Chicago White Sox
Ronald Belisario was named the closer following an injury to Matt Lindstrom. The White Sox bullpen struggles have been well documented in this column. Surprisingly, the White Sox are only on their second closer, as Lindstrom survived early troubles to hang on to the job as the rest of pen around him took a curious shape. Belisario has come a long way since carrying a 15.75 ERA on April 9. In 22 innings from April 12 through May 20, Belisario posted a 2.05 ERA, a 17-to-4 K:BB ratio, and a .169/.229/.208 opponents’ slash line. He’s the clear hot hand in the bullpen. Daniel Webb is still in the periphery but given his control issues I think Belisario is a safe option. As of writing he’s widely un-owned in both Yahoo (14 percent) and ESPN (2.5 percent) leagues, but that will change fast.
Hector Rondon blew the save for the Cubs today which might induce some itchy trigger fingers given the success Neil Ramirez has enjoyed this season. I’d keep those fears in check as it was Rondon’s fourth straight day of work and he really only gave up a few bloop hits and a walk. An error behind him by the usually sure handed Darwin Barney made it look worse than it was. Ramirez is still a very good stash name, but I’m holding on to Rondon. If for some reason you were holding out hope that Jose Veras might be able to figure something out this year I’m going to squelch those dreams. Veras has completely lost what tenuous command he had of his curveball and its manifesting itself in ugly ways. Veras is still boasting an ugly 25 percent walk rate. He walked one and gave up three hits during a loss to the Yankees today and his command looked bad throughout his outing.
Sean Doolittle is the A’s closer now. Tommybones from the comments section made the case for Doolittle, citing his crazy K:BB ratio, which only recently dropped from infinity with a walk on Tuesday night. He hasn’t given up an earned run since his disaster outing on April 26 against the Astros, and he hasn’t given up a hit since May 7. He’s been very, very good.
Mike Gianella wrote a very good primer on what to do regarding relievers in –only and mixed formats. Basically, if you didn’t spend on a closer or a closer-in-waiting in an –only league, you’re in trouble.
Trevor Rosenthal has been inconsistent in St. Louis thus far. Carlos Martinez and Jason Motte are hanging out there, but I think Rosenthal pitches through the early struggles and hangs on to the closing duties.
I’m very glad that Aroldis Chapman is back and doing Aroldis Chapman things.
The Orioles situation is sticky. Zach Britton is the closer as it stands, but as a personal preference, I stay away from low-strikeout relievers. That’s profile bias on my part.