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AL Closer Report: June 19

Strong Performers

Mariano Rivera | New York Yankees
The Comments: An 0.63 WHIP and 15 saves is pretty impressive for the veteran closer. He’s given up just nine hits in 22.1 innings of work. He’s walked just one batter in the last eight games. Rivera is a great second-half target, as manager Joe Girardi has not over-used him (24 appearances).

Joakim Soria | Kansas City Royals
The Comments: Soria is one of the hottest closers in baseball right now. In his last 13 appearances, he’s been touched up for runs just once (two against Minnesota on June 10). He went 1-for-1 in save opportunities this past week.

Rafael Soriano | Tampa Bay Rays
The Comments: Soriano had a bit of a rest this past week and he appeared in just one game and recorded the save against Florida. He threw just nine pitches and six went for strikes.

Jose Valverde | Detroit Tigers
The Comments: One of the hardest-worked closers in baseball, Valverde continues to benefit from an incredibly-low BABIP at .137. As a result, he’s given up just 10 hits in 29.1 innings of work. He appeared in four games this past week and went 3-for-3 in save opportunities.

Neftali Feliz | Texas Rangers
The Comments: The youngest closer in the league continues to lead in saves. Feliz has successfully clamped down on 18 leads. He saved three more games this past week – all against Florida and the Marlins club did not get a walk or a hit against him.

Steady Performers

Jonathan Papelbon | Boston Red Sox
The Comments: Papelbon got into four games this past week, with three coming against Arizona. The veteran right-hander was solid in his first two appearances against the D-Backs, but the club then touched him up for two hits and a run in his third appearance. He went 2-for-2 in save opportunities this past week.

Andrew Bailey | Oakland Athletics
The Comments: Bailey’s save opportunities have dried up again. He hasn’t successfully converted a save since June 3. In fact, he’s only had one opportunity since that time and he blew the save against the Cubs on June 17 – although it was an inherited run that scored.

Bobby Jenks | Chicago White Sox
The Comments: As expected, Jenks’ luck has started to improve and so to have his numbers. His ERA is down to 4.39 (xFIP 2.70), although his BABIP is still high at .405. He was the hottest reliever this past week and went 4-for-4 in save opportunities with six Ks, one walk and one run allowed.

David Aardsma | Seattle Mariners
The Comments: According to WAR, Aardsma has been a neutral pitcher this season, coming in at exactly 0.0 WAR. That’s not what his owners want to hear. In positive news, he was 2-for-2 in save opportunities this past week, so perhaps his luck is changing.

Brian Fuentes | Los Angeles Angels
The Comments: Fuentes has an excellent strikeout rate at 11.34 K/9, which is good because he wants to avoid putting the ball in play as long as he has a ground-ball rate of just 19.5%. He saved two games this past week.

Kevin Gregg | Toronto Blue Jays
The Comments: Despite his warts – which includes a 5.79 BB/9 rate – Gregg is tied with Jon Rauch for second place in saves (17). He saved two games this past week and gave up just one walk and no hits.

Jon Rauch | Minnesota Twins
The Comments: Rauch continues to be one of the most pleasant surprises on the season, as he’s tied for second in saves with 17. He appeared in just one game out of the past seven but recorded a save.

Fallen on Hard Times

Kerry Wood | Cleveland Indians
The Comments: Wood seems to be doing a little bit better. The veteran pitcher hasn’t allowed a run in three games or a walk in five. He also got a save on June 18… against the Pirates. Wood is showing good velocity but he’s still struggling with his fastball command.

New to the Job

David Hernandez | Baltimore Orioles
The Comments: Since taking over the closer’s role, Hernandez has gone 2-for-3 in saves. He appeared in three games this past week and was 1-for-2 with a meltdown against San Diego in which he allowed two runs.