Closing Time 4/10: Ranking the Top 30 Closers Every Tuesday
Another week and another closer for the Angels, as it looks like for now, Keynan Middleton is Mike Scioscia’s preferred 9th inning option. While he’s one bad outing away from going back to working in the 6th inning and Jim Johnson seeing save opportunities, I’ll still argue that Middleton is worth an add just in case he is allowed to keep the job. We got a taste of just how good his stuff is last season as he posted a 35.25% Whf/Sw%, 77% Z-Contact and 16.7 SwStr% over 58.1 innings. He also showed fairly good command for someone with his pitch mix, with the only knocks on him being a somewhat high HR rate. If he can string together a few more clean outings, hopefully, that gives him some leeway with Scioscia. Because while I do like Middleton a lot, he’ll surely have to earn his trust a great deal to keep the role for the foreseeable future.
- It’s so great to see Edwin Diaz back on top of his game after a tumultuous 2017. He’s one of the games top young relievers with perhaps the highest ceiling of anyone. He’s only pitched in 3 games thus far (3 saves) but what he’s shown in those games is very encouraging. First, his fastball velocity is up a little bit, and he’s now sitting around 98. That’s great and all, but he’s also mixing up his pitches more. After having 68/32 FB/SL split the previous two years, he’s sitting at 58/42 this year, which I think could be perfect for him. I hope this trend continues, and with 8 K’s and 0 hits in 3 innings so far, I don’t see why they’d change anything.
- Another nice comeback story is Jeurys Familia, who is currently leading the league with 5 saves. He’s still yet to allow a run and has 9 K’s to go along with a 1.00 WHIP over 7 innings of work. He’s throwing his slider a little bit more than he did last year, but other than that, a lot of his other peripherals match up with last years, just that he has a .154 BABIP compared to .290. It’s still early and he’s been a great value pick to this point, but there will inevitably be some speed bumps throughout the course of the season with him as well.
- Greg Holland’s debut was less than ideal, although it’s not too surprising considering he just signed 10 days ago. He’s clearly not ready, and I wonder how they will treat this now after he couldn’t find the strike zone if his life depended on it last night. They may decide to ease him into the role by getting him some more low leverage outings which would be smart, but not the news fantasy owners are looking for. He should turn it around, but until we see it, I’m still a little skeptical about where he is at right now.
- The Brewers closer situation had an interesting couple of days post-Corey Knebel, that’s for sure. Both Jacob Barnes and Matt Albers have gotten some bad luck in their respective chances, but I guess the favorite here now is probably Albers. Despite blowing the save, he was able to bounce back and get a win by pitching a clean 10th inning last night. I was excited some to see Barnes in the role, but right now I don’t see a ton to get excited about, especially if it’s Albers leading the way.