As we begin Week 3 of the Fantasy baseball season, most every game moves to the darkness of night, and the bullpen situations also get darker and harder to navigate. The Cubs have changed closers again, even temporarily; nobody wants to close in St. Louis; and the Red Sox closer is feeling a bit gimpy.
Here’s a quick roundup of news and notes from MLB bullpens:
- Cubs closer Kyuji Fujikawa, who has struggled so far, was put on the 15-day disabled list with a strained forearm. Assuming he returns in two weeks, the Cubs will use a tandem of righty Shawn Camp and left James Russell to close games. Do not rule out Carlos Marmol climbing back into a save situation or two. He’s pitched better recently and might be an option for the Cubs.
- While the Cardinals wait (and hope) for Jason Motte to rest his elbow, Mitchell Boggs has not been effective as closer; Trevor Rosenthal, the hard-throwing youngster, has also had difficulties. Expect Edward Mujica, the ground-ball throwing control pitcher to emerge as a favorite here. He strikes out almost eight batters per nine innings, but his other skills are steady, which is what St. Louis needs now.
- Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan reportedly has a sore hamstring. He is considered day-to-day. If you’re a Hanrahan owner, check your waiver wire for Andrew Bailey. Hanrahan has not pitched well and, healthy or not, his closer status might soon be in jeopardy.
- Joaquin Benoit is holding on as the Tigers closer, but keep an eye on lefty Darin Downs. He has not been scored upon in 7.2 innings, has surrendered just tw0 hits and struck out 11 batters. Although he has walked four batters, manager Jim Leyland has noted his effectiveness against right-handed batters. Expect Phil Coke to become a lefty specialist with Downs eventually in the mix for saves.
- Casey Janssen has been fine as the Blue Jays closer, but Brett Cecil is emerging as a live arm. The lefty has added about two miles an hour to each of his pitches and has not been scored upon in 7 innings. He’s pitched in the eighth inning between Sergio Santos and Janssen and has been the first one called out of the pen as well. If he continues to pitch well, he may be a Fantasy consideration in a set-up role; or if Janssen and Santos continue to have nagging injuries, he might be in line for some saves.
- Jim Henderson is in place as the Brewers closer but they used him Sunday when trailing in the 8th inning. The club rallied and turned to Mike Gonzalez and then Burke Badenhop, who recorded his first save. Mike Fiers is spending time in the bullpen while they skip the 5th spot, and he does have minor league closing experience, so the situation is anything but stable in Milwaukee.
- Bobby Parnell earned his first save of the season on Saturday for the Mets, despite allowing a run. He looked strong and should be fine in that role.
Below is our Closer Confidence Chart, updated for Week 3. Closers in italics are new since last Monday;
|Arizona Diamondbacks||J.J. Putz||90||David Hernandez|
|Atlanta Braves||Craig Kimbrel||100||Jordan Walden|
|Baltimore Orioles||Jim Johnson||75||Pedro Strop|
|Boston Red Sox||Joel Hanrahan||35||Andrew Bailey|
|Chicago Cubs||James Russell/Shawn Camp||20||Kyuji Fujikawa (injured)|
|Chicago White Sox||Addison Reed||95||Matt Thornton|
|Cincinnati Reds||Aroldis Chapman||98||Johnathan Broxton|
|Cleveland Indians||Chris Perez||60||Vinnie Pestano|
|Colorado Rockies||Rafael Betancourt||60||Rex Brothers|
|Detroit Tigers||Joaquin Benoit||20||Phil Coke/Al Albuquerque/Jose Valverde/Darin Downs|
|Houston Astros||Jose Veras||55||Wesley Wright*|
|Kansas City Royals||Greg Holland||15||Kelvin Herrera|
|Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the Kingdom of California||Ernesto Frieri||75||Ryan Madson^/Scott Downs|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Brandon League||45||Kenley Jansen|
|Miami Marlins||Steve Cishek||60||Jon Rauch|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Jim Henderson||40||Mike Gonzalez|
|Minnesota Twins||Glen Perkins||80||Jared Burton|
|New York Mets||Bobby Parnell||70||Brandon Lyon|
|New York Yankees||Mariano Rivera||75||David Robertson|
|Oakland A’s||Grant Balfour||55||Ryan Cook|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Jonathan Papelbon||99||Mike Adams|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Jason Grilli||75||Mark Melancon|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Mitchell Boggs||15||Jason Motte^/Trevor Rosenthal/Edward Mujica|
|San Diego Padres||Huston Street||75||Luke Gregerson|
|San Francisco Giants||Sergio Romo||90||Santiago Casilla|
|Seattle Mariners||Tom Wilhelmsen||80||Stephen Pryor|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Fernando Rodney||65||Jake McGee/Joel Peralta|
|Texas Rangers||Joe Nathan||90||Jason Frasor|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Casey Janssen||45||Sergio Santos/Brett Cecil|
|Washington Nationals||Rafael Soriano||70||Drew Storen|