Just as I was thinking the closer position was leveling out and stabilizing, we get hit with 2 injuries and a job demotion over the past 2 days. The big one would be Zach Britton being placed back on the DL and expected to miss upwards of 2 full months. It did feel like the Orioles and Britton himself rushed his return a little bit, which is unfortunate for everyone because they didn’t need to. Brad Brach has filled in admirably for Britton and there’s no reason to think he can’t be a legitimate RP1 for the next 2 months. Mark Melancon was also placed on the DL with a mild right pronator strain, AKA an elbow injury. While elbow injuries aren’t ideal for pitchers (duh), it is only mild and Melancon has a fairly clean health history. Derek Law will fill in for him and should be worth the waiver add as a useful source of saves over the next few weeks. And finally, Justin Wilson finally is getting his chance to close out games, taken over for Francisco Rodriguez in Detroit (finally). He’s been awesome this season, and I don’t see why that can’t continue in the 9th inning of games going forward.
TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U
- And back to only 3 in this group. Aroldis Chapman had a bit of a hiccup in that crazy 18 inning game on Sunday night, but it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. The other 2 on this list were fine last week.
TIER 2: Save Tonight
- I’m still not completely sold on Wade Davis, although I probably should be. One more dominant week with a few saves mixed in and he’ll see himself in tier 1.
- Cody Allen is knocking on the door of a promotion to tier 1 also. He continues to miss bats a crazy rate, with the only concern being he’s also missing the strike-zone a good amount also.
- Brad Brach is back in the closers seat again, and it seems like this time it could be up until or maybe through the All-Star break. While he’s not quite as dominant as Zach Britton was, he should still be a top 10 closer over the next 2 months.
- Roberto Osuna has settled down over his last couple of appearances and looks locked in right now. He can be used confidently again and should be a top 12 option the rest of the way if he stays healthy.
TIER 3: Bound for the Floor
- The Tigers finally pulled the plug on the pitcher formerly known as K-Rod, swapping out Francisco Rodriguez for Justin Wilson as their closer. Wilson has been one of the better relievers in baseball this year, and should be a much welcomed upgrade for Detroit.
- Derek Law figures to be the fill in closer for the Giants while Mark Melancon is on the DL. He should have decent value over the next few weeks, but it looks like Melancon won’t miss too much time. Anytime you’re dealing with an elbow injury as a pitcher however, you never know.
- Brandon Maurer has quietly been one of the better relievers in all of baseball so far this season. Unfortunately, he just won’t be able to see enough save chances in San Diego to be considered a great RP option.
TIER 4: Better Days (and the Bottom and Out)
- Brandon Kintzler finally is being touched up a bit, allowing runs in each of his past 3 appearances. His job should be safe, given the lack of other options, but he isn’t worth much for fantasy purposes.
- One, if not both of Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover should return from the DL by Friday of this week. If they both return, I’m slightly leaning towards Glover as being the better option to own for saves, but either way, the situations a total mess. I’ve been saying it for months now, but the Nationals are almost certain to make a trade for a closer at some point, with David Robertson, Kelvin Herrera and Alex Colome the potential options.
- Fernando Rodney didn’t allow a run last week, lowering his ERA to 10.80 and also picked up 2 saves. All it means is his time as an MLB closer has been extended a bit longer. I’d still expect him to be out of a job by the All-Star break at the latest.