Will only be a quick article this week unfortunately. If you are a fan of this column, you will know that there are usually two parts: one dealing with closers and focusing on “Saves” leagues and a latter section focused on “Non-Saves” Leagues. For this week we will only be handling the first part, the Closer Review.
Week 8 Closer Review’
Clean Week Closers — Players who have little-to-nothing to discuss role wise, as well as got their team’s save Opportunities this week and converted flawlessly.
Brad Hand (Cleveland Indians), Shane Greene (Detroit Tigers), Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees), Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds), Jordan Hicks (St. Louis Cardinals), Josh Hader (Milwaukee Brewers), Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies), Edwin Diaz (New York Mets), Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers), Greg Holland (Arizona Diamondbacks), Kirby Yates (San Diego Padres)
Teams / Closers With No Opportunity this Week
Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays, Colorado Rockies, San Francisco Giants
Clear Closers who “Struggled” — “Struggled” taken loosely. Simply the closer fails to live up to the criteria of the former category. Specifically, the world “Flawlessly.” But they are the clear closers with little to discuss.
Hansel Robles (Los Angeles Angels), Blake Treinen (Oakland Athletics), Roberto Osuna (Houston Astros), Shawn Kelley (Texas Rangers), Felipe Vazquez (Pittsburgh Pirates), Sergio Romo (Miami Marlins), Sean Doolittle (Washington Nationals)
Jobs to Discuss, Week 5/21-5/27
Keep in mind– all data sets and commentary in this article take into account the above timeline.
Kansas City Royals — There isn’t a whole lot to say here. I’ve been an Ian Kennedy proponent in the past, and this week he had an opportunity but saw himself blow a save and inflate his era over 4.00. This job as a whole has been a mess throughout the season and it has been annoying trying to find anyone to hold down the role of closer in Kansas City. Ian Kennedy was my pick since the beginning of the year as a “what he can do now” at 34 years old on a team that is paying him to sit in the bullpen. Despite this week’s struggles, it still makes more sense to me that they go with Ian Kennedy ultimately over a number of alternative options.
Tampa Bay Rays — The Rays conversation is either complicated or simple based on how you look at it. Because at this point, we should pretty much know what we’re getting. They will mix & match more than most teams. But there are two primaries in a bullpen full of dangerous arms: Jose Alvarado & Diego Castillo. Neither one is likely to win you “Saves” this year single-handedly, but both are likely to contribute for the long haul.
Baltimore Orioles — The Orioles are in the least desirable position if you’re trying to harvest saves: Not a lot of wins, and not a lot of Relievers to put very much faith in. Different relievers (like Shawn Armstrong) got a shot at the 9th inning or valuable innings this week, while Mychal Givens who began the season as the “Closer” blew another save and in general struggled. I don’t know if there’s a clear name I see emerging if it isn’t Givens’ job, but I will continue to monitor Armstrong and the rest of the Orioles RPs despite the lackluster job value.
Chicago Cubs — As a big proponent of the “Steve Cishek fan club,” it does hurt to be coming off a week with a nasty BS and not a lot of positives. But Cishek remains in the same position he was last week. The Cubs are reeling from injuries in the bullpen, and with Morrow and Strop out, it only makes sense that they continue to give high-leverage opportunities to the RP who is now their clearly most-trusted. I expect Cishek to get the opportunities at least until one of the other two return from injury.
Atlanta Braves — Last week I got in a little bit of trouble for dismissing the need to discuss the Braves and Luke Jackson. While this was probably in error, and obviously his inclusion in this section means I now feel he needs discussed, I don’t know that I feel all that different about Luke Jackson today versus last week. No, his stats haven’t been the most ideal from the closer role. Specifically, he has accumulated a fair number of “BS’s”– blown saves. But statistically, a good number of these blown saves have come in 1-Run games. This is little solace for either the Braves, their fans, or Jackson himself, however it does lend evidence to the idea that Jackson — especially recently — has not been that bad. His overall ERA is 3.00 with xFIP and FIP being a bit better. Jackson has a sub-1.00 HR/9 and has managed to have both a strong K/9 (12.00) and K/BB (4.50). Last week when I did a query based on May WAR, Jackson was one of the best RPs in baseball and one of the few closers on that “Top 30 WAR” list. For a bullpen that has struggled as much as the Atlanta Braves, I wouldn’t let the BS’s ruin Jackson for you too quickly. The overall numbers show a skilled reliever with a lot of the traits we look for in a closer. A couple of “1-Run” Performances (and one bad blow-up on Tuesday) won’t ruin that too quickly.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show Join host Cole Freel live on Sunday May 19th, 2019 from 8pm-9:30pm EST for episode #161 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 guests this week are Joe Iannone and Bryan Luhrs. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com and his articles publish every Sunday. Bryan is the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports and is also a league owner as well as a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday May 23rd, 2019 from 7:30-9pm EST for episode #162 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.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #167, 6/23/2019 Host Brian Roach, Jr., Co-Host Cole Freel, Guest Kevin Bzdek
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #169, 8/4/2019 Host Cole Freel, Guest Joe Iannone
@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.