Another week is in the books and again we have more change and more change at the closer position. A couple of teams have decided to go the “co-closer” path, with the Nationals and Phillies being the most prominent. It’s a shame things have gone the way they have for Blake Treinen, and a bit surprising given his great stuff and past success in a set-up role. Given the state of that bullpen and the way Dusty Baker does things, there’s certainly still a shot Treinen ends up back in the role at some point this season. Still, he isn’t worth holding on to in standard leagues at the moment. #FreeHectorNeris has finally come to fruition, well sort of. He still isn’t “the” closer yet, but it seems like the Phils are heading in that direction.
TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U
- And then there were 2…Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman continue to be the two premier closers to own in fantasy. I gave Craig Kimbrel some consideration but just wasn’t ready to pull that trigger quite yet.
TIER 2: Save Tonight
- Edwin Diaz may now be used for 2 innings of work to close out games going forward. This ultimately has a minimal impact on his season outlook, but it will limit his overall save opportunities. I’m still high on him and confident he can right the ship going forward.
- Jeurys Familia has been a bit rusty in his return to action, but there is no long-term concerns here. It’s nice to see him missing more bats this year with will only add to his value.
- Cody Allen throughout 3+ weeks is missing more bats than any other current closer. He also has only walked 1 batter. Those 2 stats combined with the fact the Indians should win 90+ games has his stock trending up right now.
- Greg Holland just continues to get the job done, going 9/9 on save chances to begin the year. He’s run into some control problems lately, but for the most part he has kept the free passes in check and hasn’t really been hit hard.
TIER 3: Bound for the Floor
- Matt Bush has only had one save chance since being named the closer, but he converted it in easy fashion. He owns a stellar 12/1 K/BB ratio thru 7.2 IP this year while also allowing just 4 hits and 2 runs. The way the closer market is turning out, he could very well be a top 10 option the rest of the year.
- Seung Hwan Oh has been much better lately, and most importantly, Mike Matheny hasn’t seemed to waver on his role as the teams closer. He should be in line for plenty of save chances as long as he can stay settled and hang on to the job. Trevor Rosenthal is still striking out more than 2 batters an inning.
- Brad Brach has been lights out this year no matter the role that been put upon him. Zach Britton looks like he could be back next week so Brach’s door for saves is dwindling. He should still be owned after Britton returns though in most leagues.
- Brandon Kintzler has still yet to allow a run, while only allowing 4 hits in 9 games. His 5/4 K/BB ratio is nothing to be excited about, but he limits hard contact and keeps the ball on the ground and as long as the Twins get good starting pitching, he should be in line for a save or 2 a week.
TIER 4: Better Days (and the Bottom and Out)
- Francisco Rodriguez has got to be close to the end of the line in his stint as a MLB closer. He continues to have difficulty getting through the 9th inning of games and the Tigers have adequate backup options in Justin Wilson and eventually Joe Jimenez. It’s only a matter of time before his time earning saves is up.
- Koda Glover and Shawn Kelley both have earned a few saves since Blake Treinen was deposed a week ago, which is obviously a good sign that both can have some value in standard mixed leagues going forward. 5 save opportunities wont always be there each week though, and Dusty Baker figures to keep this situation in a timeshare until they trade for a more reliable veteran, If I had to own one here, I’d take Glover as he is guy the club views as the future closer.
- Hector Neris and Joaquin Benoit are “co-closers” going forward, but Neris has earned the teams 2 saves since’s Benoit gave up a walk off HR to Bryce Harper a little whiles back. He is clearly the one to own here for now, despite his rough last 2 outings. But for the short-term, the Phillies just aren’t good enough for co-closers to sustain much fantasy value.
- “Bud Norris should get the bulk of the save chances” is a sentence I never thought I’d see, but there it is. To his credit, his transition from starter to reliever has actually been quite effective, as he’s posted respectable stat line to date. He just isn’t someone I’d be interested in for fantasy purposes, outside of the deepest leagues.