June 13, 2017
Welcome back to the Closer Report. This past week was a little more eventful than the previous few, with a couple changes atop depth charts and some injuries further down. Before we jump into the movement, just a reminder you can keep up with the changes with the Closer Grid. Now, let’s get to some of that content.
Changes Finally Come in Pittsburgh
Tony Watson, who was once among the most underrated setup men in all of baseball, has not done well in his first full season as a major-league closer. Or, you know, what was supposed to be his first full season as a major-league closer. The lefty’s struggles finally became too much for manager Clint Hurdle to handle, and he made a change. According to the manager, the Pirates are going to play the ninth inning based on matchups, with lefty Felipe Rivero and righty Juan Nicasio splitting duties. That sounds great in theory, but it’s not how I see things playing out. While I don’t doubt that Nicasio will get a few more save chances than your typical second reliever, Rivero seems like the obvious play for fantasy owners. The southpaw had been handling the eighth inning prior to Watson’s demotion regardless of matchup, and he’s gotten the first two save chances the Pirates have accrued since the change was made. There’s some hesitation to put lefties in the closer role, but that’s not a worry with Rivero. He’s outstanding against any hitter put in front of him. He’s probably owned in all leagues by this point, but if not, jump on him immediately. On the other side of things, Nicasio could be attractive in deeper and/or NL-Only leagues.
Koda Glover hits the disabled list