The Latest Closer Analysis and Depth Charts
Baltimore Orioles: At this point in time Zach Britton is scheduled to come off the disabled list in mid-June for the Orioles. He is currently on a rehab assignment and is expected to be activated after pitching on June 12. Whether the O’s insert him back into the closer’s role immediately in place of Brad Brach or have Britton build up to the role is unknown. What is known is that Baltimore is likely to move the hard throwing left-hander by the trade deadline. The bigger question for Britton owners will be whether or not he will be the closer for his new team and the answer is probably not.
Los Angeles Angels: It looks like Blake Parker is once again the closer for the Angels but trusting manager Mike Scioscia to keep him in the role is a mistake. If Parker blows his next save opportunity, then we once again might see Jim Johnson or Justin Anderson get a chance to earn a save. If you’re looking for a contending team that might make a move for an established closer, the Angels are it.
Miami Marlins: In a perfect world there is little doubt that the Marlins would’ve liked to keep Brad Ziegler in the closer role in order to extract as high a price as possible in a trade deadline deal. Well, a 7.83 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in 25 appearances this season have scuttled those plans. Ziegler has actually only blown one save this season but was deservedly removed from the role for Kyle Barraclough. This is a move that had to be made. Barraclough has actually blown two saves this season but also sports a 1.42 ERA and 0.95 WHIP, numbers that say he should get a decent shot to hold onto the job. Should he falter, Drew Steckenrider is next in line.
New York Mets: Last week in Atlanta, Jeurys Familia was brought into the game in the 8th inning instead of the 9th. Why? Well, the Braves had the heart of their lineup coming up in that inning and manager Mickey Callaway wanted his best reliever to pitch in that spot. Robert Gsellman pitched the 9th. Will Callaway keep doing this? It is the right thing to do when you think about it. What’s the point of your best reliever pitching an inning where the game is not on the line? Many baseball games are decided in the 6th, 7th, or 8th innings, not the 9th. The question will be whether or not Callaway will be able to withstand the complaints of player and agent for not using that reliever in a save situation. Players get paid for saves. Managers tend to make their decisions based on the save rule rather than what is best for the team. Familia will likely pitch in the 9th inning more often than not unless poor performance dictates a change.
Philadelphia Phillies: Seranthony Dominguez looks to be the next big thing as far as relievers go. He has only allowed two hits in 13.2 IP and has yet to give up a run. Dominguez has also struck out 15 batters during those innings. The only thing that seems to keep Dominguez from the closing role is his ability to pitch multiple innings, something manager Gabe Kapler may feel is more valuable than just pigeon-holing Dominguez into the 9th inning role.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Manager Clint Hurdle actually had to come out and state last week that Felipe Vazquez is not in any danger of losing his job. Whether or not you choose to believe Hurdle is up to you. Vazquez has blown four of his last six save chances and no one keeps their job if those numbers continue. Should the Pirates decide to make the move it would seem that Kyle Crick would be next in line, but the Pirates will give Vazquez every chance to keep the role.
San Francisco Giants: Mark Melancon was activated off of the DL on Friday and had an extremely successful season debut by striking out the side in his only inning of work. Hunter Strickland owners can now start to sweat, as although he’s done nothing to warrant being removed from the closer role, it may now only be a matter of time until Melancon is pitching in the 9th inning once again. Strickland has a 2.42 ERA and 1.08 WHIP to go along with 12 saves in 14 chances, but SF is paying Melancon $15.5 million per season and they are likely to go back to him after he proves himself capable of handling the job once again.
Tampa Bay Rays: We still don’t know who the full-time closer in TB really is. Sergio Romo picked up a save last week but the Rays are still using him to start games if they like the matchup. Jose Alvarado is the consensus pick to be the closer but then he blew his first save opportunity in Seattle on Sunday. Alvarado is still the reliever you want here, but this may be more of a committee than Fantasy owners would like as the Rays don’t truly have a closing prospect on their roster.
Toronto Blue Jays: It certainly wasn’t a shock to hear Monday that once again Roberto Osuna’s stay on administrative leave was extended for another week. The bottom line is that no one knows if/when Osuna will be taken off this list and return to Toronto. It could be next week, next month, or next season. Fantasy owners will have to live with the likes of Ryan Tepera and possibly Seung-Hwan Oh or John Axford closing out games for Toronto.
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Mark Melancon Featured Image: (AP Photo/George Nikitin)