2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Week 19 Closer Report
Welcome back to The Fantasy Fix’s Closer Report for Week 19. If you missed last week’s column, you should check it out as I opined on who would be the closer for each team in 2015. This week’s column won’t hit the 3,000-word mark as there just isn’t as much turnover in bullpens this late in the year. Follow along to see where we are today.
Remember, we’ve moved the Fantasy Fix Closer Report Chart to its full time home right here.
As always, feel free to ask a question in the comments below or shoot me a note on Twitter.
Kyuji Fujikawa was activated from the DL earlier this week. And, right on cue, Hector Rondon imploded on Friday night (after blowing another save on Tuesday). Fujikawa’s rehab stint couldn’t have gone much better as he struck out 13 and walked three over 11 2 /3 innings across three levels. As with all rehabbing pitchers, I like to see the control come back before I fully endorse a pitcher. And it looks like Fujikawa has his control.
Perhaps most importantly, manager Rick Renteria, when asked if he could see Fujikawa possibly closing again said “I can’t rule it out.” So, you’re telling me there’s a chance? Grab Fujikawa if you are desperate for saves – he could audition down the stretch so the Cubs can determine if they have a bargain on their hands for the $5.5M option price in Fujikawa’s contract.
Chicago White Sox
Zach Putnam is back from the DL. Matt Lindstrom should soon join him on the active roster. Jake Petricka has done a fine job as the closer. Yea, I don’t know where Robin Ventura will go either. Petricka is the man until Lindstrom returns. When Lindstrom returns, I can see Ventura going back to the veteran. However, the bullpen in Chicago has been the Bermuda Triangle of relievers this season.
I loathe this bullpen.
Jim Henderson’s rehab assignment ended not with him ascending to the majors, but descending to Arizona to continue to strengthen his shoulder. I’m not a doctor, but that doesn’t seem great. I had hoped we’d see him back in the majors by now, but this setback pushes his return closer to 2015.
New York Mets
Jenry Mejia has been bothered by a back issue and a calf issue in the last week. The biggest concern with Mejia as he rose through the prospect ranks was would he be able to withstand the rigors of throwing 180 to 200 innings in the big leagues. These nagging injuries put him further away from a starting role, but also put into question his ability to stay healthy at all.
Should Mejia need to take a break, I think the Mets would look to Jeurys Familia to fill in. The other option is Vic Black. He, like Familia, has a lower strike out rate than you’d want from a closer while walking a few too many batters. I don’t know that either would be successful in the long term though Black has more of a track record as a closer in the minors and his K rate on the year is good even if it’s been down recently.
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Casey Janssen has been bad. Really bad. Yet, he’s held on to the closer’s job. If you go back and look at the first link the Jays’ bullpen over the last 30 days has been dreadful. Would they give young phenom Aaron Sanchez a shot at closing? I wonder. There are some who believe Sanchez will never be successful as a starter including Keith Law who has concerns over his delivery:
“Sanchez’ delivery has been a concern in the past and it’s not much different now — he still takes a short stride and is rather upright at his release, with a little violence involved because of how stiff he is when he lets the ball go, even though he appears to exert no effort with his arm. That kind of delivery is more highly correlated with arm problems…”
So maybe the Jays turn Sanchez into a lights out closer like the Mets have done with Mejia. They don’t really have any other attractive options at this point.
2014 Closer – The current closer
Handcuff Option – This is the guy who I believe will step into the closer role if the current closer loses his job.
Other Option – Another arm in the pen who could close if the manager chooses to go a different route. And to clarify – this may be the lefty specialist who steps in for match up saves along the way.
Dark Horse Option – If all hell breaks loose in the pen, this guy could get a shot this year.
2015 Closer – This guy should be in the closer’s role on Opening Day 2014.
And if you are looking for the chart, we’ve moved it to its permanent home right here. Updates will be made daily so be sure to check back each day to see any movement.
Thanks as always for reading.