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June 2, 2014

Closer Report

Week 10

by Mauricio Rubio

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This is an abbreviated version of the Closer To Me series. You’ll notice it’s out on Monday instead of Tuesday; we’re changing it up a bit here, and this piece will consistently be out on Mondays from now on.

Chicago White Sox
Robin Ventura gave Ronald Belisario an endorsement on May 30 after he had blown a lead against the Cleveland Indians. I’m still tracking Zach Putnam’s usage, as he has exhibited the best control in the White Sox bullpen this year. He’s not a swing-and-miss guy, and I don’t know if that pitcher exists in the White Sox bullpen, but he’s got a good splitter and the command profile we all thought Matt Lindstrom had. Hold Belisario for now, but keep looking at Putnam.

Chicago Cubs
Neil Ramirez is getting a look as the Cubs closer during Hector Rondon’s paternity leave. Ramirez has been nasty this year, as he’s sporting a 0.77 ERA and has 19 Ks in 11 1/3 innings of work. It’s telling that he, not Pedro Strop, got tabbed as the closer. I’m still a big-time Hector Rondon believer, so I don’t think Ramirez is worth a pickup in mixed leagues, but if you’re in an –only format and you’re looking at setup guys who can close, Neil Ramirez is worth a flier.

New York Mets
Jenrry Mejia got the L against the Phillies on May 30, but it was an unearned run and he’s been solid during his tenure as a reliever. My pet reliever, Jeurys Familia, will always toe the line with his command issues. In the case of a Mejia meltdown, I don’t see many attractive options in the pen. Carlos Torres is emerging, so I’d keep tabs on him.

Detroit Tigers
It was Joba Chamberlain, not Corey Knebel, who got the save chance while Joe Nathan sat for rest. That’s not too surprising, as Knebel hasn’t done much at the MLB level yet, and Chamberlain has performed quite well this year. If Nathan starts looking shaky, snatch Chamberlain quickly, as I do not trust anyone else in that bullpen.

Notes
David Robertson blew a save on Sunday. It’s not quite enough to make me go pick up Dellin Betances everywhere, but I still have him flagged in every possible format.

Ernesto Frieri has stabilized, and it seems he’s on a hot streak. Frieri has recorded six saves since May 3 and rattled off three in three straight appearances from May 25 through May 29.

Chad Qualls is a dependable closer now; maybe Jesse Crain’s assumed job security is non-existent.

Jason Grilli has seven saves this year even despite missing a month.

Shae Simmons from the Braves got the call and got the save. It was shaky, and he’s not going to close unless Kimbrel gets injured, but he’s another one of those arms the Braves just grow on their reliever tree.

Zach Britton continues to throw shade my way with a solid run of performances.

Cody Allen Watch:
He had a rough go of it against the White Sox, but Cody Allen rebounded with back-to-back saves against the Rockies. It’s still a committee in Cleveland, but I’m still betting on his arm.

Mauricio Rubio is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mauricio's other articles. You can contact Mauricio by clicking here

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