The Los Angeles Angels and the Baltimore Orioles dominate this week’s installment of our weekly update on fantasy baseball closer situations. Lets get to it.
Los Angeles Angels
On May 13, Keynan Middleton left the game against the Minnesota Twins with the dreaded words, “elbow stiffness”. He is now on the list for Tommy John surgery and will be out the remainder of the year. At this time and as evidenced by our Angels depth chart, the closing situation in Los Angeles is very muddy.
The Twins saw Middleton, Jim Johnson, and Cam Bedrosian all in the series as “closers” with Justin Anderson blowing a save on May 11th. Anderson did pick up a save earlier this week but the situation is far from clear.
With Johnson, Bedrosian and Anderson all with saves, it’s very tough to determine who, if any of them, will get the bulk of the opportunities. We also consider Blake Parker as a potential closer. Coming into the season, one weakness the Angels had was indeed their bullpen and now it seems it’s an even bigger concern.
The situation in Baltimore is starting to get a little clearer. Zach Britton threw live batting practice on May 15 and is scheduled to ramp up his throwing both in live batting practice as well as bullpen sessions in the coming days.
This is great news on a variety of fronts for the O’s. On the one hand, they have their all-star closer back and won’t have to rely on a committee. The other upside for the O’s is that if Britton is back to full strength and the O’s are out of playoff contention (check), he may bring a fair amount of talent back if management decides to sell at the trade deadline. Perhaps the above noted Angels or the Twins could be interested.
From a fantasy standpoint, it really is a no brainer. If Britton hasn’t been picked up in your league, do it now. Darren O’Day and the rest of the committee will have little to no value if he can come back and be the closer he was in 2016 with 47 saves and a 0.54 ERA.
It’s safe to say the Braves are way ahead of schedule in their rebuilding plan with regards to winning ball games. As of Thursday, they find themselves in first place in the NL East, a division that the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies were supposed to contend and the Nationals eventually running away with it.
The problem is the Braves aren’t able to lock down games when it matters. Arodys Vizcaino has been very inconsistent and manager Brian Snitker has made comments about possibly bringing in A.J. Minter or Dan Winkler to close things out.
Vizcaino and Minter both earned saves so far, but Vizcaino has blown two and Minter’s WHIP is over 1.56, not instilling a ton of confidence. Winkler already had seven holds in 20 apperances. While this might not make a lot of sense now, it’s possible the Braves could be even a third team interested in Zach Britton if his services are offered later this summer. We won’t put anything past GM Alex Anthopolous with respect to pulling off a big deal.
The extra innings this week really don’t have anything to deal with closers. It’s more of how the game is policed in a good way. Robinson Cano was hit with an 80 game suspension this past week from Major League Baseball, although he is able to serve it while on the DL for his hand. Cano is the third Seattle Mariners player, following Nelson Cruz and Dee Gordon, to get hit with the suspension.
There are a lot of variables as to how players test positive but playing ignorant isn’t one of them. “I didn’t know what I was taking,” or, “it was a false test,” are some of the better (read: lame) excuses that players and agents come up with. I’m not sure what ever happened to, “I got caught so I have to face the punishment.”
I know. Nobody takes accountability for themselves anymore. It’s always somebody else’s fault. Cano is no different. It was a, “Dominican doctor,” who prescribed whatever it was that he took.
For all the criticisms that former commissioner Bud Selig took from the, winning the all-star game equaled home field advantage in the World Series, to the continued ban of Pete Rose, Selig really cracked down on steroids and PEDs to clean up the game. Hats off to him for doing it.