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Closer Updates: End-of-the-Season Edition

As this season sadly comes to an end, it’s time to stop by once more for a final edition of Closer Updates. First, we’ll take a quick look at all of the teams in the playoffs – just in case you’re playing in some form of a postseason fantasy baseball league. Then, we’ll dig into some recaps of each team this season and top it off with the occasional helpful nugget.

Playoff Teams

Angels – Early in the season, Ernesto Frieri was the guy to own in Anaheim. However, his early struggles led to a temporary reprieve from great setup guy Joe Smith. Shortly thereafter, the Halos acquired Huston Street and grabbed a closer having an elite season (41 saves, 1.37 ERA, 0.94 WHIP) for the stretch run.

Athletics – The A’s started the season with poor bullpen performances (remember Jim Johnson?) and, unfortunately, ended it the very same way. A number of candidates tried to replace Johnson, to varying degrees of success. Look for Sean Doolittle to have the job going into next season.

CardinalsTrevor Rosenthal came into this season as the closer once Edward Mujica went off to Boston. Fortunately, he took to the ninth inning quite nicely (45 saves, 3.20 ERA, 1.41 WHIP) and received some great support from Pat Neshek. If the Cards will do well this postseason, they’ll need these two to stand strong.

DodgersKenley Jansen went into the season as a top tier closer. Not to disappoint, he came through with another season of incredibly strong numbers (44 saves, 2.76 ERA, 1.13 WHIP). If the Dodgers starting rotation get off to a good start in the NLDS, Jansen could really prove his value early and often. On another note, don’t forget that Brian Wilson made his return to baseball, and Dodgerville, this season.

GiantsSergio Romo had the job early on, but his struggles led to a Santiago Casilla staffed ninth inning before season’s end. Without missing a step, Casilla became an effective closer (19 saves, 1.70 ERA, 0.86 WHIP) and didn’t really give Romo a shot to get his old gig back.

Nationals – Even though the Nats bullpen is currently a closer-by-committee, they have a number of effective relievers. Rafael Soriano started the season on a tear, but Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard stepped in and are looking to man the eighth/ninth innings this postseason.

Orioles – After Jim Johnson went out west, Zach Britton stepped into the closer’s chair and delivered nicely (37 saves, 1.65 ERA, 0.90 WHIP). There might’ve been some early doubters, but Britton proved that he can effectively close at the big league level and O’s are now a force to be reckoned with.

Pirates – Although the Bucs won’t be advancing in this year’s playoffs, they have to be proud of the dynamic one-two punch that developed this season in Mark Melancon (33 saves, 1.90 ERA, 0.87 WHIP) and Tony Watson (2 saves, 1.63 ERA, 1.02 WHIP). With these two anchoring the bullpen, they’re poised to be good for a while.

Royals – One of the best bullpens in baseball this season has been the team in KC. Led by Greg Holland (46 saves, 1.44 ERA, 0.91 WHIP), this gang of relievers was outstanding this season and may well help them throughout the playoff push.

TigersJoe Nathan had a rough season (35 saves, 4.81 ERA, 1.53 WHIP) and Motown paid for it. However, they never really had anybody better (sorry Joakim Soria) and his contract certainly warranted some playing time. Look for this experiment to continue…

Non-Playoff (American League)

Astros – Trying to determine who would be closing for the hapless Astros has been a challenge almost all season. Well, at least until Chad Qualls arrived (19 saves, 3.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP). Surprisingly, the journeyman reliever provided much needed consistency for a bullpen stuck in dumpsville.

Blue JaysCasey Janssen started the season on the DL, but bounced back into form quite nicely in the beginning. However, he lost steam down the stretch (4.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP in the season’s last month) and a number of relievers stepped in to fill the void. Many whispers in Toronto indicate that Janssen has likely closed his last game for the Jays.

IndiansJohn Axford was expected to be the Tribe’s closer this season, but he sputtered out of control early and Cody Allen took over the reins (24 saves, 2.07 ERA, 1.06 WHIP). Look for Allen to be effective in the role once again next season.

Mariners – Another acquisition at the beginning of this season was Fernando Rodney, who led a surprisingly Seattle club to a strong season. He matched his career best 48 saves and proved that aged relievers still bring something to the table.

Rangers – After Joe Nathan bolted for Detroit, the Rangers relied upon Joakim Soria for their closing duties early on. When he was dealt (also to Detroit), Neftali Feliz picked up the slack (13 saves, 1.99 ERA, 0.98 WHIP). While Feliz may have the early jump on next season, it’s still up in the air despite the strong finish.

RaysGrant Balfour had the job early on, but lost it to the seemingly ever-present closer-by-committee. If one thing is for certain, it’s that there is a ton of uncertainty going into this bullpen next season.

Red SoxKoji Uehara had another outstanding stretch and pitched like a top notch closer for most of the season (26 saves, 2.52 ERA, 0.92 WHIP). Although he was shut down in September, the 39-year-old is a fine wine who seems to get better by age.

TwinsGlen Perkins had a strong season up in Minnesota (34 saves, 3.65 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) … until he got hurt at the end of the season. Jared Burton stepped in admirably, but Perkins is still the closer there.

White Sox – After an absolute train wreck at the beginning of the season, the White Sox finally settled on Jake Petricka as their closer… and he proved to be adequate, when healthy. Not to worry if you own him in some super deep dynasty format, it seems that he’ll have the job going into Spring Training and possibly beyond if rumors in Chicago are true.

YankeesDavid Robertson took over the closer gig and really shined (39 saves, 3.08 ERA, 1.06 WHIP). However, All Star setup guy Dellin Betances is looming and might have his eye on the job next year.

Non-Playoff (National League)

Braves – Another Bravos season, another dominant outing from Craig Kimbrel (47 saves, 1.61 ERA, 0.91 WHIP). Obviously, he’s poised to be an unbelievable closer for years to come. Invest in him and it pays dividends...every season thus far.

BrewersFrancisco Rodriguez came out strong this season and looked like the K-Rod of old (44 saves, 3.04 ERA, 0.99 WHIP). Even though he ended with strong numbers, many believe that they’re ready to insert Jonathan Broxton into the ninth inning next season.

Cubs – After a rough start to the season, the Cubbies finally settled on Hector Rondon and he delivered (29 saves, 2.42 ERA, 1.06 WHIP). They might be lucky enough to have found a closer after a rough season in Wrigleyville.

DiamondbacksAddison Reed arrived in the desert this season and he came through (32 saves, 4.25 ERA, 1.21 WHIP). He’s 25 years old with 101 career saves. Look for him to be a highly effective reliever for years to come.

Marlins – Many thought that the Marlins would try to deal Steve Cishek, but they kept him around and he gave them a surprisingly reliable closer in return (39 saves, 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP). His name will undoubtedly continue to come up as acquisition target this offseason.

Mets – It was a rough summer in Queens after a number of different relievers failed to hold onto the gig once Bobby Parnell fell to injury. Finally, Jenrry Mejia emerged as a reliable option (28 saves, 3.65 ERA, 1.48 WHIP) and many think he might have the fast-track to the job next season.

Padres – Before the trading deadline, the Pads traded away Huston Street and relied upon their other relievers. It paid off, despite a late injury to Joaquin Benoit (11 saves, 1.49 ERA, 0.77 WHIP), with Kevin Quackenbush being the nicest surprise (6 saves, 2.48 ERA, 1.10 WHIP).

PhilliesJonathan Papelbon wasn’t the most popular closer this season, but he pitched quite well (39 saves, 2.04 ERA, 0.90 WHIP). The Phillies have talked about moving him, but he’s got a massive contract. Which means, of course, that whoever pays him that much money will certainly be having him close… probably Philadelphia.

RedsAroldis Chapman started the season with a rough come-backer to the face and a short stint on the DL. Not to be counted out, he returned with a bang and had another outstanding season (36 saves, 2.00 ERA, 0.83 WHIP). Look for him to be great, yet again, next season.

Rockies – In the beginning of the summer, everyone thought that Rex Brothers would storm out of the gates and steal the job from LaTroy Hawkins. However, Hawkins remained consistent (23 saves, 3.31 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) and Adam Ottavino emerged as the Rockies’ best setup guy.

If you’re chasing saves in your fantasy league, there’s only one place to check out… For the latest news on closers to grab, stash, start, or bench, be sure to follow @CloserNews on Twitter.




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