It’s been another wild week around Major League Baseball, as we have seen numerous closers meltdown or be replaced. Who has taken over in Cincinnati? Who is the future closer in Oakland? Let’s take a look at all the situations around the league:
When Sean Marshall blew a save over the weekend there were rumblings that a change could be coming in the ninth inning. It no longer is rumor and speculation. As John Fay tweeted prior to yesterday’s game:
“Chapman will close. But not today. He’s gone 3 of 4. Will go with matchups today. Ondrusek vs. RHs, Marshall vs. LHs.”
In a separate tweet, Fay does give a little bit of warning:
“Baker wants to avoid bullpen-by-committee. “Most good teams don’t (use one).” But Chapman is limited as far as consecutive days”
In other words the job is Chapman’s, which makes sense. While initial word was that Chapman wouldn’t be used yesterday, he actually did get the call for the ninth inning. He was perfect, striking out 1, to notch his first save.
Chapman, the owner of a 0.00 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 39 K and 7 BB over 22.1 innings, will not be able to take the ball every day. When he’s unavailable, Marshall should get the opportunity (unless matchups call for something else). There aren’t going to be many, but for the desperate he is worth stashing in an attempt to vulture some saves.
As for Chapman, he has the stuff to be one of the elite ninth inning men in the league. There has been speculation of him moving into the rotation, but for now that obviously isn’t the case. Regardless of his future, his stuff makes him a must own option.
Chris Perez has performed like one of the elite closers in the game this season. He already has amassed 13 saves to go along with a 3.31 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. However, has he worn out his welcome in Cleveland?
According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (click here for the post), Perez was quoted after Saturday’s game as saying:
“They booed me against the Mariners when I had two guys on. It feels like I can’t even give up a base runner without people booing me. It’s even worse when there’s only 5,000 in the stands, because then you can hear it. It p—-s me off.”
There was more to the quote, as he talks about how other players don’t want to come to Cleveland for various reasons (attendance, weather, money). Still, you know which part of the quote is going to get the most publicity and it is going to ruffle some feathers.
If the Indians choose to ship him off, Vinnie Pestano will step into the closer’s role. He’s worth stashing, just in case, though I wouldn’t expect a move to be coming any time soon.
Remember when people considered Rex Brothers as a sleeper source for saves prior to the season? It clearly hasn’t happened as his struggles have earned him a demotion to Triple-A. Through his first 15.1 innings Brothers had posted a 5.87 ERA and 2.28 WHIP. Granted, he had 21 K but they went along with 12 BB.
There is currently no risk of Rafael Betancourt losing his job closing out games. However, if he needs a day off Matt Belisle figures to get the opportunity. Belisle has posted a 2.75 ERA and 1.32 WHIP while posting a 12-to-2 strikeout-to-walk rate thus far. However, he only holds value for those in formats that utilize middle relievers.
Brian Fuentes is currently the closer. Grant Balfour is still on the roster. Fautino De Los Santos has garnered some attention.
However, the relief pitch to keep a close eye on appears to be Ryan Cook. Acquired in the deal that sent Trevor Cahill to Arizona, Cook has been lights out this season with a 0.00 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 18 K over 19.2 IP. The one potential issue is his control, as he has 10 BB this season. He did spend time in the rotation in the minor leagues, but a 3.05 BB/9 gives a sense of hope.
With a fastball averaging nearly 95 mph, if he gets the control in order he has the potential to be a lights out closer. There is little doubt that he gets an opportunity by year’s end, so if you are desperate for saves now would be a good time to stash him.
Make sure to check out some of our other recent rankings: