[closing_time list_id=”19257″ season=”2018″ include_stats=”1″]
With Corey Knebel progressing well in his rehab and due to return this week, it will likely mark the end of Josh Hader closing out games this year. He may get occasional save when Knebel needs a break, but for now he should be treated similarly to Andrew Miller from years past. He’s still very much a useful asset in most leagues so don’t think you need to drop him with Knebel back. For those who had picked up Jeremy Jeffress for the time being, he can safely be dropped in leagues that don’t count holds. And for those waiting to get Knebel back, I expect him to eventually pick up where he left off last season.
- Bud Norris was just given back his role as the Cardinals closer, but he just can’t seem to stay healthy. Granted, it’s just been some soreness that has kept him out a few games, but tricep tightness is never something you want to see from a pitcher, as it can be a precursor for a serious elbow problem. Despite Holland pitching well this year, the injury concerns and the fact that Greg Holland is still likely to get another chance to close make it hard to place Norris any higher.
- Keynan Middleton should also return this week and luckily for him, no one on the Angels has been able to successfully close out a game. Both Cam Bedrosian and Jim Johnson have failed, so Mike Scioscia has no chance but to roll with Middleton in the 9th once he returns. I’m a little surprised that Blake Parker is still in the doghouse (he’s been better the past 2 weeks), but that could change as soon as tonight for all we know. Either way, the job is Middletons when he returns, which hopefully is early in the week, but elbow injuries are never a good thing so they could play it safe and hold him out until the weekend.
- Also on the injury front, both Hunter Strickland and Darren O’Day are filling in for their respective team’s closers, both of which may return within a month. Strickland has filled in admirably for Mark Melancon and remains the better man to own right now despite Melancon’s expected return date to come earlier. Zach Britton’s rehab has gone smoothly so far and while he probably won’t be ready by the start of June, it’s seeming more and more likely he’ll be back sometime in the middle of the month. Despite the Orioles being arguably the worse team in baseball right now, Britton can make a difference for fantasy owners and will be worth adding as a top 12-15 closing option.