The Royals may have found their closer of the future in James McArthur, who has arguably been the best reliever in all of baseball this month.
In 13.1 September innings, McArthur has allowed just three hits while walking no one and striking out 14. He has a similar pitch mix as former Royals closer Scott Barlow, mixing in two breaking balls (plus curveball he uses to get lefties out, harder slider he uses against righties) and a middling fastball. The curve and relatively good command give me hope he can be in the closer mix next season for the Royals, but I’d also expect the team to add someone to the mix.
For now, McArthur, who has three saves in the past two weeks, should remain as the teams favorite for saves, and could see one or two this week as Kansas City goes to Detroit and then hosts the Yankees.
- Evan Phillips and the Dodgers are one of two teams to play seven games from here on out, as they will play two against the Rockies today. They do have four games in Coors field, but I think Phillips should be able to handle it.
- José Alvarado picked up two saves this past week while Craig Kimbrel scuffled, and I wonder if we are going to see a changing of the guard here for the Phillies as they gear up for the Wild Card round. I still think both relievers should be rostered this week as the Phillies get 3 game sets against the Mets and Pirates.
- Speaking of the Pirates, David Bednar has been just fine this month but closing out the season with the Phillies and Marlins isn’t exactly ideal. He still could come out of the week with one or maybe two more saves, but there’s also the chance he doesn’t pitch at all.
- José Leclerc may be back in the closer role in Texas as this revolving door continues to circle, but I still don’t hate the idea of rostering Aroldis Chapman this week if desperate for a save. The two may be in some sort of committee as the Rangers look to enter the Wild Card round, but for now I prefer Leclerc.
- Kenley Jansen returned to the Red Sox over the weekend but did not appear in a game for the team and may not be a lock to pitch again this season. The Red Sox will play the Orioles and Rays to end the season, so it wouldn’t exactly come as a shock if they finish the year with 76 wins.
- It’s the final week of the regular season, so the ranks will be more based off schedule than anything else this week. That being said, just because Tyler Kinley has seven games to get a save this week, it doesn’t mean he becomes a top 10-20 closing option as he still has to pitch at home and also against the Dodgers and Twins. But, he still makes a lot more sense than someone like Kyle Finnegan who has been horrible the past month and has only five games this week, against the Braves and Orioles.
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|Alvarado may have flipped roles with him, but could still get a save this week.
|No idea who the closer is, but Chapman is not option 1A right now.
|Could be more involved in the 9th inning as option 1B.
|Still hard to trust Lange with his command issues.
|Easy schedule and 7 games this week.
|Mark Leiter Jr.
|Could split the closer role with Merryweather.
|Pitching better lately, and could be in the mix for a save chance.
|Light schedule to finish the season and Cano has been shaky.
|Easy schedule for Royals, may mix in with McArthur.
|Timeshare with Ottavino (and others) for now seems likely.