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Temporary Committee

Mark Melancon’s stint on the COVID list has opened the door for a couple of other Diamondback relievers to pick up saves during the team’s recent hot streak. Ian Kennedy came away with three and Joe Mantiply picked up one over the last week. Melancon is already throwing bullpen sessions and should be the closer when he returns, so Kennedy and Mantiply shouldn’t hold value much longer than potentially this week.

Stray Saves

Chad Green, Seth Lugo, and Brooks Raley picked up saves this week with their incumbent closers being unavailable. Devin Williams earned a save on Tuesday with Josh Hader dealing with back spasms, but Hader is ready to pitch next time out. Ryan Tepera helped back up Raisel Iglesias with a one-out save after Iglesias struggled to close out the Angels’ victory last Sunday.

Struggling Closers

Ryan Pressly’s return from the injured list did not go well. He gave up a two-run home run to Jeimer Candelario to blow the save but was picked up in the bottom of the ninth and salvaged a win. Rafael Montero and Hector Neris have been very impressive to this point in the season and should be rostered in deeper leagues as well as on the radar for standard-size leagues if Pressly continues to falter or requires another stint on the injured list.

Anthony Bender’s tumultuous season continued Wednesday after serving up his third home run, blowing his second save, and taking his third loss of the season. Despite his improved velocity, Bender has a 5.40 ERA and a paltry 18.6% strikeout rate. Dylan Floro is nearing a return from his injury and could be an option to regain the closer role. The fact that Miami has stuck with Bender through his poor start to the season bodes well for Bender if he can turn his fortunes around, but his current performance is not inspiring confidence.

Corey Knebel was the primary victim of a Mets seven-run ninth-inning comeback on Thursday, yielding four hits, three runs, and taking the loss. Given his early success, Knebel should have some leash with the Phillies’ closer role. Brad Hand carries closer experience while Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Alvarado carry big velocity and strikeout stuff. They would be the options if Knebel were removed from the role.

Emerging relievers

Jhoan Duran and Ryan Helsley earned their first saves of the season this past week and have continued to flash electric stuff, especially Helsley. While both relievers clearly have the stuff to close, their lack of a track record will likely keep them in a committee role for the foreseeable future. Despite that, each can still provide value in terms of ratios and strikeouts even without the saves.

Tyler Kinley has been very effective in a setup role for the Rockies, posting a 0.87 ERA and eleven scoreless appearances out of twelve total. Alex Colome and Robert Stephenson’s struggles could open the door for Kinley to get more high leverage work, and he should be an asset in deeper holds leagues.

The last time Trevor Gott was in the Majors he had an unsuccessful cameo as the Giants’ closer. Now in Milwaukee, Gott has been in peak form. He’s struck out 15 batters with no walks in ten and one-third innings. The Brewers’ pen is quite deep and Gott certainly won’t challenge for saves, but the injury to Jake Cousins opens the door for Gott to continue being a part of the setup crew and puts him in a position to accumulate holds.

Matt Foster has reemerged as a quality middle reliever after a disastrous 2021 season. He carries 0.77 ERA and 0.857 WHIP in eleven and two-thirds innings, including two holds this past week. The White Sox bullpen has some depth, including Joe Kelly returning in the near future, but if Foster remains nearly as effective as he’s been he will become a useful holds option.

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