Welcome to September. Closer news isn’t coming as quickly as it does earlier in the season, but with fantasy playoffs here finding hidden gems for relief spot is as important as ever. Even if you’re in a roto league and have no playoffs, September saves can be the difference between a payout and going home with nothing. As always, keep up with changes on the closer grid. Now, to the news.
Fernando Salas traded to the Mets
So, this kind of came out of nowhere. It was a minor August deal in real baseball terms, but it had a major impact in the fantasy world. As I wrote last week, Salas had been turning into a surprisingly solid presence in the back of the Angels’ bullpen. They clearly aren’t the best source of saves in the league, but he looked poised to hold down the job for the rest of the year. Now, things are as murky as ever in Los Angeles. Right now, I have Deolis Guerra in the top spot as of this writing, but this is really a three-man race. Guerra is the safest arm in my opinion, as he’s shown impeccable control this year. JC Ramirez is the favorite in some other people’s eyes, and he’s thrown in plenty of late-inning spots to justify that placement. He strikes out a few more batters than Guerra and induces more ground balls, but he still gives up his share of homers and allows many more walks. Then, there’s Andrew Bailey. Yes, that Andrew Bailey. He actually got the only save of the week since the Salas trade for the Angels, but there’s no sign that’s a long-term thing. I’d still lean towards Guerra from this group, but really just pick a name from a hat and hope they pitch well.
As for the Mets, this change doesn’t really change anything. Salas slides in to a middle relief role for New York, where he is much better suited. He is no longer fantasy relevant in any format.
Wade Davis Return from the DL
When Davis initially got hurt, some were worried it may be a season-ending injury. Instead, he returns early enough to have a major fantasy impact down the stretch. One would assume he’s owned in all leagues already, but if not obviously go pick him up. The more interesting decision is whether or not to hold on to Kelvin Herrera. To me, the clear answer is yes. Herrera has been outstanding this season, and figures to help your ratios even if he’s not getting saves. Additionally, Davis didn’t exactly dominate in his return. He allowed two runs en route to a blown save in his first outing back. To be fair, he struck out the two batters he faced in his second. Davis has been struggling compared to his typical standards all year, and there’s always a chance he could have a shorter leash than one may assume given the close race Kansas City finds itself in. I certainly wouldn’t be banking on Herrera taking the job back, but that small chance makes him that much more enticing to keep on your roster.
Things Aren’t Great In Miami
Since the start of July, the Marlins have had a really solid one-two punch of Fernando Rodney and A.J. Ramos. It’s no Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, of course, but they’ve been really solid for most of the year. That is starting to change lately. Rodney is still the team’s closer, but he allowed five runs over 1.2 innings of work last week. We all know what his career arc looks like, and as good as he’s been this year there’s always reason to worry the floor is about to fall out underneath him. That should open the door for Ramos, but he had a rough week of his own. The team’s former closer allowed runs in two of his three outings, one resulting in a blown save and the other in a loss. Rodney is still the guy to own, but Ramos could be interesting, too, as I believe he is the better pitcher. Hell, keep an eye on Kyle Barraclough, who could leverage his dynamic stuff into some saves if the other two continue to struggle.
Daniel Hudson is still the closer in Arizona, but his first week didn’t go too well. He’s now allowed a run in three of his last four outings. The good news for him is that the rest of the bullpen has been struggling, too. Randall Delgado is next in line, so if you need some speculative saves and this situation is the only place to get him grab him. Also, I’m sorry.
Santiago Casilla has been struggling again. He is the very definition of a bend-don’t-break closer, but with the Giants starting to slip in the standings his leash may be growing shorter. Sergio Romo has been quite good after missing the most of the first half with injury. I’d prefer him as a speculative add over anyone in Arizona.
Andrew Miller owners were happy this week, as he finished two games this week. Of course, he also allowed two runs in the other. Still, he got a save, and owners have to hope for more than that as the season winds down.