2023 Donation Drive

With the first postseason save just underway (Can Jhoan Duran protect a 2 run lead??), we we want to thank all our subscribers and supporters for joining us through another season of obsessively tracking bullpens. We hope we’ve helped your fantasy team succeed and given you some entertainment along the way.

Sending thousands of emails a day comes at a cost, so If we helped you in your league this year — and barring that, hopefully at least the saves category — or if you’d just like to toss us a banana of thanks, feel free to click the “Donate” button on the right side of our homepage. Our PayPal account is this email address: [email protected].

And one more time, THANK YOU for reading. This is our 13th year of writing about bullpens and we could not and would not continue if it wasn’t for all of you. The Closer Monkey team is still just a motley crew of baseball fans who continue to be amazed that so many of you enjoy our coverage and service. 

Stay tuned for our next adventure: Brass Monkey which will send email alerts whenever a major symphony replaces their brass section leader.

-Closer Monkey

Felix Bautista will have Tommy John surgery and likely miss all of 2024

October 1, 2023

Baltimore Orioles – Felix Bautista was trying to see if he could pitch with a torn UCL to help his team in the playoffs but they finally decided it wasn’t going to work.  Bautista will have Tommy John surgery and likely miss all of 2024

Hierarchy remains: Cano | Perez | Coulombe.

Miami Marlins — Tanner Scott recorded the last four outs of a Marlins 7-5 win to pick up his 12th save of the season.  The win also clinched a playoff spot and MLB has decided that they will not resume their suspended game against the Mets

Hierarchy remains: Scott | Nardi | Robertson

Chicago Cubs – Starter Jameson Taillon appeared in relief yesterday and pitched four scoreless innings to finish off a Cubs’ win and record a save.  Kudos to fantasy owners who left Taillon in their lineup but the win wasn’t enough for the Cubs as they were eliminated from playoff contention.

Hierarchy remains: Alzolay | Merryweather | Cuas

Houston Astros – Ryan Pressly was given the night off after pitching in two of three and Bryan Abreu closed out a 1-0 win for his 5th save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Pressly | Abreu | Neris

1. Aaron Bummer (CHW) – The rubber armed Bryan Shaw has pitched in four straight.
2. Aroldis Chapman (TEX) – Jose Leclerc has pitched in three of four.
3. Kirby Yates (ATL) – Raisel Iglesias has pitched in three of five while AJ Minter has gone in two of three.
4. AJ Puk (MIA) – Tanner Scott has pitched in two straight while Andrew Nardi and David Robertson have both pitched in three of four.

Jansen shut down, Alzolay returns

September 30, 2023
Boston Red Sox — The Red Sox announced after last night’s game that Kenley Jansen will be shut down for the season, saying after not pitching for several weeks it wouldn’t be fair to him. This led to Garret Whitlock getting a 2 inning save last night. This means that Josh Winckowski will likely be in line for any save chance today, and Whitlock has a chance at a save on Sunday. John Schreiber fills out the end of the year hierarchy for the Red Sox, who have already started looking to next year.

Updated hierarchy: Winckowski | Whitlock | Schreiber.

Minnesota Twins — With a 1 run lead the Twins turned to Emilio Pagan in the 9th inning. He converted for his first save on the season. Pagan isn’t likely to be in line for any more saves this year, as he is slated to start today’s game, but the Twins will likely take it easy with the back end of their bullpen as they have locked in their playoff position already. 

Hierarchy remains: Duran | Jax | Pagan.

Cincinnati Reds – The Reds kept their playoff hopes alive with a 19-2 thrashing of the Cardinals last night. Having secured the game early they gave the ball to rookie Carson Spiers who pitched 3 clean innings for his first career save. Spiers doesn’t usually factor into the late innings plans, and with the Reds needing to win their last 2 games to have any chance to sneak into the post-season expect them to lean heavily on Diaz this weekend. 

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Gibaut | Sims.

Miami Marlins — Tanner Scott locked up his 11th save on the year last night, but the most important news out of Miami is that they will finish their game against the Mets which was suspended on Thursday as long as it matters for playoff seeding. It could be a play-in inning if things break the wrong way this weekend, but may only be to determine where Miami will be traveling to. Miami had just taken a 1 run lead in the top of the 9th inning, meaning Monday’s resumption will almost certainly be a save situation, If your league counts it (and you need one hero save), pay attention to Tanner Scott’s usage. If Scott pitches today and tomorrow he will have gone 3 in a row, opening the door for a vulture save on Monday. 

Hierarchy remains: Scott | Nardi | Robertson

Chicago Cubs – Adbert Alzolay was activated from the IL on Friday and pitched a clean 8th inning with the Cubs down 1. He is immediately the top choice for the Cubs, who have fallen apart in the last week of the season. Although he should get any save chance that pops up, the Cubs may be in desperation mode and bring him out earlier than the 9th if the situation warrants it.

Updated hierarchy: Alzolay | Merryweather | Cuas.

Vulture Save Watch:

  1. Aaron Bummer (CHW) — Bryan Shaw has pitched 3 in a row.
  2. Trevor Stephan (CLE) — Emmanual Clase has pitched in 2 of 3.
  3. Luis Garcia (SD) — The entire San Diego hierarchy has pitched in 2 of 3, and with the Padres being eliminated last night, they could all see rest this weekend.

For Sunday:

  1. Bryan Abreu (HOU) — Today would be back to back and 3 of 4 for Ryan Pressly
  2. Carmen Mlodzinski (PIT) — Today would be 3 of 5 for David Bednar.

Aside from normal workload vulture saves, many teams have nothing to play for and may rest normal hierarchy options. The teams that can still affect their playoff seeding, and are likely to deploy their bullpens normally are:

American League:

  1. Texas Rangers
  2. Toronto Blue Jays
  3. Houston Astros
  4. Seattle Mariners

National League:

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks
  2. Miami Marlins
  3. Cincinnati Reds
  4. Chicago Cubs

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

September 29, 2023

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

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

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

Updated hierarchy: Scott | Nardi | Robertson

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

Updated hierarchy: Cano | Perez | Coulombe.

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

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Winckowski | Whitlock.

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

Hierarchy remains: Williams | Payamps | Uribe.

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

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

Jose Leclerc looks like Texas’s playoff closer

September 28, 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hierarchy remains: Duran | Jax | Pagan.

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

Hierarchy remains: Hader | Suarez | Barlow.

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

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