My friend and editor Kevin Bzdek decided to take a vacation DURING baseball season. I don’t understand that as a lifestyle choice but what can I say? Some people do have a life outside of Fantasy Baseball, including myself, so Iagreed to write his reliever article this week and next. Anyone who has to edit the stuff I write deserves a break now and then so I am glad to oblige. Besides, it would not be the first time I got to write about the Closer Merry-Go-Round. Hopefully I can keep the ball rolling for you Kevin. Enjoy whatever it is you and your family are doing for the holiday weekend.
Nothing surprises me anymore about the Closer situation in baseball. I’ve written plenty about the strategies leagues can use to mitigate the damage MLB teams do to our fantasy teams by messing with the closer spot, so I won’t bore anyone with that this week. Instead I’ll talk about my take on some of the messy bullpens we are faced with in baseball right now. Without further ado, lets see what the heck is going on with the players who produce the ever-elusive Save, and who is the CLEW (Closer en Waiting) worth owning for the foreseeable future, which is not usually very far.
New York Mets: As a New Yorker and a Yankee fan I have no problem picking on the Mets. My problem, however, is that I keep on owning their pitchers, and keep getting burned. Yes, the definition of insanity is often found on my rosters. Alas, I own Jeurys Familia. Familia got torched last night for four runs and did not even record an out. If you already dropped Robert Gsellman smack yourself and go pick him back up. Seriously, Familia should be fine, but we already know the Mets are going to be sellers at the deadline and Familia is as likely as one of the old hitters to go as anyone else. Whether they will move one of the big starters is a debate for another article, but Familia is no lock to be a Met past the deadline, making Gsellman a player that should be universally owned still even now.
Atlanta Braves: The bad news is Arodys Vizcaino is out with shoulder inflammation. The good news is he thinks he’ll be activated Sunday. While we all know that shoulder issues are seldom cut and dry, a healthy return by Vizcaino would end any Braves closer controversy. I’ll make the case though that AJ Minter should be owned anyway, whether Vizcaino is ready to come back or not. Dan Winkler could be in the closer mix as well, but to me Minter is the guy to own. Winkler pitched the eighth inning and Minter the ninth in a Braves win on June 24, and Winkler has two blown saves in his last three appearances. While Minter has a 3.00 ERA and a walk rate near 4.0 on the season, he has only walked one batter since May with 12 K’s. His K rate is over 9 per 9. And it is not that Winkler’s numbers are bad, in fact his K rate is over 12 per 9, and his ERA and WHIP are lower than Minter’s. But over the last month, I think Minter is far outshining him. Both were good prospects in the Braves system, but I like Minter whether he is the closer or not.
Chicago Cubs: Well, Brandon Morrow is back already. I guess pulling up your pants is not as traumatic an experience as it was first thought. I’m one of the geniuses who grabbed Pedro Strop immediately after Morrow went down thinking I’d cash in on some saves. All I got from Strop was a 2/3 inning four run blowout that killed my ratios, and now I can drop him already. No, I don’t even want him for holds now as he only had 7 on the year anyway. The player I want to talk about is Carl Edwards Jr. who could be back from the DL as early as next week. He was one of my most targeted CLEWS before this season, as a dominant 100 K reliever who would deliver Holds and Inherited Runners Stranded if your leagues count those (and they should), and be next in line if something should happen to Morrow, like it did. Edwards has missed all of June, but before he got hurt he delivered 9 Holds and a K/9 near 15. If one of the owners in your league gave him the boot, scoop him up. When is the last time Morrow played out a full season, never mind that he has to pull his pants up for another 85 or so games? I never dropped Edwards in any leagues I could spare the DL spot, and I’m glad I didn’t. His daughter can’t wait to see Daddy back on the field either. Judging by her parents she is going to be plenty tall, and probably already sports a nasty splitter.
Milwaukee Brewers: If the Crew decides to be sellers at the deadline, I wonder which of their stud relievers they might trade? Josh Hader has looked so impressive that I would not doubt the Brewers entertain offers for Corey Knebel. I couldn’t imagine a team trading for Knebel to be a set up man so I think it would be a team with a clear need for a closer.
Philadelphia Phillies: Gotta love Sir Anthony Dominguez as a closer from nowhere. It is likely too late to get him in your league, but if you are in a league that has separate SP/RP spots in the lineup, it multiplies his value immensely. You can add yourself an extra reliever every night by popping Sir Anthony into a SP spot and just leaving him there. Ask for him as a throw in as part of a bigger trade, then take it to the bank.
Washington Nationals: No, Kelvin Herrera is not going to be closing in Washington other than the occasional save when Sean Doolittle can do …….little (Sorry). However, he should still be owned as a CLEW and should get the bulk of the set-up duties.
San Diego Padres: Pick yourself up some Kirby Yates. The Padres appear to be grooming him to be a closer soon. Probably because there is a good chance that Brad Hand is one of the Padres best chips for the deadline. And he could very well lose his closer role depending on who trades for him. His wife doesn’t want him to be traded as she is enjoying the San Diego weather, as well as the fact her hubby is a closer. Who wouldn’t?
Houston Astros: Do you know what is going on in Houston? Neither do I, but this appears to be a trend that is spreading around baseball where a manager is hesitant to name one closer. That is our problem and I know how to deal with it. Quite simply all of Ken Giles, Hector Rondon, Chris Devenski and Brad Peacock should be owned anyway. Rondon has three of the past four saves and Giles the other. I don’t think Giles will be cut out altogether so don’t drop him.
Kansas City Royals: Yeah, so Wily Peralta is getting saves. So what, I’m not going there. He does not have closer stuff.
Tampa Rays: Yeah, so Sergio Romo is getting saves. So what, I’m not going there. This situation is a Hot Mess.
That is all for this week. See you next Thursday for more reliever news as Kevin will surely be somewhere sunny for one more week. I’ll be on Reddit most of tomorrow talking relievers, or you can email or Tweet me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or @joeiannone02 on Twitter. Thanks for reading.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday June 24th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #126 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Major League Fantasy Football Radio Show: Join host Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live June 21st, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #83 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. Call in number is 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the host. We will hit free agents, rookies, and fantasy football as a whole for each team for 2018. This week we will discuss everything AFC North!
Kyle is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com going on his 5 th year. He focuses primarily on baseball, but is a fantasy football fan and analyst as well.