Welcome back to the Closer Report. It wasn’t a busy week in Reliever Land but, despite that, there is still plenty to talk about with some strange performances, notable usage and returns from injury. Before we get into that, just a reminder that you can keep up with all changes during the week with the Closer Grid. Now, let’s get to the goods.
At least, we think/hope that’s the case. If this subhead sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve been down this road with the Angels before. It’s been a rough year in terms of luck in the back of the Angels bullpen, as all of their top three closer options have been hurt for a good chunk of the season. Bedrosian almost certainly is their most talented reliever, and he finally came back from the disabled list this past weekend after a few setbacks in his rehab. Meanwhile, Huston Street is also making his way back and could be on the roster as soon as today. Despite the returns of those two, Bud Norris will remain the closer, so don’t go dropping him just yet. The Angels are expected to ease Bedrosian and Street back into games with late-inning, non-save situations. Eventually, though, Norris will be demoted. Unfortunately, it seems most likely that the veteran Street will get the job as long as he pitches relatively well in his tune-up appearances. I would rather own Bedrosian because I can’t foresee Street holding on to the gig for all that long, but Street should be picked up soon for speculative saves in the short-term. This situation should sort itself out over the next month or so, but it’s going to be a little messy for a while.
The Nationals can’t trade for a closer soon enough
For such a good team, the Nationals ninth-inning situation is an absolute garbage fire for fantasy owners. Koda Glover grabbing the role without any sort of committee finally settled things down for a minute, but the young righty hit the disabled list and the proverbial poop hit the fan again. Last week, I had Matt Albers as the top name on their depth chart, as he’d been the most consistent arm in that time. Since then, Enny Romero has started to pitch well, and finds himself in the top spot. I wouldn’t go out of my way for anyone in this group right now. It’s an absolute mess, and it’s only going to get better when they either trade for a big name, or Glover comes back. Speaking of which, there’s no real timetable on Glover yet. Add Romero if you’re desperate for saves, but don’t get mad when someone new jumps to the top of the depth chart shortly after. Oh, and Shawn Kelley is now on the DL, too, because of course.
A little more clarity in Pittsburgh
A couple of weeks ago, Tony Watson relinquished his grasp on the ninth-inning role in Pittsburgh. At that time, Clint Hurdle indicated that he’d split duties between lefty Felipe Rivero and righty Juan Nicasio depending on matchups. Normally, the heavier workload would go to the righty in that case, but Rivero had been so good that I gave him the top spot on the grid; it was only a matter of time until he’d take the full-time job. I think that time has come. Nicasio did get a couple of save chances last week, but totally imploded, blowing the save in one of them. Given just how great Rivero has been since coming to Pittsburgh midway through the 2016, I can’t see them turning away from him now. I’d be shocked if he’s not the closer for the Pirates for the rest of the season, and perhaps even longer.
Andrew Miller is closing in Cleveland….For now
Interesting things are happening in the Indians bullpen, with Andrew Miller picking up his first save of the season Sunday. Apparently, Cody Allen went to Terry Francona and asked to flip roles with Miller temporarily in order to ease the lefty’s workload. The logic is that Miller’s role as a fireman, who can come in during the biggest situation, regardless of inning, leads to more high-stress outings. Giving him the ninth for a little while should ease up on this. This obviously hurts Allen’s fantasy value and helps Miller’s, but not nearly enough to change one’s strategy with either. This is more of an interesting real-life situation than one that has fantasy implications.
• Sean Doolittle got two saves in Oakland this weekend with Santiago Casilla taking a few days off after being hit by a line drive. Casilla will be fine and will go back to closing this week, but Doolittle is worth adding right now. He’s talented enough to help while he’s setting up Casilla, and if the latter is dealt Doolittle would immediately jump into the ninth inning in Oakland.
• Hector Neris blew a save this past week, adding more confusion to the Phillies bullpen. I think he’s still the closer, but keep an eye on Joaquin Benoit to pick up a few chances if Neris continues to struggle with hard contact.
• Kenley Jansen is ridiculous. That is all.