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May 15, 2014

Closer to Me

Week Seven

by Mauricio Rubio


Ascent

Toronto Blue Jays:
Casey Janssen was activated from the disabled list on May 11, which will help stabilize a Jays bullpen that has been little more than a rotation of names trying to close out games and failing all the same. Santos provided the ultimate case study in how sustainable a horrendous BB% can be if you supplement it with a tremendous strikeout rate (the answer, not very). Aaron Loup tried his hand at closing and was spotty and unspectacular. Bret Cecil earned three saves but his walk rate was only slightly better than Santos’. Essentially, the Blue Jays bullpen was proficient at doling out The Three True Outcomes between Santos (8.3 BB/9 and a 2.3 HR/9), Loup (4.9 BB/9) and Cecil (6.6 BB/9). Janssen will provide consistency and control to a unit that desperately needs it. He’s a must-own at this point and will get the saves in Toronto.

Chicago White Sox:
Matt Lindstrom has continued to defy my pessimistic projections on him as he has stuck around as White Sox closer as all the other bullpen pieces around him crumble. We’ve been over the tight rope Lindstrom continues to walk as he carries a bad strike out and walk rate. He gets by on a high groundball rate (50.9 percent) and weak contact. He’s carrying a 14.5 percent line-drive rate and his stuff is conducive to the results so far. Wednesday’s sequence where he gave up a walk, a single, generated a double play then got a hard lineout is indicative of what his current skill set is, more or less. He’s a guy whose stuff plays out better over a whole inning with a clean slate. Given the lack of options the White Sox have in the ‘pen, it’s pretty clear that Lindstrom is going to be around for a while.

Purgatory

Cleveland Indians:
I was expecting this section to be all about Cody Allen, but alas, Bryan Shaw appears to have dibs on the main closing duties in Cleveland as the Indians figure out where they want to go after they’re done with this closer by committee experiment. Shaw isn’t a bad choice by any stretch, he’s been dominant so far as he’s paired a decent strikeout rate (22.7 percent) with a 16 percent line-drive rate and a high frequency of weak contact. While I love Allen I think Shaw is perhaps the guy to pick up in this bullpen. Terry Francona did allow for the possibility that John Axford may be able to regain his closing role again but that requires faith in Axford’s ability to string together a run of consistency that’s substantial enough to earn the job back. Speculating on saves requires these types of faith leaps, but in this case I’d rather gamble on the talent, as I don’t think Axford has it in him.

New York Mets:
Kyle Farnsworth was released and the Mets will be rotating some more names into the role in New York. It leaves the door open for some retreads but I’m rooting for Jeurys Familia in this ‘pen. The control isn’t there at all, but given the other names here (Daisuke Matsuzaka and what, Jose Valverde?), I’d rather roll the dice with this guy.

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Deep Impact: Week Six (05/15)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Closer to Me: Week Six (05/06)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Closer to Me: Week Eig... (05/22)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (05/15)

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