keyboard_arrow_uptop

Sean Doolittle heads back to the disabled list

Last week, I said that Doolittle’s return from injury meant it was safe to drop Tyler Clippard in most leagues. I really hope you didn’t listen to me. After just one outing, Doolittle felt discomfort in his shoulder and will be shut down for two more weeks before starting another throwing program. This should give Clippard the closer role for at least three more weeks, if not longer. His team is struggling this year, his walks are way up, and his strikeouts are way down, so Clippard is certainly not a high-end closer option. With that being said, he’s still going to grab the save chances in Oakland, and that’s obviously valuable. Evan Scribner could be a sneaky add if you think Clippard’s performance will start looking more like his peripherals, as Scribner’s been phenomenal this year and is likely next in line for saves.

Enrique Brugos also hits the disabled list

Once again, I have to apologize for a recommendation from last week. While Brad Ziegler was the top closer option in Arizona, Burgos was getting chances as well and coming through admirably. Well, just hours after last week’s Closer Report was posted, Burgos hit the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. This is good news for Ziegler owners, as he just lost his biggest competition for save opportunities. Still, he had a rough week in which he blew a save and gave up a run in the save chance he converted. Ziegler’s peripherals don’t point to him keeping the job for too long, so Burgos should get another shot if he can make it back from injury relatively quickly. Otherwise, Addison Reed could get his job back in the ninth inning if Ziegler can’t make his low strikeout totals work.

Brad Boxberger remains in control in Tampa

The Rays’ bullpen got a boost last week when Jake McGee returned to the mound for the first time all season. After performing extremely well in the closer role in 2014, it seemed logical that he would at least be sharing that role with new closer Brad Boxberger. Since we only have a week of work to look at, that may still be the case. However, it sure looks like Boxberger will continue to get the bulk of the chances for Tampa. Although he had a couple of rough outings last week, his overall performance this season has been outstanding. McGee will likely get some ninth-inning chances against lefty-heavy lineups, but Boxberger is the more valuable Ray to roster.

Fernando Rodney is on his last leg

Rodney is a veteran who has a track record of success and a relatively large contract. All of this lends itself to a long leash for Seattle’s closer. Two months into the season, one would have to think the end of that long leash is finally in sight. Rodney has been dreadful this year, pitching to a 6.75 ERA with a 4.97 FIP that doesn’t provide much reason for optimism. If Carson Smith is available, stop what you’re doing and pick him up. The 25-year-old has been phenomenal this season and is almost certainly next in line for the closer role. The Mariners haven’t given any concrete indication that a change is in order, but they can only deal with this kind of performance for so long. If Rodney has another bad week, it wouldn’t be surprising to anyone if Smith is closing games by the middle of June.

Quick Hits

David Robertson blew two saves this week. Of course, he’s one of the better relievers in the game so losing his job is not a worry. Despite not getting many save chances on an underperforming White Sox team, he’s pitching as well as ever. If Chicago turns it around, he could be a top-five RP in the second half.

Speaking of AL Central closers on surprising teams, Glen Perkins has been amazing this season. His 19 saves lead all of baseball, and he’s backed them up with a 1.88 ERA and a 2.80 FIP. Although his strikeouts have fallen a bit, there haven’t been many more valuable relievers to own in fantasy this season.

Continuing with the AL Central theme, Cody Allen has certainly turned it around after his horrid start. Cleveland flip the switch in a big way in May, and Allen went along for the ride. He converted all seven of his save chances in the month to go along with a 2.35 ERA and a 21-to-6 K/BB ratio.

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
majnun
6/02
I couldn't believe you'd recommend just waiving Clippard, so I looked back... And you didn't. You said wait until Doolittle is back in the ninth. Which is one hundred times more reasonable, so don't be too hard on yourself.
Thanks for the column
jfranco77
6/02
Mark Melancon had an ERA of 0.71 in May (good), but 5 Ks in 12.2 innings (bad).
DDriesen
6/02
Thoughts on Melancon going forward? Looking to make a trade and needs saves. Aside from the drop in K's, are there any other measurables that may indicate his recent success is/isn't sustainable?
jfranco77
6/02
His velo chart is still bad. But it's getting a little less bad.

http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfxo.aspx?playerid=4264&position=P&pitch=FC

His cutter was in the 92 MPH range almost all of 2014. It was around 89 to start the season, got down to almost 87, went back up to 89 and his last 2 outings were basically 90.

His curve (KC) was 80-83 last year, down to about 78-80 earlier in the year, and consistently 80 for his last few outings.

I'm still very worried but if you're buying pretty low, there's a chance he turns out OK.
DDriesen
6/02
Thanks!
redsoxthoughts
6/02
I wouldn't mind a trade for him. Won't be great, but should be solid with good upside if he can get all the way back. At jfranco mentioned, the velocity is creeping back up at least. It's tough to get buy-low opportunities for closers, so it's a fine move if you can swing it.
brianwilliams42
6/03
What about other options in Seattle? Wilhelmsen is actually pitching quite well and has "closing experience".

I ask because Smith is long gone in my holds league, but bad memories with Wilhelmsen keep everyone away.
redsoxthoughts
6/03
He could have a chance, I suppose. But I'd be surprised if anyone other than Smith got the call. I also wouldn't be surprised if Furbush is ahead of Wilhelmsen on the depth chart.