2014 MLB Closer Report – April 10th update

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Each and every week FFLockerRoom will be here to update you on what might be going on in the bullpens around Major League Baseball. This report could potentially highlight closers on their last legs (and therefore ones you may want to sell quickly) as well as recognizing the set up men that might be on the verge of taking over the role (and therefore should be scooped up if on the waiver wire. These players will have an impact on most 2014 Fantasy Baseball rosters and transactions can make or break your season. Utilizing this list along with the FFLockerRoom 2014 Fantasy Baseball Rankings will help you in determining if you’re good to go in the bullpen or if it might be time to make a move.

Baltimore: Tommy Hunter. Hunter is 3 for 3 in save chances right now having only given up one run (last night) in three innings. He’s struck out 3 and walked none. He’s secure right now.

Boston: Koji Uehara. The good? Two saves. The bad? Two saves. Couldn’t resist. For now Boston isn’t offering up lots of save chances but Uehara is rock solid. In 5 innings he’s struck out 7 and hasn’t walked a batter. Yeah, he’s the man.

New York Yankees: David Robertson. Unfortunately Robertson is on the DL with a strained groin. The hope is the minimum 15 days but groins can be tricky. Shawn Kelley is the closer for now but he lost last night’s game (it was a tie so no save chance) and is likely unavailable for tonight’s contest. As I mentioned last week, Dellin Betances is a deep sleeper here but the early guess is Matt Thornton (based on experience) would close out if Kelley continues to struggle.

Tampa Bay: Grant Balfour. Balfour is 2 for 2 and is firmly entrenched as the closer in Tampa Bay. No worries here.

Toronto: Casey Janssen. Janssen has begun throwing (successful bullpen session) and manager John Gibbons called it impressive. If all goes well Janssen is back the end of next week and with Sergio Santos sporting a 1.80 WHIP, Janssen will likely step right in as closer.

White Sox: Matt Lindstrom. He has a save but he also has a loss to go with a 2.33 WHIP. Unfortunately Nate Jones is on the disabled list and reports are his stay could be longer than originally expected. Ronald Belisario might be a name to keep an eye on but there might not be many save opportunities for White Sox closers anyway.

Cleveland: John Axford. Top dog. 4 saves in 4 tries. My boy Cody Allen is doing a great job setting him up and still is a name to watch as he has 7 strikeouts and only 1 walk in 3.2 innings. One of my favorite middle relievers for improving ratios and increasing K-rate.

Detroit: Joe Nathan. “There aren’t many more secure options than Nathan.” That’s what I said last week and now he’s a mere 1 for 3 in save chances. Nathan can’t find the plate with 4 walks in 3.2 innings to go with 6 hits. A 2.73 WHIP. Ouch. Now he’s talking about a dead arm. In April?? Uh oh. I’m scooping up Al Alburquerque and gulp Joba Chamberlain wherever possible.

Kansas City: Greg Holland. Don’t worry abuot the 4.50 ERA or 1.50 WHIP. The 6 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio tells me he’s fine.

Minnesota: Glen Perkins. Stuff looks fine. No real threats behind him. Good to go.

Houston: A week has passed and I still don’t know what to say. Josh Fields, Chad Qualls and Jesse Crain are all worth owning if you’re desperate for saves. If you’re not desperate, stop looking at Houston for saves damn it.

Los Angeles Angels: Ernesto Frieri. Still love Frieri. Two homers in his first outing doesn’t change anything. No runs in two outings since. He’s solid.

Oakland: Jim Johnson. Well, the lack of prototypical closer stuff is finally coming to haunt him. Just awful this year. 18.90 ERA and 4.50 WHIP. That’s horrible. Ryan Cook, Luke Gregerson and Sean Doolittle all remain possible replacement options. Cook is just back from the disabled list so Gregerson would likely be the first option though I admit it’s just fun to say Doolittle.

Seattle: Fernando Rodney. Looking good. Two for two though he is a volatile option. 5 strikeouts in 2.2 innings sure looks good for now though. No worries.

Texas: Joakim Soria. It would be nice if he had a save chance no? Don’t worry about the three runs he gave up against Boston. Closers constantly get whacked in non save situations. I know they need the work, but it always pisses me off when my closer comes in for “no reason.”

Atlanta: Craig Kimbrel. Enough said.

Miami: Steve Cishek. 2 for 2 and no walks. Keep riding the Cishek train.

New York Mets: Jose Valverde. Yuk, but there really are no other options right now. Maybe someone off the street (Joel Hanrahan) but for now Valverde is a save collector and ratio killer.

Philadelphia: Jonathan Papelbon. He just stinks now and I don’t say this because he’s a former Red Sox. If it wasn’t for the money, Antonio Bastardo might be getting a shot. 

Washington: Rafael Soriano. The guy looks 100 years old but 6 strikeouts in 3 innings tells me this “grandpa” is just fine.

Chicago: Jose Veras. So Veras has no saves, a 10.13 ERA and 2.63 WHIP. My other boy, Pedro Strop, while having a save, has now given up runs in back to back outings. The K-rate is still there for Strop and I think he’s a better pitcher but Veras is still likely the favored option for now.

Cincinnati: With Aroldis Chapman on the DL, J.J. Hoover had a shot but has blown (get it) the shot. Reds manager Bryan Price said Jonathan Broxton will be his closer but wants to get him an outing or two in a non save chance to get his feet wet. It’s still just a short term solution since Chapman has begun throwing and will resume closing duties when ready. 

Milwaukee: Francisco Rodriguez. 2 for 2 and 6 strikeouts in 3 innings. He’s the guy in Milwaukee.

Pittsburgh: Jason Grilli. Grilli hasn’t been pretty (who doesn’t like a good baseball rhyme?) but he’s the guy right now. No runs in his last two outings but only 1 strikeout. It’s early.

St. Louis: Trevor Rosenthal. Gives up a run but bounces back the next day with his third save. Great team. Great arm. Nice combination.

Arizona: Addison Reed. 2 saves and a 6/2 strikeout to walk ratio. He’s the guy to own in Arizona.

Colorado: LaTroy Hawkins Just yuk. I still like Rex Brothers better but I’m not the manager.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Kenley Jansen. Really dialing it up Brandon Berg and I discussed on the podcast this week. Hopefully he can regain a bit more control with the increased speed but right now, he’s a beast.

San Diego: Huston Street. 3 for 3. So far so good. Not much else to report.

San Francisco: Sergio Romo. First outing not so good. Second one perfect. He’s the guy.

Good luck!

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