Reviewing the Week’s Save/Closing Opportunities
(Tue 4.9.19 – Mon 4.15.19)
Uneventful — Normal Closer getting Normal Workload and Producing at Expectation
Blake Treinen (OAK), Roberto Osuna (HOU), Edwin Diaz (NYM), Alex Colome (CHW), Felipe Vazquez (PIT), Shane Greene (DET), Kirby Yates (SD), Will Smith (SF), Pedro Strop (CHC), Brad Hand (CLE), Wade Davis (COL), Sean Doolittle (WAS), Jordan Hicks (STL)
Vulture Saves — Just another category with not a lot to talk about. These players got Saves, in my opinion, because the closer in front of them was on a rest day due to recent usage:
Ryan Pressly (HOU, Osuna Resting), Hansel Robles (LAA, Allen Resting), Trey Wingenter (SD, Yates Resting), Sam Dyson (SF, Smith Resting), Joe Biagini (TOR, Giles Resting)
Struggling W/ Jobs — “Struggling” just a factor of the past week, not necessarily indicative of losing one’s job. Players in this category fit a typical closer usage.
Jose LeClerc, Texas Rangers (TEX) — One of my absolute favorite RPs heading into the season. He was an absolute mess in his first outing of the Week turning a 4-2 game into a 4-5 and surrendering a Walk-Off HR to Jarrod Dyson of all hitters. The HR in particular is concerning as this is a player who generated very few hard hit Flyballs last year. In the following outing he was pulled in the 9th. However I’m more or less believing that LeClerc’s early season struggles are just that. He recovered nicely and even had a 3 K Save late in the week. I could see my concern growing quickly if he continued to blow saves. But most closers are two bad weeks away from losing their job anyway, and I’m not giving up on the skill-set after just a couple bad outings. CONCERN LEVEL: LOW
Ken Giles, Toronto Blue Jays (TOR) — Only point of discussion here is that there isn’t much to discuss. Giles had a bad outing and blew a save, but he’s the clear closer and has been producing at expectations for most of the year. His ERA has now climbed to 2.57, which is more than acceptable. CONCERN LEVEL: LOW
Cody Allen, Los Angeles Angels (LAA) — Similar to Ken Giles. Allen has shown flashes of diminished stuff, but the player I’m reminded of in these situations is often K-Rod, Francisco Rodriguez. K-Rod was a closer for many years with varying success after seeing his stuff diminish. Being the high-leverage, Josh Hader-type can be impossible without elite stuff. Getting clean innings and being asked to get three outs before allowing 1-3 runs? Allen can do that consistently. CONCERN LEVEL: LOW
Raisel Iglesias, Cincinnati Reds (CIN) — Iglesias has allowed runs in four of his first five appearances this year. I talk a lot about wanting “consistency” from late inning relievers– but this isn’t it. Even in his past scoreless outing, he had only 1 K, 1 BB, and 3 Flyballs, which isn’t necessarily impressive itself. What’s more, Iglesias’ usage this season has been a bit mixed. It is hard to say how much I’m concerned, because he’s someone that we’ve seen the talent from consistently before, but the concern level when you are consistently bad I believe jumps a bit more than when you simply have one bad day at the office. This has been a bad year at the office for Raisel Iglesias so far. CONCERN LEVEL: MODERATE
Blake Parker, Minnesota Twins (MIN) — I don’t know if it is fair to put him in this section. The usage has been a bit mixed so far. But he’s had the majority of the save opportunities. His last performance was a hold, but he was actually removed in the 9th inning after allowing two walks. He seems to have a tentative position as the most valuable RP position for a “Saves” league. But I don’t even know if “Concern Level” is accurate, because I’m not even sure how much I can really refer to Parker as the “Closer” still. But, CONCERN LEVEL: MODERATE.
Harder to Define — Opinions may differ on the Closer.
Seattle Mariners — Anthony Swarzak seems like the guy to own in this situation until he proves otherwise. He got a clutch save in his first opportunity and responded with another save afterward. He was used in the 8th inning of a tie game recently, so it does seem his hold on the role is more of a flexible one. But I think Seattle trusts him the most to handle the important outs.
Boston Red Sox — One of the most fluid jobs between two pitchers. Both Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier have gotten Save Opportunities and have been used in other roles throughout the early year. Barnes seems to be the one that they find most flexible, but whether that means he’ll be in line for more or less save opportunities I think remains to be seen. Since I trust both to maintain decent ratios, they’re both worth the roster spot in most leagues.
Kansas City Royals — This might belong in the column about with the closer being Wily Peralta. But I just can’t at all buy this bullpen continuing to exist with Peralta as the back end. I’m not saying it is impossible that he does well, but there really isn’t much surprising about his high-ERA to start the season. Boxberger blew a game in the 8th on Monday (presumably with Peralta waiting to come in in the 9th) and Kennedy hasn’t been used in the latter innings recently. I honestly think I’m closer to adding Kennedy still than Peralta. Hopefully you can just sit this one out altogether.
Players to Keep an Eye on (Non-SVs Leagues)
Trevor Gott, San Francisco Giants (SF) — Perhaps not the player close to the role you want, even in SV+HLDs type leagues, but Gott is off to a fantastic start in 2019. He has already made 7 Appearances with 9.2 IP and a sub-2.00 ERA. Under the surface, his SwStr% is up at 14.7% in the early going. He obviously hasn’t thrown that many pitches, but the early returns are worth keeping an eye on.
Travis Bergen, San Francisco Giants (SF) — The Giants have at least potentially put together a quietly sneaky pen. Bergen, like his teammate Gott, is off to a strong start in 2019. A sub-2.00 ERA, 0 BBs, and 0 HRs over 5.1 IP are his highlights. While he may not be missing as many bats as Gott, he is also a lefty who has the opportunity to be used more often in Holds and Inherited Runner situations.
Victor Arano, Philadelphia Phillies (PHI) — Arano had one of the most jaw dropping appearances of the season this week. Arano faced 6 Batters and struck all 6 out. He threw only 25 pitches, but managed to have 14 Swings-and-Misses. He’s very young and the usage is questionable at best, but certainly an eye-popping performance.
Caleb Ferguson, Los Angeles Dodgers (LAD) — Ferguson was actually flexed to a starter in a bullpen game recently. This I think defines much of what will be his usage moving forward. He’s not someone who’s particularly likely to see his usage in high-leverage increase very much. At 22 YO, they may bring him along more slowly in leverage situations. But he could be a swingman contributing much in terms of volume of innings.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday April 14th, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #151 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. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. We will discuss spot starters for the coming week, plus a weekend update, and look ahead to next week.
Our guest this week is Kevin Bzdek. Kevin is a writer, editor, and league mate at majorleaguefantasysports.com.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday April 18th, 2019 from 7:30-9pm EST for episode #152 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. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Cole and Kyle will discuss the latest happenings in the world of MLB and fantasy. They will take a look back on the previous few days and a preview of the coming weekend. Including spot starts, bullpens, offense, and minor league players.