Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves Fantasy Baseball Daily Bullpen Updates and Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in line2023 CloserUpdated
ATLKenley JansenRaisel IglesiasAJ MinterRaisel Iglesias8/10/22

Previous updates:

August 14, 2022
Atlanta Braves
– Kenley Jansen picked up the save in game one of the doubleheader yesterday and Raisel Iglesias got the last two outs of game two to earn his first save as a Brave.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Iglesias | Minter.

August 10, 2022
Atlanta Braves – After the entire Atlanta hierarchy had already pitched, Tyler Matzek threw a perfect 11th inning to close out a 9-7 victory.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Iglesias | Minter.

August 3, 2022
Atlanta Braves – The Braves added depth to their bullpen by trading for Angels closer Raisel Iglesias on Tuesday. Manager Brian Snitker said that Kenley Jansen will remain as the team’s primary closer and that Iglesias will be the “secondary closer.” 

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Iglesias | Minter.

August 2, 2022
Atlanta Braves – The Braves have swung a deal with the Angels for Raisel Iglesias right before the deadline. We’ll slot him in at first in line in this hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Iglesias | Minter.

August 2, 2022
Atlanta Braves – The Braves dealt Will Smith to the Astros late Monday evening for starter Jake Odorizzi. Smith could potentially crack the Houston hierarchy in time; the Braves, meanwhile, will look to Tyler Matzek and Collin McHugh to fill in.

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Minter | Matzek.

July 31, 2022
Atlanta Braves — Kenley Jansen was unavailable yesterday after he tweaked his back on Friday.  It is not considered serious but we will keep an eye on this in case Jansen is forced to go on the IL.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Minter | Smith.

July 16, 2022
Atlanta Braves — Another score for the VSW, although it took some teamwork to get there. With Kenley Jansen getting the night off and AJ Minter also needing a rest, the Braves gave Will Smith a 7 run lead in the 9th. He responded by giving up 3 hits and 2 walks before leaving with the bases loaded and 2 outs. This put the tying run on deck, for AJ Minter, and while he threw a wild pitch and walked a batter, he got a strikeout to end the adventure earn his 5th save on the year. Kenley Jansen should be back for the weekend.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Minter | Smith.

July 14, 2022
Atlanta Braves — As we told you yesterday, Kenley Jansen was activated Wednesday and will immediately return to the closer role. He pitched a scoreless eighth down five to the Mets to ease back into the action

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Minter | Smith.

July 13, 2022
Atlanta Braves — Kenley Jansen is expected to be activated today and should immediately return to the closer’s role. AJ Minter has collected the Braves’ last three saves, including one last night, and we’ll reward him with a few more hours at the top of this hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: *Minter | Smith | Matzek.
* = closer-by-committee

July 10, 2022
Atlanta Braves — Will Smith struck out a pair in a scoreless 8th inning and AJ Minter pitched a perfect 9th for his third save of the season.  Both Smith and Minter have recorded three saves since Kenley Jansen went on the IL and it looks like they will continue to share save chances for the red hot Braves.

Hierarchy remains: *Smith | Minter | Matzek.
* = closer-by-committee

July 7, 2022
Atlanta Braves — The Braves’ bullpen is dealing with Kenley Jansen’s absence quite effectively, with save chances split between Will Smith and AJ Minter. Last night’s Minter save, by the way, was forecast in Wednesday’s Vulture Save Watch. 

Hierarchy remains: *Smith | Minter | Matzek.
* = closer-by-committee

July 5, 2022
Atlanta Braves – Will Smith picked up his fifth save of the season — and third since June 29, during which AJ Minter has one — so he bumps to the top of this hierarchy, which awaits Kenley Jansen’s return. Also, Tyler Matzek was activated from the IL, and we’ll tentatively slot him in at 2nd in line and see how the Braves deploy him. Also, while we’re uncertain how to efficiently research this, we suspect this could be the first all-lefty hierarchy in Closer Monkey’s 12-year history.

Updated hierarchy: *Smith | Minter | Matzek.
* = closer-by-committee

July 3, 2022
Atlanta Braves — Will Smith walked a couple of batters but was able to pitch a scoreless 9th inning for his 4th save of the season.  AJ Minter pitched a perfect 7th inning against the 4-5-6 hitters in the Reds’ lineup.  Minter recorded the first save after Kenley Jansen went on the IL but now Will Smith has the past two.  Minter has been the better pitcher so far this season and we will leave him at the top of the committee for now but we will watch this and see if the Braves continue to use Smith more frequently in the 9th inning.

Hierarchy remains: *Minter | Smith | McHugh.
* = closer-by-committee

June 30, 2022
Atlanta Braves — In Kenley Jansen’s absence, AJ Minter and Will Smith have each converted a save chance, and we expect both men to continue to share the closer role, as beat writers initially reported. Someone has to fill the first slot on our chart, but understand that this is pretty much a tie, and speculating on one or the other is unlikely to pay off handsomely.

Hierarchy remains: *Minter | Smith | McHugh.
* = closer-by-committee

June 29, 2022
Atlanta Braves – The Braves might have tipped their hands on who they think should be closing games without Kenley Jansen. A.J. Minter got the first post-Jansen save chance Tuesday and converted for his first save of 2022. Will Smith was presumably available, but he did not appear. Consider this a fluid situation for now, but given the usage, we’ll slide Minter ahead of Smith and slap on the committee tag.

Updated hierarchy: *Minter | Smith | McHugh.
* = closer-by-committee

June 28, 2022
Atlanta Braves – Kenley Jansen has been placed on the IL with an irregular heartbeat. Look for Will Smith to close in his place. AJ Minter, who by most measures has been the team’s best reliever this season, could also get a look.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Minter | McHugh.

June 15, 2022
Atlanta Braves – Jackson Stephens earned his second three-inning save of the season on Tuesday night in a 10-4 victory over Washington.

Hierarchy Remains: Jansen | Smith | Minter.

May 21, 2022
Atlanta Braves – Kenley Jansen received a second night off in a row, so it was Will Smith who got the ball with a 2 run lead in the 9th. He converted for his second save of the year. After the game Brian Snitker cited the fact that the Braves have 17 games in 17 days as a reason why Jansen got the extra rest, and also noted that he will be ready to go today. 

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Smith | Minter.

May 18, 2022
Atlanta Braves – Tyler Matzek was placed on the IL with discomfort in his pitching shoulder. A.J. Minter will slide into the hierarchy for now, though Brian Snitker did mention Spencer Strider as a reliever that could see more high-leverage work in Matzek’s absence.

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Smith | Minter.

April 27, 2022
Atlanta Braves – Tyler Matzek earned his fourth hold of the season on Tuesday with a clean eighth inning. Matzek has allowed just one hit and only one earned run in 6.2 IP, and all four of his holds this year have come in the eighth inning of Atlanta wins.

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Matzek | Smith.

April 13, 2022
Atlanta Braves – Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Braves purchased the contract of Jackson Stephens, the reigning pitcher of the year in the Venezuelan Winter League. Stephens, making his first MLB appearance since 2018, earned his first career save by pitching the final three innings in a 16-4 Atlanta win. If you had Stephens in your lineup, send us a picture so we can see how good at Photoshop you are.

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Smith | Matzek.

April 10, 2022
Atlanta Braves – As the Vulture Save Watch predicted, Kenley Jansen got the day off after a 30 pitch blown save on Friday and that allowed Will Smith to record his first save of the season. 

Hierarchy remains: Jansen | Smith | Matzek.

March 24, 2022
Atlanta Braves – The Braves looked like they were ready to enter 2022 with largely the same bullpen that they won the 2021 World Series with – a solid group of relievers including Will Smith, Tyler Matzek, Luke Jackson, and AJ Minter. But then, just a few days ago, they added the best closer on the free agent market in Kenley Jansen and now they’re poised to start the season with one of the league’s best bullpens. Newcomer Collin McHugh will also likely contribute.

Starting 2022 hierarchy: Jansen | Smith | Matzek.
Holds candidates: Smith, McHugh, Matzek, Jackson, Minter.

October 3, 2021
Atlanta Braves — Richard Rodriguez was trying to pick up his first save since joining the Braves as he entered the 9th inning to protect a three-run lead.  However, Rodriguez was pulled after allowing a couple runs and Jacob Webb came on to get the last out and record his first save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Rodriguez | Jackson.

September 17, 2021
Atlanta Braves — Chris Martin was activated from the injured list at the speed of sound on Thursday, returning from a brief stay on the shelf after just one rehab appearance. Meanwhile, Luke Jackson was placed on the paternity list. Jackson should be back in a few days, so we’ll leave him here in the hierarchy.

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Rodriguez | Jackson.

August 12, 2021
Atlanta Braves — Richard Rodriguez’s arrival in Atlanta has not led to any change in the Braves’ use of Will Smith in the ninth, so we’re going to pull the asterisk, and also swap Luke Jackson — who got the eighth with a two-run lead on Wednesday — in for Chris Martin. Smith and Jackson each allowed runs on Wednesday, but their roles look pretty solid.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Rodriguez | Jackson.

August 9, 2021
Atlanta Braves – With Will Smith being given the day off, the Braves went to Chris Martin in the 9th inning, who earned the save despite giving up a run. Richard Rodriguez had pitched earlier, getting out of a jam in the 7th and then pitching a scoreless 8th.

Hierarchy remains: *Smith | Rodriguez | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

July 31, 2021
Atlanta Braves – The Braves acquired Richard Rodriguez, and he will immediately jump onto the hierarchy. While it is possible he could take over the closing duties from Will Smith, Smith has been excellent recently, only giving up 2 earned runs in July.  They will most likely share some of the save chances, but we will leave Smith at the top of the committee for now.

Updated hierarchy: *Smith | Rodriguez | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

July 30, 2021
Atlanta Braves – It’s not immediately clear what role Richard Rodriguez will have with Atlanta, but he’s got better numbers than Will Smith to this point. We’ll put the two of them in a committee for now and see how the Braves approach things.

Updated hierarchy: *Smith | Rodriguez | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

July 19, 2021
Atlanta Braves – AJ Minter, so dominant at times in his young career, has hit a rough patch over the past two months, and after relinquishing another lead on Sunday, the Braves sent him to AAA to work on his mechanics. Look for Chris Martin and Luke Jackson to serve as the primary bridge relievers going forward.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Martin | Jackson.

July 5, 2021
Atlanta Braves – Chris Martin has rebounded from a couple of ugly games in mid-June and has re-established himself as a key fixture in the late innings for the Braves. Sunday’s outing — in which he worked himself in and out of trouble — was his third straight 8th inning appearance.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Minter | Martin.

June 23, 2021
Atlanta Braves — Chris Martin hasn’t pitched since he allowed three earned runs on June 15. Meanwhile, A.J. Minter pitched the eighth last night and got the sixth in the second game of a doubleheader on Monday, earning a hold both times.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Minter | Jackson. 

June 16, 2021
Atlanta Braves — Luke Jackson continued his impressive season on Tuesday with a perfect seventh inning to keep the game tied. Jackson hasn’t allowed an earned run over his last 13 appearances (11.1 IP), striking out 12 and walking just three in that stretch to lower his ERA to 1.07.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Martin | Jackson. 

May 26, 2021
Atlanta Braves — If you’re wondering why Chris Martin didn’t pitch last night in the Braves’ 3-1 win in Boston, it’s because he was unavailable, though the good news is that he is apparently healthy. 

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Martin | Minter. 

May 13, 2021
Atlanta Braves — Chris Martin returned to Atlanta after about five weeks, and the recently signed Shane Greene will start building up arm strength at AAA as well.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Martin | Minter. 

May 1, 2021
Atlanta Braves — Sean Newcomb was activated from the IL yesterday and got immediately thrown into the action. It was not his best showing, as he gave up two hits, two walks, and two runs. Newcomb had been off to a great start before his IL stint, but it looks like the Braves will ease him back into the later innings.

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Minter | Matzek. 

April 18, 2021
Atlanta Braves — The Braves have placed Sean Newcomb on the injured list due to potential COVID exposure.  Newcomb could be back soon if he passes protocols, but while he is out, Tyler Matzek should see more time in the later innings.  In other non-bullpen-related Braves news, Sean Kazmar Jr. played in his first major league game since 2008.

Updated hierarchy: Smith | Minter | Matzek. 

April 11, 2021
Atlanta Braves — Chris Martin has been placed on the IL with right shoulder inflammation.  Manager Brian Snitker mentioned Sean Newcomb could get a chance in the set-up role while Martin is out.  Newcomb picked up the win yesterday, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings with 4 strikeouts, and also picked up a save last week.  He has gotten off to a strong start to the season with 9 strikeouts in 3.1 innings.

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Newcomb | Minter. 

April 8, 2021
Atlanta Braves — Will Smith earned a save in game one of a doubleheader, and Sean Newcomb struck out the side to do the honors in the nightcap. Meanwhile, there’s still no official word on Chris Martin’s condition.

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Martin | Minter. 

April 5, 2021
Atlanta Braves — Chris Martin left Sunday’s game with tingling in his fingers, and could wind up on the injured list. Tyler Matzek, who struck out the side on Sunday with high-90s heat, would likely move into the hierarchy if Martin has to miss any time.

Hierarchy remains: Smith | Martin | Minter. 

March 5, 2021
Atlanta Braves – While Will Smith is the best bet to open the season as the Atlanta closer, he isn’t a lock thanks to a subpar 2020 which saw his ERA jump to 4.50. It’s likely that he was a bit unlucky — amazingly, 7 of the 11 hits that the lefty gave up last season were homers — but regardless, Chris Martin or AJ Minter could potentially find themselves getting opportunities if he struggles out of the gate. Shane Greene, a reliable arm for the Braves for the past season and a half, remains unsigned and could find his way back into the late innings here as well.

Starting 2021 hierarchy: Smith, Martin, Minter.
Holds candidates: Martin, Minter, Tyler Matzek, Grant Dayton.

September 10, 2020
Atlanta Braves — With a 14 run lead going into the 6th inning, the Braves turned the game over to Bryse Wilson. Wilson pitched 4 mostly uneventful innings to earn his first career save. Wilson was just called up this week, and projects as more of a starter than a late-inning arm. We don’t expect Wilson to make any real impact on the hierarchy. 

Hierarchy remains: Melancon | Greene | Smith.

August 7, 2020
Atlanta Braves — Will Smith was activated from the 10-day IL Thursday after he missed all of summer camp because of a COVID-19 diagnosis. He should work his way quickly into the back end of Atlanta’s bullpen. Mark Melancon (4 IP, 0 ER, 2 SV, 1 W) has been very good and should hold onto the closer’s role for now. 

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Greene | Smith.

August 1, 2020
Atlanta Braves — Mark Melancon got the rest we predicted yesterday, but it was Chris Martin, not Shane Greene, who filled in to pick up the save. Martin has moved ahead of at least Luke Jackson in the Atlanta pen.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Greene | Martin.

July 20, 2020
Atlanta Braves — Will Smith has overcome his entanglement with COVID-19 and should be back before August. Mark Melancon should close for now.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Greene | Jackson.

February 26, 2020
Atlanta Braves — The Braves picked up a trio of veteran relievers late in 2019, and those three righties — Mark Melancon, Shane Greene, and Chris Martin — will make up the core of their bullpen in 2020, along with offseason signing Will Smith. There’s pretty good depth here, too, with Darren O’Day and Luke Jackson likely to make the team; the latter closed for a spell last season. And they’ve still got two promising youngsters who have both logged some impressive major league innings (albeit not in 2019) in AJ Minter and Chad Sobotka. Right now it seems that Brian Snitker is leaning toward Melancon to start out in the closer role rather than Smith, who was one of the best relievers in baseball last year. But Snitker has suggested that things could be fluid and matchup-based, so both are likely worth drafting. 

Starting 2020 Hierarchy: Melancon | Smith | Greene.
Holds candidates: Smith, Greene, Chris Martin

September 12, 2019
Atlanta Braves — It was nine pitches, nine strikes for Chris Martin, the seventh immaculate inning of 2019 and 99th in history. NBC Sports greeted the news with a record-setting slew of terrible Coldplay puns, taking the crown in that genre from, uh, us. And, um, also us. Oh, and don’t forget us.

Hierarchy remains: Melancon | Greene | Jackson.

September 7, 2019
Atlanta Braves — A day after Mark Melancon gave up two runs on 28 pitches, he got the night off. Shane Greene came in to close out a one-run game, and impressed with a perfect inning and two strikeouts. This is Greene’s first save with the Braves, but he showed why he was such a valuable trade target. When Melancon needs rest, Greene is a solid backup for the contending Braves. 

Hierarchy remains: Melancon | Greene | Jackson.

September 3, 2019
Atlanta Braves — Mark Melancon picked up his third save in four days on Monday; he’s clearly the Braves closer for the rest of the stretch run and we’re removing his asterisk.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Greene | Jackson.

August 18, 2019
Atlanta Braves — The relievers that the Braves acquired at the deadline did what they were supposed to do on Saturday and it was a welcome sign for the team.  Shane Greene struck out the side in a perfect eighth inning and Mark Melancon pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save.  We will slide Greene back to first in line and if Melancon can convert a couple more saves he will likely shed the committee asterisk.

Updated hierarchy: *Melancon | Greene | Jackson.
* = closer-by-committee

August 15, 2019
Atlanta Braves — With a four-run lead, the Braves played it safe and called on Mark Melancon. After a groundout, Melancon gave up a walk, four hits, and a fielder’s choice, putting the go-ahead run on base. Melancon recovered to get a strikeout, and Brian Snitker brought in lefty Jerry Blevins for the platoon advantage against former teammate Michael Conforto. Blevins got the K and the save, and the Braves managed to escape with the W.

Hierarchy remains: *Melancon | Jackson | Greene.
* = closer-by-committee

August 14, 2019
Atlanta Braves – Mark Melancon locked down his second save of the season, pitching the first 1-2-3 inning by a Braves reliever in a save situation since July 15. Luke Jackson completed a clean seventh inning to maintain a 5-1 lead, but Shane Greene’s struggles continued and he gave up two more runs in the eighth to create the save situation. Greene has allowed 13 hits and seven earned runs in 4.1 innings with the Braves. We’ll see how much longer Brian Snitker keeps running him out there with a lead.

Hierarchy remains: *Melancon | Jackson | Greene.
* = closer-by-committee

August 12, 2019
Atlanta Braves – After a string of failures led by all the relievers they acquired at the deadline, the Braves went back to Ya Boy for the 9th inning on Sunday. It wasn’t pretty, as Jackson allowed three singles and didn’t strike anyone out, but despite spilling water all over himself before the outing, he got the job done, stranding the bases loaded and preserving the 1-run victory. We’ll move him back on to the hierarchy, with designs on putting him back on top if he gets and converts the next opportunity.

Updated hierarchy: *Melancon | Jackson | Greene.
* = closer-by-committee

August 11, 2019
Atlanta Braves – One day after being declared closer, Mark Melancon got the chance to close out a four run game.  It didn’t quite go as planned.  Melancon struck out the first batter he faced, but then allowed four straight singles.  With the bases loaded and one out, Melancon got yanked and on came the Braves’ previous closer, Shane Greene.  Greene proceeded to give up a single and a double that tied the game (and would have given the Marlins the lead except the Braves threw out the go-ahead run at home plate).  The Braves ended up losing in extras and their bullpen is a mess right now.  They have a lot of options for closing games and this could become a fluid situation where the hot hand gets the call.  We will throw this into a committee for now while things get sorted out.

Hierarchy remains: *Melancon | Greene | Martin.
* = closer-by-committee

August 10, 2019
Atlanta Braves – The Braves sought to bolster their bullpen at the trade deadline, bringing in Chris Martin, Shane Greene and Mark Melancon to cover for a struggling Luke Jackson. In the past 10 days, Melancon has yet to give up a run in four appearances, including a clean ninth inning last night. His success has been rewarded, as after the game Brian Snitker said that Melancon will serve as the Braves closer for the time being. If Melancon can run with this chance, he could be a great source of saves in the last two months of the season for the contending Braves. However, he should still be pressured by the Braves other acquisitions if he struggles. 

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Greene | Martin.

August 9, 2019
Atlanta Braves – Mark Melancon pitched the 9th with the Braves up 4 and after the game, manager Brian Snitker announced that Melancon would be their primary closer.  

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Greene | Martin.

August 1, 2019
Atlanta Braves — The Braves have watched Luke Jackson struggle over the last three weeks (13.50 ERA, 2.50 WHIP), and they responded at the trade deadline by acquiring 248 career saves through Shane Greene and Mark Melancon. Add those guys to the mellifluous Chris Martin and you have a situation where yesterday’s closer could find himself battling Anthony Swarzak to be fourth in line.

Updated hierarchy: Greene | Martin | Melancon.

July 31, 2019
Atlanta Braves – After dealing for Chris Martin last night, the Braves watched Anthony Swarzak and Luke Jackson stink again and decided to try and further improve their bullpen by acquiring Shane Greene from the Tigers. Greene has closed for Detroit since 2017 and should take over that role in Atlanta.

Updated hierarchy: Greene | Martin | Jackson.

July 31, 2019
Atlanta Braves – The Braves acquired Chris Martin from the Rangers last night, though he is not expected to join the team in time for this afternoon’s game. Brian Snitker did not offer clarity on how he would deploy his newest arm, but current closer Luke Jackson didn’t help his own case on Tuesday as he gave up three runs in a non-save situation. Jackson has struggled recently and Anthony Swarzak has posted two straight bad outings. Nothing is official yet, and Snitker may not want to outright remove Jackson from the ninth inning, but Martin is probably the team’s best option at the moment. We’ll slide Martin to the top of the hierarchy and see if Snitker follows our lead.

Updated hierarchy: *Martin | Jackson | Swarzak.

July 30, 2019
Atlanta Braves – The Braves acquired Chris Martin from the Rangers, which means the struggling Luke Jackson now has some more competition for the closer’s role. We won’t remove Jackson from the top of the hierarchy just yet, but this looks like it will be a committee that Martin plays an important role in.

Updated hierarchy: *Jackson | Martin | Swarzak.

July 15, 2019
Atlanta Braves – Luke Jackson had thrown 49 pitches over two games on Friday and Saturday, so on Sunday, AJ Minter was given the 9th. Minter converted for his fifth save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Jackson | Swarzak | Minter.

July 13, 2019
Atlanta Braves – The Braves welcomed Anthony Swarzak back to their bullpen on Friday after a brief IL stint. Swarzak has posted a 0.52 ERA in 17 appearances with the Braves, including 12 scoreless innings in June.

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Swarzak | Minter.

July 2, 2019
Atlanta Braves – Monday was a welcome day off for a tired Braves bullpen, which recently lost Anthony Swarzak to inflammation in his pitching shoulder. Look for Jacob Webb to become the new 7th inning man ahead of AJ Minter and Luke Jackson.

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Minter | Webb.

June 30, 2019
Atlanta Braves — Luke Jackson recorded his 13th save of the season on Saturday.  Although Jackson has 6 blown saves this season, his overall numbers are good, especially in his last 16 appearances.  The Braves are playing really well and Jackson should continue to be a good source of saves.

Hierarchy remains: Jackson | Swarzak | Minter.

June 27, 2019
Atlanta Braves — Luke Jackson and Anthony Swarzak had each pitched in three of the last four games, giving A.J. Minter his first chance at a save in two months. Minter set down four Cubs (two by strikeout) to earn his fourth save, and Jackson should probably be nervous.

Hierarchy remains: Jackson | Swarzak | Minter.

June 16, 2019
Atlanta Braves – Luke Jackson didn’t help himself out at all last night as his throwing error led to two unearned runs and a blown save.  It was Jackson’s sixth blown save of the season and he has allowed at least one run in his last four appearances, although two of those appearances had no earned runs.  Anthony Swarzak has been pitching well and AJ Minter had a perfect inning with 2 Ks yesterday.  Manager Brian Snitker said it was the best Minter has looked since spring training.  Jackson’s numbers on the season are still pretty good (49 strikeouts to just 9 walks in 35 innings) but he can’t afford any more slip-ups.

Hierarchy remains: Jackson | Swarzak | Minter.

June 12, 2019
Atlanta Braves – Anthony Swarzak owners owe Mother Nature a tip of the cap, as Swarzak officially earned a save after rain ended Tuesday’s game before the ninth inning began. Luke Jackson was ready to pitch the ninth before the rain halted play and eventually ensured the Braves’ 7-5 win over the Pirates. Meanwhile, the Braves recalled A.J. Minter from the minors prior to Tuesday’s tilt. Brian Snitker said that Jackson will remain the closer but that Minter, who earned a hold on Tuesday, will return to a late-inning role. 

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Swarzak | Minter.

June 11, 2019
Atlanta Braves – Jacob Webb retired the last hitter in the 8th with the Braves up by three runs. When they tacked on three more in the bottom of the inning, Webb stayed on for the 9th and picked up his second save of the year.

Hierarchy remains: Jackson | Swarzak | Newcomb.

June 10, 2019
Atlanta Braves – After Luke Jackson blew a save chance in the 10th inning, Josh Tomlin recorded his first career save in the 12th inning. Sean Newcomb was the only hierarchy member to not see work on Sunday. Perhaps it’s because the Braves may need him to eat some innings in case Kevin Gausman stinks tonight, but no matter the reason, Anthony Swarzak has pitched well since arriving in Atlanta and should be called upon for any save chances that Jackson doesn’t get going forward.

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Swarzak | Newcomb.

June 9, 2019
Atlanta Braves – In a tight 1-0 game, the Braves sent Anthony Swarzak out for the seventh inning.  He responded with 1.2 perfect innings for his fourth hold since getting traded to Atlanta.  Swarzak has recorded three holds in three scoreless appearances in June while Jacob Webb has given up 6 runs (3 earned) during that same time period.  The veteran Swarzak has only allowed one run in eight appearances for the Braves and could see more time setting up closer Luke Jackson.

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Newcomb | Swarzak.

June 2, 2019
Atlanta Braves – After Jacob Webb allowed back-to-back doubles with one out in the eighth inning, the Braves went straight to their closer Luke Jackson.  Jackson struck out both batters he faced in the eighth and then after a leadoff single in the ninth, he went on to strike out the side.  Former Braves’ closer Craig Kimbrel will no longer cost a draft pick if signed after midnight tonight and this story picks the Braves as a likely landing spot for the free agent.

Hierarchy remains: Jackson | Newcomb | Webb.

May 22, 2019
Atlanta Braves – Jacob Webb pitched the eighth inning ahead of Luke Jackson, who allowed a couple of infield singles as part of a four-hit, three-run blown save against the Giants. Manager Brian Snitker thought that Jackson’s breaking ball let him down in what was his second straight blown save. Sean Newcomb will be the most likely benefactor if Jackson loses his grip on the ninth inning, though Jackson’s teammates didn’t seem to think Jackson was to blame for Tuesday’s loss.

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Newcomb | Webb.

May 21, 2019
Atlanta Braves – With a three-run lead in the ninth, the Braves turned to lefty Sean Newcomb, who retired the side in order for his first save. Newcomb has been nearly flawless since being moved to the bullpen at the beginning of the month, logging 8.1 innings with 8 strikeouts and 0 walks. Luke Jackson was warming in the bullpen just in case, but if Newcomb gets another save opportunity, we’ll start considering this a committee. In other Braves news, the team dealt Arodys Vizcaino and Jesse Biddle to the Mariners for veteran Anthony Swarzak. We’ll slot Swarzak in at second in line for now and see how the Braves plan to use him.

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Newcomb | Swarzak.

May 13, 2019
Atlanta Braves – Luke Jackson picked up a 2-inning save on Sunday, and has only allowed 1 run in his last 17 appearances (19 IP). Unless someone else receives a save chance on a night where Jackson is available, we’re going to call him the full time closer going forward.

Updated hierarchy: Jackson | Winkler | Newcomb.

May 12, 2019
Atlanta Braves — Veteran lefty Jonny Venters recorded the last out of a 6-4 Braves’ win yesterday to pick up his first save of the season.  All three members of the Braves’ hierarchy had pitched in two straight so that left Jacob Webb and Venters to combine for the last three outs.  Although the Braves have the pieces to mix and match in the ninth, we still expect Luke Jackson to be the best source for saves.

Hierarchy remains: *Jackson | Winkler | Newcomb.
* = closer-by-committee

May 11, 2019
Atlanta Braves — Luke Jackson picked up his third save with a perfect ninth inning, and has run with his opportunity at the head of the Braves’ committee. The club officially sent AJ Minter to the minors, but manager Brian Snitker said that they want him to be a major part of the bullpen and cited the lack of spring training for his early struggles. Minter will almost certainly be back this year, but may face a long path back to the later innings if Jackson, Dan Winkler and former starter Sean Newcomb continue to pitch well.

Updated hierarchy: *Jackson | Winkler | Newcomb.
* = closer-by-committee

May 10, 2019
Atlanta Braves — It’s been a trying time for the Braves bullpen, and the rough trend continued Thursday. Luke Jackson got the ball in the ninth with a one-run lead and gave up the game-tying HR with two outs. In the tied tenth, AJ Minter was unable to record an out, allowing a walk and two singles to lose the game. Manager Brian Snitker said that Minter (0-4, 9.82 ERA, 2.36 WHIP) would likely be sent to the minors to figure things out. We’ll slide Jackson to the top of the committee and insert rookie Jacob Webb (2.16 ERA, 11.9 K/9) until Minter regains his mojo or the Braves regain Craig Kimbrel.

Updated hierarchy: *Jackson | Winkler | Webb.
* = closer-by-committee

May 6, 2019
Atlanta Braves – Luke Jackson picked up his second save in his last three appearances, closing the door on the Marlins in the 10th inning in a game where AJ Minter was also available. The Braves are in committee mode now, and Jackson is worth adding in all formats, as he may climb to the top quickly given Minter’s recent struggles.

Updated hierarchy: *Minter | Jackson | Winkler.
* = closer-by-committee

April 30, 2019
Atlanta Braves – With AJ Minter and Luke Jackson both unavailable after pitching two straight, the Braves used just-acquired Jerry Blevins and rookie Jacob Webb to navigate the 9th. Webb picked up his first career save and has pitched 3.2 scoreless innings to start his major league career.

Hierarchy remains: Minter | Jackson | Winkler.

April 29, 2019
Atlanta Braves – AJ Minter, who is currently sporting a 9.35 ERA, allowed two runners to reach in the 9th inning before getting yanked for Luke Jackson, who retired both hitters he faced to earn his first save. Minter is on thin ice as the Braves continue to assess their post-Vizcaino bullpen.

Hierarchy remains: Minter | Jackson | Winkler.

April 28, 2019
Atlanta Braves — Jesse Biddle has been placed on the IL. Luke Jackson pitched the 7th and 8th innings ahead of AJ Minter yesterday and has not allowed a run in his last 11 appearances. Meanwhile, AJ Minter blew the save and has now given up 9 runs in 8.1 innings so far this season. Jackson will slide into 1st in line with Biddle injured and could challenge for saves if Minter continues to struggle.

Updated hierarchy: Minter | Jackson | Winkler.

April 19, 2019
Atlanta Braves — Chad Sobotka has allowed runs in three straight appearances, including two more earned runs Thursday to inflate his ERA to 12.38. He’s probably not in line for save chances these days. Luke Jackson, who recorded a hold earlier this month, has good swing-and-miss stuff (13.5 K/9) and could be used in higher-leverage spots. Keep an eye, too, on Dan Winkler, who was called up from Triple-A earlier this week and tossed a scoreless sixth inning Thursday. Both pitchers should be ahead of Sobotka at this point.

Updated hierarchy: Minter | Biddle | Jackson.

April 18, 2019
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino underwent shoulder surgery and will miss the rest of the season. With Atlanta’s bullpen in shambles, AJ Minter will likely continue to get the bulk of the save chances — unless the team decides to sign Craig Kimbrel. If they’re interested in Kimbrel, the Braves may have to act quickly to stave off the Brewers.

Hierarchy remains: Minter | Sobotka | Biddle.

April 14, 2019
Atlanta Braves – The Braves placed Arodys Vizcaino on the IL with shoulder inflammation. AJ Minter is the likely choice to close in his absence.

Updated hierarchy: Minter | Sobotka | Biddle.

April 9, 2019
Atlanta Braves – Arodys Vizcaino got a night off after pitching in three of the previous five, allowing AJ Minter to pick up his first save of the year. This could turn into a shared role in a hurry, so we’ll keep a close eye on this one going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Minter | Sobotka.

April 5, 2019
Atlanta Braves — Believed by many to be the team’s best reliever, AJ Minter has been activated from the injured list and was quickly thrust into a medium-leverage situation Thursday. With the Braves leading 9-0 in the ninth, Chad Sobotka allowed back-to-back dingers to make it 9-3. He then allowed another hit before he was yanked. Minter allowed that inherited runner to score after he walked two and yielded a fielder’s choice, but otherwise was able nail down the final two outs to finish things. Brian Snitker said before the game that Minter would pitch the ninth if the Braves were leading, and we expect both Minter and Arodys Vizcaino to get save chances in the immediate future.

Updated hierarchy: *Vizcaino | Minter | Sobotka.
* = closer-by-committee

April 4, 2019
Atlanta Braves — The Braves’ bullpen has looked pretty sketchy, especially Jonny Venters, who’s been getting work in the fifth and sixth. Arodys Vizcaino was effective in his first two outings, but the Braves would really like to get AJ Minter back on Thursday — possibly to compete for the ninth inning.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Sobotka | Biddle.

March 29, 2019
Atlanta Braves – As expected, AJ Minter was placed on the injured list to begin the year, and the Braves appeared to have missed him on Opening Day. The bullpen allowed seven runs after the fifth inning in a 10-4 loss to the Phillies. Some expect Minter to compete for saves when he returns, but Arodys Vizcaino could secure his hold on the job while Minter is sidelined.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Venters | Sobotka.

March 22, 2019
Atlanta Braves – There were spring whispers AJ Minter may ascend to become the team’s save-getter, but he’s currently battling a shoulder issue and likely won’t be healthy enough for Opening Day. Arodys Vizcaino will assume his familiar role at the back end of the bullpen. With Darren O’Day also likely headed for the IL, expect veteran Jonny Venters to lead a crop of younger pitchers in setting up Vizcaino at the start.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Venters | Sobotka.

February 21, 2019
Atlanta Braves – The Braves enter 2019 looking to defend their NL East title, and will hope that their largely-unheralded-but-mostly-effective bullpen can repeat its output from a year ago. They’re strong at the top, with Arodys Vizcaino and A.J. Minter as an enviable 1-2 punch in the late innings, with Minter wanting to become a Josh Hader-esque relief ace type. After that, it’s elder statesmen Jonny Venters and Darren O’Day, along with a slew of young holdovers, including Chad Sobotka, Jesse Biddle, Shane Carle, and Dan Winkler. Of this group, we like Sobotka to potentially break out as a valuable holds candidate; the 25-year-old righty posted impressive strikeout totals throughout the minors, and struck out 21 in 14.1 innings after a late-season callup last year. Finally, despite the lack of any substantive discussions, the Braves continue to pop up on various speculative lists as one of the logical landing points for free agent Craig Kimbrel, so keep an eye on his status as you assess both Vizcaino and Minter.

Starting 2019 hierarchy: Vizcaino | Minter | Venters.
Holds candidates: Minter, Venters, Sobotka.

September 25, 2018
Atlanta Braves – Prior to Tuesday’s game, Brian Snitker said that Arodys Vizcaino would pitch the ninth if the Braves had a lead. Sure enough, Vizcaino closed out a 7-3 win over the Mets with an efficient eight-pitch ninth inning. Meanwhile, AJ Minter is trying to work through some mechanical flaws prior to the postseason. We think Vizcaino is the best bet for saves over the final week, but Snitker also said that he doesn’t want to push Vizcaino too hard, so we’ll leave it as a committee for the rest of the year. Snitker also said after Tuesday’s win that Chad Sobotka, who struck out two in a four-out eighth inning, will get more high-leverage looks.

Updated hierarchy: *Vizcaino | Sobotka | Minter.
* = closer-by-committee

September 24, 2018
Atlanta Braves – A day after clinching the division, the Braves gave all their top relievers the day off, and Shane Carle locked down a 1-run victory. Carle has had a fine rookie season, but he’s still probably the fifth choice, at best, in this hierarchy.

Hierarchy remains: Minter | Vizcaino | Venters.

September 23, 2018
Atlanta Braves – Arodys Vizcaino earned his first save since June 17 when he closed out an NL East title for the Braves on Saturday. Vizcaino still needs to work towards back-to-back appearances, which should start this week. As the Braves prepare for the postseason, it would make sense for them to give Vizcaino another save chance or two to see if he’s capable of once again being a closer, even if it’s a shared role with AJ Minter.

Updated hierarchy: Minter | Vizcaino | Venters.

September 15, 2018
Atlanta Braves – The Braves activated Arodys Vizcaino from the 60-day DL on Friday. According to Brian Snitker, it’s unlikely that Vizcaino sees any high-leverage work right away. With two weeks to prepare for the postseason, expect the Braves to ease Vizcaino back into the late-inning mix as he auditions for a role on the playoff roster.

Hierarchy remains: Minter | Venters | Winkler.

September 13, 2018
Atlanta Braves – Jonny Venters’s amazing comeback continued last night, as he logged his third save of the season in a 1-run victory. He’s now allowed just three runs in 20 appearances for the Braves, and has surpassed Dan Winkler on the depth chart if all things are equal — though the Braves may continue to use them based on matchups in the late innings. There was no word on AJ Minter’s absence, but Venters was already loose when the Braves took the lead in the top of the inning, so that’s likely why Brian Snitker called his number.

Updated hierarchy: Minter | Venters | Winkler.

September 7, 2018
Atlanta Braves — With AJ Minter unavailable and Dan Winkler and Jonny Venters already having pitched, the Braves trotted out Brad Brach in extra innings, and the former Oriole converted for the vulture save, his first with the Braves.

Hierarchy remains: Minter | Winkler | Venters.

September 6, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Mike Foltynewicz and Jesse Biddle strung together seven innings of one-run ball against the Red Sox on Wednesday, and then along came the Braves’ top four relievers to somehow blow a six-run lead and a one-run lead in consecutive innings. It was an uncharacteristic blip, more likely to affect the team’s (theoretical) playoff confidence than the order of their late-inning relievers.

Hierarchy remains: Minter | Winkler | Venters.

August 23, 2018
Atlanta Braves — AJ Minter said he was available on Wednesday, but Brian Snitker elected to give him one more day of rest and use Jonny Venters to pick up the save. Venters, Brad Brach, and Dan Winkler are fairly equal in the Atlanta pen, but we’ll give Venters a turn in the hierarchy after this save. He still hasn’t allowed a run after 11 appearances with the Braves.

Updated hierarchy: Minter | Winkler | Venters.

August 21, 2018
Atlanta Braves – AJ Minter is nursing a sore back, which may be an explanation for his poor outing earlier this week. The Braves hope to have him back in a few days. In the meantime yesterday, Brad Brach and Jesse Biddle shared the 7th, Jonny Venters got the 8th, and Dan Winkler nailed down the save. We’ll monitor this situation in case Minter needs a quick trip to the DL.

Updated hierarchy: Minter | Winkler | Brach.

August 19, 2018
Atlanta Braves — AJ Minter blew the save on Saturday, giving up three runs in the ninth inning.  Minter has been so good recently, only one run in his previous twelve innings, that one blown save probably isn’t much cause for concern.  However, a cut on his finger could be cause for concern.  Minter said the cut did not affect his pitches, but this is something worth monitoring to see if it becomes a bigger issue.

Hierarchy remains: Minter | Brach | Winkler.

August 17, 2018
Atlanta Braves — As the Vulture Save Watch predicted, Brad Brach was called on to close things out for the Braves on Thursday. But the VSW cannot predict whether the vulture candidate actually converts the save; that’s on the pitcher. Brach allowed two hits, a walk, and three unearned runs to blow it, taking his first loss with Atlanta.

Hierarchy remains: Minter | Brach | Winkler.

August 15, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino is scheduled to begin throwing today, which is good news for the Braves. There’s still no timetable for Vizcaino’s return to a bullpen that has been pretty good in his absence. Jonny Venters still hasn’t allowed a run since returning to Atlanta after last night’s outing, and he should continue to see high-leverage spots along with Dan Winkler as the Braves look to get the ball to Brad Brach and AJ Minter.

Hierarchy remains: Minter | Brach | Winkler.

August 6, 2018
Atlanta Braves — AJ Minter couldn’t hold a 1-run lead in the 9th inning, but the Braves broke the tie in the 10th, allowing Jesse Biddle to pick up his first career save. The rookie lefthander has had a fine season, but doesn’t factor in to Atlanta’s usual late-inning plans at present.

Hierarchy remains: Minter | Brach | Winkler.

August 3, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Brad Brach pitched a clean eighth inning ahead of AJ Minter again Thursday, which is enough for us to drop the committee tag. Minter should hold onto the job until Arodys Vizcaino gets back, which could be a while.

Updated hierarchy: Minter | Brach | Winkler.

July 31, 2018
Atlanta Braves – Brad Brach got his first action for Atlanta last night, pitching a scoreless 8th inning ahead of AJ Minter. We were close to removing Minter’s asterisk before the Brach trade, and we’ll plan to do so should the Braves continue to deploy them in this fashion.

Hierarchy remains: *Minter | Brach | Winkler.
* = closer-by-committee

July 29, 2018
Atlanta Braves – The Braves acquired Brad Brach from the Orioles on Sunday. A.J. Minter has pitched well for Atlanta, but Brach gives Brian Snitker an intriguing option for the ninth. We’ll keep Minter at the top of the hierarchy but label this as a committee for now until we hear how Snitker plans to deploy his new arm.

Updated hierarchy: *Minter | Brach | Winkler.
* = closer-by-committee

July 27, 2018
Atlanta Braves – The Braves reacquired old friend Jonny Venters from the Rays last night, and the 33-year-old lefty should be a candidate for holds in a bullpen that has struggled a bit as of late. We’ll hold off on putting him on the hierarchy, but expect to see him there quickly if usage dictates. The move also solidifies AJ Minter as the team’s full-time fill-in closer for the time being, as Venters will serve as another left-handed option in the later innings, allowing Minter — who has gotten 100% of Atlanta’s saves in July — to remain in the ninth.

Updated hierarchy: Minter | Winkler | Carle.

July 21, 2018
Atlanta Braves — A.J. Minter pitched a perfect 9th on Friday to pick up his fifth save of the year. Minter has the last three saves for the Braves, and is close to kicking the asterisk of the Atlanta committee. Dan Winkler has still been effective, but has mostly seen the 8th inning in recent weeks. The Braves have not announced a timeline for Arodys Vizcaino’s return, making Minter the best option for saves in the near future.

Hierarchy remains: *Minter | Winkler | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

July 15, 2018
Atlanta Braves — The Braves tried to be careful with Arodys Vizcaino by giving him at least two days off in between each of his three appearances since returning from the DL in early July.  However, it didn’t matter as the Braves placed Vizcaino back on the DL after he was unable to get loose before the game on Saturday.  The Braves hope it is only inflammation in his pitching shoulder, but this is certainly not good news for Vizcaino.  We think this will be a committee with Dan Winkler and A.J. Minter, but since Minter has already gotten two saves in July, he could have a chance of becoming the primary closer.

Updated hierarchy: *Minter | Winkler | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

July 14, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino was placed on the DL today with right shoulder inflammation. This is the second time this year that Vizcaino has landed on the disabled list. Expect a committee of A.J. Minter and Dan Winkler to once again fill in for Vizcaino.

Updated hierarchy: *Minter | Winkler | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

July 8, 2018
Atlanta Braves — It didn’t end up being a save opportunity for the Braves yesterday after they added three runs in the top of the 8th.  However, it was notable how the braves deployed the back end of their bullpen.  Closer Arodys Vizcaino pitched the 8th inning with AJ Minter getting the 9th inning.  After the game, manager Brian Snitker said he liked Vizcaino’s match-ups in the 8th and that he would continue to take match-ups into account to ease Vizcaino in after recently returning from the DL.  We won’t make this a committee yet, but it’s something worth monitoring for the next couple days.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Minter | Winkler.

July 4, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino was activated from the DL on Tuesday and will return to his role as the Braves closer. Manager Brian Snitker did say that he plans to be careful with Vizcaino for the rest of the season and won’t push him a lot. He also said that he feels like he has three closers because of how A.J. Minter and Dan Winkler pitched during Vizcaino’s absence. We’ll remove the committee tag, but expect Minter and Winkler to be in the mix for saves if the Braves play a lot of close games.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Minter | Winkler.

July 3, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino was expected to be activated on Monday, but that didn’t happen, so A.J. Minter did the honors again and picked up his fourth save. Vizcaino is now expected to be activated on Tuesday, though we’ll see about that! Either way, he will be the closer upon his return.

Hierarchy remains: *Minter | Winkler | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

July 2, 2018
Atlanta Braves — AJ Minter grabbed his third save of the season on Sunday, but it might be his last for a while — Arodys Vizcaino is expected to be activated from the DL on Monday.

Hierarchy remains: *Minter | Winkler | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

June 30, 2018
Atlanta Braves – The Braves had a five-run lead going into the 9th inning, but when Luke Jackson loaded the bases with only one out, they brought in Dan Winkler. An inherited runner scored, but Winkler got out of the inning to record his first save of the year. The Braves are clearly in committee mode and used AJ Minter in the 8th inning. Both Minter and Winkler are pitching well, so any save opportunity will come down to matchups, at least until Arodys Vizcaino returns.

Hierarchy remains: *Minter | Winkler | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

June 25, 2018
Atlanta Braves – Up by 2 runs — and having put Arodys Vizcaino on the DL earlier in the day — the Braves summoned Dan Winkler for the 8th inning, leaving the 9th to AJ Minter. Both men did their jobs, though the Braves tacked on two more in the bottom of the 8th, so it wasn’t a save chance for Minter. Every indication thus far has been that the Braves will play matchups with these two, but since Minter has a save now and Winkler blew his chance on Friday, we’ll bump the lefty up to the top. Expect one of these two guys to get virtually every save chance until Arodys Vizcaino returns.

Updated hierarchy: *Minter | Winkler | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

June 24, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino has been held out of the last two games while dealing with a balky shoulder. There were hopes he’d be available today, but that’s not the case as the closer has been placed on the 10-day disabled list. He’s out until at least the first week of July. With Vizcaino out, look for Dan Winkler and AJ Minter to lead a committee, with Winkler likely getting the bulk of the cracks. WIth Vizcaino unavailable on Friday, Braves manager Brian Snitker went with Winkler, who was charged with four runs in blowing the save. This is a very fluid situation that we’ll monitor closely.

Updated hierarchy: *Winkler | Minter | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

June 24, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino was unavailable again on Saturday as he battles a balky shoulder.  The Braves are hopeful Vizcaino will be ready on Sunday, but if his shoulder does not get better, a trip to the disabled list could be possible.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Winkler | Minter.

June 23, 2018
Atlanta Braves — The Braves turned to Dan Winkler, not Arodys Vizcaino, to protect a two-run lead in the 9th inning. Winkler had a brutal outing, giving up four runs and paving the way for Zach Britton to create his own drama. After the game, Brian Snitker indicated that Vizcaino was dealing with a sore shoulder and that he hoped Vizcaino would be available today. We will monitor this to be sure it isn’t worse, but any shoulder injury is worth taking seriously.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Winkler | Minter.

June 14, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino has been the only guy sniffing conventional save chances for Atlanta, so we’re going to drop his asterisk again. Behind him, Dan Winkler has been phenomenal, allowing an earned run in only 2 of his 29 appearances and striking out 12.5 guys per nine innings. Add Shane Carle and lefty A.J. Minter, and the Braves have had a surprisingly effective bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Winkler | Minter.

June 6, 2018
Atlanta Braves – Back with the Braves after Julio Teheran was placed on the DL, Luke Jackson pitched the final three innings of a 14-1 victory at San Diego on Tuesday to pick up his first career save.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Minter | Winkler.
* = closer-by-committee

May 16, 2018
Atlanta Braves – Arodys Vizcaino allowed two runs in Tuesday’s ninth inning to blow a 2-1 lead for the Braves. After the game, Brian Snitker said that he has a few options for the ninth inning if he wants to keep everyone healthy and fresh. Vizcaino is still the favorite for saves, but with Snitker once again hinting at using AJ Minter or Dan Winkler in the ninth inning, we’re bringing back the asterisk.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Minter | Winkler.
* = closer-by-committee

May 15, 2018
Atlanta Braves – The Vulture Save Watch struck again, with AJ Minter picking up his second save of the season last night. Arodys Vizcaino was likely unavailable after pitching in two straight, but Minter could see occasional match-up related chances even on nights when everyone is rested.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Minter | Winkler. 

May 13, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Dan Winkler picked up his sixth hold of the season by pitching a clean eighth inning ahead of closer Arodys Vizcaino.  Winkler and Shane Carle have both been great for the Braves this year, but Winkler has consistently been working later in games than Carle recently so we will swap them on the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Minter | Winkler.

May 11, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Here’s your chance at a free year of Closer Monkey Premium. The first person to prove they had 21-year-old lefty Luiz Gohara in their lineup for his three-inning vulture save Thursday night is the winner. Pics or it didn’t happen!

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Minter | Carle.

May 10, 2018
Atlanta Braves — It’s been all Arodys Vizcaino ever since Brian Snitker talked about sometimes playing matchups with AJ Minter. We’re no longer buying the committee tag here.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Minter | Carle.

May 4, 2018
Atlanta Braves — It turns out that Shane Carle is okay and will likely be available on Friday after suffering a finger/forearm “stinger” that seemed pretty ominous at the time.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Minter | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

May 2, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Shane Carle threw just two pitches before he left Tuesday’s game after experiencing numbness in his right index finger and thumb. Daniel Winkler took over and completed the seventh inning, recording his fourth hold of the year in the process. Winkler (1.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP) has been terrific this year, allowing just two earned runs in 14.0 IP. Tuesday was his seventh straight scoreless appearance, and Winkler will be in line for even more high-leverage work if Carle heads to the DL. Manager Brian Snitker said after the game that they’ll know more about Carle in a day or so.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Minter | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

April 29, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino converted his second straight save opportunity since AJ Minter got the save on Wednesday.  Vizcaino struck out the side yesterday and has now put together seven straight scoreless appearances.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Minter | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

April 27, 2018
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino got back on the saddle Thursday, earning the save one day after AJ Minter did the honors. There hasn’t been a change of the guard yet, but this is a committee worth monitoring.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Minter | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

April 26, 2018
Atlanta Braves — After the Braves scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, lefty AJ Minter was called upon for his first career save. Two lefthanders, Joey Votto and Scooter Gennett, started off the ninth for the Reds, and after the game, Brian Snitker confirmed that Minter could get additional opportunities to close if the matchups are right. Sounds like a brand new committee to us.

Updated hierarchy: *Vizcaino | Minter | Carle.
* = closer-by-committee

April 17, 2018
Atlanta Braves – Arodys Vizcaino finally tallied his first save of the season Monday night, closing out a 2-1 victory. As expected, pitching ahead of him was AJ Minter, who despite a brief bout of control issues to start the season has opened up with 8.1 scoreless innings. Also picking up a hold was 26-year-old Shane Carle, who got the final two outs of the 7th inning. Carle (11.1 IP, 1.59 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 9 K, 2 BB) has been steady and reliable for the Braves thus far, and we think they’ll continue to look to him to protect leads going forward.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Minter | Carle. 

February 28, 2018
Atlanta Braves – Incumbent righty Arodys Vizcaino is the best bet to start out as the Atlanta closer this year, but we’re very excited to see if AJ Minter can challenge for the job early on in the season, or maybe even during Spring Training. Minter, 24, is the best Atlanta relief prospect since Craig Kimbrel, and dominated hitters in his late-season call up last season (15 IP, 26 Ks(!), 2 BBs). We’ll keep a close eye on the young lefty over the course of the next month to see if he has a shot to win the job out of the gate, as some are already predicting. (You may recall that Kimbrel was named closer out of Spring Training for the Braves after just a cup of coffee the previous year, so this move wouldn’t be without precedent for Atlanta.) Jose Ramirez is the likely #3 here, while Dan Winkler is another arm that could contribute.

Starting 2018 hierarchy: Vizcaino | Minter | Ramirez.
Holds candidates: Minter | Ramirez | Winkler.

September 29, 2017
Atlanta Braves – Rex Brothers put Giancarlo Stanton on the brink of what would be an historic number: 60. Brothers allowed Stanton’s second homer of Thursday’s game, giving him 59 home runs this season. Sixty would bring him on par with Babe Ruth and Roger Maris (and technically Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds). Sure, this is barely an update about Brothers, but with so little drama in bullpens across the league, we thought we’d take time to admire some history on the other side of the diamond.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Ramirez | Freeman.

August 26, 2017
Atlanta Braves – Sam Freeman picked up the last two outs of the 8th inning ahead of Arodys Vizcaino. Freeman has found himself in high leverage spots throughout August and has responded by not giving up a single run. He’s a lefty but has mostly seen full innings as of late, while Jim Johnson has had a rough stretch, giving up 11 runs over his last 4 appearances.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Ramirez | Freeman.

August 24, 2017
Atlanta Braves – Jim Johnson faced four batters during Wednesday’s eighth inning with his team ahead by a run. A double, walk, wild pitch and two singles later, Johnson was well on his way to another four earned runs on his resume. He entered Wednesday having allowed seven runs over his last three appearances, but Brian Snitker opted to gamble on Johnson after yesterday’s bullpen session. Probably should have tried this instead.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Ramirez | Johnson.

August 14, 2017
Atlanta Braves – Jose Ramirez picked up his 20th hold of the season yesterday. Lately, he’s been pitching mostly in games the Braves have been losing, which is weird given his stellar numbers, but at any rate, we welcome him back to the hierarchy and think he could be an option for saves should anything happen to Arodys Vizcaino.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Johnson | Ramirez.

August 5, 2017
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino pitched a clean ninth inning to pick up his second straight save and, as promised, we’ll kick his asterisk.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Johnson | Brothers.

August 3, 2017
Atlanta Braves — As expected, Arodys Vizcaino got the first save opportunity in the alleged Braves closer committee. We’re not convinced anyone else will actually get a chance — outside a day of rest or an unusual lefty matchup — but we’ll keep the asterisk at least one more day.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Johnson | Brothers.
* = closer-by-committee

July 31, 2017
Atlanta Braves – Jim Johnson has lost his position at the top of the Atlanta bullpen, and will now share duties with a handful of other relievers. Arodys Vizcaino is the best reliever to own right now, as he would’ve gotten the save chance last night, had the Braves taken the lead. (Johnson was used in a tie game in the 8th.) Rex Brothers, who closed for a spell in Colorado earlier in his career, could also get a look when matchups are right.

Updated hierarchy: *Vizcaino | Johnson | Brothers.
* = closer-by-committee

July 30, 2017
Atlanta Braves — Jim Johnson blew his eighth save of the season on Saturday.  Johnson has been bad for a while now, but manager Brian Snitker is not ready to make a change.  Snitker mentioned Arodys Vizcaino and Rex Brothers as other options to close if he did make a change.  Brothers has not been great since coming back at the end of June, but we will move him to 2nd in line based on Snitker’s comments.  Vizcaino still seems to be the guy to own if/when the Braves finally decide to make a change.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Vizcaino | Brothers.

July 20, 2017
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino gave up three hits in a rocky return from the disabled list, but we expect him to slide right back into his role as Jim Johnson’s understudy and presumptive heir.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Vizcaino | Ramirez.

July 8, 2017
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino’s injury came at a bad time for the Braves. In danger of completely falling out of contention, the team has no obvious backup plan to replace Jim Johnson and his league-leading seven blown saves, and it faces decreasing returns if it seeks to move the veteran before the trade deadline. Vizcaino owners are in the odd situation of having to root for Johnson to improve, at least over the short term.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Ramirez | Freeman.

July 6, 2017
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino strained the index finger on his throwing hand and will require a stint on the DL. The Braves don’t expect the injury to be serious, but it’s at least a slight blow to his status as a second-half save sleeper. Sam Freeman, one of three lefties in the Atlanta bullpen, should see more work in the late innings through the All-Star break. Jason Motte and Rex Brothers are also hanging around for the Braves.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Ramirez | Freeman.

July 3, 2017
Atlanta Braves — The Braves took their first shot at an extra-inning save with closer Jim Johnson, but he gave up the tying run. Next inning it was Arodys Vizcaino’s turn, and he converted, for his second save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Vizcaino | Ramirez.

June 24, 2017
Atlanta Braves — Jim Johnson got a break after throwing a combined 39 pitches on Wednesday and Thursday, leaving Arodys Vizcaino to protect a one-run lead for the Braves. He shut the door with a clean inning to snag his first save of the year. Johnson should be ready to go tonight.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Vizcaino | Ramirez.

May 25, 2017
Atlanta Braves — We can only predict the vulture opportunities; we can’t convert them. We told you that the Braves’ top two would likely have Wednesday off — and they did — but Jose Ramirez blew the shot at his first major-league save. The Pirates scored a touchdown off Josh Collmenter in the tenth to complete the indignity.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Vizcaino | Ramirez.

April 16, 2017
Atlanta Braves — Jose Ramirez (no, not that Jose Ramirez) earned his second consecutive seventh inning hold ahead of Arodys Vizcaino and closer Jim Johnson.  Ramirez has been pitching well and should continue to see time in the seventh inning until Mauricio Cabrera is able to return.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Vizcaino | Ramirez.

April 3, 2017
Atlanta Braves — Mauricio Cabrera will begin the season on the 10-day DL, paving the way for some other guys to potentially be the bridge to the 8th and 9th innings. We like lefty Ian Krol as perhaps the best option, with Eric O’Flaherty being another lefty that pitched his way onto the roster this spring and could see some high-leverage work to start the season.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Vizcaino | Krol.

March 1, 2017
Atlanta Braves — After a comically horrific start to the 2015 season, Jim Johnson returned to the Braves, where he’s quietly spent the past season and a half regaining his form. His strikeout rate climbed back over the magical one-per-inning mark in 2016, and he ended the year with 20 saves after Arodys Vizcaino went down with an injury. That performance has earned J.J. first dibs on closing this season, as Braves skipper Brian Snitker recently said he didn’t know why Johnson wouldn’t close to start the season. Vizcaino and fireballer Mauricio Cabrera could push him, so he’s not in the most secure of spots, but you could do worse.

Starting 2017 hierarchy: Johnson | Vizcaino | Cabrera.
Holds candidates: Vizcaino, Cabrera, Ian Krol.

September 24, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Mauricio Cabrera got another save yesterday with Jim Johnson taking a second day off after pitching in three straight. Cabrera has been excellent in the save opportunities he has seen, but Brian Snitker has stuck with the veteran Johnson, who should be available to close today.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Cabrera | Simmons.

September 23, 2016
Atlanta Braves — As predicted by the Vulture Save Watch, Mauricio Cabrera picked up the save Thursday as regular closer Jim Johnson needed some rest.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Cabrera | Simmons.

September 4, 2016
Atlanta Braves — As predicted, Jim Johnson got the day off on Saturday, and Mauricio Cabrera pitched a perfect inning for his fourth save of the season.  The young flamethrower Cabrera could be the closer of the future for the Braves but for the rest of this season he will likely only see save chances with Johnson is unavailable.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Cabrera | Simmons.

September 2, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Shae Simmons has had a long journey back to the major leagues, and on Thursday against the Padres, he got into his first game since July of his rookie year (2014). Simmons made the most of his return, tossing a scoreless eighth inning in a 9-6 win. In other news, Chris Withrow returned from the DL. It remains to be seen how he’ll fit into the team’s eighth-inning plans the rest of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Cabrera | Simmons.

August 31, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino will head back to the disabled list due to inflamation in his throwing shoulder. The Braves did get good news, though, as Shae Simmons will finally rejoin the roster. It’s been 25 months since Simmons has thrown a pitch in the majors, so don’t necessarily expect him to be immediately thrown into a high-leverage situation. However, Simmons did pitch well during his rehab stint in Triple-A, so we expect to see him get some looks in the late innings during the final month of the season.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Cabrera | Simmons.

August 19, 2016
Atlanta Braves – Arodys Vizcaino was activated off the disabled list Thursday and will be eased back into the closer’s role, which seems like a great idea after he was charged with four runs (3 ER) in the seventh inning without recording an out Thursday night. For now, look for Jim Johnson and Mauricio Cabrera to handle the duties in the 8th and 9th innings. In related Braves news, lefty Ryan O’Flaherty shocked no one (6.94 ERA, 1.74 WHIP) when he cleared waivers. He can now be traded.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Cabrera | Vizcaino.

August 12, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Closer Arodys Vizcaino could rejoin the Braves bullpen as early as late next week as he continues to battle back from a strained oblique. It appears the team wants Vizcaino to make three rehab appearances before rejoining the big club. Meanwhile, closer Jim Johnson was claimed by an unknown team, but the Braves pulled him back after a deal could not be worked out.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Cabrera | Krol.

August 10, 2016
Atlanta Braves — As the Vulture Save Watch predicted, Jim Johnson got a night off, which paved the way for Mauricio Cabrera to collect his third save of the season. Ian Krol was sharp in the eighth inning, retiring both batters he faced. In other news, Shae Simmons was activated off the DL and placed on the Triple-A roster.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Cabrera | Krol.

August 9, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Chris Withrow has been placed on the 15-day DL with elbow pain. While his timetable is unclear, we expect Ian Krol to get more late-inning opportunities while Withrow is out.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Cabrera | Krol.

July 30, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Jim Johnson picked up his fifth save of the year by successfully protecting a one-run lead last night. With Atlanta in selling mode, however, teams like the Mets are inquiring about Johnson, and the Braves could be close to moving him. If he gets traded, it seems that Mauricio Cabrera — who pitched another clean eighth for his third straight hold — would get the first crack at saves.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Cabrera | Withrow.

July 27, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Chris Withrow now has eighth-inning holds in each of the last two Atlanta wins and has surpassed Dario Alvarez in the Braves hierarchy. Meanwhile, Mauricio Cabrera is still throwing gas, as he hit 102 twice on Tuesday.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Cabrera | Withrow.

July 15, 2016
Atlanta Braves — In an attempt to shake off nine days of rust, Brian Snitker called on Arodys Vizcaino in the ninth with the Braves down five. The move backfired terribly when Vizcaino exited after three pitches with what appeared to be a right oblique injury. After the game, Snitker announced that Vizcaino had injured a side muscle and was expected to hit the DL. Although 22-year-old Mauricio Cabrera has the “future closer” tag and a 100+ MPH fastball, Jim Johnson has closing experience and should have the edge for save chances over the short term. Johnson got the last save opportunity on July 10, and the Braves may want to boost his trade value. Vizcaino’s absence will allow more room in the late innings for lefthanded strikeout machine Dario Alvarez (23 K, 10.2 IP).

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Cabrera | Alvarez.

July 11, 2016
Atlanta Braves – Arodys Vizcaino is suffering from some minor elbow troubles so Jim Johnson picked up the save in his place. If Vizcaino is dealt, Johnson and youngster Mauricio Cabrera will be battling for saves in Atlanta. (Stay tuned for our Trade Deadline Buy/Sell previews during the All Star break!)

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Johnson | Cabrera.

July 9, 2016
Atlanta Braves — With a four-run lead in the ninth inning, it was Mauricio Cabrera who got the ball for Atlanta. He was not quite as good as he has been recently, giving up a run on three hits, but he finished the game for the second straight day. Before the game, manager Brian Snitker indicated that Arodys Vizcaino is still the closer, but with trade rumors flying, Snitker seems to be preparing for life without him. Given recent usage, Cabrera is the most likely option to take the role when and if Vizcaino is traded — although the Braves may still want him to serve an apprenticeship under wise old Jim Johnson.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Cabrera | Johnson.

July 8, 2016
Atlanta Braves – Closer Arodys Vizcaino was unavailable Thursday after a rough outing Wednesday (1 IP, 2 ER, blown save, 21 pitches). In his place during an 11-inning affair against the Cubs? It was the recently called up Mauricio Cabrera, who pitched a clean 11th inning for his second save. With Vizcaino on the trade block, Cabrera could be the closer of the future in Atlanta.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Johnson | Cabrera.

July 1, 2016
Atlanta Braves – Recent call-up Mauricio Cabrera picked up his first career save for the Braves Thursday night after closer Arodys Vizcaino ran into some trouble in what was originally a non-save situation in the ninth. Vizcaino recorded two quick outs, but followed that by allowing two walks and an RBI single. Interim manager Brian Snitker then turned to Cabrera, who had never even pitched with the lead in his short career (two previous major league games). He was impressive, touching 102 mph on the radar gun in recording the final out. If Vizcaino gets traded, keep an eye on Cabrera.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Johnson | Cervenka.

June 24, 2016
Atlanta Braves – The bad Braves may be one of those teams that can offer relief help in the form of closer Arodys Vizcaino (2.01 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9 SV, 44 Ks). Jon Heyman says Vizcaino is drawing “intense” interest, meaning Jim Johnson may be worth a speculative add. Stay tuned.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Johnson | Cervenka.

June 19, 2016
Atlanta Braves — As we expected, Arodys Vizcaino got the day off on Saturday and veteran Jim Johnson recorded the save with a scoreless ninth inning.  Johnson should continue to serve as closer whenever Vizcaino is unavailable.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Johnson | Cervenka.

June 8, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Jim Johnson got his first high-leverage work since returning from the DL and retired the side on 10 pitches to protect a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning. His ERA is still over 7.00, but at least he can say he had a better night than Arodys Vizcaino, who suffered his second blown save.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Johnson | Cervenka.

June 5, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Jim Johnson has returned from the DL and should slide back into his set-up role for now.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Johnson | Cervenka.

June 1, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Atlanta’s youth movement continues, as the Braves have decided to pay 39-year-old Jason Grilli to pitch in another country. The team does expect to get Jim Johnson back from the DL this Friday, and Shae Simmons’s return from Tommy John surgery shouldn’t be far behind. Until then, Alexi Ogando and Hunter Cervenka will protect Atlanta’s theoretical late-game leads.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Cervenka | Ogando.

May 11, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Jim Johnson and his 7.90 ERA hit the DL on Tuesday. Ian Krol was recalled from Triple-A, but another lefty, Hunter Cervenka, has been terrific for the Braves since his debut on April 12, throwing 14 straight scoreless innings. Holds are rare from the Braves bullpen, but Cervenka may be a source while Johnson is on the mend.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Grilli | Cervenka.

May 2, 2016
Atlanta Braves – Arodys Vizcaino was forced into action in the 8th inning, and couldn’t hold the lead through the 9th, as the game went to extras. Jason Grilli ended up picking up his second save of the year — Jim Johnson had already pitched early in the game.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | Johnson | Grilli.

April 29, 2016
Atlanta Braves — When wins are as rare as they’ve been for the 5-17 Braves so far this season, you tend to make sure that your best pitchers are pitching when you actually have a chance to win a game. And with the Braves actually holding a lead late in Thursday’s game, Jason Grilli was nowhere to be found. Instead, for the second straight time, Jim Johnson picked up the eighth-inning hold ahead of Arodys Vizcaino. The Braves are still probably hoping they can get a prospect for Grilli midseason, but his poor start has kept him out of high-leverage chances since the season’s first week.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Johnson | Grilli.

April 23, 2016
Atlanta Braves — It doesn’t look like much of a committee in Atlanta. Jason Grilli’s only save was of the vulture variety, and he came in on Friday night with the Braves down three in the eighth.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Grilli | Johnson.

April 18, 2016
Atlanta Braves – The Braves wanted to give Arodys Vizcaino a day off on Sunday, so Jason Grilli was tapped for the save. He gave up the tying run, but fortunately for the Braves, they were able to retake the lead, allowing Matt Wisler to earn his first career save in extra innings. Wisler does not factor into the Braves’ usual late-inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Grilli | Johnson.
* = closer-by-committee

April 17, 2016
Atlanta Braves — As expected, Arodys Vizcaino got the day off on Saturday, and Jason Grilli recorded his first save since last July.  Manager Fredi Gonzalez will be careful with Vizcaino, and he may be unavailable on Sunday, so Grilli should continue to see some save opportunities throughout the season.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Grilli | Johnson.
* = closer-by-committee

April 16, 2016
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino certainly made it interesting — loading the bases in the eighth and allowing two more baserunners in the ninth — but at the end of the day, he had his first save and the Braves their first win in ten tries.

Hierarchy remains: *Vizcaino | Grilli | Johnson.
* = closer-by-committee

April 6, 2016
Atlanta Braves – After a rough Opening Day outing for Jason Grilli, manager Fredi Gonzalez said that Arodys Vizcaino will be his top bullpen option. The problem is that Gonzalez is only concerned about Vizcaino facing the “tough part of the order.” So while he no longer leads the committee at the moment, Grilli is not out of the running for some cheap saves depending on matchups.

Updated hierarchy: *Vizcaino | Grilli | Johnson.
* = closer-by-committee

April 5, 2016
Atlanta Braves – Thirty-nine year old Jason Grilli did little to lock down his provisional closer spot in Atlanta on Opening Day. Brought in with a one-run lead in the 9th, Grilli coughed up a run, and was tagged with a blown save. Given the fluid situation in the Braves’ bullpen, expect Grilli to be on a short leash going forward.

Hierarchy remains: *Grilli | Vizcaino | Johnson.
* = closer-by-committee

March 18, 2016
Atlanta Braves – Jason Grilli made his spring debut yesterday, but the Braves still haven’t committed to him — or anyone else — as closer just yet. Grilli, Arodys Vizcaino, and Jim Johnson are still being considered.

Hierarchy remains: *Grilli | Vizcaino | Johnson.
* = closer-by-committee

March 2, 2016
Atlanta Braves – In all likelihood, Arodys Vizcaino will be the Atlanta closer by year’s end. The question is whether he’ll start the year with the role. As you may recall, veteran Jason Grilli was perfectly respectable — good, even — before rupturing his Achilles last summer, and has reported to camp assuming that he’ll be the closer. Pretty much every veteran on the Braves roster will be expendable come summer time, so even if Grilli wins the job, it’s probably a three-month gig, but this battle will be one to watch in Spring Training. Beyond those two, your league would have to be really, really deep for you to be looking at anyone else. If that’s the case, though, Jim Johnson is kicking around and could nab a few holds if he proves he can still pitch, and promising youngster Shae Simmons could return as early as May.

Starting 2016 hierarchy: Grilli | Vizcaino | Johnson.
Holds candidates: Vizcaino, Johnson.

August 29, 2015
Atlanta Braves — Left fielder Jonny Gomes was a more effective pitcher than Andrew McKirahan on Friday night, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the rookie sent down before Saturday’s game. There isn’t much else to choose from for the Braves right now, so by default we must turn to Peter Moylan, in honor of his Rec Specs and his relief dominance (okay, competence) back in ’07, ’09, and ’10.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Jackson | Moylan.

August 25, 2015
Atlanta Braves – Less than two weeks after signing with the Braves, former Cub Edwin Jackson snagged an 8th inning hold against the Rockies. Jackson was atrocious as a starter with the Cubs over the last few years, but seems to have settled in to his role as a reliever this season, positing a 3.13 ERA. With David Aardsma DFA’d yesterday, Jackson should get more hold chances going forward.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Jackson | McKirahan.

August 15, 2015
Atlanta Braves — Arodys Vizcaino is cementing his role as the Braves closer, and David Aardsma seems to be his chief lieutenant, although the relief roles officially remain fluid. Aardsma got the seventh and eighth in front of Vizcaino on Friday night.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Aardsma | McKirahan.

August 7, 2015
Atlanta Braves — Congratulations are in order for Arodys Vizcaino, who picked up his first career save Thursday. Armed with a 0.71 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, Vizcaino will get the bulk of the Braves’ save chances for the rest of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Vizcaino | McKirahan | Aardsma.

July 31, 2015
Atlanta Braves — In the wake of the Jim Johnson trade, Arodys Vizcaino will indeed get the majority of save opps, though a few could also go to Andrew McKirahan, according to Mark Bowman.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | McKirahan | Aardsma.

July 30, 2015
Atlanta Braves — Although it hasn’t been finalized, there are multiple independent reports that Jim Johnson has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The void he leaves should be filled by Arodys Vizcaino. The 24-year-old has the power arm managers value in a closer, and has been named as a potential replacement for Jim Johnson ever since the Grilli injury. Behind him, veterans David Aardsma and Jason Frasor are likely to get more late-inning looks as well. We’ll keep an eye on how the first few save opportunities go for the Braves, but Vizcaino is the guy to own for now.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Frasor | Aardsma.

July 29, 2015
Atlanta BravesESPN is reporting that Jim Johnson (and Luis Avilan) will be traded to Los Angeles as part of a three-team deal. With Johnson headed west, the Braves will likely turn first to Arodys Vizcaino, with Jason Frasor and David Aardsma also in the mix.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Frasor | Aardsma.

July 22, 2015
Atlanta Braves – Former Royals reliever Jason Frasor has been terrific in 2015, and he has posted two holds in three appearances with the Braves since being released by Kansas City. Meanwhile David Aardsma doesn’t have a hold since July 7.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Vizcaino | Frasor.

July 13, 2015
Atlanta Braves – With Jim Johnson serving as the Braves closer, it’s looking like the recently called up Arodys Vizcaino is now the primary handcuff in Atlanta. A few years back, Vizcaino was a highly-regarded prospect with a 101-mph fastball. But he experienced several setbacks — Tommy John surgery, elbow surgery, and a PED suspension — and it’s taken him a while to get back to this level. Still, he could be a good speculative add. With the Braves slowly falling out of the playoff race, they could look to trade Johnson for prospects.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Vizcaino | Aardsma.

July 12, 2015
Atlanta Braves — As we feared last night, Jason Grilli suffered a left Achilles rupture on Saturday night and will miss the rest of the season. Jim Johnson will be the new closer for the Braves, with Luis Avilan, David Aardsma, and Arodys Vizcaino backing him up.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Avilan | Aardsma.

July 11, 2015
Atlanta Braves – Jason Grilli had to be carted off the field after injuring himself on an attempt to cover first. There’s speculation that it could be an Achilles tendon injury; either way, Jim Johnson appears to be a must-add right now.

Updated hierarchy: Johnson | Avilan | Aardsma.

July 7, 2015
Atlanta Braves — After a string of bad outings that culminated in an extra-inning disaster on Sunday against the Phillies, Nick Masset has been sent packing for Triple-A. Luis Avilan, who sports a sub-3.00 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 10 holds, enters the hierarchy to replace Masset.

Updated hierarchy: Grilli | Johnson | Avilan.

July 4, 2015
Atlanta Braves — Jason Grilli got the night off after working in two straight, allowing Jim Johnson to pick up a vulture save.

Hierarchy remains: Grilli | Johnson | Masset.

June 22, 2015
Atlanta Braves – Jason Grilli had pitched in back to back games, so the Braves tapped Jim Johnson for the save chance on Sunday. Johnson converted his fourth save of the season, allowing Closer Monkey to brag about the Vulture Save Watch, as is our wont. Behind him, Nick Masset has supplanted Brandon Cunniff for the 2nd in line spot.

Updated hierarchy: Grilli | Johnson | Masset.

June 14, 2015
Atlanta Braves — Williams Perez picked up his first career save in extra innings last night.  Jim Johnson and Jason Grilli each pitched a scoreless inning earlier in the game, and Grilli ended up with the win.

Hierarchy remains: Grilli | Johnson | Cunniff.

June 11, 2015
Atlanta Braves –As predicted in the Vulture Save Watch, Jim Johnson picked up the save for the Braves as Jason Grilli got a night off following two straight appearances totaling 50 pitches.

Hierarchy remains: Grilli | Johnson | Cunniff.

May 22, 2015
Atlanta Braves — Fredi Gonzalez’s decision to point out Will Smith’s foreign substance proved masterful, as his Braves followed up with a 7-spot in the 7th inning to win 10-1. Lost in all the drama was the performance from Brandon Cunniff, who tossed a scoreless inning in the eighth. The rookie now sports a 1.93 ERA and 0.71 WHIP, and opposing hitters are hitting just .048 this season against him, the lowest mark in the majors. He has allowed eight walks, so we’ll be watching his control, but he’s pitched well enough to earn a promotion to the Braves hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Grilli | Johnson | Cunniff.

May 13, 2015
Atlanta Braves – Jason Grilli took the loss in his first outing in six days, though he said after the game that his back is fine and that he was just a little rusty. With Jim Johnson continuing to pitch well, the Braves may be more willing to give Grilli an extra day of rest here and there, especially if his back isn’t truly fine.

Hierarchy remains: Grilli | Johnson | Avilan.

May 12, 2015
Atlanta Braves – With Jason Grilli still sidelined, Jim Johnson picked up a save on Monday night. Grilli is expected back in short order.

Hierarchy remains: Grilli | Johnson | Avilan.

May 10, 2015
Atlanta Braves – Closer Jason Grilli was unavailable yesterday.  Grilli last pitched on Wednesday when he picked up his 9th save of the season.  If Grilli misses any additional time, Jim Johnson should fill in as closer.

Hierarchy remains: Grilli | Johnson | Avilan.

April 12, 2015
Atlanta Braves – Jim Johnson recorded his first save of the season last night, as regular closer Jason Grilli was given the night off.  Johnson has gotten off to a great start, and should continue to see save chances whenever Grilli is unavailable.

Hierarchy remains: Grilli | Johnson | Avilan.

April 7, 2015
Atlanta Braves – Prior to Jason Grilli picking up his first save of the year, Freddie Gonzalez confirmed that Grilli will be his closer and Jim Johnson his set-up man to start the season. This comes after the Braves shipped off über-closer Craig Kimbrel to the Padres ahead of opening day.

Hierarchy remains: Grilli | Johnson | Avilan.

April 5, 2015
Atlanta Braves — With the Opening Day salary dump of All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel, the Braves will turn to one of their closer retread insurance policies: Jason Grilli and Jim Johnson. Grilli has the edge, if you want any piece of this action. With Josh Outman starting the year on the DL, Luis Avilan will complete the relief dream team. Long-term, Shae Simmons could be the answer if he can return from Tommy John surgery. Braves GM John Hart also mentioned Juan Jaime as an option down the line.

Updated hierarchy: Grilli | Johnson | Avilan.

March 9, 2015
Atlanta Braves – In 2012, Craig Kimbrel reached a milestone that no pitcher had ever reached before, striking out more than 50 percent (116 out of 231) of the batters that he faced. Kid K hasn’t managed that feat in the two years since; he’s merely settled for being arguably the best closer in baseball. Behind him, though, are a lot of question marks, as Kimbrel will be flanked by as many as three aging former stoppers — Jason Grilli, Jim Johnson, and Jose Veras all joined the roster in the offseason. (Incidentally, so did Matt Capps, but he already got cut.) Grilli and Johnson seem likely to make the team — Johnson has impressed in camp — as do Michael Kohn and James Russell, younger arms who have been steady in their relatively short careers. Luis Avilan also returns, and will definitely be a factor if he’s closer to his 2013 self; less so if the 2014 version shows up.

Starting 2015 hierarchy: Kimbrel | Grilli | Johnson.
Holds candidates: Grilli | Johnson.

September 4, 2014
Atlanta Braves — Craig Kimbrel picked up his 42nd save of the year in bright gold cleats that will be auctioned off to benefit a childhood cancer charity.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Walden | Carpenter.

August 14, 2014
Atlanta Braves — David Carpenter picked up his second high-leverage hold in four days; although Shae Simmons is nearing a return from the disabled list, memories of Carpenter’s astounding 2013 performance (and the fact that his K/9 and FIP have actually improved this year) should keep him in the top three regardless.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Walden | Carpenter.

August 1, 2014
Atlanta Braves — The Braves added a lefty to their bullpen on Thursday when they brought over James Russell from the Cubs. Russell will add a veteran presence to the bullpen and will be more than a lefty specialist, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Walden | Varvaro.

July 30, 2014
Atlanta Braves — Shae Simmons’s recent struggles have been explained by a shoulder strain that has landed him on the disabled list. Anthony Varvaro should take Simmons’s place even after a rough outing on Tuesday, completing his heartwarming comeback from a broken leg in the 2006 Preakness. Recently recalled Juan Jaime has great stuff, but also walked almost a man an inning at AAA.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Walden | Varvaro.

July 16, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Tied with Washington for first place in the NL East, the Braves have the elitest of elite closers, but might be in the market for a lefthanded reliever like Boston’s Andrew Miller to reinforce Luis Avilan. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None. 

July 13, 2014
Atlanta Braves — David Carpenter recorded the save last night.  He entered the game in the 8th inning with a three run lead and then came back for the 9th after the Braves added two more runs to make it a five run game.  It was only Carpenter’s second appearance since coming off the DL, but it was much better than the first.  Shae Simmons still has an ERA under 1.00 so we will leave him at second in line for now but Carpenter could move back into that role shortly.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Walden | Simmons.

July 9, 2014
Atlanta Braves — In the week since David Carpenter was activated from the disabled list, he made precisely zero appearances, while Luis Avilan and Jordan Walden took care of the eighth inning in front of Craig Kimbrel. When Carpenter finally pitched again on Tuesday night, it was with the Braves trailing 6-0, and he gave up five hits and two runs over two line drive-heavy innings. Although the appearance raised Carpenter’s 2014 WHIP to 1.79 — percentage points higher than the 1.78 ERA he boasted in last year’s breakout season — part of the reason is a whopping .462 BABIP this year. Whether Carpenter is hurting or just unlucky, Atlanta seems likely to let him figure things out in lower-leverage spots for the time being. Shea Simmons would likely be next in line for saves behind Kimbrel and Walden.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Walden | Simmons.

July 3, 2014
Atlanta Braves — As predicted in Wednesday’s Vulture Save Watch, Jordan Walden picked up his third save of the year, allowing Craig Kimbrel a night off.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Walden | Carpenter.

July 2, 2014
Atlanta Braves — After two successful rehab outings for AAA Gwinnett, an optimistic David Carpenter will be activated from the disabled list on Wednesday. His return should displace Shae Simmons and Luis Avilan.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Walden | Carpenter.

June 21, 2014
Atlanta Braves – After a rare Craig Kimbrel blown save sent the game to extras, Jordan Walden picked up his second save of the year in the 13th inning. Now that he’s back and healthy, Walden appears to be the Kimbrel handcuff.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Walden | Simmons.

June 18, 2014
Atlanta Braves — After a period of very heavy use (59 pitches in three days), David Carpenter was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained right biceps. Jordan Walden will take on a bigger role in Carpenter’s absence.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Simmons | Walden.

June 11, 2014
Atlanta Braves — Jordan Walden returned from the DL today after a month away, and we were all set to move him right into the Braves’ hierarchy — that is, until he entered Tuesday’s game with a four-run lead in the eighth and immediately issued three straight walks. Thanks to Shae Simmons, the Braves yielded only one run. Walden hasn’t historically struggled with control, but we’ll still wait to see what his next game holds before making the move.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Simmons | Carpenter.

June 10, 2014
Atlanta Braves – It’s been quite an ascension for young Shae Simmons, who in two weeks has gone from AA to the 8th inning in Atlanta.  Simmons now has six big league appearances, a 0.00 ERA, four 8th-inning holds (including his most recent effort last night, a spotless inning in a 3-1 game), and a save on a night when Craig Kimbrel was unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Simmons | Carpenter.

June 8, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Shae Simmons pitched the 8th inning ahead of closer Craig Kimbrel last night with the Braves holding a one run lead.  Simmons now has a save and three holds in five appearances since getting called up.

Updated hierarchy: Kimbrel | Carpenter | Simmons.

June 2, 2014
Atlanta Braves – With both Craig Kimbrel and David Carpenter unavailable, the Braves went to rookie Shae Simmons in the 9th inning. Simmons, who was just called up two days ago (much to his own surprise), allowed three base runners but nailed down his first career save.

Hierarchy remains: Kimbrel | Carpenter | Varvaro.

May 12, 2014
Atlanta Braves – David Carpenter pitched a clean 9th inning for the Braves on Sunday, earning his second save of the season. As mentioned in the Vulture Save Watch, Craig Kimbrel had thrown 43 pitches over the previous two days and got the night off. No hierarchy change.

May 11, 2014
Atlanta Braves – The Braves have placed Jordan Walden on the DL with a strained hamstring.  David Carpenter should take over Walden’s set-up role, while Anthony Varvaro could see more time in the later innings.   Hierarchy change: David Carpenter to Set-up, Anthony Varvaro to 2nd in line, Jordan Walden to DL.

April 22, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Craig Kimbrel blew the save last night, though to his credit did bounce back with three straight strikeouts after allowing the game-tying double. He’s not on the hot seat yet, but this combined with his earlier arm troubles is a little worrying. Jordan Walden, meanwhile, has not allowed an earned run since April 9.  No hierarchy change.

April 20, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden picked up a one-out, bases-loaded save on Saturday night, bailing out an ineffective Craig Kimbrel.  Despite being the go-to guy in the 8th inning all season, David Carpenter has struggled mightily, and his ERA shot up to 6.43 after he was knocked around last night.  After Walden’s clutch performance last night, we think he’d probably be the best bet for saves if Kimbrel’s early season struggles continue.  Hierarchy change: Jordan Walden to Set-up, David Carpenter to 2nd in line.

April 15, 2014
Atlanta Braves – David Carpenter got the save in a wild 9-6 win at Philadelphia – unexpected to everyone except Fredi Gonzalez, who held closer Craig Kimbrel out due to right shoulder soreness that crept up over the weekend. Kimbrel plans to rest for a few days, which means Carpenter is the best bet for saves in the interim. Jordan Walden, who has prior experience as a closer, will also be in the mix. No hierarchy change.

April 3, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden might have the closing experience, but through two games of the 2014 season, David Carpenter is the one racking up the 8th inning holds — Carpenter has pitched the 8th in each of the Braves’ first two wins ahead of Craig Kimbrel.  Hierarchy change: David Carpenter to Set-up, Jordan Walden to 2nd in line. 

March 13, 2014
Atlanta Braves — Craig Kimbrel has been utterly unhittable since his rookie season in 2011, and he’s earned the #1 spot in our preseason closer rankings.

March 11, 2014
Atlanta Braves – Craig Kimbrel has been a dominant force for the Braves over the last three years, and Atlanta still has plenty of quality arms surrounding him. Jordan Walden, a competent closer in his own right for the Angels in 2011, should be Kimbrel’s right-hand man, with David Carpenter and lefty Luis Avilan providing valuable late-inning help. Jonny Venters isn’t expected to return from his Tommy John rehab until May or June. Starting 2014 hierarchy: Closer — Craig Kimbrel; Set-up — Jordan Walden; 2nd in line — David Carpenter.

September 18, 2013
Atlanta Braves — A blown save on Tuesday and three earned runs in his last two appearances should eliminate Craig Kimbrel from any misguided Cy Young consideration. No hierarchy change.

September 15, 2013
Atlanta Braves — One night after Jordan Walden blew an 8th inning lead, the Braves went to David Carpenter ahead of Craig Kimbrel.  Jordan Walden has been battling injuries while David Carpenter lowered his ERA to 1.95 with last night’s outing.  Hierarchy change: David Carpenter to Set-up, Jordan Walden to 2nd in line.

September 4, 2013
Atlanta Braves — Jordan Walden hasn’t pitched in two weeks, and after a five-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday, word is he’ll be out at least another week. Luis Ayala and Scott Downs are each getting a lot of late-inning work, but we think Ayala, as a righty, will be slightly more likely to grab any super-vulture saves down the stretch. Hierarchy change: Luis Ayala to 2nd in line, Jordan Walden to Set-up (INJ).

August 31, 2013
Atlanta Braves — Anthony Varvaro pitched the last two innings last night to record the save.  With Jordan Walden still nursing a leg injury and Avilan and Carpenter being used a lot recently, the Braves went with the more rested option.  Varvaro had not pitched in 5 days so he got the call last night but he still does not factor into the normal late inning plans for the Braves.  No hierarchy change.

August 28, 2013
Atlanta Braves — Jordan Walden hasn’t pitched in a week, and Luis Avilan and Scott Downs have been working late in games for Atlanta. We don’t think Walden is out of the picture yet, but the Braves are being careful with him for some reason — possibly connected to the line drive he took off his pitching hand on August 10th. Hierarchy change: Luis Avilan to Set-up, Jordan Walden to 2nd in line.

August 14, 2013
Atlanta Braves — David Carpenter, claimed off waivers last November, has claimed the last two eighth-inning holds and is striking out more than 10 per 9 innings. Hierarchy change: David Carpenter to 2nd in line, replacing Luis Avilan.

August 6, 2013
Atlanta Braves — Jordan Walden did indeed grab a vulture save Monday with Craig Kimbrel unavailable. No hierarchy change.

July 30, 2013
Atlanta Braves — As we expected, Jordan Walden got a vulture save opportunity on Monday, but blew it, giving Scott Downs a vulture win in his first appearance as a Brave. Although Downs was serving in a set-up role for the Angels, we don’t see him challenging the existing hierarchy in Atlanta, at least at this point. No hierarchy change.

July 18, 2013
Atlanta Braves – The Braves are all set at closer, although they might well add a setup arm like Oliver Perez or Jesse Crain. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None. 

July 6, 2013
Atlanta Braves – The Braves have optioned Cory Gearrin to Triple-A.  Luis Avilan, and his 1.51 ERA, should take over for Gearrin in the late innings.  Hierarchy change: Luis Avilan to 2nd in line, replacing Cory Gearrin.

June 2, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden now has three perfect innings since returning from the disabled list, including a clean 10th last night which earned him the win when the Braves walked off.  He might not become the team’s 8th inning guy for a while — Cory Gearrin and Luis Avilan have pitched well in that role — but now that he’s shown that he’s healthy, his previous closing experience gives him the edge for saves should anything happen to Craig Kimbrel.  Hierarchy change: Jordan Walden to Set-up, Cory Gearrin to 2nd in line. 

May 30, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden returned from the DL to pitch a scoreless inning on Wednesday.  Though Cory Gearrin and Luis Avilan have pitched well in their roles as the 8th inning triage team, Walden’s experience would have to throw him into immediate consideration for saves should anything happen to Craig Kimbrel.  Hierarchy change: Jordan Walden to 2nd in line, replacing Luis Avilan.

May 21, 2013
Atlanta Braves — As predicted in Monday morning’s Vulture Save Watch, Cory Gearrin grabbed a weird one-out save on Monday after entering with two on and a four-run lead. No hierarchy change.

May 19, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Another day, another injury for the Braves bullpen.  This time it was Eric O’Flaherty landing on the DL and he will visit Dr. James Andrews later this week so it doesn’t sound good.  Cory Gearrin pitched the 8th yesterday and Freddi Gonzalez said after the game that he will use Gearrin and lefty Luis Avilan based on matchups.  Hierarchy change: Cory Gearrin to Set-up, Eric O’Flaherty to DL.

May 18, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden was placed on the DL Friday due to right shoulder inflammation.  Luis Avilan pitched the 7th inning ahead of O’Flaherty and Kimbrel and picked up his 5th hold of the season.  Hierarchy change: Luis Avilan to 2nd in line, Jordan Walden to DL.

April 19, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jordan Walden’s usage has been sporadic thus far this season, which perhaps stems from the coaching staff’s reluctance to overwork him after he missed time during the spring.  With his electric stuff, we expect him to take over the 8th inning role at some point, but so far this season, Eric O’Flaherty has been the man bridging the gap to Craig Kimbrel.  O’Flaherty pitched again last night, and despite underwhelming peripherals (4/3 K/BB ratio), he picked up his 5th hold of the season.  Hierarchy change: Eric O’Flaherty to Set-up, Jordan Walden to 2nd in line.

April 2, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Jonny Venters was placed on the disabled list to start the season, and reports emerged over the weekend that he was heading to visit Dr. James Andrews, which is never a good sign.  Eric O’Flaherty pitched the 7th inning in the Braves’ opening day win.  Hierarchy change: Eric O’Flaherty to 2nd in line, replacing Jonny Venters.

February 24, 2013
Atlanta Braves – Starting 2013 hierarchy: Closer- Craig Kimbrel, Set-up- Jordan Walden, 2nd in line- Jonny Venters.

September 30, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Jonny Venters is finishing his up-and-down season on the up side. After picking up the hold in the 8th inning yesterday, he’s got six straight scoreless appearances, and has lowered his ERA from a high of 4.40 in July to 3.28. Hierarchy change: Jonny Venters to 2nd in line, replacing Chad Durbin.

September 10, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Peter Moylan picked up his first save of the season in a 10-inning game on Sunday. Craig Kimbrel and Eric O’Flaherty had already been used earlier on. No hierarchy change.

July 30, 2012
Atlanta Braves – With Jonny Venters’ inconsistency and the team’s desire to stretch Kris Medlen out, the Braves have been searching for a steady 7th inning man all season. They may have found one in Chad Durbin, who after a rough start has allowed only 4 ERs in his last 28 innings, a span of 35 appearances. On Sunday, he bailed Venters out in the 6th inning and then stayed on for the 7th, recording his 10th hold of the year. Hierarchy change: Chad Durbin to 2nd in line, replacing Jonny Venters.

July 26, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Jonny Venters pitched a scoreless 9th inning for the Braves last night. Kris Medlen was also stellar, throwing 3 clean innings with five strikeouts, but the Braves are looking to stretch him out so he can be a starter down the line. Hierarchy change: Jonny Venters to 2nd in line, replacing Kris Medlen.

July 21, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Chad Durbin picked up an 11th inning save on Friday after the Braves had exhausted much of the rest of their bullpen. Durbin does not figure in to their usual late inning plans. No hierarchy change.

July 14, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Kris Medlen pitched two solid innings in relief yesterday, striking out 3 without allowing a hit. Even once Jonny Venters returns from injury, Medlen may remain ahead of him on the depth chart. Kris Medlen to 2nd in line, replacing Jonny Venters.

July 12, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Atlanta is still in the playoff hunt and could look to add an arm down the stretch. This is unlikely to mean much to their bullpen hierarchy, however, as no one they could possibly acquire could threaten Craig Kimbrel. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None.

June 7, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Eric O’Flaherty pitched the 8th inning ahead of Craig Kimbrel on Wednesday, the fourth such time he has been used in that role in the past nine days. Jonny Venters struggled in May, posting a 6.55 ERA for the month. O’Flaherty’s WHIP (1.50) is still ugly, but he has not given up an earned run since May 7, a span of 11 consecutive appearance. Hierarchy change: Eric O’Flaherty to Set-up, Jonny Venters to 2nd in line.

May 7, 2012
Atlanta Braves – For the second day in a row, the Braves had a comfortable late-inning lead, and a long reliever notched a save; this time, it was Cristhian Martinez, who pitched 2.2 clean innings in the blowout. No hierarchy change.

May 6, 2012
Atlanta Braves – Livan Hernandez came in when the Braves were up by 3 runs in the 8th inning, then stayed after they scored again in the 9th for the 2-inning save. No hierarchy change.

April 28, 2012
Atlanta Braves- Kris Medlen got a three inning save last night in a 5 run win. No hierarchy change.

March 18, 2012
Atlanta Braves- The Braves had, unquestionably, the best trio of relievers in the game last year, and their 2012 roles are clearly defined after their season of dominance. Starting 2012 hierarchy: Closer- Craig Kimbrel, Set-up- Jonny Venters, 2nd in line- Eric O’Flaherty.

Aug. 23, 2011
Atlanta Braves- Jonny Venters got the save last night, but it was only because Craig Kimbrel had worked the previous night, and in three of the previous four games. No hierarchy change.