The 2017 Closer Chart - 5/18
We all know who is closing in major league baseball, or at least we think we do most of the time. However, there are a few that are spots that are always in flux, and for those of you out there who are in need of a 9th inning boost we thought it would be appropriate to speak about the closer situation across the land each week. We’re not going to just speak about those situations that are experiencing upheaval, but all the situations for each of the 30 MLB squads. To that end, every week we will be updating our 2017 Closer Chart. We'll list the closers, as well as the next two men up in case something happens to the number one guy. We'll also try to keep abreast of suspensions and injuries to bullpen arms, the bane of our existence in the fantasy game, that along with poor performance of course.
THE 2017 CLOSER CHART
PITCHING – BULLPENS
BLUE JAYS: Roberto Osuna is just 5-for-8 in save chances and he has 18 strikeouts in 15.1 innings, and just one walk all season long. He’s also allowed a mere two hits his last five outings.
BRAVES: Somehow, Jim Johnson has 19 strikeouts in 16 innings. He has a terrific 2.75 GB/FB ratio, and all those grounders have keep the homers in check yet again (0.56 per nine). He’s issued a mere three walks. Solid is as solid does.
BREWERS: Corey Knebel picked up his second save Wednesday. He has a 3.50 K/BB ratio and has punched out 35 batters in just 21 innings of action. He’s posted a 0.86 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP this season and there’s a legitimate chance he could run away with the closers job leaving Neftali Feliz as a middle reliever with little value.
DIAMONDBACKS: Fernando Rodney has a save in four of six outings, and in all six of those trips to the bump he’s allowed zero runs.
GIANTS: Mark Melancon has a mild pronator strain near his elbow. The hope is that the time away has been enough. He’s been activated from the DL and should be closing as soon as the Giants next game. Hold Derek Law if you can since Melancon has dealt with arm concerns since Spring Training.
MARINERS: Edwin Diaz has been removed as the Mariners closer. I addressed the situation here. What you need to know is that there is no “answer” to who the closer is at the moment. In fact. Craig Mish reported that Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto suggested that the leader in the clubhouse right now isn’t Nick Vincent, nor Tony Zych, nor Steve Cishek. He suggested the man that is first in line right now is James Pazos. I’m still of the opinion that Diaz will lead this team in saves.
NATIONALS: What a mess. I’m just going to keep writing that until they make a trade.
ORIOLES: Brad Brach is slumping now, at the worst time. He’s allowed a run in 4-of-5 outings and his ERA is up to 4.05 (five runs his last 2.1 innings). Darren O’Day has six strikeouts his last three innings and has allowed one run his last five outings. He could easily get some save chances in the short-term.
PADRES: Brandon Maurer is the closer of this team. Barely. Overall, he’s struck out 20 men against just two walks in 16 innings. Somehow though his BABIP is .395. He’s also been in a rut lately with three terrible efforts in four outings: nine runs on 11 hits and a walk in 2.2 innings pitched. There’s really no incentive for them to make a move at this point, and his overall skills, once the BABIP drops, still portend success, though struggles like he is going through right now has led to the demotion of many a reliever.
PIRATES: Tony Watson has allowed runs in two of his last three outings, but he’s also been scored upon in just three of 14 outings this season leading to a 1.62 ERA. His 1.86 K/BB ratio is extremely poor for a guy who owns a 3.14 mark for his career. Keep an eye on the walks. His 3.78 ratio is fifty percent worse than his career mark.
TIGERS: Francisco Rodriguez was demoted, and in his last outing his crappy pitching continued as he allowed a homer and two runs over an inning of work. It’s getting harder and harder to waste a roster spot on him, even in deeper leagues. Justin Wilson has appeared in 2-straight games with four strikeouts and just one walk overs 2.1 frames. He also allowed a homer, his second of the season. Seems like his grip on the gig is still pretty tight.
YANKEES: Aroldis Chapman has been placed on the DL with a shoulder issue being deemed rotator cuff inflammation. The MRI machine showed nothing structurally wrong with his wing, but the plan is for him to do nothing for two weeks, then to spend two weeks getting ready to pitch. Yes, that’s a month on the sidelines for Chapman. The club is making it sounds like this is no big deal, but when you throw 100 mph is any issue a minor thing? Dellin Betances will handle the ninth and should have tons of success. He’s walking 6.57 batters per nine, a hideous number though he’s only walked two batters once in an outing. He’s continued to mow ‘em down though with 22 strikeouts in 12.1 innings leading to a mind boggling 16.05 K/9 rate.
Ray Flowers can be heard Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, 7 PM EDT, Wednesday 8 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 8 PM EDT PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work on Twitter (@baseballguys).