The Latest Fantasy Baseball Closer Analysis and Depth Charts
Atlanta Braves: Arodys Vizcaino was placed on the disabled list over the weekend due to inflammation in his right shoulder. There is no timetable for his return, but he is not expected to be out long-term. In his absence it was Dan Winkler and not A.J. Minter who was given a shot at the closing gig, but a rough first outing for Winkler (4 ER in 3 IP) may have put those plans on hold. Minter has allowed two earned runs in June and would seem to be the odds-on favorite to get the next save chance for Atlanta.
Baltimore Orioles: Zach Britton still doesn’t seem to be the full-time closer for Baltimore, but he is getting there. The team seems to be playing it safe with Britton and wants to bring him along slowly to ensure not only his health, but also his trade value. With the Orioles not going anywhere this season, Britton’s biggest value to the club is as a trade chip and not how many saves he picks up. Britton did record his first save of the season Saturday, but then was brought in to pitch in a non-save situation Monday. Still, he is the closer you want in Baltimore.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubs announced Monday that Brandon Morrow will not require a rehab stint before coming off the DL. This means that Morrow will likely come off the DL when first eligible (Wednesday), or shortly thereafter. If you haven’t already picked up a Cubs’ reliever, you probably shouldn’t bother. Who to claim from the Cubs’ bullpen was always going to be problematic as Carl Edwards is next in line, but he is also on the DL (shoulder). Manager Joe Maddon seemed to prefer a committee approach as Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop could have been used in the ninth inning.
Kansas City Royals: Good luck trying to figure out who the closer is for the Royals. Is it Wily Peralta? Well, he did pick up the last save for the Royals but has only appeared in four games for the club this season and at 29-years of age, is not a top prospect. Perhaps it’s Brandon Maurer. Well, he blew his first shot at the job and may not get another. Tim Hill picked up a save versus the Astros Friday but then hit the only batter he faced Monday. Kevin McCarthy pitched the eighth and not the ninth inning Monday. The bottom line is that this is a pure committee situation and it wouldn’t surprise me if any one of these four, or even all of them pick up saves in the near future.
Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies haven’t made any announcements, but you have to believe Seranthony Dominguez is now the team’s closer. The only real worry here is that rookie manager Gabe Kapler prefers Dominguez to pitch more than one inning, which could eliminate him being able to pitch on back-to-back nights. Yes, Hector Neris was recalled Monday (Edubray Ramos placed on the DL) but he was brought in to pitch the seventh inning, nowhere near a save situation.
San Francisco Giants: The closing job was supposed to be Sam Dyson’s to lose after Hunter Strickland went on the DL with a broken hand, but a pair of rough outings have certainly put that in doubt. Dyson gave up 3 ER and seven hits in 1.2 IP and may have given manager Bruce Bochy some pause as to who is closer should be. Mark Melancon picked up a save Thursday and has pitched reasonably well since his return from the DL but the biggest question regarding Melancon has been his inability to pitch on consecutive days. Even Bochy admitted that he doesn’t know when Melancon will be able to do so and that they have to work on his durability. Long-term Melancon is the closer you want in San Francisco, but Dyson and Tony Watson will get save opportunities until Melancon is back at full strength and no one seems to know when that will be. Dyson did get the save on Tuesday.
Toronto Blue Jays: Major League Baseball finally made a determination with Roberto Osuna. He was suspended for 75 games which puts his return to the club in early August. Ryan Tepera has hit a bump or two in the road over his past few appearances but is still the closer you want in Toronto. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Seung-Hwan Oh gets a few save chances, even if it’s just to build up his trade value.[table “2741” not found /]
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
Wily Peralta Featured Image: (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)