Hi folks! In the slightly adjusted words of Lenny Melnick: A closer is a closer is a closer. In other words (mine), it doesn't matter what time of year it is or who is closing the games, we will almost always have a closer carousel to ride. Hopefully you've found our content this season to be useful. We strive to not only keep you informed of all the pertinent situations, but give you a leg up on your leaguemates on some speculative grabs, so you can avoid the FAAB free-for-all after an official change has been made from real MLB teams.
With so many closer situations in flux, it's a difficult time of year to have to juggle your fantasy baseball lineups for the home stretch in rotisserie leagues or head-to-head playoff matchups. Maybe you're in a situation where you don't have real closers right now, but you're trying to chase saves to stay competitive. My best advice to you is to simply roster the best reliever on the wire that has an outside chance at saves - say, Archie Bradley, rather than chasing the guy with the seemingly strong opportunity, but not a great skillset - say, Tommy Hunter. In general, cream always rises to the top and the same rings true for closers. Don't be afraid to be bold and take some chances, but at the same time, if there's a reliever on your wire than can contribute to your ratios and your strikeouts, just maybe not saves, oftentimes he's a better player to roster in the RP slot than the pitcher who lacks the skillset but has the current opportunities.
Just some food for thought!
Around the League:
-The Atlanta Braves officially activated Arodys Vizcaino off the disabled list on Friday, but he may not return to the closer role immediately. Braves manager Brian Snitker said the team would ease him back into action, giving him a couple days off between appearances. Atlanta has the NL East nearly locked up, so there's no reason for the team to push Viz, especially since AJ Minter has pitched so well.
-Dynasty leaguers, take note. It might be time we take Royals closer Wily Peralta seriously. Despite being a complete walk machine, Peralta has managed to rack up 9 saves in the second half, 9th most in the majors. He's certainly not going to win you any awards in the ratio department, but he has likely done enough to cement his role as the closer.
-Thanks to not traveling with the team to Colorado, the save opportunities have been few and far between for Kenley Jansen and has looked rusty in his non-save appearances. Facing the Cardinals on Thursday, Jansen gave up a hit and a pair of walks, but still managed to maintain a 2-run win for the Dodgers, despite leading by 4 runs when entering the game. He will get the next save opportunity, but this year is evidence that there are cracks at the foundation and he's no longer the lights out reliever he once was .
-The Cubs suffered a potentially detrimental loss on Thursday when Pedro Strop injured himself while batting. The team is calling it a pulled hamstring, but Strop was in noticeable discomfort and the team has already said he'll likely miss the next two weeks, putting him out for the rest of the fantasy baseball season. The Cubs could turn to any number of options, included Justin Wilson (who has been pitching better), Steve Cishek (who Maddon seems intent on making his arm fall off) or even Jesse Chavez (who has arguably been the club's best reliever besides Strop since being acquired). We lean Wilson, but this situation is fluid.
-Getting his second save opportunity the day after notching his first career save, Arizona's Yosihisa Hirano failed to keep a 1-run lead over the Rockies by giving up a go-ahead, walk-off homerun to DJ LeMahieu. The Diamondbacks are sputtering down the stretch and that blown save was a huge blow to their playoff chances. We're not sure who the next save chance might be in Arizona, but we still feel best about Archie Bradley, even after he had a meltdown last weekend, but Brad Boxberger may also reclaim the job.
-In an interesting hierarchy note, column favorite Ryan Pressly recorded the save for the Astros on a routine day of rest for regular closer Roberto Osuna. Pressly has been excellent for most of the year and especially during his time in Houston and remains one of my favorite handcuffs to own.
-While he wasn't officially charged with the blown save, Seranthony Dominguez managed to do everything wrong without getting the tag slapped on his line. Pitching with a 3-run lead on Wednesday, Dominguez allowed 2 hits, 3 walks and allowed 3 runs to score before he was removed and Luis Garcia put on a bow on it by walking in the winning run. The blow up in a crucial wild card race might be enough for Gabe Kapler to look elsewhere next time. Dare we interest you in Tommy Hunter?
-If you're in desperate need for saves, you might look towards Nate Jones, who was activated from the disabled list by the White Sox. Jones is an elite arm when healthy, the problem is that he's never actually healthy. Look for him to be a source of saves down the stretch, although quantity may not be on your side.
-The nightmare closer carousel continued in Cleveland this week when Brad Hand blew a save, causing Cody Allen to re-emerge as the closer the following day. At this point, both guys are already owned in your league, but if you have the unfortunate task of deciphering which one to start, I give you two works of advice: Good Luck. Allen continues to dominate the save chances, though, so he probably remains the man to play.
-Sean Doolittle was activated from the disabled list and is back in the closing role for the Nats. If, by some chance, he was dropped in your league, he's a must-add.
Closer Rankings and Handcuff Grades:
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