Chicago White Sox: Joakim Soria is still closing for the White Sox and that may continue to be the case until he either falls flat on his face or the team moves him for more assets for their rebuild. This is not to say that you should release Nate Jones if you have him on your roster, as he can still be a valuable asset. At the very least he can protect your ratios, provide a solid source of Ks for a reliever, and pick up a few saves here and there.
Cleveland Indians: It was a bit of a surprise that Andrew Miller closed out the game Monday and recorded his first save of the season. There is nothing for Cody Allen owners to worry about here. Allen had pitched in two of the previous three games and was likely just given the night off by manager Terry Francona.
Houston Astros: Brad Peacock also picked up his first save of the season Sunday versus San Diego. Ken Giles had pitched the previous two days, so it was not a shock that he wouldn’t get the save opportunity Sunday, but what was a surprise was that Peacock and not Chris Devinski got the opportunity. There could be many reasons for this, but one could be that Peacock is next in line and not Devinski.
Los Angeles Angels: Blake Parker finally had a clean outing Monday versus Texas. He has struggled mightily this season and it may only be a matter of time (another bad outing or two) until he loses the job. It certainly doesn’t look like Cam Bedrosian will get the job, as he hasn’t even been the eighth inning guy for most of the first two weeks of the season. Kenyan Middleton looks to be next in line, but this may be a situation to avoid in shallow leagues.
While owners have focused on Kenley Jansen’s velocity issues, Craig Kimbrel’s velo started low and continues to head south. pic.twitter.com/PTVdyqXaTW
— Jeff Zimmerman (@jeffwzimmerman) April 10, 2018
Los Angeles Dodgers: All the worry about Kenley Jansen looks to be over. Although he hasn’t had a clean inning, he hasn’t allowed a run in his past two outings. Sure, he has allowed three hits during those outings, but he also struck out four batters and seems to be getting back on track. You weren’t sitting him anyway, but perhaps now you can sleep a little easier, as there doesn’t seem to be a physical ailment at play here.
Miami Marlins: Yeah, you don’t want to rely on Brad Ziegler to accumulate 30 saves this season. The Marlins are going to lose 100-plus games and it’s hard to imagine Ziegler saving at least half of the games they do win. Plus, if he’s pitching well, he most certainly will be dealt by the deadline. We know all that. What may be confusing is who is next in line if Ziegler is removed? Some think it will be Drew Steckenrider; well, it won’t. Kyle Barraclough is the reliever you want in deeper leagues if you’re looking to speculate on a closer.
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Knebel was a Top 5 closer in just about everyone’s draft list coming into the season but he’s gone now until late May or early June due to a hamstring injury. After Knebel, you can make a big argument that Josh Hader is their next best reliever, but it seems as though Milwaukee prefers to use him in a multi-inning role earlier in the game rather than as a closer. Matt Albers and Jeremy Jeffress are the likely fallback options in case Jacob Barnes doesn’t work out. Albers and Jeffress are average to slightly above average relievers, whereas Barnes is more than that. Barnes is the guy you want if you need, and he happens to still be available on your waiver wire.
Philadelphia Phillies: Hector Neris owners had to be thrilled to see him pick up a save Monday. He has gotten off to an extremely slow start this season and may have only been a bad outing or two from losing the job. His leash is a little longer now, however.
Pittsburgh Pirates: This is just an FYI that if you see Felipe Vazquez closing out games, it’s not a typo, nor has Felipe Rivero been removed from the role. What has happened is that Felipe Rivero legally changed his name to Felipe Vazquez.
St. Louis Cardinals: Well that wasn’t how the Cardinals drew up Greg Holland’s first appearance as the team’s closer this season. He lost the game Monday by giving up four walks (one IBB) in one-third of an inning Monday. He will be fine, but Fantasy owners may want to have some patience here, as this week and next may be what amounts to spring training for Holland. In other words, Monday night may not be the last bump in the road.
Tampa Bay Rays: Don’t overreact to Alex Colome getting roughed up by the Red Sox in several closing opportunities during the first week of the season. Sure, his ERA and WHIP are bloated in the early going, but those numbers will come down and the saves will go up. Don’t give up hope here.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.[table “2717” not found /]
Brad Peacock Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Roberson