There are a couple of changes to report in the closer roles for two National League Central teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers – or more like, make official, because these changes were on the radar in last week’s closer roundup.
It was only a matter of time before the Cardinals called up Greg Holland after he got some work in the minors. With Holland in the mix, it gives the Cardinals a bonafide closer at the back end of their bullpen instead of the dreaded “closer by committee” approach. The Cardinals bullpen only had one save to its credit early on.
The Brewers are in a little bit different situation. They had a solid closer in Corey Knebel but lost him to a hamstring injury late last week. Knebel was diagnosed with a torn hamstring and is expected to miss about six weeks. Losing Knebel is a big blow to an already shaky Milwaukee pitching staff.
It appears the Brewers will close by committee, including Jacob Barnes, Matt Albers, Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress. The committee is not off to a good start, failing to convert saves in their first three attempts since losing Knebel. I predict Hader gets the closing duties before all is said and done, even if manager Craig Counsell appears reluctant to do so.
If it wasn’t already understood, Hunter Strickland will be closing out games for the San Francisco Giants for the foreseeable future. Mark Melancon, who signed a big money free agent contract after the 2016 season will miss even more time after forearm surgery last September. There is no set timetable for Melancon’s return. In the meantime, Strickland has done more than held his own failing to give up a run in five appearances so far this year.
Last week I predicted Brad Boxberger will lose the closing job for the Arizona Diamonbacks. So far, he hasn’t blown a save and has a 0.00 ERA, but does have four walks in five innings pitched. He’s getting out of situations but those walks can come back to haunt pitchers.
I also said last week that Fernando Rodney would be on a short leash, not an unpopular opinion among fantasy players. He did nail down a save against the Houston Astros this week, but has blown two saves so far, one loss and one a walk-off win.
The blown save this week isn’t particularly on Rodney as there was a throwing error by Brian Dozier. However, Addison Reed came in with the bases loaded and managed to get away unharmed. With the Twins in win-now mode, I wonder how long they’ll continue to look to Rodney to close out games.Not closer related but I want to take this opportunity to say it takes a big man to admit when he’s wrong, and although I’m not a big man, I will admit Bryce Harper’s start to the season has been exactly what not only he needed as a free agent-to-be, but also for people who drafted him in the Top 10.
Harper’s currently leading the senior circuit in home runs and is producing the majority of the Washington Nationals offense who otherwise are off to a very slow start. Ah well, it is still early and regardless, you can’t get them all right.
If you have news, opinions, or questions about any closer situations in Major League Baseball, and how it impacts our fantasy baseball teams, comment below and lets create a weekly discussion thread to compliment Closer Roundup.