Boxberger enjoyed quite a bit of success during the first half but has struggled since the break, posting a 7.90 ERA and 1.68 WHIP while blowing three saves and taking four losses in his last 17 appearances. Lovullo said Sept. 6 that Boxberger would remain the closer but backtracked Sept. 10 after another blown save, saying that he would mix and match in the ninth rather than have a designated endgamer.
Bradley has blown three leads in his last nine appearances, so it may be Hirano who gets the first look in this newfound committee. Hirano brings closing experience from his time in Japan the last five seasons, and he has been excellent in terms of run prevention in his first foray in the majors. Hirano doesn't offer premium velocity, but he controls his pitches well and has generated groundballs at close to a 50 percent clip en route to 32 holds.
Bradley hasn't quite matched the dominance he showed in a high-leverage role last season, when he tossed 73 innings with a 1.73 ERA, but his 3.78 ERA this season remains solid and he's picked up three saves when Boxberger has been unavailable.
Deadline-day acquisition Ziegler brings an elite groundball rate (72 percent this season) and 105 career saves. He was the closer in Miami for the first two months of the year but lost the job after stumbling to a 7.87 ERA through his first 25 appearances.
Minter rebounded from a rocky start to the season, posting K-BB rates north of 30 percent in June and July while going 7-for-7 in save chances. However, his performance has dipped again in recent months (4.24 ERA, 1.47 WHIP since Aug. 1), opening the door for Vizcaino to reclaim the job before the postseason begins.
With Winkler proving to be less reliable than he seemed early on, the Braves went out and added Brach at the deadline. Brach took a big step back with Baltimore before the move, but he has a track record of success late in games, having racked up 29 saves for the O's from 2017-18.
Britton's absence allowed Brad Brach to pace the Orioles in saves early on, but he too was dealt prior to the trade deadline, landing with the Braves.
The unsettled closing situation early in the season allowed O'Day to pick up saves on April 20 and 29, but after hyperextending his elbow in early May, the side armer later suffered a season-ending hamstring injury.
Givens, 28, is the highest-upside arm left in the bullpen, and there aren't more stable options behind him. He sports a mid-90s fastball and has posted a 10.0 K/9 or better in each of his four seasons. He's ironed out the long-ball issues that plagued him in 2017, but a big uptick in walks has limited his effectiveness.
Strop had been more than serviceable as the primary closer in Morrow's absence, but Strop missed the final two-plus weeks of the regular season after leaving the Cubs' Sept. 13 game with left hamstring soreness. He is back for the NL Wild Card Game, but it's uncertain if he will return to closing immediately.
With 125 career saves to his name -- including four this season -- Cishek is the most experienced closer in Chicago's bullpen. Cishek relies on deception over velocity to induce a lot of weak contact, most of which is on the ground. He also has the stuff to whiff more than a batter per inning, which he's done on two occasions during his career.
Chavez picked up the save Sept. 27 after Cishek pitched the seventh inning. It was his fourth save since joining the Cubs in mid-July. The veteran has been brilliant since the All-Star break, posting a 1.25 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 39:5 K:BB over 36 innings, and while he does not have the closing experience of Cishek, it's clear that Maddon has a good deal of faith in Chavez.
With an arsenal anchored by a mid-90s fastball and impressive curve, Edwards could surpass the 100-strikeout barrier if he were to get to 70 innings in a season. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury popped up in the first half, making that unlikely in 2018. The premium strikeout stuff makes Edwards a high-upside fantasy option when healthy although the righty carries some added volatility due to his occasional bouts of wildness.
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