The latest closer news and spins, plus full bullpen depth charts
Chicago White Sox: Joakim Soria has a 6.75 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. It seems quite a few Fantasy pundits are just waiting for him to lose the closing job to Nate Jones (2.08 ERA/1.15 WHIP). Jones did pick up the last save for the Sox but that doesn’t mean he has taken over the role, as even a co-closer at this point in time. Manager Rick Renteria mentioned that Jones was already warming up in the eighth inning of that contest and was going to pitch the ninth inning regardless of if the Sox scored or not. It probably is just a matter of time until Jones gets the job, but that time is not now. Still, if you can hold onto Jones, I’d do it.
Houston Astros: Job security is not going to be something that Ken Giles can put down on his resume in the early going this season. He’s not pitching poorly (3.60 ERA/1.20 WHIP) and hasn’t blown a save, but he has been far from lights out also. Manager A.J. Hinch stated Sunday that “I haven’t done a good enough job incorporating him into the mix If I’m not going to close him”. What exactly does that mean? If you’re an optimist it could mean that Hinch just wants to make sure that Giles gets his work in, even if the Astros go a few games without a save opportunity, and his job is not at risk. Giles is still safe in the role, but Brad Peacock and Chris Devinski also have saves this season. It’s tough to say which one of Peacock or Devinski would be next in line should Giles lose the job, but deeper league owners may want to take a take a stab at one should they have the roster space.
Astros closer role is evolving, but don't forget about Ken Giles.https://t.co/1YVgczOYUF
— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) April 14, 2018
Los Angeles Angels: It seems every week we play “As the Closer Turn”s in regards to the Angels. On Opening Day, it was Blake Parker, but he has let up at least one run in four of his eight appearances. As stated multiple times in this column, manager Mike Scioscia just doesn’t seem to trust Cam Bedrosian in the role or perhaps he just believes Bedrosian is more valuable as a setup man who could possibly pitch more than one inning. That leaves Kenyan Middleton as the flavor of the week right now. Middleton does have the stuff to be a good closer, but with the Angels looking like they will contend for a playoff berth this season, it may not be long until they make a trade for an established closer, especially if Middleton should falter in a game or two. Still, if Middleton is available in your league, he’s worth a claim as the Angels are a good team and he will garner saves for as long as he keeps the job.
Milwaukee Brewers: Since Corey Knebel went down with a hamstring injury, it’s been a parlor game at closer. Josh Hader is the best reliever that Milwaukee has on the roster with the exception of Knebel. Conventional wisdom states that Hader should be the closer, but Milwaukee has been hesitant to do so, as they like that Hader can pitch multiple innings when called upon. The problem is Milwaukee can’t afford to keep letting leads slip away by using lesser relievers like Matt Albers and Jacob Barnes. It should now just be a matter of time until Hader becomes the full-time closer until Knebel returns.
St. Louis Cardinals: Greg Holland was rushed back by the Cardinals. They threw him right into the closer role after only signing him approximately two weeks prior. It shouldn’t have come as a shock to anyone that he struggled with his command. Fantasy owners shouldn’t panic, however, as he is still the closer to own. Bud Norris also has short term value as a closer. He could pick up saves for the next week or two until Holland proves that he is ready to go and is a good handcuff for Holland owners.
San Francisco Giants: Mark Melancon (elbow) is not close to returning. He had a stem cell procedure performed and if all goes well, he will start a throwing program in about two weeks. That would seem to indicate that his best bet for a return to the Giants in in early to mid-May, and that may be extremely optimistic. It’s Hunter Strickland’s job for now and the immediate future.[table “2719” not found /]
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
Josh Hader Featured Image: (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)