Only a week left and if you’re reading this you’re probably still in contention somewhere. Congratulations on making it this far!  Otherwise, move on to football already, and leave the waiver wire alone, you’re screwing up the finals! (Don’t you just hate that?) Using, mathematics (NERD!), there’s a good chance you can roughly estimate how many saves you can get in the coming week and whether or not that can win you the category. So you may be better off dropping your closers at this point and using those roster spots for streaming pitchers, SAGNOFs, etc. etc. whathaveyou. But if three or four saves can make or break your season, we’re here to help.

Lots of closers closed games last week so let’s get right to it:

Last Friday, Nationals manager Davey Johnson announced that Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard would share the closer role for the remainder of the year. This probably had a lot to do with Clip’s outing Friday where he surrendered 3 ER in the ninth to take the loss. Tyler has had a rough September, with a 9.80 ERA in the month, and it seems clear that the job is Storen’s to lose now. Drew got the save last Thursday, pitching a scoreless inning and striking out the side. He saw the ninth inning again Monday night in a 12-2 rout of the Brewers. Tyler Clippard pitched the eighth inning Monday as well and struggled, surrendering 1 ER on 2 hits. Again on Wednesday night, Clippard struggled in the 8th surrendering a run on 2 hits and a walk. Storen finished the game with a clean ninth in another non-save sitch.  At this point, it’s pretty clear that Drew Storen and his 2.39 ERA and 1.06 WHIP will be receiving the save opportunities going forward. He’s still under 60% owned, so if you’re scrounging for saves I’d say Storen is your best bet if he’s out there.

Huston Street made his return from the disabled list Friday to the dismay of Luke Gregerson owners (i.e. me). He’s already managed to notch two saves since his return (Sunday night and Tuesday night) but he has looked rather rusty. For a pitcher who owns a 1.18 ERA and 0.66 WHIP for 2012, his past two outings have been somewhat uncharacteristic. He gave up an earned run in each outing, including 3 hits and 3 BBs. Street has only walked 11 batters all season, so the 3 BBs in two games definitely raised an eyebrow, jabroni. As much as I love to speculate for saves, and any other week I’d tell you Gregerson is worth the own, but now is not the time, so you can probably lose Luke “I Will NEVER Let the Wookie Win” Gregerson. The rocky outings are likely just rust and nothing more and Street should settle into the role again in no time. He’s most likely owned at this point, but if not he should definitely see two or three more chances before the season is through.

Kenley is back! Here’s what I said about him last week: “Kenley Jansen was set to return Tuesday night after missing time with heart problems, he was apparently available but Brandon League ended up with  the save instead. The Dodgers will likely ease him back into the role, but he should be the closer by the end of the week.” I was wrong about the end of the week, but right about the Dodgers easing him in. Apparently, “easing in” takes four appearances (mental note), and Kenley has been sharp in all of them pitching 3.1 innings with 4 Ks and has yet to surrender a hit or a walk. Kenley finally saw the ninth again Tuesday night, it was a non-save situation but it’s clear he’s ready to close again. Kenley’s ownership is rising quick, so if he’s still hanging out on the waiver wire snatch him up quick before his heart explodes.

Frank Francisco has been diagnosed with elbow tendinitis, but has yet to be shut down for the 2012 season. Oh Mets, we can always count on you for the vaguest of injury reports — they’re like the Bill Belichick of the MLB. Regardless, you can drop Frank Frank. If you’re speculating, the Mets’ bullpen has been god awful, with just three saves in the past month. Ugh. However, Jon Rauch and even Bobby Parnell are your adds here if you’re scrounging for saves. Rauch is your best bet for saves, and your best bet if you need to reach the canned corn on the top shelf (he’s a giant!). Since inheriting the closer role unofficially, Rauch hasn’t exactly stepped up to the task. In his past two ninth inning outings, he’s surrendered 3 ER on 4 hits and 2 HRs, raising his ERA from 2.85 to 3.23 in the process.  To be fair, one of those wasn’t a save situation. He’s not the most reliable closer around, but he’s likely available and if you need saves Jon Rauch could be a sneaky source for a save or two in the next week.

Tropic Thunder Round:  Impending free agent Jose Valverde hired Scott Boras as his agent yesterday and got his 32nd save of the season hours later. After converting all his save chances in 2011 (a perfect 49-for-49), Valverde has been less impressive, just 32-for-37 in save chances with a 3.95 ERA. Regardless, with Boras on board some poor team is bound to overpay for Jose in the off season, best of luck to him and his bank account. Jason Motte grabbed his 40th save of the season Sunday — and he has been HUGE for fantasy teams in the past 2 weeks. J-Motte’s got a 2.77 ERA and nine (count em 9!) saves in September. Pro Tip!* That will help your fantasy team. Unlike Kenley Jansen, the One Who Closes — Aroldis Chapman — doesn’t need easing into anything. You can drop your Jonathan Broxton‘s now, Roldy returned to the ninth inning Saturday, pitching a scoreless inning in the non-save situation. He grabbed his first save back and 36th of the season on Tuesday night, with another scoreless inning and brought his numbers to an incredible 1.55 ERA and 0.79 WHIP with 119 Ks in 69.2 IP. HA! Classic Roldy. It’s good to have you back, old friend. Who’s better than Aroldis Chapman? Perhaps, Fernando Rodney? He notched his 45th save of the season last night and now owns a 0.63 ERA, 0.77 WHIP. Insane. What’s that you say? Not buying Rodney as the best? Well, Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel holds a 1.04 ERA and 0.66 WHIP with 111 Ks in  just 60.1. IP! OK, Kimbrel, fair enough. I think next year I need to share some of my Chapman love with Kimbrel. He got his 40th save of the season Wednesday night  pitching a scoreless inning with 4 Ks. Yes, four. That is not a typo. Because just striking out the side isn’t  enough for Craig Kimbrel.

Good luck to all in the finals — and may your saves be plentiful! I hope everyone wins everything equally!
  1. buzzdainer says:

    I’m in a very deep keeper league, and one of my competitors just dropped Steve Cishek. Closers and most setup men (since we count holds) are owned in my league. What are Cishek’s chances of closing next season? I’m pretty sure he’s worth the add in my league, but I’m trying to determine whether he’d be worth spending a waiver claim.

    • Dan Pants

      Blairtch says:

      @buzzdainer, I suspect Heath Bell will start 2013 as the Miami closer, with Cishek the set up man. If your league counts hold he might be worth stashing depending on how deep your league is. The season is almost over, what else are you going to use your waiver claim on?

      • buzzdainer says:

        @Blairtch, our waiver priority carries over to next season, so it could make sense to hang on to it.

        • Dan Pants

          blairtch says:

          @buzzdainer, I think a lot can happen in the offseason/spring training especially where relievers are concerned, but I’d put Cishek’s chances of being the set up man next year at about 80%. So use that waiver priority accordingly.

  2. buzzdainer says:

    Right on. Good advice. As it turned out, I rolled the dice and managed to snag Cishek without spending the waiver priority. Thanks!

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