Another busy week with the trade deadline just around the corner. We’ll start with the trades, then the trade rumors, and we’ll touch on some relievers who could see themselves in closer roles in the very near future. As always, we’ll end with the three stars of the week. Let’s begin…
New York Metropolitans
In a bit of a surprise trade, the out-of-contention Mets traded for the Marlins’ closer AJ Ramos. Ramos is under team control through 2018, while the Mets’ current closer Addison Reed will be a free agent this off-season. The Mets are expected to trade Reed soon, so they essentially gained an extra year of control on a solid late-inning arm. If you own Ramos, you should hold onto him as he will assume closing duties in Queens when Reed departs.
Jeurys Familia is still working his way back from the DL and if all goes well, is expected to return in late August / early September. When Familia returns he should get the chance to regain his old closing role, which throws a wrench into fantasy playoff planning for Ramos owners. Right now, Familia is far enough away and has been sidelined so long that a minor setback could shut him down for the season. If you have the DL space and own Ramos, it makes sense to hedge your investment by grabbing Familia, but don’t make any drastic moves just yet.
As noted above, AJ Ramos is gone. The Marlins are now without a proper closer. Kyle Barraclough was expected to step into closing duties but he’s currently on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Barraclough got off to a rough start this season but improved lately to lower his season ERA to 3.30. His WHIP is an uninspiring 1.51, and while he strikes out over a batter per inning this year, he’s well below his prior year K/9 of 14.00.
Brad Ziegler was activated from the disabled list this Saturday but has yet to appear in a game. Ziegler is a veteran reliever and likely the first option for saves right now. He’s not a K machine, but he did keep an ERA of 2.25 last year to go along with a 1.37 WHIP and 22 saves. In 29 innings in 2017, Ziegler has an ERA of 6.52, the poor performance possibly somewhat injury related. The Marlins will hope he can bounce back, but I won’t be investing too much in him.
Behind Ziegler is Junichi Tazawa, who is even less inspiring than Ziegler. Tazawa posted ERAs of 5.28 and 4.17 in 2017 and 2016, respectively. One arm to keep an eye on in Miami is Drew Steckenrider. Called up last week, Steckenrider recorded strikeouts on 4 of his first 5 outs. It’s a small sample size, and Steckenrider will likely see low leverage situations in the short-term, but could see an increased role as the guys in front of him aren’t very special.
Justin Wilson is a Cub as of Sunday night. Bruce Rodon will have the best stuff in the Tigers pen, but he’s laid three eggs in his last three outings: 3 ER in 0.1 innings, 3ER in 0.1 innings, and 2 ER in 0.2 innings. On the bright side, he didn’t walk anyone and allowed just one home run, but Shane Greene and his 2.74 ERA likely jumped Rodon on the closer hierarchy after this week. Greene is certainly worth an add in saves and holds leagues a like. Rodon is worth consideration if Greene is snatched up and you are a bit more of a risk taker.
San Francisco Giants
Sam Dyson has benefitted from the move to the Bay Area. In 12 innings over the last month Dyson has allowed just one earned run while recording 6 saves and 6 strikeouts. Hopefully you plucked him off the trash heap way back when and could ride the streak, because Dyson will be shifting to a setup role when Mark Melancon returns. Melancon began his rehab assignment over the weekend and is expected back toward the end of this week.
Across the bay in Oakland, the closing situation remains unclear after the A’s swapped Ryan Doolittle and Ryan Madson with Blake Treinen two weeks age. Trienen got a crack at a save, with Santiago Casilla going through a rough patch, but Treinen blew the save and has not gotten a save opportunity since.
Ryan Dull returned from the disabled list last Thursday. He’s had a brutal 2017, but showed he was a high caliber reliever in 2016 when he posted a 0.87 WHIP with 73 strikeouts in 74.1 innings. There is no telling what A’s manager Bob Melvin will do, but a healthy Dull has the highest potential in this bullpen and is worth an add in saves and holds leagues alike.
Frankie Montas also received some speculation as a potential closer someday. Montas is a touted pitching prospect that I’ve been following all season. He gives up a ton of walks, however, which is the cause for his 2017 WHIP of 2.40 (geez Louise). He is very clearly not ready yet, and was optioned to AAA yesterday. Hopefully he will have better results in his second go-round in the bigs this September or next season.
It looks like Jim Johnson may have finally lost the closer role in Atlanta after blowing his 8th save of the season on Saturday and following it up with allowing a walk in 0.1 innings of work in the 9th inning yesterday. Arodys Vizcaino is the likely replacement, although Jose Ramirez has been the better performer of late, striking out 14 in his last 10.2 innings with an identical ERA and WHIP if 0.84. Ramirez is worthy of adds in holds leagues, but I believe Vizciano has what it takes to hold down the closer role if given the chance.
Closers Who Are Potential Trade Candidates
Zach Britton, and Brad Hand are still top relievers and closers who could potentially be dealt. In case of a trade, Brad Brach would step into the closing role in Baltimore, with Mychal Givens sliding into the set-up role. Givens sports a 1.94 ERA and 0.96 WHIP to go along with 54 Ks in 51 innings. He is making a name for himself this season and worthy of an add in holds leagues.
In San Diego, with Ryan Buchter sent to Missouri, Kirby Yates is next in line to close. Yates has been stellar this season, collecting 55 strikeouts in 36.1 innings, to go along with an ERA of 2.23 and a WHIP of 0.99. He’s worth an add in holds leagues as well, in the event Hand stays put.
Aroldis Chapman, NYY – In 5.0 innings Chapman recorded 2 saves, 2 wins, 6 strikeouts and did not allow a run. The flamethrower seems back to his old self.
Kelvin Herrera, KC – In 5.0 innings Herrera recorded 4 saves and 1 win, to go along with 5 strikeouts and zero runs.
Brad Hand, SD – Hand threw 4.0 innings, recording 4 saves and 5 strikeouts. He allowed no runs and just one hit during this time.
That wraps up this weeks Bullpen Briefing. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back next week with another edition.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join guest host Andrea LaMont, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday July 30th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #96 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Joe Iannone. Joe is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com and he focuses on spot starting low owned pitchers. His articles publish every Sunday morning.