Closer Report: Better Times Ahead For Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen, Cardinals’ Greg Holland
The Latest Closer Updates and Full Fantasy Team Bullpen Depth Charts
Arizona Diamondbacks: Brad Boxberger’s owners shouldn’t make anything of the fact that Archie Bradley picked up the last save for Arizona. Boxberger has struggled of late, allowing three earned runs in his last three appearances and blowing a save, but the D-Backs are chalking most of that up to having used him for three straight days. Bradley has great numbers this season (2.03 ERA, 0.98 WHIP), but the D-Backs love that he can pitch multiple innings in relief. It’s unlikely they will make a switch unless Boxberger completely falls apart.
Baltimore Orioles: There is little denying that Brad Brach hasn’t been very good this season. Sure, he’s only blown one save, but with the O’s struggling to win any games, that’s one blown save too many. He should hold onto the closer role but if not, Darren O’Day is next in line. As for Zach Britton, he has started fielding drills. He still hasn’t thrown off a mound but is long-tossing as he attempts to build up arm strength. Memorial Day seemx to be a good over/under for his return.
Houston Astros: Is Ken Giles still the closer for Houston? The Astros haven’t had a save opportunity in almost a week and the last time Giles did pitch, it was in the eighth inning. Now Giles has also been dealing with a stiff back, but it was Chris Devenski who pitched the ninth inning in that game. Is he the closer? We really don’t know. It should be Giles, at least until he fails in the role, but if you want to cover your bases, claiming Devenski may make it a little easier for you if he is available.
Los Angeles Angels: If you were worried about Kenyan Middleton’s stint as closer being short-lived, you may want to think again. He is thriving in the role. Not only is he picking up saves, but he is also accumulating strikeouts in the process. It’s a long season, anything can happen, but he’s close to a must-own right now.
Los Angeles Dodgers: When it comes to relievers, you can’t always judge them by their ratios. One or two bad outings can lead to their ERA and WHIP getting blown up for weeks and/or months. So, when looking at the numbers for Kenley Jansen, keep that in mind. It doesn’t matter what Jansen has done in the first few weeks of the season, only what we believe he will do from this point forward. His velocity is returning and although he’s still giving up hits, he should return to being a dominant closer before long.
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Knebel threw off a mound on Saturday for the first time since suffering his hamstring injury. This is a sign that his rehab is progressing in the right direction and he could be back in the Milwaukee bullpen at some point in mid-May. Josh Hader is still the closer you want here, but he may not garner every save opportunity between now and when Knebel returns.
Oakland Athletics: Blake Treinen had to leave the game Tuesday night after taking a line drive off the bat of Shin-Soo Choo. The injury appears to be minor and they hope Treinen will return to the closing role as soon as Friday.
St. Louis Cardinals: Greg Holland is still not officially the closer for the Cardinals after struggling in his first few outings after being signed, but he has now thrown two clean innings and is coming ever-so -loser to the ninth inning role. Bud Norris is the closer right now, but he could lose that job to Holland tonight, tomorrow, or next week. He’s renting the job, not buying it. Norris was unavailable to pitch Tuesday due to soreness. Holland did pitch a clean ninth inning in a non-save opportunity. Who gets the call when the Cardinals have their next save chance should tell us all we need to know about who the current closer is for St. Louis.
San Francisco Giants: Mark Melancon is scheduled to begin a throwing program Thursday. Assuming all goes well with his rehab, he also could return to the closer role in mid-May. The bigger question might be, should Fantasy owners care? Well, yes, as every closer has value, but owners shouldn’t expect big things here, as consistency could be an issue as well as remaining healthy for the rest of the season. You can make a pretty good argument that Hunter Strickland should keep the job, but we all know that the Giants will give it back to the higher-paid Melancon.
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As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
Greg Holland Featured Image: (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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