Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: Week 3
You know, I was pretty excited that our editors asked me to write this article this year. I figured it would be easy – I’d talk about how Aroldis Chapman is really good, throw in some dad jokes, and have enough time to watch an episode or two of Fixer Upper (seriously, I have figured out the key to a successful marriage, guys – just watch HGTV with your wife and pretend to be interested. Smooth sailing after that).
But no, that’s not how it’s going to be, unfortunately. We’re less than three full weeks in and, by my count, we’ve already had 8,000 closer changes. We’ve got like four committees to sift through. It’s a nightmare.
Well, not to worry. There is this new thing the kids are talking about called “DVR” which I guess allows you to automatically record a show and watch it later? Technology is weird. Anyway, I’ve pushed back my House Hunters viewing party with the little lady and I’m ready to dive in and give it my all.
So here we go. This is your fantasy baseball closer report for Week 3.
|Team (Closer)||Current Rank||Previous Rank|
|Yankees (Aroldis Chapman)||1||1|
|Dodgers (Kenley Jansen)||2||2|
|Giants (Mark Melancon)||3||4|
|Rays (Alex Colome)||4||5|
|Red Sox (Craig Kimbrel)||5||6|
|Cubs (Wade Davis)||6||7|
|Royals (Kelvin Herrera)||7||11|
|Blue Jays (Roberto Osuna)||8||14|
|Mets (Jeurys Familia)||9||10|
|Mariners (Edwin Diaz)||10||9|
|Cardinals (Seung-Hwan Oh)||11||8|
|White Sox (David Robertson)||12||12|
|Indians (Cody Allen)||13||13|
|Orioles (Brad Brach)||14||3|
|Rockies (Greg Holland)||15||16|
|Marlins (A.J. Ramos)||16||15|
|Angels (Cam Bedrosian)||17||19|
|Tigers (Francisco Rodriguez)||18||17|
|Astros (Ken Giles)||19||18|
|Braves (Jim Johnson)||20||20|
|Pirates (Tony Watson)||21||21|
|Twins (Brandon Kintzler)||22||22|
|Brewers (Neftali Feliz)||23||23|
|Rangers (Matt Bush)||24||29|
|Diamondbacks (Fernando Rodney)||25||25|
|Padres (Brandon Maurer)||26||24|
The Big Movers
The giant move is, of course, the Orioles, who drop from third in the rankings to 14th, which is obviously because of Zach Britton’s forearm injury. As expected, the whole “committee” thing went by the wayside very quickly, and Brad Brach has received and converted in perfect fashion both of the Orioles’ save opportunities this week.
Frankly, it’s almost impossible to come up with a ranking for the Orioles that I’d feel good about. If Britton is going to miss a significant amount of time, then the Orioles’ situation and Brach would move way up, within the top seven. If Britton comes back soon and looks healthy, he’ll immediately jump back up near the top. But for now, we’ve got a dominant reliever who has taken over as the closer for an undetermined amount of time. So, I feel great about him in my lineup right now, but just not sure how long the good times are going to roll. So, 14th it is!
Matt Bush and the Rangers jump up a bit, now that we’re mercifully no longer on Sam Dyson watch anymore. But let’s see what Bush can do with the closer’s job before everyone freaks out. Bush may run with the job. He may not have the job in a week. His shoulder issues may crop back up. Let’s be cautious for now.
Other minor movers in the positive direction include Roberto Osuna, who gets a bump not because he’s looked particularly good (he hasn’t), but more just because he’s healthy. He’ll be just fine. Kelvin Herrera also gets a bit of a bump, but that’s more of a factor of a few of the guys who were ahead of him having rough outings.
Seung-Hwan Oh takes a move down because, well, the warning signs are pretty glaring right now. Oh has pitched in six games this season. He’s allowed at least one run in four of those six. He’s allowed multiple base-runners in five of those six. He’s struck out three batters in 6 2/3 innings. His velocity on all of his pitches is down about one mile per hour from last April, except for his curveball and changeup, which are unfortunately up a mile per hour. Plus, there suddenly appears to be a capable backup in Trevor Rosenthal, who is back, throwing hard, and looking good. Given the closing landscape, Oh doesn’t fall too far yet, but he’s definitely down a notch in the rankings.
Cam Bedrosian hops both Francisco Rodriguez and Ken Giles. That’s partly a factor of Bedrosian having a solid start to the season (and Huston Street being moved to the 60-day DL), but more so that Rodriguez and Giles have issues. Rodriguez may have been able to survive last year with a fastball that hovered around 90 miles per hour. He’s not going to be able to survive with his current 87 mile per hour fastball. And while we discussed Giles’s struggles before, he was used in the eighth inning on Wednesday and not used at all in a tight Astros win on Thursday (Chris Devenski got a two-plus-inning save). Giles is the closer, sure, but he’s apparently going to lose out on some save chances.
Fernando Rodney is not going to lose his job, guys. This is a man with a career WHIP of 1.37 who has been signed by like four different teams to be their closer. He is a crazy, magical human being. Just pop in some TUMS and buckle up for a wild ride.
So, I thank Pete Mackanin for naming Joaquin Benoit the closer. I do not thank him for randomly moving Benoit to the eighth inning and Hector Neris to the ninth on Thursday in a close game. If this is a full changing of the guard, then Neris will get bumped up, without question. But for now, I’m waiting to see Neris get the next chance before getting too excited.
False alarm on the Raisel Iglesias closer thing. He’ll lead the Reds in saves but he’s just going to be used in the highest leverage situation. That’s not always going to be the ninth. Saves for everyone!
If I had to bet on who will lead the Nationals in saves this year, my money would be on David Robertson. I’d stash Nate Jones as soon as I had an extra roster spot. But as for current Nationals, I don’t know. I’d guess Shawn Kelley, who saved Thursday’s game in unspectacular fashion. But it could be Koda Glover for all we know. That kind of expert advice doesn’t come cheap, guys – that’s why they pay me the big bucks!