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April 8, 2014

Closer to Me

Attrition

by Mauricio Rubio


Reliever volatility is not a new concept. We’re all used to the closer carousel that sustains itself on poor performance and injury as it turns throughout the season. What happened this week, however, bordered on a league-wide implosion of closers. Let’s take a look at who is left standing after the week that was.

INJURIES

New York Yankees: David Robertson landed on the disabled list with a groin issue, and Shawn Kelley will be the Yankees closer in his absence. Kelley was an interesting choice that I think has more to do with Dellin Betances’ lack of a major-league track record than it does with Kelley’s résumé. Ultimately, Kelley will generate a good strikeout rate (25.5 percent career, 31 percent last year), but he’s not a sure bet to stay healthy and pitch effectively in the ninth while Robertson is out. Kelley is walk- and homer-prone, which concerns me. It’s a short stint to be sure, and I’m buying Kelley for a week’s worth of save opportunities. I’m still keeping an eye on Betances, though.

Chicago White Sox: Nate Jones also landed on the disabled list with a muscle strain, with his being in the left hip. Jones has yet to record an out this year, and after a disastrous outing against the Twins, Robin Ventura indicated that Jones wasn’t at 100 percent. That factor goes a long way in explaining why the White Sox took so long to name a closer and went with Matt Lindstrom, even though it appeared that the job was Jones’ at the start of the year. Lindstrom hasn’t had the strongest of starts to the 2014 season, and I don’t think he has a ninth-inning profile. He’s the closer for now, but I would take a serious look at both Daniel Webb and Ronald Belisario if they’re out there in your leagues. Lindstrom is the guy to scoop up here, but keep close tabs on the situation in Chicago; I think this one will be volatile even after Nate Jones comes back.

New York Mets: Jose Valverde replaced Bobby Parnell, who was lost for the season last week. Valverde has the résumé, and it’ll be his job to lose. Last time we saw Valverde, he was giving up home runs at an insane clip at the major-league level. Might he have a dead cat bounce in him much like Kevin Gregg had last year? It’s possible, but I don’t think he’ll last as long as Gregg did in 2013. I’m picking him up with the intent to drop him as soon as it looks like it will go bad. Trust me, you’ll know what it looks like when you see it. Kyle Farnsworth is lurking, but personally I’m rooting for Jeurys Familia to win the job. Familia works in the upper-90s and has a good slider. I mean, how can anyone resist that?

BLOWN SAVES

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<< Previous Article
Daily League Strategy:... (04/08)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Closer to Me: Week One (04/01)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Closer to Me: Week Thr... (04/15)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Dynasty Dynamics: AL W... (04/08)

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