It’s the All-Star break, the vicious and unfair week where we don’t actually get to play fantasy baseball, but that’s okay because there’s still Closing Time! A weekly check in on everything saves related, Closing Time is where all the closers and speculative options are broken down into tiers based on skill, competition/opportunity/job security, and injury risk. Accompanied by who is most likely to assume the closer role in the event of a change in the hierarchy. It’s a mixture of short and long term value with more focus placed on the rest of the season.
Share your questions and critiques in the comments, I’ll be sure to respond. Follow me on twitter @Just_In_Relief for occasional notes on bullpen happenings through a fantasy lens. Let’s get to it.
1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Joe Blanton
2. Jeurys Familia (New York Mets) – Addison Reed
3. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles) – Brad Brach
4. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees) – Andrew Miller
5. A.J. Ramos (Miami Marlins) – Fernando Rodney
6. Mark Melancon (Pittsburgh Pirates) – Tony Watson
7. Sam Dyson (Texas Rangers) – Jake Diekman
8. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals) – Jonathon Broxton
9. David Robertson (Chicago White Sox) – Nate Jones
10. Santiago Casilla (San Francisco Giants) – Sergio Romo
11. Kelvin Herrera or Joakim Soria (Kansas City Royals)
12. Jonathan Papelbon (Washington Nationals) – Sean Kelley
13. Francisco Rodriguez (Detroit Tigers) – Justin Wilson
14. Koji Uehara (Boston Red Sox) – Brad Ziegler
15. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays) – Jason Grilli
16. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs) – Pedro Strop
17. Steve Cishek (Seattle Mariners) – Joaquin Benoit / Edwin Diaz
18. Will Harris (Houston Astros) – Ken Giles
19. Cody Allen (Cleveland Indians) – Bryan Shaw
20. Alex Colome (Tampa Bay Rays) – Xavier Cedeno
21. Tyler Clippard (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Daniel Hudson
22. Jeremy Jeffress (Milwaukee Brewers) – Tyler Thornberg
23. Jeanmar Gomez (Philadelphia Phillies) – Hector Neris
24. Huston Street (Los Angeles Angels) – Joe Smith
25. Brandon Maurer (San Diego Padres) – Ryan Buchter
26. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves) – Jim Johnson
27. Ryan Madson (Oakland Athletics) – Ryan Dull
28. Tony Cingrani (Cincinnati Reds) – Ross Ohlendorf
29. Brandon Kintzler (Minnesota Twins) – Fransisco Abad
30. Carlos Estevez (Colorado Rockies) – Jake McGee
TIER 7 – Speculative
31. Andrew Miller (New York Yankees)
32. Ryan Buchter (San Diego Padres)
33. Ryan Dull (Oakland Athletics)
34. Will Smith (Milwaukee Brewers)
35. Jake McGee (Colorado Rockies)
36. Ken Giles (Houston Astros)
37. Jim Johnson (Atlanta Braves)
38. Sean Kelley (Washington Nationals)
39. Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis Cardinals)
40. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)
41. Rasiel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)
42. Jason Grilli (Toronto Blue Jays)
43. Dellin Betances (New York Yankees)
44. Sergio Romo (San Francisco Giants)
45. Jason Motte (Colorado Rockies)
– Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)
– Wade Davis (Kansas City Royals)
– Glen Perkins (Minnesota Twins) OUT FOR THE SEASON
– Brad Boxberger (Tampa Bay Rays)
– The big news in the world of closers was the trade of Brad Ziegler to the Red Sox and then the subsequent injury to Craig Kimbrel. In Arizona this leaves Tyler Clippard as the front man to get save chances coming out of the break but Daniel Hudson may get a shot or two as well. As for Boston, Ziegler will still operate in the setup role while Kimbrel is on the mend for 3-6 weeks. Koji Uehara will be the interim closer for the Red Sox.
– Alex Colome returns off the disabled list to retake the closing roll in Tampa Bay, the Rays lost all but three of their last twenty-five games going into the break. Clearly they are in disarray and that pun is about as bad as Colome’s chance to get you a save unless Tampa turns it around.
– The stud and top tier lock, Wade Davis, seems like he’s going to be ready to return to action as soon as he is eligible. Kelvin Herrera picked up his first save on Saturday with Joakim Soria throwing the 8th – so I’ve listed them both as the closer for now as both are fair bets to who gets the few chances remaining before Davis returns.
– Closers are often moved players around this time of the year, as we have already seen with the acquisitions of closers Fernando Rodney and Brad Ziegler, both these players lost their closing role with the trade and my guess is this wont be the last trade of the year where this happens. So what does this mean for you, the well-read fantasy baseball player? Well, you can try to understand which clubs are looking to sell and then go and grab the next guy in line for saves if you feel confident enough. Teams that I would bet on selling a reliever are Oakland, Arizona, Milwaukee and New York.
– Oakland is definitely trying to shop Ryan Madson, and so even though he isn’t doing great as the closer, he should retain the role to exhibit the most value possible to potential buyers. Ryan Dull or Sean Doolittle could potentially become closers in this scenario.
– Yes, Arizona just moved Brad Ziegler, but reports are that both Tyler Clippard and Daniel Hudson could be moved as well. Who the heck would that even leave to close for the DBacks if both were moved? Well my guess would be Jake Barrett, but don’t go adding him just yet – see if one of the two remaining guys in Arizona get shipped off first.
– The Brewers have said that their closer Jeremy Jeffress is very available and I would not be surprised if he is sent off to a team in the hunt. I would expect that Tyler Thornburg would get the first shot to close here, but it could also go to Will Smith. Again this is all speculative.
– Finally, the Yankees – everyone and their mother has been talking about the bombers moving Aroldis Chapman to a team in contention. The Yanks finished the first half at .500, and have told Andrew Miller that he will not be traded. So it seems up in the air if they will move their stud closer, however if they do it will clearly be Miller closing. So by all that is holy, if Miller is unowned in your league go get him now, he’s even worth owning in leagues that don’t count holds… he’s that good.