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Fantasy Baseball 2017: Closer Depth Chart Week 14

Welcome back to the Wednesday Weekly Closer Report where I will break down and rate each team’s bullpen situation. Hope everyone enjoyed their mini vacation. Nothing like America, beer, cookouts and baseball to bring family and friends together. With the All Star break right around the corner and the trade deadline looming, and various teams in a chaotic state of ninth-inning unrest, expect plenty of activity in regards to closer duties over the next month. So continue tuning in here and keep an ever watchful eye on your waiver wire as these will be key in building a championship team for the rest of the year. As always, do not forget to check out the rankings of the ‘Immediate Waiver Pickups’ at the end of the article to see who has the most upside going forward for his team’s closer job.

American League East

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentBOSCraig Kimbrel Joe Kelly
ConfidentNYYAroldis ChapmanDellin Betances
ConfidentBALZach BrittonBrad Brach
ConfidentTORRoberto OsunaRyan Tepera
ConfidentTBAlexander ColomeTommy Hunter

The Orioles activated Zach Britton on Wednesday, a welcome sight for everyone in Baltimore. Yes, Brad Brach filled in admirably for Britton during Britton’s extended absence but how could you fill the shoes of arguably the most dominant closer since 2014. As I stated previously, Brach will have independent value for just a few more days before taking the inevitable backseat to Britton. Manager Buck Showalter all but confirmed that sentiment by saying the Orioles will ease back their prized ninth inning arm, but he should regain the role by the weekend in my opinion, barring setbacks. Fire Britton up confidently and drop Brach and look for a few of the names in the Immediate Wavier Pickups listed at the end to fill that hole.

American League Central

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentCWSDavid RobertsonTommy Kahnle
ComfortableKCKelvin HerreraJoakim SoriaJoakim Soria
ConfidentMINBrandon KintzlerTaylor Rogers
ConfidentDETJustin WilsonAlex Wilson
UnstableCLEAndrew MillerCody Allen

Wonderful news. Both Andrew Miller and Cody Allen each earned a save this past week. Thanks for the clarity Terry Francona. Regardless this situation still seems highly volatile. In one outing we saw Allen play backup to Miller, who easily shut the door in the ninth inning on eight pitches to earn a save on Saturday. Then, the next night, a rested Miller was nowhere to be seen and Allen stopped the hemorrhaging, earning a one out save in what was once an 11-2 ballgame at the start of the ninth inning. It seems likely that, as of now, Miller is the favorite to earn saves out of the Indians bullpen, but that is based purely on Francon’s statements a few weeks ago when he announced the change. Both are obviously perfectly capable of fulfilling the ninth inning duties and I still hold that Francona wants to play the matchup game. Right now having both would be the best case scenario. If you have either, hold tight and hope for a break in the situation as these are two of the better relievers in the game.

American League West

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
UnstableLAABud NorrisCam BedrosianBud Norris, Cam Bedrosian
ConfidentSEAEdwin DiazJames Pazos
UnknownTEXMatt BushJose LeclercMatt Bush, Jose Leclerc, Keon Kela
UnstableOAKSantiago CasillaSean DoolittleSantiago Casilla, Sean Doolittle
ConfidentHOUKen GilesWill Harris

After two months of solid performance, including the takeover of Sam Dyson‘s closer job, Matt Bush hit a wall. And not just a little one either. Something more substantial like the great wall of China. On May 30, Bush was 6/7 in saves with a 0.96 ERA. Since then, Bush is 4/8 in save opportunities with an 8.03 ERA and a 2.27 WHIP. WOOOOOOOOF. Manager Jeff Bannister declared a closer by committee approach, immediately signaling to me a changing of the guards with Keone Kela leading the way. What bad timing for Kela as the Rangers placed him on the disabled list two days later, clearing the way for Jose Leclerc to earn save opportunities. And by earn I mean blow them, which is exactly what Leclerc did in his first appearance after the committee announcement. Bush has pitched twice since, going 2 scoreless and once pitching in a high-leverage situation in a tied game in the ninth inning against the formidable Boston Red Sox. In my opinion Bush should hold onto that job in Texas, but if he trips up after the All Star break when Kela returns, Kela immediately becomes a very intriguing option. With Bud Norris back from the disabled list it seems as though he will lead the way for saves in the Angels bullpen. Normally I would bash Mike Scioscia here for leaning towards the veteran but Norris has been downright filthy this year and Cam Bedrosian has suffered a few bumps and bruises since his return, blowing a save with two outs in the ninth last Wednesday. Sure, Bedrosian could have the job by the end of the year and should not relinquish it until roughly 2027. But for now, Norris is pitching too well for Scioscia to make the change.

National League East

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
UnknownWSHMatt AlbersEnny RomeroMatt Albers, Enny Romero
ComfortablePHIHector NerisPat NeshekHector Neris, Pat Neshek
ComfortableATLJim JohnsonArodys VizcainoArodys Vizcaino
ComfortableMIAA.J. RamosDavid Phelps
ConfidentNYMAddison ReedJerry Blevins

I am a Hector Neris supporter. Even when the Pat Neshek train began rolling I was the first person there putting up roadblocks and staging robberies. This is partly due to his performance over the last two seasons (2.78 ERA and 1.11 WHIP across 116.2IP) and partly due to the situation and setup of the Phillies bullpen. Is Neshek a formidable foe for Neris? Absolutely. But is Neris 28 and blossoming and Neshek 36 and someone who could fetch a decent haul at the trade deadline for a reliever-needy team? You betcha. And that is exactly why I stated Neris would not only have a long leash but would probably keep that job the rest of the year. The Phillies are not contenders and have next to no reason to hold onto Neshek. Unless…..well its the Phillies, enough said. So if you have Neshek try and trade him (maybe target the team with Neris and shake him down) and if you need saves try and buy Neris on the real cheap.

National League Central

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentCHCWade DavisCarl Edwards Jr.
ConfidentCINRasiel IglesiasMichael Lorenzen
ConfidentMILCorey KnebelJacob Barnes
UnstableSTLSeung-Hwan OhTrevor RosenthalTrevor Rosenthal
ConfidentPITFelipe RiveroJuan Nicasio

It happened. My heart may have broke just a tad, but it is still (barely) ticking. But I really cannot blame the Cardinals as Seung-Hwan Oh has been a shell of his 2016 self this year. Now it is not all doom and gloom, so let’s go over the facts. Did Mike Matheney announce a closer change? No. That’s kinda good! Did Oh pitch the eight inning in his very next appearance after blowing his third save? Yes. Shucks, it’s all over (insert sad face). But there may be a happy ending here. Would-be-closer Trevor Rosenthal pitched the ninth inning of that same game and (expectedly) imploded, giving up one run on two hits and two walks. This horrific performance actually earned him a hold as Matt Bowman cleaned up his mess and he earned the save. Oh has since pitched on clean inning this past Tuesday, so do not forget that Matheney. Honestly, I think Oh gets the job back after a few more high leverage appearances. He has the arsenal and makeup to be dominant (just look at his advanced metrics from last year). I am holding the course and praying for a clean week this week from Oh, or else I’ll be forced to show everyone my “Oh face”.

National League West

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentLADKenley JansenPedro Baez
UnstableSFSam DysonHunter StricklandSam Dyson, Hunter Strickland
ComfortableSDBrandon MaurerBrad HandBrandon Maurer, Brad Hand
ComfortableARIFernando RodneyArchie BradleyArchie Bradley
ConfidentCOLGreg HollandJake McGee

I zigged while everyone else zagged. I banked on a Sam Dyson implosion, which was a sure thing early on this year. But wouldn’t you know Dyson is 2/2 in save opportunities with the Giants since the Giants placed  Mark Melancon on the 10 day disabled list. How predictable with that 9.00 ERA, 2.21 WHIP and 0.00% save conversion percentage (0/4 with the Rangers if you can believe that). Dyson probably bought himself about a week’s worth of freebies, so if you own him you should be ecstatic. Hunter Strickland still makes a good speculative, short-term add if he is the best available pickup option in your league. I am unsure of the severity of Melancon’s injury or if the Giants want to protect their big offseason investment (or could they even trade him!?!?), so Dyson has decent potential and solid value…as of today.

Ranking of the Immediate Waiver Pickups

  1. Matt Bush (TEX, 55% Yahoo ownership)
  2. Brandon Maurer (SD, 64% Yahoo ownership)
  3. Bud Norris (LAA, 64% Yahoo ownership)
  4. Hector Neris (PHI, 42% Yahoo ownership)
  5. Santiago Casilla (OAK, 59% Yahoo ownership)
  6. Sean Doolittle (OAK, 18% Yahoo ownership)
  7. Cam Bedrosian (LAA, 45% Yahoo ownership)
  8. Matt Albers (WSH, 17% Yahoo ownership)
  9. Sam Dyson (SF, 45% Yahoo ownership)
  10. Trevor Rosenthal (STL, 27% Yahoo ownership)
  11. Keone Kela (TEX, 11% Yahoo ownership)
  12. Enny Romero (WSH, 5% Yahoo ownership)
  13. Archie Bradley (ARI, 33% Yahoo ownership)
  14. Arodys Vizcaino (ATL, 17% Yahoo ownership)
  15. Brad Hand (SD, 19% Yahoo ownership)
  16. Jose Leclerc (TEX, 5% Yahoo ownership)
  17. Hunter Strickland (SF, 5% Yahoo ownership)
  18. Joakim Soria (KC, 6% Yahoo ownership)
  19. Pat Neshek (PHI, 23% Yahoo ownership)

And that’s a wrap for the Closer Depth Chart Week 14. Be sure to scour the waiver wire for all these relievers and check back every Wednesday for the latest updates regarding the closer jobs around the league. Until we meet again, keep your eyes open and your nose to the ground.

To contact me with any questions or general fantasy baseball discussion, please email me at redsocker45@gmail.com or tweet me @AJGamballer.

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