2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Week 23 Closer Report
Welcome to another edition of the Closer Report here at the Fantasy Fix for Week 23. News continues to come out of a variety of bullpens so we’ll keep reporting on it until it stops. 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.
Also, my look at the 2015 closers is still here.
As always, feel free to ask a question in the comments below or shoot me a note on Twitter.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have finally made a change at closer slotting Edward Mujica into the role and putting Koji Uehara in lower leverage situations. Uehara requested the move, but does not want to be shut down at this point. Mujica now gets a month (or maybe only a week or two) to prove to the Red Sox that he can close for them next year. Mujica is a must add for those desperate for saves down the stretch. He could keep the gig for the rest of the season.
As for Uehara, this does serious damage to his free agency after the season. He’d be well-served to work on whatever ails him (mechanically that is, there is no indication he’s injured) off the field and not reappear until he’s solved his problems.
Sean Doolittle has played catch a couple of times over the last week thus soon ending Eric O’Flaherty’s short-lived fantasy relevance. I don’t believe the A’s would rush Doolittle back so we have to assume that’s he’s getting healthier faster than expected. Doolittle is heading with the team to Chicago and could be activated in the next week.
San Diego Padres
Joaquin Benoit continues to struggle with shoulder issues and is said to be (according to Corey Brock) at least 10 days out. Benoit’s absence has put Kevin Quackenbush into the closer’s role. The 25 year old rookie has always had great strikeout stuff in the minors (11.9 K/9) but has had some bouts of wildness (3.4 BB/9) as well though nothing that would make you run screaming. However, his big strikeout numbers aren’t backed up by big time stuff (average fastball at 91.3 mph this year).
Benoit is signed through 2015, but if this injury is serious we could see Quackenbush move into the role. Quackenbush is a definite add for this year as I could see the Padres (who aren’t playing for anything) shutting Benoit down and giving Quackenbush the job for the rest of the year. He has experience in the minors closing games so he could succeed.
Toronto Blue Jays
This is the Casey Janssen I expected to see earlier in the season when I was touting Sergio Santos (who was of course terrible and disappointing all year long). Janssen has been terrible for the better part of a month. Over the same period, both lefty Brett Cecil and righty Aaron Sanchez have been dominant. Sanchez will see more save chances as the season progresses. I imagine the Jays will mix and match with Sanchez, Cecil, Brandon Morrow and Janssen all getting shots. In other words, none will probably be worth owning unless you can divine usage patterns out of manager John Gibbons’ actions.
Rafael Soriano will take this weekend off to work on his mechanics. If I were the Nationals, I might give him the rest of 2014 off. Manager Matt Williams will go with a committee of three – Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen and lefty Matt Thornton.
Further down in the piece, authors Adam Kilgore and James Wagner assert that Drew Storen is the most likely to get save chances with Soriano’s hiatus with the reason being that Storen has been the Nats’ best reliever this season. That isn’t true (or at least isn’t completely clear). Both Storen and Clippard have been equally effective this season and Storen has been a bit lucky with his 91.1% LOB%. That said, Storen has been better recently than Clippard and Wagner and Kilgore likely know more than I do about the situation. Storen is the play if you believe the Washington Post, I still think Clippard is the way to go as the Nats haven’t trusted Storen since his implosion in the 2012 NLCS.
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.