We’re winding down to the end of the season, and it’s the most exciting time of the year for fantasy players. For those in head-to-head leagues, your playoffs are probably just about ready to start up, and those in roto leagues are fighting for every point you can get every day. Keeping up to date on everything, including bullpen happenings around the league, can go a long way. Obviously, there aren’t as many changes this time of year as there are earlier on, but there is still news to track. For that, keep an eye on the Closer Grid for any changes. Now, let’s get on to today’s news.
Blake Parker is trying to take over in Los Angeles
The Angels bullpen has been nearly impossible to get a clear read on for the last couple of months since Bud Norris had the job taken away from him. It seemed, at least to me, that the ninth inning was Cam Bedrosian’s to lose. However, they haven’t been confident giving him two straight appearances since he came back from the disabled list and it’s hard to be counted on as a closer if that’s the case. Instead, they’ve handed the job to Blake Parker. He hasn’t been officially named the closer, but he’s gotten three saves in the past week and if they aren’t planning on using him moving forward I can only assume they’re just messing with me. It’s a little strange he didn’t get the job sooner considering how great he’s been all year. Just recently, he tossed eleven straight scoreless outings with 13 strikeouts and just two walks. Of course, that streak was broken Monday night when he allowed two runs to push a game into extras. Even with that, I expect him to continue to get the bulk save chances.
Nobody in Texas has taken over
Speaking of bullpens that have been annoying for fantasy owners almost all year, let’s take another look at the Rangers. They haven’t been covered in this space for a few weeks, as it seemed that Alex Claudio had taken over without much competition. He had been going strong for most of the summer, but things started trending downhill in a big way. Since Aug. 11. the lefty has allowed runs in five of his past nine appearances. A lot of that is because of bad BABIP luck, but this is not the time of year the Rangers can be sitting around waiting for regression. That said, I still have him at the top of my grid, but things are much less certain than they were. Tony Barnette got the save Sunday, and he moves up to No. 2 on the grid in a situation that could be a committee. If you’re look for saves, Barnette is one of the few on the wire with potential to provide some down the stretch.
Things are shaky in Kansas City
While this is the most exciting time of the year for fantasy owners, it’s also the most frustrating since the expanded rosters mean there is no incentive for using the 10-day disabled list. Injured players just hang out on the active roster and there is no way around it for fantasy players. One of those MLB players is Kelvin Herrera, who was steady before dealing with forearm issues for the past few weeks. He left again with pain Friday and hasn’t been pitched since. Brandon Maurer, who the Royals acquired in July, was the logical name to step in whenever Herrera couldn’t go and was thus a worthy fantasy addition. He’s been inconsistent with his new team, though, and had a particularly distressing day Monday. He came in with a four-run lead and allowed three runs to the Tigers before being pulled. I still think he’s the guy behind Herrera, but that is very tentative. Scott Alexander came in and cleaned up for Maurer on Monday and has been generally good all year. Alexander could be an interesting name to keep an eye on for the final few weeks, particularly if Herrera has to miss significant time.
• The White Sox bullpen isn’t quite as infuriating has it’s been for the last month-plus. Juan Minaya has locked himself into the closer role. He’s not super valuable in fantasy, of course, but it’s nice to not have to look at the waiver wire for White Sox relievers anymore.
• If you’ve been holding on to Kyle Barraclough, the time may be coming for him to take over as the closer. Brad Ziegler has only had one bad appearance of late, but Barraclough is the team’s closer of the future and has been outstanding since coming back from the disabled list. If Ziegler has another bad outing this week I could see a change being made, even if that’s a little unfair.
• Alex Colomé hasn’t gotten a lot of love this year, but he’s been an outstanding value this year despite a decrease in strikeouts. He leads the league in saves and could be a great sell-high in the offseason for those in long-term leagues.