Fantasy Baseball 2017: Closer Depth Chart Week 10 - Roto Street Journal
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Fantasy Baseball 2017: Closer Depth Chart Week 10

Welcome back to the Wednesday Weekly Closer Report where I will break down and rate each team’s bullpen situation. While the amount of bullpens designated “Unstable or Unknown” are dwindling, there are a few “Comfortable” situations out there that may not be as cozy as you think. As always, do not forget to check out the rankings of the ‘Immediate Waiver Pickups’ at the end of the article to see who has the most upside going forward for his team’s closer job.

American League East

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentBOSCraig Kimbrel Joe Kelly
ConfidentNYYDellin BetancesTyler Clippard
ConfidentBALBrad BrachDarren O'Day
ConfidentTORRoberto OsunaJoe Smith
ConfidentTBAlexander ColomeRyne Stanek

I always struggle to find something to write about when it comes to the AL East. So let’s take a ride back to the past when Roberto Osuna struggled out of the gate and people screamed fire, fire! I told you all to just R-E-L-A-X. Now Osuna may be the most reliable, dominant closer in the game. Since his last blown save on April 27th, Osuna has pitched 16.2IP, converted all 13 save opportunities, and recorded 21 strikeouts (good for an 11.34 K/9), a 1.08 ERA and 0.60 WHIP. With Jose Bautista finally heating up (and making me look good in the process) and Josh Donaldson returning to form, the Toronto Blue Jays look to continue their steady ascension back to the top of the American League East. As the wins continue to roll in and the offense continues to rake, the save opportunities (and saves) for Osuna should continue to pile up.

American League Central

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentCWSDavid RobertsonTommy Kahnle
ConfidentKCKelvin HerreraJoakim Soria
ConfidentMINBrandon KintzlerTaylor Rogers
ComfortableDETJustin WilsonAlex WilsonAlex Wilson
ConfidentCLECody AllenAndrew Miller

This discussion may be better served for mid or late July, but we might as well have it now while the AL Central closers look pretty solid. Despite having only 8 saves and a 3.54 ERA, David Robertson has been pretty dominant this year. He sports a 12.39 K/9 and a cool 0.93 WHIP, so given the Chicago White Sox currently own the second worst record in the American League, we can fully expect them to be sellers (particularly of Robertson) at the trade deadline. So who is second in command? Most everyone named Nate Jones as the favorite to supplant Robertson early in the year, but his elbow injury has kept him on the shelf since May 4th, giving Tommy Kahnle plenty of time to spread his wings and fly. And boy has he impressed everyone. Kahnle owns a 15.88 K/9, 1.33 FIP, 1.18 xFIP and 1.19 ERA. In all, those numbers say “I am for real”. Even in the Minor Leagues he maintained a well above average strikeout rate and he should be able to sustain his lower-than-average career BABIP of .267 due to low career ground ball, line drive and hard hit rates. Looking forward, Kahnle might be a good name to scoop up and stash as he looks primed to be the White Sox closer come August and September. Recent reports have the Washington Nationals eyeing Kelvin Herrera! No way! Color me shocked! I reported on this two weeks ago, but really its a foregone conclusion that the Nationals will acquire either Herrera or the aforementioned Robertson before the trade deadline. Let’s tab the very experienced and solid Joakim Soria as the backup once Herrera skips town for a contender.

American League West

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
Unstable LAABud NorrisCam BedrosianCam Bedrosian
ConfidentSEAEdwin DiazJames Pazos
ConfidentTEXMatt BushKeone Kela
UnstableOAKSantiago CasillaRyan MadsonRyan Madson
ConfidentHOUKen GilesWill Harris

Cam Bedrosian will officially unofficially join the Angels bullpen this upcoming Thursday, June 8th. It has been a long road back for this young fireballer, but early on he showed us why he should man that bullpen for many years to come. In his six appearances this year, Bedrosian went 6.2 scoreless innings, striking out 9 and walking none, giving him the immortalizing infinite strikeout to walk ratio. But in all seriousness, Bedrosian is very good. Unfortunately for him, Bud Norris has been no slouch posting a 2.60 ERA, 11.71 K/9 and 2.90 FIP across 27.2 surprisingly great and effective innings pitched. Now his walks have been an issue but Norris is holding opponents to a .173 batting average against and .542 OPS. Impressive given this is his 6th team in his last 5 years. Ultimately I fully expect veteran-pandering Manager Mike Scioscia to give the reigns back to his young stud, but that may take a few weeks upon return. Pick Bedrosian up in leagues where available, but also do not be afraid to hold onto Norris for a little while longer or handcuff the two together if so desired.

National League East

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent Closer Handcuff Immediate Waiver Pickup
ComfortableWSHKoda GloverMatt Albers
ComfortablePHIHector NerisPat NeshekPat Neshek
ComfortableATLJim JohnsonArodys VizcainoArodys Vizcaino
ComfortableMIAA.J. RamosDavid Phelps
ConfidentNYMAddison ReedJerry Blevins

I think I am finally comfortable designating the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen as Hector Neris‘s bullpen. But there is a storm brewing behind him…with a really funky delivery. Pat Neshek thrives everywhere he goes as a steady bullpen arm who munches innings at will. In his career Neshek owns a 2.82 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, roughly 9 K/9 and an 81% left-on-base percentage. This year, Neshek has been particularly lights out with a sparkling 0.84 ERA and 0.80 WHIP. Neris dominated in May, allowing only one run across 11.2 innings pitched while striking out 13. I believe the Phillies really would prefer to groom Neris for the long term, so I expect a good sized leash for him, especially with his current hot streak. But be careful, we have seen Neris struggle mightily before and the Phillies were not afraid to hand the lead to Jeanmar Gomez and Joaquin Benoit earlier this year.

National League Central

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentCHCWade DavisCarl Edwards Jr.
ConfidentCINRasiel IglesiasDrew Storen
ConfidentMILCorey KnebelJacob Barnes
ConfidentSTLSeung-Hwan OhTrevor Rosenthal
ComfortablePITTony WatsonFelipe RiveroFelipe Rivero

Maybe the most difficult bullpen to forecast going into this 2017 season was the Cincinnati Reds. While Reds Manager Bryan Price pencilled in Rasiel Iglesias as the team’s closer uncertainty swirled around the selection and most thought a committee approach would take over. Iglesias obviously had other ideas. While thought of as a multi-inning, versatile and flexible relief arm, Iglesias has made his money this year shutting down the opposition late in the game, going a perfect 10/10 in save opportunities on the year and earning 10 of the 13 total saves for the Reds. Even more impressive, Iglesias holds a 10.74 K/9, 0.61 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .152 batting average against and .462 OPS. Moreover, while Iglesias pitched more than 1 inning six times in April, he has only done so once since then, showing us that Price feels confident rolling Iglesias out of the bullpen exclusively as the Reds late-inning closer. With almost all doubt gone, Iglesias seems primed to be an effective flame-throwing closer for years to come who could be a suitable replacement for former Reds-fireballer-starter-turned-reliever Aroldis Chapman.

National League West

RSJ RatingTeamCurrent CloserHandcuffImmediate Waiver Pickup
ConfidentLADKenley JansenPedro Baez
ConfidentSFMark Melancon Derek Law
UnstableSDBrandon MaurerBrad HandBrandon Maurer, Brad Hand
UnstableARIFernando RodneyArchie BradleyArchie Bradley
Confident COLGreg HollandAdam Ottavino (INJ)

I cannot stand Fernando RodneyThis has been an ongoing battle since day one, article one, and will continue to be until legitimately the end of time. BUT I cannot ignore one of his patented hot streaks when I see one. Since the calendar turned May (when Rodney owned a 12.60 ERA, 2 losses and 2 blown saves) Rodney has gone 10.2 scoreless innings pitched, recording 8 saves and blowing one (where he allowed one unearned run). Now in that time Rodney also has only an 8:5 strikeout to walk ratio, but he has surrendered only two hits since April. For me, all this means is the next Rodney plummet is right around the corner, so Archie Bradley makes for a great speculative add if you are looking for saves and a potential long term option. Bradley still sports an impressive 1.40 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 11.22 K/9. While not your traditional, experienced closer, he has been the most effective arm in that bullpen all year. And, even if he does not get you saves for the time being, he pitches 2-3 effective innings per week, so he should lower all your ratios and increase your chances at winning strikeouts and other pitching categories. Positives on all accounts!

Ranking of the Immediate Waiver Pickups

  1. Brandon Maurer (SD, 59% Yahoo ownership)
  2. Cam Bedrosian (LAA, 39% Yahoo ownership)
  3. Felipe Rivero (PIT, 31% Yahoo ownership)
  4. Brad Hand (SD, 32% Yahoo ownership)
  5. Ryan Madson (Oak, 37% Yahoo ownership)
  6. Archie Bradley (ARI, 20% Yahoo ownership)
  7. Arodys Vizcaino (ATL, 14% Yahoo ownership)
  8. Alex Wilson (DET, 8% Yahoo ownership)
  9. Pat Neshek (PHI, 2% Yahoo ownership)

And that’s a wrap for the Closer Depth Chart Week 10. Be sure to scour the waiver wire for all these relievers and check back every Wednesday for the latest updates regarding the closer jobs around the league. Until we meet again, keep your eyes open and your nose to the ground.

To contact me with any questions or general fantasy baseball discussion, please email me at or tweet me @AJGamballer.

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