base (via HBP) against Joe Musgrove. To make matters worse they also lost Matt Bush, who was placed on the IL with elbow inflammation. Bush was just beginning a comeback after missing the better part of 3 seasons, so this is concerning news and we are hoping for a good diagnosis. In the meantime look for the Rangers to lean on John King to help get the ball to Ian Kennedy.  Also, since Bush was Kennedy’s primary competition for the closer role, we will drop the committee tag.

Updated hierarchy: Kennedy | Sborz | King.

April 8, 2021
Texas Rangers — Ian Kennedy is pulling away from the pack in the Rangers bullpen, earning his second consecutive save with three strikeouts in a one-run game. If Kennedy gets the next save for the Rangers, we think he’ll have done enough to kick the asterisk.

Hierarchy remains: *Kennedy | Bush | Sborz.
* = closer-by-committee

April 7, 2021
Texas Rangers – Ian Kennedy needed just eight pitches to complete a 1-2-3 ninth inning and close out a Rangers win. Matt Bush faced the top of the order in the eighth and allowed a home run. We’ll slide Kennedy to the top of the hierarchy based on Tuesday’s clean save and see who gets the next chance.

Updated hierarchy: *Kennedy | Bush | Sborz.
* = closer-by-committee

March 24, 2021
Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc will begin the season on the injured list with right elbow soreness and will miss an extended amount of time. With David Hernandez set to begin the season on the 60-day IL, and Brett Martin and Joely Rodriguez likely to open the season on the injured list, who is left? The Rangers seem likely to lean on a non-roster invitee like Matt Bush or Ian Kennedy to compete for saves in a committee to start the year, though Chris Woodward said he’d like to hone in on one closer about a month into the season. Bush has looked “phenomenal” this spring, according to GM Chris Young, so we’ll give him the nod in this very messy and avoidable (if you can) bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: *Bush | Kennedy | Sborz.
* = closer-by-committee

March 13, 2021
Texas Rangers — Jonathan Hernandez will be shut down from pitching for at least four weeks with a UCL sprain. Joely Rodriguez is still behind in spring training because of a sprained ankle, and fellow lefty Brett Martin is dealing with a sore back. The Rangers need to protect Jose Leclerc at all costs right now.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Rodriguez | Sborz.

March 3, 2021
Texas Rangers — With Rafael Montero off to Seattle, we expect Jose Leclerc to have the inside track on the Texas closer’s role, with Jonathan Hernandez also in the conversation. Joely Rodriguez should handle the seventh, and Matt Bush could make the team as a non-roster invitee.

Starting 2021 hierarchy: Leclerc | Hernandez | Rodriguez.
Holds candidates: Hernandez, Rodriguez, Taylor Hearn.

September 7, 2020
Texas Rangers – The Rangers placed Joely Rodriguez on the IL yesterday. If you’re in a 75-team league with holds as a category, maybe consider Brett Martin.

Updated hierarchy: Montero | Hernandez | Martin.

August 14, 2020
Texas Rangers — We removed Edinson Volquez from our hierarchy on Wednesday and unfortunately for Volquez he’s since landed on the 45-day IL.

Hierarchy remains: Montero | Hernandez | Rodriguez.

August 12, 2020
Texas Rangers — We said we’d remove the asterisk next to Rafael Montero’s name after he notched one more save, which happened on Tuesday night. Edinson Volquez got the final out of the fifth inning in the win, with Joely Rodriguez striking out the side in the sixth before pitching a 1-2-3 seventh inning to pick up his third hold in his last three appearances. That’s good enough to move him past Volquez in this hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Montero | Hernandez | Rodriguez.

August 9, 2020
Texas Rangers — Rafael Montero pitched a perfect 9th inning for his second straight save.  Manager Chris Woodward confirmed Jonathan Hernadez and Montero would be his 8th and 9th inning guys.  Montero has been impressive so far and one more save and he will kick the asterisk.  

Hierarchy remains: *Montero | Hernandez | Volquez.
* = closer-by-committee

August 8, 2020
Texas Rangers — Rafael Montero, a former prospect who struggled through four injury-riddled years with the Mets, had a promising 2019 with the Rangers but started this season on the IL with elbow tendinitis. He made his season debut last night and earned a save in a tight, one-run game, striking out Mike Trout to end the proceedings. With Edinson Volquez’s recent struggles, we’ll move Montero to the top of the committee right away; Friday night was the first time in the last 11 games that the Rangers didn’t give up a run in relief.

Updated hierarchy: *Montero | Hernandez | Volquez.
* = closer-by-committee

August 3, 2020
Texas Rangers — After the Rangers took a 4-run lead in the top of the 7th inning, they turned to Jonathan Hernandez, who turned in two very strong innings (0 hits, 1 walk, 4 Ks) before giving way to Edinson Volquez, who pitched a perfect 9th. While both outings were impressive, the order in which these two were used suggests that Volquez has the edge for saves at the moment. We’ll shuffle the committee hierarchy accordingly.

Updated hierarchy: *Volquez | Hernandez | Goody.
* = closer-by-committee

July 31, 2020
Texas Rangers — The Rangers did not play Thursday but made big news with fantasy implications when they placed Jose Leclerc on the 45-day IL with a strained right shoulder. We believe the team will employ a committee approach for save chances, at least at first, with Jonathan Hernandez leading the group for now.

Updated hierarchy: *Hernandez | Volquez | Goody.
* = closer-by-committee

July 30, 2020
Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc has been placed on the IL with a strained right shoulder.  The Rangers have a number of options for the ninth inning while Leclerc is out.  We think Jonathan Hernandez will lead a committee that could include Edinson Volquez and Nick Goody, who picked up the save last night.

Updated hierarchy: * Hernandez |Volquez |Goody.
* = closer-by-committee

July 30, 2020
Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc was warming up to pitch the ninth on Wednesday regardless of the scoreline, but ended up sitting down due to shoulder tightness. With Jonathan Hernandez and Jesse Chavez having already pitched (poorly), this left Nick Goody to pick up his first career save. Goody does not normally factor into the later innings for Texas. Holding out Leclerc was precautionary, but he’ll be evaluated with an MRI today. If he requires time off, Hernandez has pitched the eighth in both of Texas’s wins, and Edinson Volquez is a more seasoned option being mentioned by beat writers.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Hernandez | Volquez.

July 25, 2020
Texas Rangers — A strong spring for 24-year-old Jonathan Hernandez earned him the eighth in a one-run game, and the rookie responded with a scoreless, two-strikeout inning. Hernandez will probably crack the rotation next season, but for now, it looks like he’ll get some high-leverage looks.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Hernandez | Chavez.

July 24, 2020
Texas Rangers — Rafael Montero, who arrived late at camp, has been placed on the 10-day injured list with elbow tendinitis. He was expected to be the primary setup man for Jose Leclerc. Look for Jesse Chavez to slide into the eighth-inning role.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Chavez | Goody.

February 24, 2020
Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc will be back to close out games for the Rangers this year, with Rafael Montero reprising his setup role. There are a lot of options for middle relief, but no really good ones, so it’s worth noting that Cody Allen is at training camp as a non-roster invitee. For now, Jesse Chavez and Nick Goody are better bets.

Starting 2020 hierarchy: Leclerc | Montero | Chavez.
Holds candidates: Montero, Chavez, Goody.

September 27, 2019
Texas Rangers — Pitching for the first time this fantasy championship week, patient (and let’s face it – nervous) owners were rewarded when Jose Leclerc threw just five pitches to earn a one-out save. If he gets another one or two this weekend, they would come against the AL East champion Yankees, who have an outside shot at the league’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs. 

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Montero | Clase.

September 12, 2019
Texas Rangers — We told you about Emmanuel Clase a few weeks back, and since then, he’s been getting more high-leverage work for Texas while Shawn Kelley has slipped out of favor.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Montero | Clase.

August 31, 2019
Texas Rangers – As the Vulture Save Watch noted, Jose Leclerc was unavailable last night. However, Shawn Kelley was pressed into service in the sixth inning to protect a one-run lead with men on second and third. He got out of the jam, but that left the save opportunity to rookie Emmanuel Clase. Clase gave up a leadoff single, but got the next three outs to earn his first career save. Clase has been a solid addition to the bullpen, boasting a 100 MPH cutter as his primary weapon, and he figures to be a big part of the Rangers’ late-inning plans next year. As for September, there’s a chance he gets some more high-leverage chances, but it may be tough to see many more save opportunities with Kelley and Rafael Montero in the mix. We’ll see if Chris Woodward looks to the future in the final month of the season or sticks with the usual suspects.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Kelley | Montero.

August 20, 2019
Texas Rangers – Rafael Montero pitched the 10th and 11th innings on Monday, earning the win and lowering his ERA to 1.20 over 15 innings with the Rangers. Montero, who earned his second hold earlier this week, has joined Emmanuel Clase as late-inning options in the lead-up to Shawn Kelley and Jose Leclerc.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Kelley | Montero.

August 7, 2019
Texas Rangers — Shawn Kelley should be activated from the IL today, but he will not assume the closer’s role. Chris Woodward said that Jose Leclerc has earned that spot and will continue to pitch the ninth inning. Expect Kelley to join Jesse Chavez, Brett Martin and rookie fireballer Emmanuel Clase as the Rangers’ high-leverage options for the remainder of the year.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Kelley | Chavez.

August 3, 2019
Texas Rangers — It was an up-and-down Friday night for Jose Leclerc owners. After Jesse Chavez allowed one run in the eighth inning to create a save chance in the first place, Leclerc gave up two runs in a rocky and sometimes wild ninth inning to lock down his first save since April 17. After recording the final out, Leclerc did his best Trevor Bauer impersonation, though this outburst stemmed from elation, not anger. Leclerc remains as the best options for saves and postgame souvenirs in Texas.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Chavez | Martin.

August 1, 2019
Texas Rangers — Sure, Jesse Chavez got the first save for Texas after Chris Martin was sent to Atlanta, but it’s possible Jose Leclerc was given an extra day off after a very heavy recent workload. Chavez will get a bump ahead of Brett Martin. We’ll keep an eye on this to see if a committee asterisk is necessary.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Chavez | Martin.

July 31, 2019
Texas Rangers – The Rangers traded Chris Martin to the Braves on Tuesday, which leaves Jose Leclerc as the team’s top option for saves until Shawn Kelley returns from the IL. If Leclerc also gets dealt, then Brett Martin will lead his fellow rookie relievers (four pitched last night, including Brett) and veteran Jesse Chavez in what will be a hard-to-trust bullpen until Kelley is healthy again.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Martin | Chavez.

July 30, 2019
Texas Rangers – The Rangers traded Chris Martin to the Braves. Jose Leclerc should now be the team’s primary option for saves.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Martin | Chavez.

July 29, 2019
Texas Rangers – On Friday, Chris Martin converted the first Rangers save since Shawn Kelley’s injury, but the big righty was unavailable with back stiffness on Sunday, so Jose Leclerc got the chance to protect a 1-run lead. But Leclerc allowed two hits and three walks — including a Shrimp Alert to end the game. If Martin is healthy, look for him to get the next chance.

Hierarchy remains: *C.Martin | Leclerc | B.Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

July 27, 2019
Texas Rangers – The first save of the Rangers’ committee went to Chris Martin, who closed out a three-run game for his fourth save of the year. Martin looked a bit shaky, giving up a leadoff double and a walk before retiring the next three hitters. Josh Leclerc pitched the eighth ahead of Martin, facing the top of the order. It’s clear that Martin and Leclerc are the top two choices in the Texas bullpen until Shawn Kelley returns, though Martin may get more looks at saves to further boost his value ahead of the deadline.

Hierarchy remains: *C.Martin | Leclerc | B.Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

July 23, 2019

Texas Rangers – With Shawn Kelley officially on the IL, Chris Woodward indicated that Jose Leclerc and Chris Martin would handle 9th inning duties in Kelley’s absence. We detailed their recent work in yesterday morning’s post, and figure this might come down to who converts successfully first. From an organizational perspective, the Rangers may want to give Martin the first few cracks in the hopes that he succeeds and bolsters his trade value. But Leclerc has been viewed as the closer of the future for some time, so they might just give him back the job he lost at the end of April.

Hierarchy remains: *C.Martin | Leclerc | B.Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

July 22, 2019

Texas Rangers – Shawn Kelley officially went on the IL today with an arm injury. As we mentioned this morning, we’re giving a slight edge to Chris Martin over Jose Leclerc to get the majority of save opportunities in Kelley’s absence. We will monitor pregame interviews to see if Chris Woodward announces an official replacement.

Updated hierarchy: *C.Martin | Leclerc | B.Martin.* = closer-by-committee

July 22, 2019
Texas Rangers – Shawn Kelley hurt his arm on one of his warm up pitches on Sunday, and was removed from the game before he threw a single pitch. He was sent for an MRI, and we await word on the severity of his injury. If he’s going to miss significant time, then we’re leaning very slightly towards Chris Martin over Jose LeClerc as his replacement. Martin has posted two straight months with a sub-2 ERA and — get this — he hasn’t walked a batter since April (31/0 K/BB ratio since May 1). It’s very possible, though, that Chris Woodward does turn to former closer LeClerc, who does have more experience in the role and has also been pitching well as of late, having struck out 32 hitters in his last 22.2 IP. We’ll send an update if Woodward makes the call today.

Hierarchy remains: Kelley | Martin | LeClerc.

June 23, 2019
Texas Rangers — Shawn Kelley got the day off yesterday and Chris Martin pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save of the year.  Jose Leclerc pitched a scoreless eighth inning ahead of Martin.  Leclerc has had an up and down season and although it looked like he was close to moving back into the closer’s role, yesterday’s usage shows that as of right now, he is behind both Kelley and Martin.

Updated hierarchy: Kelley | Martin | Leclerc.

June 21, 2019
Texas Rangers — Shawn Kelley remains the top option for saves in Texas; he retired the side around a solo home run to earn his ninth on Thursday. Manager Chris Woodard has recently hinted that Jose Leclerc is close to recapturing his role in the ninth inning, but every time Leclerc gets close, he endures a rough stretch on the mound. Leclerc hasn’t pitched since Monday and has allowed five earned runs over his last six appearances. We’ll drop the asterisk for now. 

Updated hierarchy: Kelley | Leclerc | Martin.

June 15, 2019
Texas Rangers – With the Rangers up by seven, they turned to Drew Smyly in the seventh inning. He stuck around for the final two innings as well, only giving up one run to earn his first save since 2013 (also of the three-inning variety). Smyly has been a disappointment in the rotation this year, but was a solid reliever early in his carees and perhaps some time in the bullpen will help him right the ship. He isn’t a normal part of the late innings for Texas.

Hierarchy remains: *Kelley | Leclerc | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

June 12, 2019
Texas Rangers – Chris Woodward made it official on Tuesday that no one is the closer and Shawn Kelley, Jose Leclerc, Chris Martin and Jesse Chavez could close in any game, though Kelley is likely to remain the preferred choice. 

Hierarchy remains: *Kelley | Leclerc | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

June 11, 2019
Texas Rangers – In a game that featured blown saves by the leaders of both Texas and Boston’s committees (Shawn Kelley and Matt Barnes), it was Chris Martin who eventually locked down the save in the 11th inning.

Hierarchy remains: *Kelley | Leclerc | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

June 6, 2019
Texas Rangers — Two blown saves in his last three attempts could spell the end of Shawn Kelley’s term as closer. Jose Leclerc is lelurking.

Hierarchy remains: *Kelley | Leclerc | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

May 30, 2019
Texas Rangers — Over a three-day period, Jose Leclerc experienced shoulder stiffness and calf soreness, but the Rangers still used him as the opener on Wednesday afternoon. This left Shawn Kelley to pick up his sixth save in the ninth.

Hierarchy remains: *Kelley | Leclerc | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

May 26, 2019
Texas Rangers — The Rangers again went with Shawn Kelley in a save opportunity yesterday, but unfortunately, he could not get the job done.   The blown save probably won’t change the Ranger’s ninth-inning plans right away, but Jose Leclerc struck out the side yesterday in another impressive outing and could see a save chance on Sunday with Kelley likely unavailable.  Kelley has done a good job closing for the Rangers even with yesterday’s blown save but Leclerc is still the best long term option.

Updated hierarchy: *Kelley | Leclerc | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

May 25, 2019
Texas Rangers — For the third straight game, it was Shawn Kelley and not Jose Leclerc who got the ninth inning for the Rangers. Chris Martin pitched a clean eighth inning ahead of Kelley. Manager Chris Woodward had recently said that he wanted Leclerc to take over the closer role again, and we still think the Rangers’ long-term plan is to use have Leclerc close, but Kelley’s usage the past four days has been enough to move him up to the top of the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: *Kelley | Martin | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

May 23, 2019
Texas Rangers — In his first two games back since throat surgery, Shawn Kelley has two saves. The next chance will likely go to Chris Martin or Jose Leclerc.

Hierarchy remains: *Martin | Leclerc | Kelley.
* = closer-by-committee

May 22, 2019
Texas Rangers — We expected Chris Martin to get a day off on Tuesday, and it was the just-activated Shawn Kelley who closed out the Rangers’ 5-3 win, though that wasn’t what the team truly envisioned heading into the night. Jose Leclerc pitched what manager Chris Woodward saw as a higher-leverage spot in the eighth inning against the Mariners’ 9-1-2 hitters, who he set down in order. Leclerc has now retired the last 16 batters he has faced and has turned this bullpen into a committee, at least until he wins back the role outright. That should be very soon.

Updated hierarchy: *Martin | Leclerc | Kelley.
* = closer-by-committee

May 18, 2019
Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc was excellent as the Rangers’ opener on Friday, setting down the Cardinals’ top three hitters in order. Ariel Jurado will start today’s game, and he’s expected to go multiple innings. Jesse Chavez has had a resurgence over his last six appearances, not allowing a run over his last 7.2 IP. He’ll have to help get the Rangers to the ninth inning now that Shawn Kelley is still a couple days away from being activated.

Updated hierarchy: Martin | Leclerc | Chavez.

May 17, 2019
Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc will serve as the Rangers’ opener for Friday’s game against the Cardinals, and Ariel Jurado is slated to pitch as well. It’s Leclerc’s first career “start” — and maybe it’s being used as a mechanism to get him right for an eventual move back to the ninth inning. For now, Chris Martin, who’s thrown eight straight scoreless innings, has that job locked down.

Hierarchy remains: Martin | Leclerc | Jurado.

May 10, 2019
Texas Rangers — There was no save situation for the Rangers on Thursday, but word came down before the game that interim closer Shawn Kelley would be placed on the IL with an infection. Chris Woodward said that Chris Martin will fill the role while Jose Leclerc (three walks and a hit yesterday) tries to get back on track. Ariel Jurado (2 IP, 0 ER, 2 Ks Thursday) has been a pleasant surprise for the Rangers and might see more high-leverage use moving forward.

Updated hierarchy:  Martin | Leclerc | Jurado.

May 9, 2019
Texas Rangers — Shawn Kelley has been placed on the IL with an infection.  Chris Martin should take over as the full time closer while Kelley is out.

Updated hierarchy:  Martin | Leclerc | Jurado.

May 9, 2019
Texas Rangers — Chris Martin got his turn to close for the Rangers and converted. Martin and Shawn Kelley will continue to split chances until Jose Leclerc gets the job back.

Hierarchy remains: *Kelley | Martin | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

May 5, 2019
Texas Rangers — Shawn Kelley recorded the first save for the Rangers since Jose Leclerc was removed as closer.  Chris Martin pitched a scoreless 8th inning ahead of Kelley.   The Rangers did not commit to Kelley after the game and at least one beat writer thinks Kelley and Martin will still share the job.  However, the most significant news might be that Leclerc pitched a perfect seventh inning with two strikeouts.  This was perhaps his best outing of the season, and the Rangers would love to get Leclerc back in the closer’s role sooner rather than later so there might not be many save chances for Kelley or Martin.

Updated hierarchy: *Kelley | Martin | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

May 4, 2019
Texas Rangers — Those tracking the Rangers’ committee situation should know that in a scoreless game, Chris Martin got the ninth and struck out the side around two singles. Shawn Kelley followed in the tenth and worked around a leadoff walk. Nothing clear yet. Texas ultimately fell in the twelfth with Ariel Jurado on the mound.

Hierarchy remains: *Martin | Kelley | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

May 2, 2019
Texas Rangers — As we alerted you Wednesday afternoon, Jose Leclerc is getting a breather from the closer role, and either Chris Martin or Shawn Kelley should see the next chance. Martin has been pitching after Kelley all year, while Kelley has better numbers and some closing experience. Whichever direction the Rangers go, Leclerc’s recent contract extension gives the team a few million reasons to put him back in the ninth before long.

Updated hierarchy: *Martin | Kelley | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

May 1, 2019
Texas Rangers – Chris Woodward said this afternoon that he was removing Jose Leclerc from the closer role. Leclerc was one of the most promising young arms in baseball coming into the year, but for now, it looks like Chris Martin and Shawn Kelley will be the top choices for saves in Texas.

Updated hierarchy: *Martin | Kelley | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

May 1, 2019
Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc’s struggles continued on Tuesday night, as he blew a 3-0 lead thanks to two doubles and two infield singles. He hasn’t pitched a clean inning since April 3, which is not optimal. After the game, Chris Woodward declined to outright remove Leclerc from the closer’s role. However, he did say that the team will discuss that option and perhaps give Leclerc some outings that are a little less stressful. We wouldn’t be shocked if Woodward makes a decision this afternoon, so if Chris Martin or Shawn Kelley are available in your league, they are worth stashing. Martin pitched the eighth and Kelley pitched the seventh last night, but Kelley has better numbers this year and that all-important closing experience.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Martin | Kelley.

April 26, 2019
Texas Rangers – Perhaps looking to get him right, Rangers manager Chris Woodward sent Jose Leclerc into Thursday’s game with men at the corners and the Rangers trailing 12-0. He hadn’t pitched since Sunday, when he walked four and gave up two earned runs. On Thursday, Leclerc allowed a walk to load the bases and then a ground-rule double to knock in his two inherited runners. He then struck out two to end the inning. So while his final line is clean, it wasn’t a particularly inspiring performance. This situation warrants further monitoring.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Martin | Kelley.

April 22, 2019
Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc allowed a leadoff home run, and then walked four of the next six hitters before being pulled for Shawn Kelley, who got the game’s last out for his first save of the year. Leclerc has an inflated ERA (7.88) after a few bad outings, but Chris Woodward is still giving him a little bit of leash. We’ll keep an eye on this one. 

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Martin | Kelley.

April 11, 2019
Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc didn’t have it on Wednesday, but lefty Kyle Bird was there to get him out of a bases-loaded jam and earn a save.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Martin | Kelley.

April 10, 2019
Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc had his scoreless inning streak snapped at 25.1 innings on Tuesday when he blew a save chance in Arizona. Of note is that manager Chris Woodward said that the Rangers will monitor Leclerc’s usage in the future when their closer goes through another long stretch of no appearances. Leclerc, who denied the rest played a part in Tuesday’s troubles, had not pitched in six days.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Martin | Kelley.

March 31, 2019
Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc picked up right where he left off last season with a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season.  Shawn Kelley got the last out of the seventh inning and then pitched a perfect eighth ahead of Leclerc while picking up the win.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Martin | Kelley.

February 18, 2019
Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc emerged in 2018 and turned in a dominant season (1.56 ERA, 0.85 WHIP). The 25-year-old will continue to hold the reins as the team’s closer. Behind Leclerc is a collection of familiar names, including Chris Martin, Jesse Chavez (who returns after he was traded to the Cubs last season) and some new names like Shawn Kelley and Zach McAllister. It’s not a strong cast, but the Rangers don’t necessarily have designs on supplanting the A’s and Astros in the AL West.

Starting 2019 hierarchy: Leclerc | Martin | Chavez.
Holds candidates: Martin, Chavez, McAllister.

September 5, 2018
Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc has arguably been the best reliever in baseball since taking over as the Rangers’ closer. In 12 appearances since the trade deadline, Leclerc has allowed only one hit and zero runs while striking out 22 batters. Dating back to June 20, Leclerc has given up just two earned runs and eight hits in his last 26 outings (26.2 IP). He won’t be pitching in October, but Leclerc could play a big role in the fantasy playoffs if he keeps pitching like this.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Martin | Claudio.

September 3, 2018
Texas Rangers – Eddie Butler picked up a three-inning save — his second of the season — in an 18-4 blowout victory. Butler does not factor in to the Rangers’ usual late inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Martin | Claudio.

September 2, 2018
Texas Rangers – Cory Gearrin was traded to the Oakland A’s. He won’t crack their stacked bullpen, but his absence likely means additional holds for Chris Martin.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Martin | Claudio.

August 14, 2018
Texas Rangers – Jose Leclerc picked up his second save of the season on Monday, and for the second time, it was Cory Gearrin pitching the 8th ahead of him. With Chris Martin struggling from his return to the DL and Alex Claudio hardly ever pitching when the Rangers are ahead, look for Gearrin to be a sold source of holds down the stretch. Lefty Jeff Springs, who has started career with 7 solid innings of work, might soon become the lefthanded preference over Claudio.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Gearrin | Claudio.

August 5, 2018
Texas Rangers — Jose Leclerc pitched a perfect inning for his first save of the season.  Leclerc has scoreless outings in fifteen of his last sixteen appearances and could thrive in the closer’s role for the Rangers.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Claudio | Gearrin.

August 3, 2018
Texas Rangers — The Rangers’ 17-8 win over the Orioles was one of many lopsided scores Thursday, but it didn’t prevent a vulture save from being doled out. If you had bets on Eddie Butler (3.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER to end Thursday’s win) picking up the first Rangers save since the Keone Kela trade, you should play the lottery.

Hierarchy remains: Leclerc | Claudio | Gearrin.

August 1, 2018
Texas Rangers – Jake Diekman was the final Rangers reliever to find a new home, as Texas sent Jake Diekman to Arizona on Tuesday. Jose Leclerc should take over the ninth inning, while Alex Claudio and Cory Gearrin will be the Rangers’ other late-inning options. Don’t forget about Chris Martin as well, who was just activated from the DL and may eventually challenge for the ninth inning.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Claudio | Gearrin.

July 31, 2018
Texas Rangers – The Rangers aren’t done dealing away relievers, as they sent Jake Diekman to Arizona. If Jose Leclerc is still available, now’s the time to pick him up as he should take over the ninth inning. Alex Claudio and Cory Gearrin will be the Rangers’ other late-inning options. Don’t forget about Chris Martin as well, who may challenge for the ninth inning once he returns from the DL.

Updated hierarchy: Leclerc | Claudio | Gearrin.

July 31, 2018
Texas Rangers — After the trade of Keone Kela to the Pirates, the Rangers turned to Jake Diekman in the 9th inning.  It didn’t end up being a save since the Rangers added a run in the 9th to make it a four-run lead, but it seems likely Diekman would be the guy to replace Kela as closer.  The only problem is that Diekman is also likely on his way out the door before Tuesday’s trade deadline.  We will put Diekman at the top for now, but Jose LeClerc could be a good speculative add as well in case Diekman gets traded.

Updated hierarchy: Diekman | Leclerc | Claudio.

July 28, 2018
Texas Rangers — The trade market for Keone Kela seems to be heating up, as the Rangers have continued to slide out of the playoff picture. The latest rumor has him going to Pittsburgh, where he probably sets up Felipe Vazquez, at least initially. This deal has been in the works for a couple of days, but with the trade deadline looming it may happen this weekend. If Kela is traded, we expect Jake Diekman to have the inside track for save opportunities, but it will certainly be a committee that also includes Jose Leclerc.

Hierarchy remains: Kela | Diekman | Leclerc.

July 26, 2018
Texas Rangers — We accurately predicted a Jose Leclerc vulture save opportunity last night, but the young righty couldn’t capitalize, giving up two runs on a Khris Davis home run to set up Blake Treinen instead.

Hierarchy remains: Kela | Diekman | Leclerc.

July 25, 2018
Texas Rangers — Despite Jake Diekman’s awful night as part of his awful season pitching at home, he may soon have some fantasy value if Keone Kela ends up being dealt. Diekman himself still may be traded as well, which would give Jose Leclerc a boost. Also, if Diekman’s struggles continue, that alone may give Leclerc the edge for the ninth inning if Kela is shipped out of town.

Hierarchy remains: Kela | Diekman | Leclerc.

July 6, 2018
Texas Rangers — Chris Martin has been placed on the disabled list for a third time this season. This time it’s for a strained groin.  “We want to make sure we get him right,” manager Jeff Bannister said.

Hierarchy remains: Kela | Diekman | Leclerc.

July 4, 2018
Texas Rangers — Chris Martin was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock before Tuesday’s tilt, but Jeff Banister made it clear that the move had nothing to do with Martin’s performance. Martin must remain optioned for 10 days unless another player moves to the DL. That could happen very soon, as Tony Barnette suffered a right shoulder sprain on Tuesday and will have an MRI on Wednesday. Jose Leclerc has pitched well this year and should see more high-leverage work in Martin’s absence.

Updated hierarchy: Kela | Diekman | Leclerc.

June 24, 2018
Texas Rangers — Keone Kela picked up the save on Saturday and is a perfect 18 for 18 in save chances this season.  However, with the Rangers in last place in the AL West, they are reportedly making Kela available on the trade market.  We have already seen two closers get traded this season, and we will monitor this situation to see if any teams start making offers.

Hierarchy remains: Kela | Diekman | Martin.

June 23, 2018
Texas Rangers — Jesse Chavez was called on to protect a three-run lead in the 8th inning, and after the Rangers put up four more runs in the 9th, he stayed in to pick up his first save since April 2015. The other news for the Rangers is that Chris Martin was activated from the DL, and pitched a perfect 7th inning for his ninth hold of the year. He jumps right back into the hierarchy after Friday’s solid outing.

Updated hierarchy: Kela | Diekman | Martin.

June 21, 2018
Texas Rangers — We expected Keone Kela to get Wednesday off, and he did, but the Rangers went with Jake Diekman for a third straight day. Diekman converted the save.

Hierarchy remains: Kela | Diekman | Leclerc.

June 16, 2018
Texas Rangers – Chris Martin was placed on the 10-day DL retroactive to Tuesday with a right calf strain. Jake Diekman and Jose Leclerc should be the ones to get the ball to Keone Kela when the Rangers are actually in line to win a game. We may also see Alex Claudio pick up an occasional hold as well in Martin’s absence.

Updated hierarchy: Kela | Diekman | Leclerc.

May 21, 2018
Texas Rangers – Chris Martin was activated from the disabled list, and looked strong in his return outing, striking out two hitters in a clean inning. We’ll move him back up to his former position behind Keone Kela until he gives us a reason to do otherwise.

Updated hierarchy: Kela | Martin | Diekman.

May 8, 2018
Texas Rangers – After blowing a four-run lead last Tuesday and then giving up a go-ahead run on Thursday, Keone Kela had a nice bounce-back appearance last night, striking out two hitters in a scoreless 9th to pick up his 7th save. His ERA sits at 6.00, but he’s probably safer than that number would suggest, in part because most of the damage came across two particularly bad appearances, and also because his would-be competition hasn’t been much better. Jake Diekman got the 8th inning last night, but he’s walked 12 hitters in 12.1 IP this year, contributing to a 1.70 WHIP, and Alex Claudio has been knocked around all season, having allowed 29 hits and 11 earned runs in 16.1 innings of work. Jose Leclerc and Tony Barnette have been decent, though, and are both sporting ERAs under 3 — it seems likely that both of these righties will start getting higher-leverage work. And if Kela falters or gets hurt, one of them could be in position to benefit.

Updated hierarchy: Kela | Diekman | Leclerc. 

May 3, 2018
Texas Rangers — When you try your best, but you don’t succeed, well, you’re probably the Rangers, and you’re placing Chris Martin on the disabled list with forearm irritation. It’s unclear whether the treatment plan will involve bone ignition or just a humble jade gemstone, but we’re fully confident that they will try . . . to fix him. Jake Diekman (hit by a 112 mph line drive on Tuesday), Jose Leclerc, and Kevin Jepsen should get more play in Martin’s absence.

Updated hierarchy: Kela | Claudio | Diekman.

April 16, 2018
Texas Rangers – Jake Diekman picked up his first save of the season late Sunday night, pitching a clean 10th inning after the Rangers had taken the lead. Keone Kela and Alex Claudio had already pitched, while the other reliever who may have gotten the call, Chris Martin, had gone in back to back games and three of the previous four.

Hierarchy remains: Kela | Martin | Claudio.

April 15, 2018
Texas Rangers — Alex Claudio picked up his first save of the season on Saturday.  Claudio came on with two outs and two men on to face lefty Josh Reddick, and got him to ground out to end the game.  Keone Kela recorded the win by pitching a scoreless bottom of the ninth in a tie game.  Before the season, the Rangers said that Kevin Jepsen would likely close when Kela was unavailable.  However, Jepsen was not used at all on Saturday, and instead it was Chris Martin who started the tenth in the save opportunity.  Martin has four holds on the season, including both eighth inning holds ahead of Kela saves, and it looks like Martin has moved ahead of Jepsen.  Either way, saves could be few and far between for the Rangers, as their lead in the 10th inning on Saturday was the first time they held a lead in 54 innings.

Updated hierarchy: Kela | Martin | Claudio. 

March 29, 2018
Texas Rangers — Keone Kela will be the Rangers’ primary closer, Jeff Banister announced. In a bit of a surprise, Banister mentioned Kevin Jepsen as the player who will spell Kela when he needs a break. Alex Claudio could ascend if they falter.

Updated hierarchy: Kela | Jepsen | Claudio. 

March 22, 2018
Texas Rangers — One week from Opening Day, the Rangers’ closer situation still hasn’t really cleared up. With Jeff Banister eager to deploy Alex Claudio and Matt Bush (who lost his chance at the rotation after three poor starts) in high-leverage situations before the ninth, it sounds more and more like Texas won’t commit to a single closer — at least until (and unless) Tim Lincecum is ready to go. Keone Kela passed a big test with successful back-to-back outings this week, and he says he’s ready for the season to start. We’ll throw an asterisk on here (for now) to account for Banister’s lack of commitment, with Kela still our choice over Jake Diekman and the rest.

Updated hierarchy: *Kela | Diekman | Claudio.
* = closer-by-committee

February 26, 2018
Texas Rangers — Lefthanded sinkerballer Alex Claudio claimed first chair in a volatile closer committee last August. With Matt Bush headed to the (six-man) rotation, and an MRI revealing “disconcerting issues” in free agent Seung-Hwan Oh’s arm, the Rangers are left to choose among Claudio, Jake Diekman, and Keone Kela. Beat writers are torn between Claudio and his league-leading “cojones” and Kela’s electric stuff and .135 BAA. Jeff Banister wants to break camp with a guy, and although Kela has an extensive injury history, we think he’s the best option, and worth stashing even if Claudio or Diekman gets the gig. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear something firm.

Starting 2018 hierarchy: Kela | Claudio | Diekman.
Holds candidates: Diekman, Jose Leclerc, Tony Barnette.

September 22, 2017
Texas Rangers – On a night when Cole Hamels tossed the first eight innings, Keone Kela got the call in the ninth inning Thursday and converted his second save of the season (he did allow a solo HR). Alex Claudio was unavailable, as forecast by the Vulture Save Watch. Matt Bush had gone in three of the previous four. Tony Barnette, meanwhile, was well-rested but nowhere to be seen. We’ll slide Kela into the mix of a messy situation.

Updated hierarchy: *Claudio | Bush | Kela.
* = closer-by-committee

September 18, 2017
Texas Rangers – After a solid 7th inning from Keone Kela, Matt Bush came out for the 8th inning, but immediately got into trouble, allowing a solo HR and a base hit. Jake Diekman came on and bailed him out, then stayed on for the 9th to earn his first save of the season. Committee leader Alex Claudio is still the go-to lefty in this pen, but this was a very nice outing for Diekman, who throws hard and could be in the mix for holds next season.

Hierarchy remains: *Claudio | Barnette | Bush.
* = closer-by-committee

September 13, 2017
Texas Rangers – Keone Kela was activated from the DL on Tuesday. He probably won’t challenge Alex Claudio for the ninth inning, but we’ll monitor how quickly Kela is thrust into a high-leverage role.

Hierarchy remains: *Claudio | Barnette | Bush.
* = closer-by-committee

September 12, 2017
Texas Rangers – Matt Bush returned from the DL over the weekend, and got his first action Monday night, throwing a clean 7th inning and picking up his 8th hold. We suspect that’s about how he’s used for the rest of the season.

Updated hierarchy: *Claudio | Barnette | Bush.
* = closer-by-committee

September 4, 2017
Texas Rangers – After pitching him for 2.2 IP across two games on Thursday and Friday, the Rangers gave Alex Claudio a second day off on Sunday, and Tony Barnette picked up the save in his absence. Claudio remains the guy that the Rangers will go to in the 9th inning on most nights.

Hierarchy remains: *Claudio | Barnette | Rodriguez.
* = closer-by-committee

August 25, 2017
Texas Rangers — For the second straight night, a Texas Ranger picked up his first career save. This time, Ricky Rodriguez did the honors, retiring the side in the ninth on 10 pitches. Alex Claudio is still the lead man for the Rangers, who are now just one game out of a Wild Card spot, but Rodriguez and Tony Barnette may compete with Jose Leclerc for saves when Claudio is unavailable. As an aside, the Rangers are moving Tyson Ross to the bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: *Claudio | Barnette | Rodriguez.

August 24, 2017
Texas Rangers — After Alex Claudio kept the game tied through the eighth and ninth innings, Jose Leclerc had a chance to convert a save in the 10th inning. Leclerc faltered, however, issuing two walks before being removed in favor of Tony Barnette, who came in locked down his first career save. Walks have been an issue for Leclerc, as he has now handed out nine over his last four games. Alex Claudio is clearly the best pitcher in the Rangers’ bullpen right now, with Barnette and Ricardo Rodriguez beginning to close the gap on Leclerc.

Updated hierarchy: *Claudio | Leclerc | Barnette.
* = closer-by-committee

August 22, 2017
Texas Rangers — Matt Bush was placed on the DL Monday following his collision with Joey Gallo. The Rangers have a couple different options to choose from for the 7th inning, including Jason Grilli and Tony Barnette. You may also see Ricardo Rodriguez get a chance to show his stuff. The 24-year-old was promoted from Double-A earlier this month after converting all 17 of his save chances. We’ll keep an eye on who gets the first crack at getting the ball to Jose Leclerc and Alex Claudio.

Updated hierarchy: *Claudio | Leclerc | Grilli.
* = closer-by-committee

August 21, 2017
Texas Rangers — Matt Bush is in the concussion protocol after colliding with Joey Gallo during Sunday’s game. Bush suffered a knee bruise and won’t travel with the team unless tests confirm he didn’t suffer a concussion. No DL trip yet.

Hierarchy remains: *Claudio | Leclerc | Bush.
* = closer-by-committee

August 9, 2017
Texas Rangers – Keone Kela is back on the DL for the second time in five weeks thanks to shoulder soreness. Jeff Banister said that if Kela does return this season, it most likely won’t be as the team’s closer. Banister also said that he wants flexibility with when and where he deploys Alex Claudio, so expect him to continue pitching in a variety of situations.

Updated hierarchy: *Claudio | Leclerc | Bush.
* = closer-by-committee

August 7, 2017
Texas Rangers – Alex Claudio entered the game in the seventh inning with the Rangers down by 1 run, and threw two scoreless innings. The maybe-leader of the Texas committee hadn’t pitched either of the previous two games, and the Rangers have an offday on Monday, but this was another odd spot for Claudio if he’s supposed to be the guy they’re looking to for saves. We aren’t changing the hierarchy again, but we consider Claudio and Jose Leclerc to be complete equals at this point.

Hierarchy remains: *Claudio | Leclerc | Kela.
* = closer-by-committee

August 6, 2017
Texas Rangers – There did not end up being a save opportunity for the Rangers last night because Cole Hamels pitched a completed game.  However, if Hamels had run into any trouble in the ninth inning, it was Alex Claudio who was warming up to come in for the save.  Claudio and Jose Leclerc both appear to be good options to close, but we will swap them again based on Claudio’s save on Thursday and his warming up last night.

Updated hierarchy: *Claudio | Leclerc | Kela.
* = closer-by-committee

August 4, 2017
Texas Rangers – And that’s why we call it a committee, folks! Until Thursday, Jose Leclerc had the team’s most recent save, and recent usage suggested Alex Claudio may have fallen out of favor as the preferred 9th-inning option. But then on Thursday night, it was Claudio pitching a clean ninth for his fifth save. Leclerc, who had gone in two straight games, did not pitch and was possibly getting a breather. There was no postgame indication as to who had the upper-hand in this situation, though Rangers fans on Twitter generally seem to like Claudio. In all of this drama, keep an eye on Matt Bush, who has pitched better of late (six straight scoreless appearances with seven Ks).

Hierarchy remains: *Leclerc | Claudio | Kela.
* = closer-by-committee

August 2, 2017
Texas Rangers – If the last two games are any indication, Alex Claudio is perhaps not the preferred arm in the ninth inning for the Rangers. With Texas trailing by a run, Claudio pitched the eighth and Jose Leclerc got the ninth. Claudio has the arm and the efficiency to go multiple innings, and probably could have pitched the ninth if the Rangers took the lead, but his usage over the last two days has certainly been unconventional for a closer. We’ll move Leclerc to the top of the committee and monitor how long he stays there.

Updated hierarchy: *Leclerc | Claudio | Kela.
* = closer-by-committee

August 1, 2017
Texas Rangers – We thought Alex Claudio had seized control of the closer role in Texas, but last night he was summoned in a tie game in the 7th inning, which isn’t exactly the place you’d use your full-time closer. Claudio ended up pitching 2.2 innings and taking the loss after a balk-filled 9th. We’re slapping the committee tag back on here and will watch to see how Texas proceeds the next few days.

Updated hierarchy: *Claudio | Kela | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

July 28, 2017
Texas Rangers – The Rangers are actively shopping Jeremy Jeffress around, but may be inclined to deal Keone Kela in the right deal, too.

Hierarchy remains: Claudio | Kela | Leclerc. 

July 24, 2017
Texas Rangers – Alex Claudio got the night off, but with Keone Kela still apparently not pitching in back-to-back games yet, it was Jose Leclerc who got the save chance for the Rangers. He converted, and the recently-shaky Rangers bullpen is rounding back into form, with even their fourth and fifth options pitching well of late.

Hierarchy remains: Claudio | Kela | Leclerc. 

July 23, 2017
Texas Rangers — Keone Kela started the eighth inning last night with the Rangers up one run.  He recorded two outs, but also gave up a hit and a walk, and Alex Claudio came on to finish the inning.  Claudio came back out to pitch a scoreless ninth and pick up his fourth save of the year.  Claudio has finished the Rangers last four wins, and has earned the closer’s job.  We will remove the asterisk, but there still could be some times Claudio is needed before the ninth because of the Rangers’ current bullpen condition.

Hierarchy remains: Claudio | Kela | Leclerc.

July 22, 2017
Texas Rangers — Alex Claudio has been impressive as the head of the Rangers’ committee. While he didn’t earn a save last night, he pitched a clean ninth in a tie game, then returned to protect a one-run lead in the tenth. The biggest thing keeping the asterisk next to Claudio’s name is that he’s the only lefty in the Texas pen, which may lead to some situational usage. It remains to be seen how Jeff Banister will deploy Keone Kela, who just returned from the DL, but Claudio may be able to hold the job.

Hierarchy remains: *Claudio | Kela | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

July 21, 2017
Texas Rangers — Keone Kela has been activated from the disabled list. He probably won’t be thrown into the ninth inning right away, but many suspect it’ll only be a matter of time before he starts getting save chances.

Updated hierarchy: *Claudio | Kela | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

July 16, 2017
Texas Rangers — Alex Claudio notched his second consecutive save for the Rangers.  Jose Leclerc got the last out of the eighth and came back out to start the ninth.  However, after Leclerc walked the leadoff man, Claudio came on to face the lefty Hosmer.  Claudio struck Hosmer out and then got Salvatore Perez to ground into a game ending double play.  Claudio still has some pretty significant splits (Lefties are only hitting .143 on the season while righties are hitting .287), but he moves to the top of the committee for now.

Updated hierarchy: *Claudio | Leclerc | Bush.
* = closer-by-committee

July 15, 2017
Texas Rangers — With two lefties due up in the ninth, Texas turned to their committee lefty, Alex Claudio, to protect a two-run lead. He pitched a perfect inning for his second save of the season, and will continue to be a major part of the Rangers committee until and unless they bring in some outside help.

Hierarchy remains: *Leclerc | Claudio | Bush.
* = closer-by-committee

July 6, 2017
Texas Rangers — Jeff Banister confirmed that Texas will be using a three-man committee to close: Jose Leclerc, Alex Claudio, and Matt Bush. Ernesto Frieri was recently designated for assignment to make room for Jeremy Jeffress.

Hierarchy remains: *Leclerc | Claudio | Bush.
* = closer-by-committee

July 4, 2017
Texas Rangers — Keone Kela went on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Friday with a sore shoulder. The good news for the Rangers is he won’t necessarily miss a ton of action due to the All-Star break. In the meantime, Jose Leclerc should take charge of the committee, with Alex Claudio, Matt Bush and Ernesto Frieri all right behind him.

Updated hierarchy: *Leclerc | Claudio | Bush.
* = closer-by-committee

July 3, 2017
Texas Rangers — With Alex Claudio unavailable, it was Ernesto Frieri and Matt Bush for the Rangers in the sixth and seventh of a one-run game. When Jeff Banister turned to Jose Leclerc in the eighth, however, he gave up the go-ahead home run, robbing Keone Kela of his first chance to truly seize the job. In other relief news, Texas acquired Jason Grilli and welcomed Tony Barnette back from the disabled list. Neither should challenge Kela.

Hierarchy remains: *Kela | Leclerc | Claudio.
* = closer-by-committee

July 1, 2017
Texas Rangers — As we warned in this morning’s update, Jeff Banister announced that the Rangers will move to a closer-by-committee approach, with Keone Kela leading the way (when healthy) ahead of Jose Leclerc, Alex Claudio, and — at least eventually — Matt Bush.

Updated hierarchy: *Kela | Leclerc | Claudio.
* = closer-by-committee

July 1, 2017
Texas Rangers — Matt Bush blew his third save in the last five chances, the league-leading 16th blown save for Texas this season. After the game, the normally taciturn Jeff Banister kept repeating, “We’ve got to find a way to close baseball games out.” Complicating that search immensely is Keone Kela’s struggle with shoulder soreness. If Kela were healthy, he’d probably have the job already, but now Bush may get one more chance to right the ship. If there’s a committee in the Rangers’ future, it will probably include Kela, Jose Leclerc, Alex Claudio, and maybe even Ernesto Frieri.

Hierarchy remains: Bush | Kela | Leclerc. 

June 20, 2017
Texas Rangers – Matt Bush’s recent struggles continued last night, as he blew the save and took the loss against the Blue Jays. In his past seven outings, Bush has allowed 7 runs (6 earned) in 6.1 IP, vaulting his ERA from 0.96 to 2.88, and you won’t find much sympathy for him on Twitter. Keone Kela (20 Ks in his last 12.2 IP) and Jose Leclerc (14 Ks in his last 6.1 IP) are lurking.

Updated hierarchy: Bush | Kela | Leclerc. 

June 3, 2017
Texas Rangers — The Rangers will have 10 days to trade or release former closer (and World Baseball Classic star) Sam Dyson after designating him for assignment on Friday. Dyson still has great stuff and a team-friendly contract, but he’ll likely be a few months away from a save opportunity wherever he ends up.

Hierarchy remains: Bush | Kela | Claudio.

June 1, 2017
Texas Rangers — After Alex Claudio gave the Rangers two solid innings in a tight game, Matt Bush reminded us he’s human by blowing a save. Now it’s a tied game in the tenth: you be the skipper! Your options are Tony Barnette, Sam Dyson, bringing Bush out for a second inning, or having Pete Kozma pitch. Got your answer locked in? Did you choose Dyson? Of course not!! But Jeff Banister did, so two home runs later, Tampa Bay had the win. If you started Dyson on your fantasy team tonight, email a screenshot to [email protected] and we’ll apologize for being rude to your son.

Updated hierarchy: Bush | Kela | Claudio.

May 25, 2017
Texas Rangers — Sam Dyson entered Wednesday’s game with two on, one out, a two-run lead, and — for the first time all year — an ERA below 10. RBI single. RBI single (and throwing error). Intentional walk. Run-scoring wild pitch. 2-RBI single. Ground-rule double. Intentional walk. RBI walk. Sam Dyson left Wednesday’s game with three on, one out, a four-run deficit, and a WHIP (2.65) higher than last year’s ERA (2.43). There’s something very wrong with Sam Dyson. Don’t wait for him to figure it out on your roster.

Updated hierarchy: Bush | Kela | Barnette.

May 22, 2017
Texas Rangers – Matt Bush’s 33-pitch outing on Friday — his third appearance in four days at the time — was apparently tiring enough that the Rangers wanted to give him a second day off on Sunday. So Keone Kela picked up the save, firing a perfect 9th inning with two strikeouts. Kela’s appearance followed another encouraging outing from former closer Sam Dyson, who struck out three in 1.2 clean innings.

Hierarchy remains: Bush | Kela | Dyson.

May 15, 2017
Texas Rangers – Sam Dyson got through a shaky 8th inning on Sunday, allowing two hits but escaping without allowing a run to pick up his second hold of the season. We don’t know WHY the Rangers are giving Dyson high-leverage spots again — he still has just 2 Ks on the SEASON compared with 8 BBs, indicating his recent stretch of not-awfulness is much more luck than skill — we just know that they are doing it, so we’re reluctantly giving him a spot back on the hierarchy. Keone Kela remains ahead of him, while Jeremy Jeffress (who would be our choice for 2nd in line if we were Jeff Banister) should still nab an occasional hold now and again.

Updated hierarchy: Bush | Kela | Dyson.

May 6, 2017
Texas Rangers — Lefty Alex Claudio was the last man standing in the Rangers’ bullpen in the thirteenth inning, and he picked up a save for his trouble. Keone Kela and Jeremy Jeffress were unavailable after heavy workloads on Thursday.

Hierarchy remains: Bush | Jeffress | Kela.

April 30, 2017
Texas Rangers — Keone Kela pitched a scoreless eighth inning ahead of closer Matt Bush yesterday, and has yet to allow a run since getting called up in mid-April.  Kela should continue to see time in the later innings and with Jeffress coming off an outing where he gave up three runs and took the loss, he could work his way into the set-up role.

Updated hierarchy: Bush | Jeffress | Kela.

April 27, 2017
Texas Rangers — When Sam Dyson returns from the disabled list (as early as Friday), he won’t be anywhere near the ninth inning. It’s Matt Bush’s job now.

Hierarchy remains: Bush | Jeffress | LeClerc.

April 24, 2017
Texas Rangers – Though he only picked up his first save of the season on Sunday, it’s probably safe to remove the asterisk on Matt Bush. Since the Rangers put Sam Dyson on the DL, Bush has pitched the 9th inning three times — twice in tie games, and then last night’s appearance, in which he pitched a clean 9th.

Updated hierarchy: Bush | Jeffress | LeClerc.

April 18, 2017
Texas Rangers – The Rangers had a comfortable lead going into the late innings yesterday, but used Jeremy Jeffress when things got a little sticky in the 8th, and then used the just-recalled Keone Kela (who now vows to actually try hard and stuff) finish off the 9th inning once they’d pushed their lead to 7-0. Hopefully you picked up Matt Bush after reading yesterday’s update, because Jeff Banister said that the former first overall pick would indeed get the majority of save chances. But Kela, in particular, is an intriguing arm to watch going forward. (Also, Sam Dyson went on the DL yesterday but hopefully he’s already dead to you.)

Hierarchy remains: *Bush | Jeffress | LeClerc.
* = closer-by-committee

April 17, 2017
Texas Rangers – Despite saying that he’d look elsewhere for closing opportunities, Jeff Banister gave Sam Dyson one last shot on Sunday, and Dyson promptly blew the lead and took the loss, with Nelson Cruz’s infield single capping the rally. Dyson should now be out for good, but unfortunately for fantasy owners, there isn’t a ton of clarity elsewhere in the bullpen. We think Matt Bush is the guy to own right now — he’s been nursing a sore shoulder and his availability was questionable even on Sunday, but he pitched nonetheless, striking out the side in the 8th inning, with 10 of his 11 pitches being 97 mph or faster. Jeremy Jeffress, who saved 27 games for the Brewers last year, is another possibility, though he’s never shown the ability to strike out a ton of hitters, and this year is no different (3 Ks in 6.0 IPs). Jose LeClerc got a save five days ago, but has only pitched once since then — a sixth inning appearance where he gave up three hits, a run, two additional inherited runners, and took the loss. And Tony Barnette was being talked about as a potential closer as recently as a few days ago, but he was summoned in the 6th on Sunday and gave up two runs. We don’t expect Banister to publicly name a new closer, so we’ll watch closely to see how things play out tonight in Oakland.

Updated hierarchy: *Bush | Jeffress | LeClerc.
* = closer-by-committee

April 13, 2017
Texas Rangers — Before Texas blew its game open — gifting a save to young Jose Leclerc — the first save chance in the post-Sam Dyson era was slated for Tony Barnette, a 33-year-old with no prior major league saves. In 2015, though, Barnette led the Japan Central League with 41 of them, tied with some guy named Seung-hwan Oh. Jeremy Jeffress pitched the seventh and part of the eighth, but is still in the mix for future opportunities. Behind those two are Matt Bush, whose health is in doubt after a shoulder injection, and Leclerc, who retired Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in a tight spot in the eighth (making Trout look silly in the process), then stuck around for the lower-leverage ninth. Until Bush proves he’s healthy, we’ll move Leclerc past him.

Updated hierarchy: *Barnette | Jeffress | Leclerc.
* = closer-by-committee

April 12, 2017
Texas Rangers — Jeff Banister made some wishy-washy comments on MLB Network Radio this morning about the closer role, but what seems relatively certain is that Sam Dyson won’t be used in the ninth for a little while. Banister mentioned Matt Bush, Jeremy Jeffress, and Tony Barnette as committee members, saying the Rangers will look to mix and match. Bush is headed back to Texas for an injection and will rejoin the team Friday, so our best guess is Jeffress gets the first shot.

Updated hierarchy: *Jeffress | Bush | Barnette.
* = closer-by-committee

April 12, 2017
Texas Rangers — Sam Dyson’s struggles continued on Tuesday, as he allowed three runs in the ninth to send the game to extra innings, with the Rangers eventually losing in the 10th. That’s now 11 earned runs in four appearances for Dyson, three of which have been bad. After the game, Jeff Banister said that the team will need to consider its options regarding the closer role. Those options are either Matt Bush or Jeremy Jeffress. We still like Matt Bush over Jeremy Jeffress, despite Bush being “unavailable” on Tuesday, but we’ll hopefully get more clarity from Banister on Wednesday. If Bush can’t go, expect Jeffress to get the call.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Bush | Jeffress.

April 7, 2017
Texas Rangers — Last season, Sam Dyson gave up 19 earned runs in 73 appearances. In his first two games of this season, he’s almost halfway there (8 ER, 1 IP), with the latest blow a go-ahead grand slam by Francisco Lindor. The Rangers have fired their closer each of the last two Mays, but so far Jeff Banister is a lot calmer than Rangers media (“Is it time for full-fledged panic?”). The Rangers have tomorrow off, so we expect Dyson to get the next save chance — although speculators should give Matt Bush a slight edge over Jeremy Jeffress.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Bush | Jeffress.

February 27, 2017
Texas Rangers — There has been a lot of turnover at the closer position the last few years for the Rangers, but Sam Dyson, who turns 29 in May, figures to be the team’s closer for all of 2017. Dyson picked up 38 saves last year — all after May 10 — and should be in line for even more opportunities this year. Matt Bush and Jeremy Jeffress — who have each had their issues off the field — should be in line for holds, along with Jake Diekman, with Bush likely stepping into the closer’s role should Dyson falter or get injured.

Starting 2016 hierarchy: Dyson | Bush | Jeffress.
Holds candidates: Bush, Jeffress, Diekman.

September 23, 2016
Texas Rangers — Reports are suggesting that reliever Jeremy Jeffress is expected to rejoin the Rangers on Friday. He has been away from the team since an Aug. 26 arrest for alleged drunken driving. He entered into a rehab facility days later. Jeffress could be back to prepare for the playoffs, if he makes the postseason roster. We’ll see how he’s used once he’s back before jumping to conclusions.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Bush | Diekman.

September 14, 2016
Texas Rangers — The Rangers erased a one-run deficit in the top of the 9th, paving the way for Tanner Scheppers to grab his first save since Aug. 6, 2013. Scheppers has been stupendous since returning to the Rangers’ bullpen on Sept. 7, retiring all seven batters he has faced in four appearances. It’s a crowded bullpen in Texas at the moment, but Scheppers is making a case to move into the hierarchy as the postseason approaches.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Bush | Diekman.

September 13, 2016
Texas Rangers — Jake Diekman picked up an extra-inning save after Sam Dyson failed to close the door in the 9th. It was a much-needed scoreless outing for Diekman, who had been struggling prior to Monday.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Bush | Diekman.

September 10, 2016
Texas Rangers — Matt Bush picked up a win last night after recording the last out of the seventh and staying on for the eighth. Bush has been getting eighth innings ahead of Sam Dyson lately, while Jake Diekman has struggled mightily in three September appearances (45.00 ERA, 7.00 WHIP). Keone Kela has looked good lately and could pass Diekman soon.

Updated hierarchy: Dyson | Bush | Diekman.

September 1, 2016
Texas Rangers — Jeremy Jeffress apologized and entered rehab on Wednesday, avoiding any suspension by MLB. He’s expected to be in treatment for about a month, leaving open the possibility that he could rejoin the Rangers for the postseason.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

August 27, 2016
Texas Rangers — Jeremy Jeffress was placed on the restricted list following a Friday morning DWI arrest. Jeffress failed three drug tests in the minors — which he attributed to self-medicating his epilepsy — and was suspended twice. The Rangers are likely to activate him today and allow the legal process to play out before deciding on any suspension, but with Matt Bush and Jake Diekman pitching effectively, Jeffress may have to earn his way back into the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

August 11, 2016
Texas Rangers — Sam Dyson and Jeremy Jeffress had each pitched in three of four games, and after Jake Diekman gave up the go-ahead runs in the eighth, Jeff Banister called on Matt Bush for the save (his first). Bush won’t crack the hierarchy again just yet, though; Texas has seven high-quality options in the bullpen, and Bush remains a pretty clear fourth.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Jeffress | Diekman.

August 9, 2016
Texas Rangers – It was another banner night for the Vulture Save Watch, as Jake Diekman closed the door on the Rangers’ come-from-behind win. Thanks to Carlos Estevez for the assist!

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Jeffress | Diekman.

August 5, 2016
Texas Rangers – Former Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress got into his first game with the Rangers Thursday, pitching a scoreless seventh inning in an eventual 4-1 win. After the game, manager Jeff Banister called Jeffress’s arm “electric.” As for the other Texas arms, Matt Bush pitched the eighth inning while Jake Diekman, who hasn’t pitched since July 31, warmed in the bullpen. It’ll be interesting to see who gets any save chances when Dyson is unavailable, but our money is on Jeffress – for now – in a crowded-but-talented bullpen.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Jeffress | Diekman.

August 2, 2016
Texas Rangers – Sam Dyson will retain his closer gig despite the acquisition of Jeremy Jeffress, said Jon Daniels after the trade yesterday. Jeffress will still be valuable in holds leagues, but in traditional leagues, he’s unlikely to make much of a difference unless Dyson falters.

Updated hierarchy: Dyson | Jeffress | Diekman.

July 30, 2016
Texas Rangers — Three holds over the last week entitles Keone Kela to return to the Rangers hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Dyson | Diekman | Kela.

July 23, 2016
Texas Rangers — Jake Diekman returned from the disabled list Friday and threw a scoreless inning.  He should immediately return to his set-up role, and could see the occasional save chance when Sam Dyson is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

July 16, 2016
Texas Rangers — While it isn’t quite as embarrassing as injuring yourself taking off your shoes, Jake Diekman found his way to the DL after cutting himself on a broken souvenir Cheers mug. Texas immediately inquired about aging Boston prospect Sam “Mayday” Malone, but the deal fell through when Malone failed a physical. It wasn’t all bad news for Texas, which also got Keone Kela back from the 60-day DL. Jeff Bannister said that he will use Kela in the late innings immediately, and that Matt Bush will be used in big spots against left-handed hitters. We give Bush the edge, as Kela hasn’t pitched since April.

Updated hierarchy: Dyson | Bush | Kela.

June 27, 2016
Texas Rangers — Speaking of relievers who are having a good June, look who trotted out of the bullpen in the 9th inning for the Rangers last night! Why, it’s our old pal Shawn Tolleson! It was a 4-run game, and if it had been a save situation, Sam Dyson surely would have gotten the call, but with Tolleson starting to round into form (1 ER in 9 innings since returning to the bigs), he could start challenging Jake Diekman and Matt Bush for some holds.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

June 25, 2016
Texas Rangers – In a bit of a surprise, it was Jake Diekman who was brought in to protect a 3 run lead instead of Sam Dyson. Diekman couldn’t convert the save, and was pulled after getting 2 outs. Matt Bush replaced him and immediately gave up the a home run to tie it, and later gave up the winning run on a wild pitch. After the game, Jeff Banister said that Dyson was fine, but needed a break after pitching on 12 of the last 20 days. This probably solidifies Dyson’s role in the bullpen, but if Banister continues to rest his top players we could see Diekman pick up a few more vulture saves.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

June 19, 2016
Texas Rangers — Jake Diekman pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts yesterday to record his second save of the season.  Sam Dyson was given the day off after pitching in three of the previous four days.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

June 10, 2016
Texas Rangers — Jake Diekman picked up his first career save Thursday night, retiring three of the four batters he saw in the ninth inning. Rangers manager Jeff Bannister gave closer Sam Dyson a second straight day off after he had pitched in three in a row. In a grueling 30-pitch outing Tuesday, Dyson had some discomfort with a nail on his right index finger, but the injury does not seem serious.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

June 4, 2016
Texas Rangers — Keep an eye on Tony Barnette, last year’s standout closer for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, who wears his hair in a samurai topknot and has three holds for Texas in the last week — more than the rest of the bullpen combined.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

June 3, 2016
Texas Rangers – Exiled closer Shawn Tolleson is expected back with the Rangers on Friday after taking some time off to be with his ailing father, who is battling cancer. There was no word yet as to whom he will replace on the active roster. It’s possible that these off-the-field issues may have played a part in his rough year so far (10.13 ERA, 2.00 WHIP). We send our best wishes to Tolleson and his family.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

May 31, 2016
Texas Rangers – Cesar Ramos earned his first save of the season the hard way, pitching three innings of relief to save the win for Derek Holland. It was a nice box score surprise for Ramos, but that’s it.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

May 26, 2016
Texas Rangers — Shawn Tolleson didn’t do himself any favors on Wednesday, giving up two singles and a home run in a brief eighth-inning appearance. The outing didn’t really hurt the team — Texas was up seven when Tolleson came in — but it won’t get him any closer to regaining his old job.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

May 24, 2016
Texas Rangers – In his first outing since being demoted, Shawn Tolleson posted two strikeouts in 1.1 innings. He’s got a ways to go before the Rangers trust him with the 9th inning again, but a few more outings like this combined with a slip up from Sam Dyson would have him back in the conversation.

Hierarchy remains: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

May 19, 2016
Texas Rangers
 – After an outing that saw his ERA climb to over 9.00, Shawn Tolleson will get some time off from closing. Sam Dyson is the best bet for saves going forward, and Jake Diekman could see chances if the matchups are right. Another player to keep an eye on is Matt Bush, who has been electric since being called up from the minors.

Updated hierarchy: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

May 18, 2016
Texas Rangers — Shawn Tolleson blew his fourth save of the season on Tuesday, but despite a 9.20 ERA, Jeff Bannister did not want to make a reactionary decision. Tolleson is clearly on the thinnest of ice, however, and Sam Dyson is even closer to taking over the 9th inning for the Rangers.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Dyson | Diekman.

May 16, 2016
Texas Rangers – Though Rougned Odor stole all the headlines for his right cross to Jose Bautista, Sam Dyson was a hero (or villain, depending on your perspective) in his own right for treating us to this perfect form tackle of Russ Martin. Adding insult to injury, Dyson also retired Martin to end the game, picking up his second save of the year in the process. With Shawn Tolleson struggling, Dyson is a great speculative add if you have the roster space.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Dyson | Diekman.

May 14, 2016
Texas Rangers — Matt Bush was the first overall pick as a shortstop in the 2004 draft, but his once-promising career was derailed by a series of alcohol-related arrests, culminating in a 39-month prison sentence for critically injuring a 72-year-old motorcyclist in a drunken hit-and-run accident. After his release, Bush was working as a baker at Golden Corral when the Rangers — very familiar with the work needed to support a recovering addict — offered him one final chance at baseball. Friday night, Bush made his major league debut, striking out reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson and hitting 99 on the radar gun. He could be relevant right away in the late innings for Texas.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Dyson | Diekman.

May 12, 2016
Texas Rangers — As predicted by the Vulture Save Watch, Shawn Tolleson was unavailable last night, allowing Sam Dyson to pick up his first save of the year. Tolleson, who has a 2.19 ERA since his five-run debacle in early April, should be ready for the next save opportunity.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Dyson | Diekman.

April 22, 2016
Texas Rangers — Erstwhile setup man Keone Kela (7.11 ERA) was placed on the disabled list Thursday with a right elbow impingement. Kela will have surgery Friday to remove a bone spur in his elbow, putting him out of action for about three months.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Dyson | Diekman.

April 15, 2016
Texas Rangers — Closer Shawn Tolleson has calmed down after a rough start in which his ERA briefly exceeded his uniform number. On Thursday, he dispatched Baltimore for his third save of the year, lowering that ERA to Glen Perkins.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Dyson | Diekman.

April 12, 2016
Texas Rangers – Keone Kela faltered in Seattle last night protecting a big lead, giving up two runs and seeing his ERA inflate to 7.36. Jake Diekman pitched the ninth in a four-run game, and has not given up a hit in three appearances to start the year.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Dyson | Diekman.

April 8, 2016
Texas Rangers — The Rangers have three losses, each credited to a member of their beleaguered bullpen. Shawn Tolleson, whose grip on the ninth inning weakens every day, allowed a walk-off, bases-loaded single to Albert Pujols Thursday night. That run was charged to Sam Dyson, who took the loss but pitched pretty well, escaping a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the eighth inning. Jeff Bannister doesn’t blame Tolleson or anyone else in the Rangers pen for the struggles, saying after the game, “I felt like our bullpen threw the ball very well.” Yeah, okay. For now, there are no changes to the hierarchy…

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Dyson | Kela.

April 7, 2016
Texas Rangers – The Rangers are the latest team to see their closer get shelled in the early going. Two days after picking up a tough save, Shawn Tolleson gave up five runs without recording an out in a miserable 14-pitch outing. It was the second straight day of bullpen problems in Texas. Jeff Bannister was at least hinting at a situational closer this spring, and this meltdown could begin to push him in that direction, but Tolleson was stellar last year, so it’s a bit early to pull the plug. However, another bad outing and it could be Sam Dyson finding his way into some saves.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Dyson | Kela.

April 5, 2016
Texas Rangers – In a bizarre home opener where the Rangers won despite managing only one hit against King Felix, Jake Diekman pitched a perfect 8th inning ahead of Shawn Tolleson’s first save of the season. Both Sam Dyson and Keone Kela were warming in the Texas ‘pen at the time, so we won’t make a change just yet, but it certainly looks like Diekman will be in the late-innings mix in Arlington.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Dyson | Kela.

March 25, 2016
Texas Rangers – While Jeff Banister was quick to note that Shawn Tolleson is definitely still the closer in Texas, he also said that Tolleson was a short ways behind the other Texas relievers in terms of how they’ve all progressed this spring, and added that he would occasionally play matchups in the 9th. For Tolleson owners, hopefully this is just bluster, but if Banister is serious, then perhaps Sam Dyson or Keone Kela could get an occasional save chance.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Dyson | Kela.

March 24, 2016
Texas Rangers — Sam Dyson was terrific for the Rangers down the stretch last year to help Texas reach the postseason. He’ll be a potential candidate for saves and will almost certainly be called upon in the 8th inning in what is shaping up to be a solid bullpen in Arlington.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Dyson | Kela.

February 29, 2016
Texas Rangers — Shawn Tolleson returns to the fold after a very solid 2015 season, which included 35 saves and 3 scoreless innings in the ALDS. Tolleson is followed closely by Keone Kela, who turns 23 in April and will likely close in Texas one day. For now, he’s a filthy setup man in a strong bullpen. In the offseason, the Rangers picked up former closer Tom Wilhelmsen, who has had tremendous success against division rivals, including the Angels (Mike Trout is 1-12, Albert Pujols is 3-16) and Astros (Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Evan Gattis and George Springer are a combined 1-21).

Starting 2016 hierarchy: Tolleson | Kela | Wilhelmsen.
Holds candidates: Kela, Wilhelmsen, Sam Dyson.

October 3, 2015
Texas Rangers – Sam Dyson has been one of the best relievers in baseball since joining the Texas bullpen, and on Friday, he pitched his third straight game ahead of closer Shawn Tolleson. He’ll be the 8th inning man for the Rangers in the playoffs.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Dyson | Kela.

September 9, 2015
Texas Rangers – Keone Kela made his first appearance since feeling discomfort in his elbow last week, and he struck out two in a perfect eighth inning to keep Texas ahead by two. Manager Jeff Banister said after the game that they will see how Kela is on Wednesday, but if he continues to pitch like that, it will be hard to keep him out very much as the Rangers battle for a playoff spot.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Kela | Dyson.

September 7, 2015
Texas Rangers – The Rangers shut down Keone Kela this past weekend after he felt some discomfort in his elbow. He may return soon, but in the mean time, Texas will continue to look to their deadline acquisitions — Sam Dyson and Jake Diekman — to bridge the gap to Shawn Tolleson.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Dyson | Diekman.

August 22, 2015
Texas Rangers — The Rangers are pleased with the performance of their bullpen lately, and Keone Kela has been a big part of that, returning from his rest in the minors with six straight scoreless outings (four holds). Friday night saw Kela pitch a scoreless eighth in a tight 2-0 game. Sam Dyson and Jake Diekman are still vital late-inning cogs, but because Diekman is a lefty, he’s more likely to get used in the middle innings if an important matchup arises.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Kela | Dyson.

August 14, 2015
Texas Rangers — Jake Diekman has been getting high-leverage work since coming over from Philadelphia in the Cole Hamels trade. That trend continued yesterday, with Diekman (not Sam Dyson) pitching the eighth ahead of Shawn Tolleson. Diekman has three holds and has allowed only two runs in 7.2 IP since he joined the contending Rangers.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Diekman | Dyson.

August 6, 2015
Texas Rangers — As predicted in the Vulture Save Watch, Sam Dyson was brought in to close out a one-run game. He worked around a leadoff single and a hit batsman to pick up his 2nd save of the year. With Texas having an off day today, look for Shawn Tolleson to resume closing this weekend.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Dyson | Diekman.

August 3, 2015
Texas Rangers – Bullpen help came at just the right time for the Rangers, who placed Tanner Scheppers on the DL just a day after sending Keone Kela to the minors for some extended rest. With Shawn Tolleson unavailable after pitching four straight, newcomers Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson were summoned to close out the 9th inning. Diekman walked the only batter he faced on four pitches, but his mere usage suggests he’ll get more high leverage chances going forward; Dyson, meanwhile, was able to do the job, nabbing his first save as a Ranger.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Dyson | Diekman.

August 2, 2015
Texas Rangers – The Rangers sent Keone Kela down to Double-A yesterday.  Kela has been one of the best relievers out of the Rangers bullpen so far this season but they want the rookie reliever to get some extended rest.  Newly acquired Sam Dyson could see some time in the later innings with Kela gone.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Scheppers | Dyson.

July 30, 2015
Texas Rangers – Jake Diekman was included as a part of deal that brought Cole Hamels to Texas. Diekman may have had some sleeper value while still with the Phillies because they could sell off anybody at this point, but that is pretty much gone in Texas, where he’d have to jump several better arms to get into the late-inning mix.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Kela | Scheppers.

July 23, 2015
Texas Rangers – Tanner Scheppers really worked for the win yesterday, giving up four runs in the 8th and ballooning his ERA to 5.63. He was bailed out when John Axford gave up a pair of runs to take the loss, but Scheppers has had a miserable run lately. Manager Jeff Banister gave him a vote of confidence, saying he has electric stuff and that he will still get the 8th, and sometimes the 7th, inning. Meanwhile, Keone Kela has gone three straight appearances without giving up a hit, and has only given up a single run in his last 10 outings. If Scheppers’ bad run continues, look for Spencer Patton to find his way into the late-inning mix as well.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Kela | Scheppers.

July 10, 2015
Texas Rangers – Neftali Feliz cleared waivers on Thursday and now can accept his assignment to the Rangers minor league system or can become a free agent. Feliz (4.58 ERA, 1.68 WHIP) is still only 27 and if he elects free agency, he could help out a team that needs help in the late innings. He would also give up the remainder of his $4.3 million salary, so he’s got some thinking to do.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Scheppers | Kela.

July 4, 2015
Texas Rangers — Well, never mind that business yesterday about Neftali Feliz. After his first outing (two scoreless innings, two hits, 1 K, high of 95 MPH) on Friday, the Rangers immediately designated him for assignment. Feliz will be released if he doesn’t attract trade interest or agree to a demotion to AAA.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Scheppers | Kela.

July 3, 2015
Texas Rangers — Former Rangers closer Neftali Feliz was activated from the disabled list Thursday and could factor into the team’s late-inning plans, despite a rough time of it during his rehab outings (7.36 ERA over 11 innings). We’ll see how manager Jeff Bannister chooses to use Feliz in the early going, but have no fear — Shawn Tolleson is still the closer moving forward. If Feliz continues to struggle, Texas might have a difficult decision to make, because (as a veteran with five years of service time) Feliz can decline any minor league option.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Scheppers | Kela.

July 1, 2015
Texas Rangers – Tanner Scheppers pitched the 8th inning on Tuesday, facing the 2-3-4 hitters in the potent Orioles lineup and retiring the side in order. Keone Kela got the 7th ahead of Scheppers, which was the order of appearance the previous evening. Expect Scheppers to get more of the high-leverage work immediately ahead of Shawn Tolleson in the future.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Scheppers | Kela.

June 18, 2015
Texas Rangers – As predicted in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, it was Keone Kela who converted the save chance for the Rangers last night as Shawn Tolleson needed a night off.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Kela | Scheppers.

June 17, 2015
Texas Rangers – While we officially named Shawn Tolleson the Texas closer on May 25, manager Jeff Banister waited until June 16 to finally call the right-hander just that. How did Tolleson respond? By preserving a 2-2 tie and picking up the win after the Rangers scored in the bottom half of the 9th. Banister did reiterate that the innings leading up to Tolleson in the 9th will be “all hands on deck.”

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Kela | Scheppers.

June 8, 2015
Texas Rangers – Ross Ohlendorf was placed on the disabled list on Sunday with a strained groin. Tanner Scheppers has been receiving some high leverage opportunities since his return from the minors and will likely continue to get holds in Texas.

Updated hierarchy: Tolleson | Kela | Scheppers.

June 6, 2015
Texas Rangers — Shawn Tolleson’s success in the closer role will allow the Rangers to bring Neftali Feliz back slowly, with several minor league rehab outings planned.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Kela | Ohlendorf.

May 26, 2015
Texas Rangers – Neftali Feliz had only gotten into one game since the blown save that cost him his job, and on Monday we were given the reason — an abscess on his right side that has now resulted in a trip to the disabled list. Shawn Tolleson just picked up his fourth save in six games, and Feliz would have to do a lot upon returning to even get himself into the 1st in line spot. So if you don’t have a DL spot open, he’s probably droppable in most leagues at this point.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Kela | Ohlendorf.

May 25, 2015
Texas Rangers – Shawn Tolleson, meanwhile, is losing his asterisk. In striking out the side on 13 pitches last night, he earned his third save in five days and has given Texas no reason to look to anyone else for 9th inning opportunities. The “no roles” bullpen has quickly morphed into “no roles for anyone except Tolleson,” and given his ratios at this point (29 Ks and 4 BBs in 20.1 innings), the hard-throwing righty could be a very solid option for saves going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Kela | Ohlendorf.

May 23, 2015
Texas Rangers — We expected that Shawn Tolleson and Keone Kela would get Friday off after some heavy usage. What we didn’t figure was that Jeff Bannister would call on Ross Ohlendorf and his Jazz Age delivery to pick up the save. Ohlendorf, who was in the minors all last year and got called up just last week, also pitched in a key set-up role on Wednesday, so we’ll reluctantly move him into the hierarchy, for now. But don’t run out to grab the Dorf just yet; this has a lot more to do with Bannister’s evidently lower opinion of Neftali Feliz and Tanner Scheppers. If either can get back in the good graces of the manager, Ross can go back to wooing flappers over glasses of giggle juice.

Updated hierarchy: *Tolleson | Kela | Ohlendorf.
* = closer-by-committee

May 22, 2015
Texas Rangers — Shawn Tolleson converted his second save since taking over as head of the Rangers’ closer committee. Manager Jeff Bannister said after the game that the committee remains in place, but called Tolleson “a viable guy there.” Neftali Feliz was seen warming up in the later innings, but he never made it into the game. Instead, Bannister turned to Keone Kela in perhaps the most important spot in the game; Kela (2.25 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) pitched well, tossing 1.1 innings of scoreless relief and retiring the side in order in the eighth inning.

Updated hierarchy: *Tolleson | Kela | Feliz.
* = closer-by-committee

May 21, 2015
Texas Rangers – Shawn Tolleson converted his first save opportunity as the head of the Texas committee. It wasn’t as smooth as he would have liked, as he gave up a double and an intentional walk, but he got the job done. It was a true committee leading up to the ninth, as utility pitcher Ross Ohlendorf was used in the eighth, combining with Alex Claudio and Tanner Scheppers to hold the Red Sox scoreless. Manager Jeff Banister was happy with his bullpen’s performance, and guys like Scheppers and Tolleson seem to be buying in to the committee. Still of interest is where Neftali Feliz, who had thrown 23 pitches on Tuesday, fits in all of this, and we may find out on Thursday if the Rangers have a late lead. For now, it appears that a cavalcade of pitchers will be used ahead of Tolleson on any given night.

Hierarchy remains: *Tolleson | Feliz | Scheppers.
* = closer-by-committee

May 17, 2015
Texas Rangers – After a pre game news conference where Jeff Banister said that the Rangers “can’t stay status quo” in regards to the late innings, Shawn Tolleson was given the keys to the ninth inning. It wasn’t a save situation because the Rangers scored a run in the bottom of the 8th, but Tolleson had been warming beforehand. In post game interviews, Banister spoke as if this situation will be a committee going forward, something that was echoed by Tolleson. But with Tolleson getting the first crack at the 9th inning and pitching well, we think he’s the favorite to see more opportunities in the near future.

Updated hierarchy: *Tolleson | Feliz | Scheppers.
* = closer-by-committee

May 11, 2015
Texas Rangers – After a rough outing on May 1, Shawn Tolleson has righted the ship. Over his last three outings, he’s allowed only one run while picking up two holds, the most recent of which came Sunday, when he got the 8th ahead of Neftali Feliz. Tolleson’s sturdy WHIP (1.08) and great ratios (18 Ks and 2 BBs in 13 innings) suggest that his inflated ERA (4.85) is more the result of bad luck than bad pitching.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Tolleson | Kela.

May 2, 2015
Texas Rangers – Summoned in the 8th inning to bail out the rest of the Rangers terrible bullpen, Neftali Feliz couldn’t hold the lead, allowing two inherited runners to score along with one of his own. The only prominent Rangers reliever who came away from this game looking good was Keone Kela, who pitched a clean 9th inning after the Feliz got knocked out. Feliz’s seat gets warmer, and Kela might be the guy who replaces him.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Kela | Tolleson.

April 27, 2015
Texas Rangers — While Tanner Scheppers sorts things out in the earlier innings, Keone Kela will be counted on in higher-leverage spots. He pitched a scoreless ninth in a tie game on Sunday. Kela’s performance has been a source of inspiration at a difficult time for the scout who signed him.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Tolleson | Kela.

April 24, 2015
Texas Rangers — Rangers manager Jeff Bannister will use Tanner Scheppers in lower-leverage situations for the time being after some rough outings. Bannister likes the righty’s stuff, so don’t be surprised to see Scheppers return to the eighth-inning role soon.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Tolleson | Scheppers.

April 20, 2015
Texas Rangers — It wasn’t exactly a banner night for the Texas bullpen, which saw its top three relievers get knocked around in a late game collapse against the Mariners. Shawn Tolleson pitched the 7th and fared the best, only allowing one run on two hits. Tanner Scheppers got the 8th and only recorded one out while surrendering three runs. Then, summoned for a five-out save, Neftali Feliz allowed two inherited runners to score in the 8th, then two more of his own in the 9th. Since everyone looked bad in this one, Feliz shouldn’t have too much to worry about yet. But with his peripherals looking shady, another blown save could land him on the Hot Seat.

Hierarchy remains: Feliz | Scheppers | Tolleson.

April 18, 2015
Texas Rangers — Tanner Scheppers, recovered from his sprained ankle, immediately returned to high-leverage work for the Rangers, holding on through a rocky eighth inning in relief of Shawn Tolleson. One place Scheppers won’t be used anytime soon is the Double-A Texas League, which fined and suspended him after he was ejected from a rehab appearance for throwing behind a batter in defense of a teammate.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Scheppers | Tolleson.

April 6, 2015
Texas Rangers – Tanner Scheppers will start the season on the DL, elevating Shawn Tolleson into the set-up role. Roman Mendez slides up to take the 7th inning. Scheppers should be back in a week or two.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Tolleson | Mendez.

March 6, 2015
Texas Rangers — The Texas hierarchy has seen its fair share of adversity. Neftali Feliz, low strikeout rate and all, is finally starting a season as the closer after his 2013 Tommy John surgery. Tanner Scheppers, a great reliever in 2013, hurt his elbow last year after starting on Opening Day for the Rangers. Although he still wants to start, the team will keep him in the eighth this year. And Shawn Tolleson overcame back surgery in 2013 to be Texas’s most consistent reliever last season. Meanwhile, young Alex Claudio looks like the top lefty option for new manager Jeff Banister. Kyuji Fujikawa, another veteran of Tommy John surgery, also has an outside shot at high-leverage innings.

Starting 2015 hierarchy: Feliz | Scheppers | Tolleson.
Holds candidates: Scheppers, Tolleson.

September 24, 2014
Texas Rangers — We told you Neal Cotts was likely to get Tuesday’s save. And then he went ahead and did it. You’re welcome, Internet.

Hierarchy remains: Feliz | Cotts | Mendez.

September 23, 2014
Texas Rangers — Rookie Roman Mendez has been getting several high-leverage outs lately for Texas; he was used in the eighth inning up a run on Monday night. Meanwhile, Alexi Ogando is so injured that they put him on the winter league disabled list.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Cotts | Mendez.

September 14, 2014
Texas Rangers – The Rangers gave Neftali Feliz the night off after pitching two days in a row and Neal Cotts picked up his first save of the season.  Despite his recent struggles (and his 9 losses on the season), it looks like Cotts will get the first shot at saves when Feliz is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Cotts | Tolleson.

September 8, 2014
Texas Rangers – Neal Cotts has struggled as of late (7 ERs in his last 4 IPs), so Shawn Tolleson was given the 8th inning ahead of Neftali Feliz. Tolleson has only allowed runs in 2 of his past 13 outings.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Tolleson | Cotts.

August 21, 2014
Texas Rangers — After giving up two solo home runs and putting the tying run on base with a walk, Neftali Feliz made two unlikely escapes. First he convinced Ron Washington to let him stay in the game, then he struck out Donovan Solano on five mid-90s fastballs. The Rangers were encouraged by Feliz’s increased velocity, but they could do without the added drama.

Hierarchy remains: Feliz | Cotts | Tolleson.

August 4, 2014
Texas Rangers – Neftali Feliz blew a save on Sunday, his first blown save in four tries since inheriting the closer job. Normally, that would be good enough to establish a little bit of a leash, but Feliz’s peripherals have been pretty brutal in those four outings — he’s only struck out 1 hitter in 4 innings (compared with 2 BBs), and he’s yielded 9 fly balls (and 1 HR) against just 3 ground balls, which isn’t a healthy ratio for a closer (or most anyone). On Sunday, virtually all of the Rangers’ beat writers were wondering about his fastball velocity, as was Ron Washington. If Feliz does need some backup, Neal Cotts has been getting the 8th inning as of late, while righties Shawn Tolleson and Roman Mendez could also potentially be in the mix.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Cotts | Tolleson.
Neftali Feliz to Hot Seat.

July 26, 2014
Texas Rangers — With their first save opportunity since trading closer Joakim Soria, the Rangers stayed true to their word and went to Neftali Feliz.  Feliz gave up a hit and a walk, and had to throw 26 pitches to get through the inning, but he pitched a scoreless frame for his first save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Feliz | Tolleson | Cotts.

July 24, 2014
Texas Rangers — 26-year-old Neftali Feliz, an All-Star closer in 2010, will get the first shot at the ninth with Joakim Soria headed to Detroit. “We’ll give him a shot,” Ron Washington said. “He is the only one with experience.” Shawn Tolleson and Neal Cotts will back him up.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Tolleson | Cotts.

July 23, 2014
Texas Rangers – Joakim Soria has been traded to the Tigers. Neftali Feliz’s past closer experience makes him the best bet for saves in Texas, but Shawn Tolleson and Neal Cotts could also be in the mix. We will monitor this situation as it develops.

Updated hierarchy: Feliz | Tolleson | Cotts.

July 17, 2014
Texas Rangers — As we predicted, Jason Frasor was indeed traded — to Kansas City, for AAA all-star closer Spencer Patton. Neal Cotts moves back up to second in line for now, but he could also be next out the door.

Updated hierarchy: Soria | Feliz | Cotts.

July 15, 2014
Texas Rangers – Closer Joakim Soria has been part of trade rumors, notably to the Tigers and recently to the Angels and Blue Jays, but we think Jason Frasor is the most likely Ranger reliever to be dealt at the deadline. Neftali Feliz has been solid since his return and should be a favorite to return to the ninth inning if Soria is dealt. TRADE DEADLINE BUY: Neftali Feliz

July 7, 2014
Texas Rangers – After throwing two scoreless innings in his return to the bigs on Friday, Neftali Feliz was solid again on Sunday, pitching the 8th inning of a losing effort. Due to his past experience in the role, he’ll likely be on the short list for save chances if Joakim Soria gets hurt or traded.

Updated hierarchy: Soria | Frasor | Feliz.

June 30, 2014
Texas Rangers – Something odd is afoot with Joakim Soria. He didn’t pitch for 10 days from June 14 to June 24, and then, when Ron Washington finally decided to get him some work, Soria entered in the 9th inning of a blowout, threw 8 pitches, got 2 outs, and then was yanked for Scott Baker, who faced the final batter. Three days later, Soria had his worst outing of the year, blowing the save against the Twins. And then, two days after that — yesterday — he took the loss after allowing the tie breaking run in the 9th. He’s earned way too much trust to be placed on the Hot Seat just yet, but it’s certainly been a strange week for Soria, who has a troubled injury history. We’ll keep an eye on him in the coming days.

Hierarchy remains: Soria | Frasor | Cotts.

June 12, 2014
Texas Rangers — Tanner Scheppers came off the disabled list, made four appearances in six days, and promptly returned to the DL Wednesday — this time for a “prolonged shutdown period.” This is Texas’s 20th disabled list move of the season, which means that their next procedure with Dr. James Andrews is free.

Updated hierarchy: Soria | Frasor | Cotts.

June 6, 2014
Texas Rangers – Tanner Scheppers, one of the best set-up men in baseball last year, has officially returned to the bullpen after a failed experiment in the starting rotation. His first assignment was an 8th inning hold opportunity, and though he gave up a solo home run to Adam Jones, we expect that the righty will soon regain the form that nearly made him an All Star last year. Once he proves his effectiveness — as well as his ability to pitch in back-to-back games — he could get a save chance or two when Joakim Soria is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Soria | Frasor | Scheppers.

June 5, 2014
Texas Rangers — After giving up three runs in one-third of an inning on Tuesday, Alexi Ogando complained of elbow soreness, and now finds himself on the DL for the third straight June. Although Tanner Scheppers has given up three home runs in 3.2 AAA innings during his minor league rehab assignment, he worked out with the big league club on Wednesday, and could soon be called on for high-leverage work. In the meantime, Neal Cotts moves into Ogando’s spot, especially since Aaron Poreda’s recall gives the Rangers another lefty arm in the bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Soria | Frasor | Cotts.

May 22, 2014
Texas Rangers — When Tanner Scheppers returns from the disabled list after this weekend’s rehab assignment, he will do so as a set-up reliever, the role that he filled so ably for the team in 2013.

Hierarchy remains: Soria | Frasor | Ogando.

May 9, 2014
Texas Rangers – Alexi Ogando’s ugly 2014 continued earlier this week, as he was given a low-leverage 6th inning to sort himself out and responded by giving up 4 ERs. Last night, it was Jason Frasor who got the 8th inning ahead of Joakim Soria, and Frasor pitched a perfect inning to lower his ERA to 1.50. On nights when Soria is unavailable, it seems much more likely that Frasor would get a save opp than Ogando at this point. Ogando, who currently has an ERA over 8, needs to improve quickly or he could fall off the Texas hierarchy entirely.

Hierarchy change: Soria | Frasor | Ogando.

April 14, 2014
Texas Rangers – Joakim Soria was unavailable after pitching in back to back games, so Alexi Ogando got the save in his place.  With Neftali Feliz still in the minors, Ogando would have little competition for the closer gig should something happen to Soria.  No hierarchy change.

April 9, 2014
Texas Rangers — Joakim Soria entered in the ninth inning of a 10-4 game and scattered four hits among three strikeouts, surrendering three runs. With Neftali Feliz impressing in the minors, another outing like that one could send Soria to the Hot SeatNo hierarchy change.

April 5, 2014
Texas Rangers — Neftali Feliz is starting to get his velocity back in the minors.  He was sent down over concerns that his velocity was down in spring training but could be a guy to keep an eye on if he can regain his stuff from a couple years ago when he had 32 saves.  No hierarchy change.

March 22, 2014
Texas Rangers — Ron Washington has chosen 29-year-old Joakim Soria to close for the Rangers, citing Soria’s consistency and experience. His #1 ranking on our middle reliever list probably didn’t hurt either. With Tanner Scheppers moving into the rotation, Alexi Ogando will return to his old set-up role. Neftali Feliz’s spot on the roster is far from guaranteed, and if he makes the team, he’ll apparently be battling Neal Cotts and Jason Frasor to be #3. Hierarchy change: Joakim Soria to Closer, Alexi Ogando to Set-Up, Neal Cotts to 2nd in line.

March 13, 2014
Texas Rangers — As Joakim Soria excels and Neftali Feliz struggles to return from Tommy John surgery, Ron Washington is speaking of a closer committee and longing for “a guy who can get three outs.” Ominous. Feliz is ranked #27 in our preseason closer rankings.

March 7, 2014
Texas Rangers – The Rangers have said this is an open competition.  But they’ve also suggested that they want Neftali Feliz to win the job, and yesterday, Feliz gave them reason to think that he will.  So for now, we like him to beat out Joakim Soria for the job.  Tanner Scheppers and Robbie Ross, both among the best middle relievers in baseball last year, both reportedly have their eye on the 5th starter job.  They’re probably both too valuable to demote if they can’t crack the rotation, so one of them could get shuttled back to the bullpen by the end of spring training.  Starting 2014 hierarchy: Closer – Neftali Feliz, Set-up – Joakim Soria, 2nd in line – Tanner Scheppers. 

September 25, 2013
Texas Rangers — Thanks to a reader for pointing this out: Joe Nathan triggered his free agent clause by closing his 55th game last week, allowing him to void his $9 million team option for 2014 and seek a longer deal.  Our gut feeling is that he stays in Arlington to close next year, but if he ends up somewhere else, we see Tanner Scheppers as the Rangers’ 2014 closer — if you’re playing the long game. No hierarchy change.

August 21, 2013
Texas Rangers — Although Joakim Soria is not being used in a conventional set-up role, we think he still has the best shot at saves if something happens to Joe Nathan. Meanwhile, Neftali Feliz is back to his Triple-A rehab assignmentNo hierarchy change.

August 10, 2013
Texas Rangers — Neal Cotts came on to get the last out of the 8th inning with the Rangers up 3.  The Rangers added two more runs in the top of the 9th so Cotts stayed on to finish the game and notched his first save of the season. No hierarchy change.

July 28, 2013
Texas Rangers – The Rangers are discussing trading Joe Nathan.  While it seems unlikely that the Rangers would deal Nathan, sources say that Joakim Soria could be an option to close.   There is no mention of Tanner Scheppers so it sounds like the Rangers would rather go with the experienced former closer.   Hierarchy change: Joakim Soria to Set-up, Tanner Scheppers to 2nd in line.

July 25, 2013
Texas Rangers – Neal Cotts picked up his second straight 8th-inning hold on Wednesday, and even helped the Rangers get through the 9th, retiring the first two hitters before Joe Nathan was summoned to get the final out.  Though Joakim Soria obviously has a huge edge when it comes to experience, the Rangers are still being cautious with the oft-injured righty, and he’s only thrown 4 innings since returning to the big leagues on July 7.  Cotts, meanwhile, now sports a 0.91 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, and is striking out more than a batter per inning.  Hierarchy change: Neal Cotts to 2nd in line, replacing Joakim Soria.

July 24, 2013
Texas Rangers — Yankees fans are happy; this time, Joe Nathan set up Mariano Rivera. Blown save or no, Nathan certainly seemed to have a valid case against the home plate umpire. No hierarchy change.

July 17, 2013
Texas Rangers — The Rangers are very happy with their deep bullpen; any trade they make will focus on their offense or starting rotation. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

July 14, 2013
Texas Rangers – Joakim Soria pitched the 8th inning with the Rangers up 3 on Saturday.  Soria has made 3 appearances since being activated off the DL and has yet to allow a run while picking up a hold in each appearance.  Hierarchy change: Joakim Soria to 2nd in line, replacing Neal Cotts.

July 9, 2013
Texas Rangers — Joakim Soria returned on Sunday after almost two years of recovery from Tommy John surgery; in his first two games back, he has picked up holds in the sixth and eighth innings. We’re not ready to move Soria into Texas’s hierarchy just yet, but don’t count him out. No hierarchy change.

July 8, 2013
Texas Rangers – With Tanner Scheppers coming off a rough outing on Saturday, the Rangers went to lefty Neal Cotts for the 8th inning hold on Sunday.  Cotts, called up in May, has been nothing short of spectacular since joining the big league club.  He’s got a 1.09 ERA and a 31-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24.2 innings, and with Robbie Ross’s recent struggles, Cotts has become the go-to lefty in the Texas bullpen.  Hierarchy change: Neal Cotts to 2nd in line, replacing Robbie Ross.

June 7, 2013
Texas Rangers — Ron Washington used Tanner Scheppers in a tied eighth inning, but since (as everyone knows) “you can’t use your closer on the road in the ninth inning of a tie ballgame,” out came Michael Kirkman and his 2.18 ERA WHIP for the ninth. Double, intentional walk, three-run homer, ballgame. Maybe Ron and Joe Nathan had dinner reservations. No hierarchy change.

April 27, 2013
Texas Rangers – Tanner Scheppers pitched the 8th inning last night, earning his 5th hold of the season.  The young righty has yet to allow a single run this season through 12.2 innings and has become the most likely candidate for saves on nights when Joe Nathan is unavailable.  Hierarchy change: Tanner Schepper to Set-up, Robbie Ross to 2nd in line.

April 22, 2013
Texas Rangers – Michael Kirkman picked up a 3-inning save in a blowout on Sunday.  He does not figure in to the normal late-inning hierarchy in Texas.  No hierarchy change.

April 9, 2013
Texas Rangers – Before the season, Ron Washington tabbed Robbie Ross and Michael Kirkman as his set-up men.  Ross has been solid, but thus far, Kirkman is sporting a 13.50 ERA and has mostly been used as a match-up guy.  Hard-throwing righty Tanner Scheppers has been the one throwing meaningful innings for the Rangers, and he hasn’t allowed a run through 4.2 innings thus far.  Hierarchy change: Tanner Scheppers to 2nd in line, replacing Michael Kirkman.

April 1, 2013
Texas Rangers
– Late last week, Ron Washington signaled that Robbie Ross and Michael Kirkman would be the team’s primary set-up men, moves that were reinforced over the weekend.  Josh Lindblom, who many thought would serve as a late-inning man, was sent to the minors to be stretched out as a starter, while Jason Frasor was used in the 7th inning last night with the Rangers down four runs.  Hierarchy change: Robbie Ross to Set-up, Michael Kirkman to 2nd in line. 

February 24, 2013
Texas Rangers – Starting 2013 hierarchy: Closer- Joe Nathan, Set-up- Jason Frasor, 2nd in line- Josh Lindblom. 

September 17, 2012
Texas Rangers – Koji Uehara picked up his first save of the season on Sunday. Joe Nathan has had some arm fatigue and is being rested. Uehara has been pitching a lot lately, having not allowed a run in September. Hierarchy change: Koji Uehara to 2nd in line, replacing Mike Adams.

September 14, 2012
Texas Rangers – On his third straight night of work, Joe Nathan was horrid, giving up three runs on four hits and blowing the save before being replaced by Koji Uehara. No hierarchy change.

August 5, 2012
Texas Rangers – A little over a week ago, reports emerged that the Rangers were trying to stretch Alexi Ogando out, and they seemed validated when Ogando was used for 2.2 innings nine days ago. But since then, he’s gone back to pitching 1 inning at a time, including last night, when he picked up his second save in a row (Joe Nathan needed a second day off after two marathon outings on Thursday and Friday). While Mike Adams will stick as the 8th inning guy regardless, Ogando appears to be the man the Rangers will use when Nathan is unavailable. Hierarchy change: Alexi Ogando to Set-up, Mike Adams to 2nd in line.

August 4, 2012
Texas Rangers – Joe Nathan was given a day off on Friday, but it was Alexi Ogando, not Mike Adams, who picked up the save in his stead– Adams pitched in his usual 8th inning role. However, the Rangers are reportedly looking to stretch Ogando out and return him to the rotation in the not-too-distant future, so Adams is still the guy most likely to see save chances on nights that Nathan is unavailable. No hierarchy change.

July 18, 2012
Texas Rangers – Alexi Ogando returned from the DL and was placed back in to the bullpen, where he will remain for the foreseeable future. He pitched 0.2 innings yesterday and will be used in a late-innings role, as he was before. Hierarchy change: Alexi Ogando to 2nd in line, replacing Tanner Scheppers.

July 13, 2012
Texas Rangers – With the second-best record in all of baseball, the Rangers will be buyers at the trade deadline. They might look to add a set-up man, as Mike Adams has been somewhat shaky this season, but no pick-up will supplant Joe Nathan at closer. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

June 30, 2012
Texas Rangers – With both Joe Nathan and Mike Adams unavailable, the Rangers called on young Tanner Scheppers in the 9th inning yesterday. Scheppers was an unexpected choice, as he’d struggled so far this season since being called up in early June. But the righty is a former first round pick, and despite some early road bumps (his current ERA is 9.31), he’s been pitching in some high-leverage spots. Hierarchy change: Tanner Scheppers to 2nd in line, replacing Robbie Ross.

June 16, 2012
Texas Rangers – The Rangers placed Koji Uehara on the disabled list yesterday. Young lefty Robbie Ross is having an outstanding season and is the most likely candidate to inherit the 7th inning role. Hierarchy change: Robbie Ross to 2nd in line, Koji Uehara to DL.

June 8, 2012
Texas Rangers – With Derek Holland injured, Alexi Ogando is moving to the rotation. Koji Uehara (1.33 ERA, 0.54 WHIP), will assume Ogando’s role as the high-leverage 7th inning righty in the Rangers bullpen. Hierarchy change: Koji Uehara to 2nd in line, replacing Alexi Ogando.

April 14, 2012
Texas Rangers – Alexi Ogando got the save last night. Ron Washington declared after the game that Joe Nathan was still the closer but with Adams getting the save the night before, the Rangers have several other options if Nathan continues to struggle. Joe Nathan to Hot Seat.

April 13, 2012
Texas Rangers- Mike Adams, yesterday’s #1 candidate for a vulture save, filled in yesterday for Joe Nathan, who had the night off. No hierarchy change.

April 7, 2012
Texas Rangers- The Rangers, protecting a 1-run lead in the 7th inning last night, went to Alexi Ogando rather than Koji Uehara, who is coming off a rough spring training. Hierarchy change: Alexi Ogando to 2nd in line, replacing Koji Uehara.

March 24, 2012
Texas Rangers- Neftali Feliz has moved to the rotation and Joe Nathan will take over as closer. Mike Adams, acquired from San Diego at the trade deadline last year, will return as setup man. Koji Uehara remains the 7th-inning reliever. Starting 2012 hierarchy: Closer- Joe Nathan, Set-up- Mike Adams, 2nd in line- Koji Uehara.

Dec. 15, 2011
Texas Rangers- The Rangers have announced that Neftali Feliz will move to the rotation in 2012. Joe Nathan will assume the closer role. Hierarchy change: Joe Nathan to Closer, replacing Neftali Feliz.

Sept. 1, 2011
Texas Rangers- The Rangers acquired Mike Gonzalez from the Orioles last night. Gonzalez has a stellar ERA over the past month and a half and will likely assume the 7th inning role over Koji Uehara, who has struggled as of late. Hierarchy change: Gonzalez to 2nd in line, replacing Uehara.

Aug. 20, 2011
Texas Rangers- Despite blowing the game last night, Mike Adams returned to his 8th inning role even though Koji Uehara was also available in the bullpen. Adams responded well, logging two Ks in a spotless 8th inning. Hierarchy change: Adams to Set-Up, Uehara to 2nd in line.

Aug. 19, 2011
Texas Rangers- Neftali Feliz was given the night off after pitching four of the previous five games, and his temporary replacement, Mike Adams, faced only two batters in his save opportunity last night, yielding a single and a walk-off HR. Should Feliz need the day off again, Uehara will likely get the next save opp. Hierarchy change: Uehara to Set-Up, Adams to 2nd in line.