3 MLB Closers That Could Be Next to Lose Their Ninth-Inning Job

By Paul Shapiro
World Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Boston Red Sox - Game One
World Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Boston Red Sox - Game One / Maddie Meyer

Cover Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to fantasy baseball, saves are an important yet seemingly unpredictable category. Bullpen roles change throughout the season, more specifically the closer role, as the ninth inning remains one of the most volatile in MLB.

While some closers, like Aroldis Chapman or Kenley Jansen, are securely holding things down in their respective ninth-inning roles with the Yankees and Dodgers, others could be out of their saves jobs sooner rather than later.

Here are three closers that could be next to lose their ninth-inning role.

1. Texas Rangers, Jose Leclerc

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Getty Images / Richard Rodriguez

Rangers' closer Jose Leclerc has been awful this season, putting up a 7.27 ERA with a 1.96 WHIP through 10 appearances. Leclerc has given up at least one run in four of his last seven outings, including two homers, after allowing just one home run in 59 games last season. It's quite possible that his 2018 stats (85Ks, 1.56 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in 57 2/3 innings) were nothing more than a flash in the pan.

2. Milwaukee Brewers, Josh Hader

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Getty Images / Patrick McDermott

This possible change is less about results and more about fit. While Josh Hader has gone 6-for-6 in save chances, he has also given up three home runs in 14 innings this season. Hader is simply better suited as a seventh or eighth-inning option with someone like Jeremy Jeffress holding down the ninth. The Brewers could also be in the market for Craig Kimbrel, which would ultimately shift everyone up an inning.

3. Boston Red Sox, Ryan Brasier

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Getty Images / Christian Petersen

The Red Sox started the season with Matt Barnes as their expected closer, but 25 games into the 2019 season, it looks like Ryan Brasier is now the team's preferred ninth-inning option. Having gone 6-for-7 in save chances, Brasier's only hiccup this season was a grand slam he gave up in a loss to the Yankees on April 17. While he owns a 1.46 ERA in 12 1/3 innings pitched this season, Brasier is a career minor leaguer, having spent 10-plus seasons there. He's got everything going right now, but selling high could be a smart move for his fantasy baseball owners. There's also always a chance of a reunion with Kimbrel in Boston.

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