2014 Fantasy Baseball: The Week 4 Closer Report
Welcome back to The Fantasy Fix’s Closer Report for Week 4. We continue to see closers drop like flies and the unsettled nature of bullpens all around the league has fantasy owners wanting to dump the saves category completely.
Let’s take a look at what has changed in the last week at the top of the bullpen pecking order. It will be a bit of an abbreviated look this week as I’m traveling
As always, feel free to ask a question in the comments below or shoot me a note on Twitter.
Chicago White Sox
Matt Lindstrom imploded on Friday night (as he is wont to do). The problem is I’m not sure there is anyone else in the pen at this point to spell him. No one has distinguished themselves so I think Robin Ventura keeps running Lindstrom out there.
Josh Fields saw Matt Lindstrom and one upped him failing to get an out Friday night. Fields is going to have games like this. I think that Bo Porter continues to stick with Fields – the Astros are still trying to build from within and they’d like to see Fields succeed.
That said, this bullpen is difficult to speculate on – Fields is the closer for now. If he isn’t in the future, it’s not clear where the Astros would go as their most effective pitcher Matt Albers is now nursing a sore shoulder and Chad Qualls hasn’t shown enough consistency. Stay away from this ‘pen except in the deepest of leagues.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Ernesto Frieri is out as the closer in LA. Joe Smith has been elevated to the role and it will be interesting to see if he can run with it or if Mike Scioscia stays loyal to Frieri and gives him his job back if he rights the ship. Smith has the look of a ROOGY because of his low/submarine delivery. However, the stats don’t back that up. He’s been relatively effective against left handed hitters for much of his career and especially over the last couple of seasons.
I think Scioscia will stay with Smith if he is effective. However, if Frieri gets back to “good Frieri”, Scioscia won’t hesitate at the first hint of a struggling Smith.
New York Mets
I’m not going to say much about the state of their current bullpen. I think this tweet about Terry Collins’ feelings says it all.
Dice-K is a sturdy backup to Kyle Farnsworth? The end is nigh.
Jason Grilli is heading to the DL (with a strained oblique) as soon as the Pirates can figure out the DL procedures. Mark Melancon steps into the starting role and is a must own in all leagues. No time table has been established, but I could see a four to six week time frame for Grilli’s absence.
Tampa Bay Rays
Grant Balfour helped Matt Lindstrom to a win on Friday night as he gave up a walk off grand slam to Jose Abreu. Remember that Balfour did fail the Orioles’ physical this offseason so there is certainly something going on with his health. It’s not clear if this performance is related to his health, but monitor him closely.
I’ve had a couple of folks mention that they believe that Drew Storen is the handcuff in Washington should Rafael Soriano lose his spot. I still believe that manager Matt Williams would hand the ball off to the veteran Tyler Clippard instead of Storen. There is an excellent piece by Stuart Wallace over at District Sports Page covering Clippard’s struggles early this season. Williams continues to espouse his loyalty to Clippard and I think he’d go that route even with Storen’s excellent start to the season.
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.