Fantasy Baseball Closer and Bullpen Updates, plus Depth Charts
Baltimore Orioles: Zach Britton has made three appearances since his return from the disabled list. All three have come in non-save situations. In those appearances Britton has yet to allow a run. He has walked three batters but all of those came in his first appearance. Britton would seem to be ready to take the closer role back from Brad Brach, but no formal declaration has been made by manager Buck Showalter. Perhaps it doesn’t matter much, as wins are tough to come by in Baltimore. Britton is still likely to be traded and still may not be a closer for his new team, so proceed with caution here if you’re thinking about acquiring him.
Chicago White Sox: Joakim Soria is another closer who will probably finish the season pitching for a new team and like Britton, will likely be a setup man for his new club. Soria credits a mechanical change for his recent success and could be a valuable setup reliever for a contending team.
Houston Astros: Is Hector Rondon the new closer for Houston? He has picked up a save in four of his last five appearances and a 1.38 ERA and 1.04 WHIP certainly indicate that he at least deserves a shot at the role. The bottom line is that this is a mess. It’s Rondon now, but could easily be Ken Giles again next week or perhaps Chris Devenski, maybe Brad Peacock, or is this where Britton ends up? You can go out and claim Rondon, every save is important, but once again be careful as this is another fluid situation.
Kansas City Royals: I had to laugh this week. In my home league (humble brag, I’m in first right now), my brother (he’s in third) has Kelvin Herrera. So, it was a blow to his team when Herrera was traded to the Nationals. What made me laugh is that his other closer, Alex Colome, was also dealt to a team that will use him as a setup man. This is a points league, so saves are important. On a separate note he also didn’t start Sean Manaea when he threw a no-hitter (major points). I’m still laughing. Now back to the Closer Report. It seems K.C. will go with a committee in the ninth inning. Kevin McCarthy should get first shot at the job with Brandon Maurer not far behind. It may not matter much, however, as the Herrera trade is likely the first of many and this team is going to find it harder and harder to win games.
New York Mets: Jeurys Familia was activated off of the DL over the weekend and should go right back to resuming his closer role duties. Manager Mickey Callaway hasn’t been shy, however ,about not liking the traditional closer setup but preferring to use his best pitchers when the need arises. He has not put that plan in action all that much, though. Will he now? Probably not, especially now that the Mets have let it be known that they are open for business as far as trading is concerned.
Philadelphia Phillies: Hector Neris not only lost his closing job, he lost his spot on the team. Neris was banished to Triple-A on Monday to work out his issues. He had been getting worse with each passing month and a change needed to be made. Once again, no formal announcement has been made but it is expected that Seranthony Dominguez will take over the job, although manager Gabe Kapler has been a bit unpredictable in some of his decisions at times this season. Dominguez may be used in a multi-inning role earlier in games. Still, Dominguez should’ve been added to Fantasy teams weeks ago and if still available he is almost a must get now.
Tampa Bay Rays: If you’re still wondering who will close out games for TB, it’s Sergio Romo. Yeah, he may still start a game here and there as the Rays lack of starting pitching forces them to try some unorthodox tactics, but they keep going to Romo to close out games when he’s available. Romo isn’t sexy in the role by any means, but he is getting the job done.
Toronto Blue Jays: I’m getting so tired of writing this. Roberto Osuna is still on administrative leave and Ryan Tepera is still the closer. Osuna doesn’t have his next court date until July 9 so it’s not out of the realm of consideration that this situation won’t change until that time.
Washington Nationals: The Nats trade for Herrera certainly put some fear into the hearts of Sean Doolittle owners Monday night. Early reports are that Doolittle will stay in the role, but you will have a hard time convincing me that if an opponent has three straight strong right-handed batters due up in the 9th inning and Herrera is available, manager Dave Martinez doesn’t at least consider going with Herrera. Power bullpens are the new big thing now in MLB. If a team can’t acquire a SP, they go with a strong bullpen to shorten the game. Doolittle did get the save on Tuesday, with Herrera getting the hold in his Nats debut.[table “2738” not found /]
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
Kelvin Herrera Featured Image: (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)