Fantasy Baseball

Closing out the Week

Jason Grilli is out and Mark Melancon is in.  This one was kind of a surprise.  Grilli had a bad game last Friday and gave up home runs Tuesday and Thursday, but there are closers out there who have done much worse and still have their job.  Grilli hasn’t been the same man we saw last year, but this year Melancon picked up right where he left off in September.  While Grilli owners may not be happy, those new Melancon owners are as are the fans in Pittsburgh.  This may only be temporary, but something tells me once Melancon digs in, there will be no removing him.

Ernesto Frieri has been given every chance to succeed as a closer, and he keeps handing those chances back.  Mike Scioscia stated he’s not going with a defined closer so Frieri still has a second chance a third chance another chance to reclaim the job for his own.  Those of you who have your finger on the button to pick up Joe Smith, slowly remove your finger and back away slowly.  Looking at the roster Smith is the only obvious choice to take over, but we are dealing with Scioscia here and he went with Cam Bedrosian in a game this week.  Frieri is his boy and nobody can tell him different, just like he stuck with his boy Raul Ibanez while C.J. Cron rode the pine most nights and Grant Green was sent back to AAA.  An official change might not come for weeks, and even then it might only be temporary.

Sergio Romo blew his 3rd and 4th save of the year last Friday and Saturday and hasn’t pitched since.  He had similar troubles at the end of May, but nothing like this.  With Romo a free agent at the end of the season and the Giants on top in the NL West, you can expect a change soon if this happens again.  Jean Machi would be the obvious choice for saves, but like I said last week the obvious choice hasn’t always been the guy who received the shot.  If you’re speculating on who to grab, I would look at Santiago Casilla.  He saved 25 games for the Giants in 2012 and has been the most consistent relief pitcher on the team since 2010.  Casilla returned from the DL on Wednesday from a hamstring injury and looked to be in great form.  A good game by Romo next time out could silence things for a while, but if he blows up again, all bets are off.  Both Machi & Casilla should be on your watch list Now.


A few other notes that can be covered with bullets.

  • Hector Rondon added some much-needed job security with a save on Friday.  While Neil Ramirez is the obvious handcuff and one to keep an eye on, there is no imminent change on the horizon.
  • The chants to remove Trevor Rosenthal  have silenced with his 1.17 ERA in June.  He’s still walking way too many batters, but at least he’s keeping them from scoring.
  • Joakim Soria gets very little love and attention from the fantasy community, but he has earned and deserves it.  He may only have 15 saves, but with a 1.80 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 12.24 K/9, the overall package has been phenomenal.  Just sayin.
  • A change in arm slot seems to have done the trick as Joe Nathan earned 2 clean saves this week.  He blew his 3rd save chance but got credit for the win thanks to a double by Miguel Cabrera.  I recommended Nathan as a buy low candidate several weeks back.  Hopefully one of you out there listened to me.
  • If John Axford was two steps closer to regaining his job, he took a giant leap back on Friday.  J.D. Martinez blasted a 3 run home run which gave Detroit the lead and eventual win.  Cody Allen‘s job just got a little more secure.
  • The Braves suffered a loss with David Carpenter hitting the DL with a strained biceps.  Fortunately Jordan Walden was activated earlier in the week to ease the pain and rookie Shea Simmons has been on point.
  • Sergio Santos returned this week to Toronto.  He has looked good in the three games he’s played in so far, lets hope the guy we saw in April and May doesn’t show up again.


Below are my current closer rankings and the (alleged) player next in line for save opportunities. The Next in line guy may not be the man who has been setting the table, but as I explained last week, things have changed this year.  Some teams have one clear-cut choice and the next in line guy is the current setup man, but for teams with several options I’ve listed the alternate player who may play a role in the save game.

Job security (1 = All Clear, 2 = solid ground, 3 = shaky ground, 4 = rocky ground, 5 = Avalanche…RUN

  Closer Security Team Current Setup Man Next in Line 
1 Craig Kimbrel 1 Braves Shea Simmons Jordan Walden
2 Greg Holland 1 Royals Wade Davis  
3 Aroldis Chapman 1 Reds Jonathan Broxton  
4 Koji Uehara 1 RedSox Junichi Tazawa Andrew Miller
5 Kenley Jansen 1 Dodgers Brian Wilson
6 Francisco Rodriguez 1 Brewers  Will Smith  
7 Huston Street 1 Padres Joaquin Benoit  
8 Glen Perkins 1 Twins Casey Fien  
9 David Robertson 1 Yankees  Dellin Betances
10 Trevor Rosenthal 1 Cardinals Pat Neshek
11 Rafael Soriano 1 Nationals Tyler Clippard Drew Storen
12 Casey Janssen 2 Blue Jays Aaron Loop  
13 Joakim Soria 2 Rangers Jason Frasor  
14 Sean Doolittle 2 Athletics Luke Gregerson
15 Jonathan Papelbon 1 Phillies Jake Diekman Antonio Bastardo
16 Steve Cishek 1 Marlins Mike Dunn A.J. Ramos
17 Mark Melancon 3 Pirates Jason Grilli Tony Watson
18 Zach Britton 2.5 Orioles Darren O’Day  
19 Joe Nathan 2 Tigers Joba Chamberlain Al Alburquerque
20 Fernando Rodney  2 Mariners Danny Farquhar Tom Wilhelmsen
21 Sergio Romo 2 Giants Jean Machi Santiago Casilla
22 Addison Reed 2 Diamondbacks Brad Ziegler  
23 Hector Rondon 2.5 Cubs Pedro Strop Neil Ramirez
24 LaTroy Hawkins  2.5 Rockies Rex Brothers Adam Ottavino
25 Chad Qualls 3 Astros  
26 Cody Allen 4 Indians Bryan Shaw John Axford?
27 Ernesto Frieri 5 Angels Joe Smith  
28 Jenrry Mejia 4 Mets Vic Black Jenrry Mejia
29 Ronald Belisario 5 White Sox Zach Putnam Daniel Webb
30 Grant Balfour 4 Rays Joel Peralta Jake McGee

If the next in line box is empty, the setup man and next in line guy are one in the same.
If the current setup man is empty, the team uses multiple options.

By Jim Finch

The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball.

4 replies on “Closing out the Week”

Think it is even worth holding Grilli?
12 team H2H… SV’s on the wire are non existent.
Notable handcuffs on FA – J. Peralta, V. Black, Strop, B. Shaw, Ziegler, J. Chamberlain, J. Johnson. whos that next closer? Currently have only Britton so may be time for me to punt SV’s.

I think Melancon will take the closer job and run with it so Grilli is a good drop. If it’s a H2H league punting saves is an option. Are Wade Davis, Dellin Betances or Andrew Miller available? Betances is a long shot but if Davis & Miller are available, those 2 can help with your ERA, WHIP & K’s on a weekly basis. If Betances is rostered, maybe you can offer that owner Britton or work so sort of package deal out. Picking up and playing those high strikeout relief pitchers enable you to cut the low man on the totem pole on your pitching staff and can give your other categories a boost.

I would dump Grilli for Miller now, or Tyler Clippard who is another great relief pitcher to own (maybe grab both if you have a worthless player on your bench). Then you have 2 choices. You can wait it out and see if Joe Smith is named the new closer, dump Miller for him and play for saves (and if you do this, keep you eye on the situation in SF as noted above.

Your other choice is your original plan and scrap saves and trade Britton (and maybe a lower end bat or starting pitcher) for Betances or offer Britton straight up for Davis. I’d personally make the play for Betances since Davis has a tendency to be dropped in your league so you may be able to scoop him up for free. Davis is my favorite of all of them, not because he’s the best, but because he qualifies as a SP so he doesn’t tie up a RP or P slot.

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