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Fantasy Baseball Advice: Close to Closing?

A look at the future of the futile position we love to hate.

Joel Hanrahan on July 10, 2011Boston Red Sox

Current Closer: Joel Hanrahan, no, wait...Andrew Bailey, ummm Joel Hanrahan...Houston, Boston...we have a problem.

Andrew Bailey was given the job after Joel Hanrahan's season started off with an ERA eclipsing nine and a bout with a strained hamstring which forced him to the disabled-list. Soon after Hanrahan returned from the DL, Bailey complained of biceps soreness and was placed on the disabled-list Monday. Monday night Joel Hanrahan was doing everything he could to lose the job. He gave up a home run in the 9th  which tied the game at 5 a piece. Two batters later he felt something "grab" in his forearm and was barely able to make  a pickoff throw to first. The next pitch would be his last of the night. He was replaced by Clayton Mortensen who will not be an option to close. It will hopefully only be another week until Bailey returns and if he can stay healthy he will be the best option. If not, the BoSox will be forced to use a combination of Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa, both of whom are pitching extremely well out of the pen.

At this point we don't know who the replacement will be, but my gut tells me 36-year-old Uehara will remain the 8th-inning man, with Tazawa taking on 9th-inning duties. Waivers most likely already passed for leagues that utilize that system. Owners of Hanrahan and/or Bailey should be spending some FAAB on both Uehara and Tazawa today. Bailey's MRI was clean and he is hoping to return when eligible.

Kansas City Royals

Current Closer: Greg Holland (3.75 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 7 SV, 2 BLSV, 19 K/12 IP)

Holland came in to relieve James Shields who was dominant over 8 frames Monday, an hee promptly gave up three straight singles. He then induced a 1-2-3 double play, followed by a walk with first base vacant to re-load the bases. The next batter, Alexei Ramirez, lined softly behind the second base bag -- 2B Chris Getz bobbled the ball which led to a run scoring. Whew! Ned Yost has to be second-guessing the move to pull Shields. And I'm second-guessing Holland's ability to be an elite stopper. He simply allows too many base runners(1.67 WHIP). Kelvin Herrera throws gas with a nice slider but he's been shaky in his save opportunities as well as serving up six long-balls already this season. My proclamation is that Aaron Crow could be the simplest answer at closer with Herrera and Holland sharing 7th and 8th inning duties respectively.

The future: Aaron Crow - (1.08 ERA, 0.96 WHIP 1 SV, 5 HLD, 5 K in 8.1 IP)
Sep906 188 José Veras

Houston Astros

Current Closer: Jose Veras, age 32 (5.24 ERA, 2 BLSV, 2 SV)

This team may only win 40 games this year, and that in itself is epic futility. However, in games they do win, chances are they will be close games. Veras is unproven, has an ERA over 5.0 and two losses to go with his two saves. My speculation-- and it is just speculation-- is that the future Astros closer is currently playing in Triple-A. Jarred Cosart has turned up the K rate this year as a starter, but with all the SP depth Houston has, Cosart may get his first shot in the big leagues as the closer for the befuddled 'Stros.

The future: Cosart in AAA - (3-0, 2.63 ERA, 29 K in 27.1 IP)

Other closer situations to monitor: 

Miami Marlins

Current Closer: Steve Cishek (4.84 ERA, 4 S, 3 L)

I still dont understand why Cishek is the closer. I don't understand much the Marlins have done so far in 2013, to be honest. The bottom line here is that Cishek isn't a closer, he's a 7th-8th inning guy without the stuff to overpower hitters. He's a groundball pitcher in the biggest stadium in the league. It's just a weird fit. I think A.J. Ramos is the future for the Marlins and he should be able to fireball his way into the position before season's end.

The future: A.J. Ramos (3.71 ERA, 18 K in 17 IP, 2 BLSV)

Milwaukee Brewers:

Jim Henderson is holding down the fort right now and John Axford can't seem to pitch well with any consistency. Henderson has done well and boasts 6 saves without any blown chances. He also has 17 K through 13 IP. For some reason, there is still a feeling that Axford will get another shot. I doubt that, and I doubt Henderson can keep up this production as well. They have no one else to turn to, I for one would like to see Wily Peralta become a closer, he can't seem to be an effective starter but getting three outs could be a nice fit for him.

Other shaky stoppers:

J.J. Putz (Matt Reynolds, David Hernandez), Huston Street (Luke Gregerson, Dale Thayer), Brandon League (Kenley Jansen)


For up-to-date league-wide Closer News, click over to RotoBaller's Closer Depth Charts for the American League and the National League.  And be sure to check out the Ultimate Waiver Wire Watch List for in-depth analysis on gems that you may be able to find sitting on your waiver wire.  It’s one of the best fantasy baseball features currently on web!  

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