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Struggling Closers

Taylor Rogers’ struggles continued on Monday after he allowed two runs in a save over the Rockies. There has not been any indication that Rogers is close to losing the closer job and the Padres don’t seem to have an obvious replacement option if they were to go that route. We’ll just have to wait and see if Rogers can pull himself out of this slump.

Josh Hader has had a tremendous season, but the month of July has not been kind to him historically. The 2022 season is no different, as Hader has allowed six runs in six July appearances. Like almost any reliever, Hader isn’t going to be at his best every day for the entire season, so there is no worry about him losing save opportunities or continuing his cold streak rest of season.

After a dominant start to the season, David Bednar has run into a few blow-up outings recently. Given his intense early-season workload, the Pirates have gone to Yerry De Los Santos in high leverage situations to take some pressure off Bednar. De Los Santos carries some value in deep leagues, but the Pirates likely won’t provide enough saves opportunities for multiple relevant closers.

Closer Committee Updates

There hasn’t been quite as much closer movement this season as we’re customarily used to in recent memory. We got an important one last week when Joe Barlow lost the closing gig in Texas His results aren’t horrendous (3.26 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) but he had been less effective in the summer months and just wasn’t getting the strikeouts teams want from their closer (19% strikeout rate). Brett Martin has stepped up with Barlow removed (and now on the Injured List) and earned the first three saves for the Rangers in wake of Barlow’s removal. Manager Chris Woodward intimated he would take a committee approach for the time being, but Martin has quickly inserted himself into the ninth inning role. Now with Barlow not pitching, there’s a solid chance Martin can lock down the role for a little while.

Givoanny Gallegos got back-to-back save opportunities against the Dodgers this week and did not look strong. He escaped with the save on Tuesday despite allowing a home run, but he blew the opportunity on Wednesday. Ryan Helsley pitched the eighth inning of their win Tuesday, facing Mookie Betts and Trea Turner. His workload left him unavailable to pitch on Wednesday. Gallegos’ performance and Helsley’s usage leave little question about who the number one option in the Cardinals’ bullpen is, but Helsley still appears to be treated more flexibly than a traditional closer. If you haven’t already, now is the time to move on from Gallegos in shallow and standard-sized leagues.

Alexis Diaz picked up his first save since coming off the injured list. He locked it down against the Yankees on Tuesday and thrust himself back into the closer committee. David Bell expressed confidence in Hunter Strickland earlier in the season, but Diaz certainly has better stuff and has pitched better. I expect both relievers to get save opportunities going forward, and would much prefer to have Diaz rostered.

Jalen Beeks racked up his first save of the season on Thursday. Jason Adam was called upon to get a big out in the eighth inning. Based on Colin Poche’s workload he seemed available for the save, but Kevin Cash went to Beeks who gave up a run but held the lead. The Rays have mostly split saves between Jason Adam, Colin Poche, and Brooks Raley in recent weeks and I wouldn’t expect that to change much going forward.

With Jhoan Duran pitching the eighth, Tyler Duffery managed to lock down the save on Sunday. The Twins have shifted to using Emilio Pagan in lower leverage situations, and this has opened the door for Duffey to contribute to their closer committee with Duran. He is worth a pickup in deeper leagues.

Stray Saves

Evan Phillips earned the save on Wednesday with Craig Kimbrel pitching the eighth inning of a game the Dodgers were losing. While it appears odd at a glance, the Dodgers wanted to ensure Kimbrel got some work in and deployed him in the bottom of the eighth inning, After the Dodgers’ ninth-inning comeback, they went to setup man Evan Phillips to close out the game. Kimbrel came back and pitched the ninth inning with a four-run lead the next night, helping to confirm that he is still their closer. Phillips does appear to be their clear backup option behind Kimbrel, especially with Daniel Hudson out for the season and both Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol on the injured list.

Dauri Moreta picked up a save in extra innings on Thursday for the Reds against the Yankees. He does not figure to compete for save opportunities moving forward.

Trevor Williams helped save the Mets’ bullpen with a three-inning save on Thursday against the Cubs. Though he’s pitched fairly well this season, he is not a factor in fantasy.

Garrett Richards came in for a one-out save on Wednesday after some of his Rangers’ teammates made the game interesting. As stated earlier, Brett Martin seems like Woodward’s preferred option for now and I would not read much into this save for Richards.

Returning from Injury

Kenley Jansen returned on Wednesday and picked up his first save on Thursday. He gave up a run and had to contest with the tying run at second base, but ultimately came through with the save. Jansen’s return puts an end to WIll Smith and A.J. Minter’s stint as co-closers. Minter has been effective enough to be viable in deep leagues. Otherwise, it’s fine to move on from both Smith and Minter.

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