Blue Jays Change Closers Again
Shortly after we spoke last week, the Blue Jays yanked rookie Miguel Castro from the closer role and handed it back to Brett Cecil. Castro has been extremely inconsistent this year, flashing dominant stuff at times and looking like the 20-year-old he is at other times. Things got even worse for the youngster over the weekend as he was optioned back to Triple-A. Toronto sure is yanking around their young arm, moving him in and out of the closer role at random and now moving him off the roster entirely. Barring injury, he’ll certainly be back in the majors at some point and it wouldn’t surprise me if it came soon. As for Cecil, he’s clearly a must-own as the closer on a talented roster. He’s still striking out opponents at a nice rate, but the hard contact has been discouraging. Since he’s better than his competition, I would like to say his job should be safe for now, but the Blue Jays have been too quick with their decisions in this bullpen to be overly confident in them staying with the status quo for any period of time.
Yimi Garcia is Still the Closer in LA… I Think
The Dodgers nint- inning situation has been a mess all year long and things don’t like they’ll change in the coming week. After Joel Peralta landed on the disabled list, Yimi Garcia jumped to the top of the depth chart in many people’s eyes. They haven’t necessarily been wrong, but it’s not as clear-cut as we’d like to see. To his credit, Garcia has done nothing to lose trust from the Dodgers coaching staff. He’s allowed one earned run in 13 2/3 innings with 21 strikeouts and just four walks. In short, he’s been dominant. Chris Hatcher did vulture a save from him on Saturday, however. In fact, Garcia didn’t get a save all week. With that being said, he’s still the man to own on this roster. Not only is he the most likely to get saves, but he’s going to help you in other areas as well. Luckily for my sanity, Kenley Jansen just made his second rehab appearance and is getting closer to his return to the ninth inning.
The Yankees Bullpen is Dominant
Most of the things I write about here end up being negative. It’s just the nature of closers in fantasy baseball. However, the back of New York’s bullpen has been an absolute joy to watch. Andrew Miller taking the closer job threw many people off guard, but at this point it’s established that he’ll be getting the majority of the save chances. The lefty is still yet to give up a run this season and his leash is growing every day. For all of the worries about Dellin Betances in the first week or so of the season, he’s shown that he is also still a dominant force. Hopefully those who drafted him in relatively deep leagues didn’t drop him as he’s one of the most valuable set up men in fantasy. The Yankees have shown a willingness to give Miller days off that result in save chances for Betances, who also is elite in the other categories. While I don’t see Miller losing the closer job this year, Betances could still very easily end the year with at least 10-15 saves.
Greg Holland is Back
Speaking of dominant relievers, Greg Holland is set to come back from the disabled list tonight for Kansas City. As expected, Wade Davis filled in admirably in Holland’s absence, but Davis is now reduced to the Betances-like elite set up man role. Again, that’s still extremely valuable in almost every league, but his value is about to take a hit. Meanwhile, Holland only missed a little bit more than two weeks so he shouldn’t miss a beat upon his return.
Coming into the season, David Robertson was one of the most highly sought closers in fantasy baseball, and for good reason. Unfortunately, the White Sox’s season has not gone as many expected and Robertson has only gotten three saves in nine appearances. To his credit, he’s pitched extremely well. The opportunities just haven’t been there. I find it hard to believe the White Sox can be quite this bad, so now may be the time to try and target panicking Robertson owners
In a similar vein, Tyler Clippard has produced very little value this year. Unlike Robertson, however, the closer role isn’t his for the entire season. Sean Doolittle’s rehab is getting closer and Clippard will be sent to the eighth inning when he returns. Clippard can still be valuable in a set up role, but if you’re like me and targeted him as an end-game early-season saves target, we lost and have to bite the bullet on this one.
The Astros are surging and their bullpen has been a big part of that. Luke Gregerson has done his job and has converted six saves on the season. There’s no reason to believe he’ll be taken from the ninth any time soon, but the talent behind him is strong enough that the leash may not be as long as some may think. Chad Qualls has been phenomenal this season with 12 Ks in nine innings, and he has two saves to boot. If there are no easy saves on the waiver wire, Qualls may be the guy to target.
Adam Ottavino’s injury news got worse last night. When he first went to the disabled list the hope was that the Rockies’ closer would only miss around a month of the season. Instead, he’ll likely have to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the remainder of the season. It’s a huge blow to Ottavino, who looked like he could be an outstanding closer. Now, John Axford’s stock skyrockets as it looks like his time in the closer role will be much less temporary.