Atlanta Braves: There is nothing wrong with Arodys Vizcaino as he will begin the 2018 MLB season as the Atlanta closer but a player to keep an eye on in deeper leagues is A.J. Minter. He may be the closer of the future and that future may come sooner than you think if Vizcaino’s performance slips or if he is dealt at some point this season. Minter has value even if he’s not closing as he can be a ratio protector who will add some strikeouts, even in a relief role.
— MLB (@MLB) March 29, 2018
Chicago White Sox: The Sox have decided to split the closer role between Joakim Soria and Nate Jones. This is terrible news for Fantasy owners as it decreases the value of both pitchers. With Soria being right-handed and Jones a southpaw it’s logical that the White Sox would play matchups and choose a closer based on who is batting in the ninth inning. Of course, this assumes that neither reliever is used earlier in the game. Jones was the better pitcher in spring training but he missed time early in the spring and his injury history could be the reason Chicago is holding off on naming a single closer. If I had to choose between the two, Jones would be my guy, but this is probably a situation to avoid if possible.
Miami Marlins: If there is one current closer that almost has no chance to keep the job all season, it’s Brad Ziegler. He will pick up saves for Miami in the early going but let’s face it; if he’s pitching well, he will be traded at some point, and if he’s not pitching well, Kyle Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider will be there to push him aside. How many saves do we expect Miami to gather this season anyway?
New York Mets: Yes, new manager Mickey Callaway has stated that he won’t be afraid to use Jeurys Familia or A.J. Ramos earlier than the ninth inning if the situation calls for it. This should not deter you from using Familia. If Ramos was left-handed, this would be more worrisome, but both are right-handers, so there isn’t much difference in using Familia earlier than Ramos. Plus, with the control problems that Ramos can have at times, it’s probably beneficial not to have him pitch the 9th inning on a permanent basis.
Philadelphia Phillies: While Hector Neris is expected to be the Philadelphia closer come Opening Day, Gabe Kapler has also let it be known that he isn’t against playing the matchup game in the ninth inning. In all honesty, this is the smart thing to do. Every game isn’t necessarily “saved” in the ninth inning. Sometimes the most important outs are gathered in the seventh or eighth inning. Still, not having one closer rarely works. Neris is still the reliever you want.
St. Louis Cardinals: With Luke Gregerson expected to open the season on the disabled list due to a hamstring injury, Dominic Leone is expected to be the team’s primary closer for at least the first half of April. What happens when Gregerson returns will likely depend upon how well Leone pitches. Gregerson is far from a lock to regain the closer role if Leone is pitching well. It’s also safe to wonder if this is the team that will eventually make a run at free agent Greg Holland. He is likely better than either Gregerson or Leone.
|Team||Closer||Bullpen||Deep Potential||DL||Top Holds Reliever|
|ARI||Brad Boxberger||Archie Bradley/Yoshihisa Hirano/Fernando Salas||Archie Bradley|
|ATL||Arodys Vizcaino||Jose Ramirez/A.J. Minter||A.J. Minter||Jose Ramirez|
|BAL||Brad Brach||Mychal Givens/Darren O'Day/Miguel Castro||Miguel Castro||Zach Britton||Darren O' Day|
|BOS||Craig Kimbrel||Matt Barnes/Heath Hembree/Joe Kelly/Tyler Thornburg/Carson Smith||Tyler Thornburg||Joe Kelly|
|CHC||Brandon Morrow||Carl Edwards/Pedro Strop/Steve Cishek/Justin Wilson||Carl Edwards||Justin Wilson|
|CHW||Joakim Soria||Danny Farquhar/Juan Minaya/Nate Jones||Juan Minaya||Nate Jones|
|CIN||Raisel Iglesias||David Hernandez/Michael Lorenzen/Wandy Peralta/Kevin Shackelford||David Hernandez|
|CLE||Cody Allen||Andrew Miller/Nick Goody/Zach McAllister||Andrew Miller|
|COL||Wade Davis||Adam Ottavino/Bryan Shaw/Jake McGee||Adam Ottavino||Bryan Shaw|
|DET||Shane Green||Joe Jimenez/Alex Wilson||Joe Jimenez||Alex Wilson|
|HOU||Ken Giles||Chris Devinski/Joe Smith/Will Harris/Hector Rondon/Brad Peacock||Chris Devinski||Hector Rondon|
|KC||Kelvin Herrera||Brandon Maurer/Wily Peralta||Brandon Maurer|
|LAA||Cam Bedrosian||Blake Parker/Kenyan Middleton/Jim Johnson||Kenyan Middleton||Blake Parker|
|LAD||Kenley Jansen||Pedro Baez/Josh Fields/Scott Alexander||Josh Fields|
|MIA||Brad Ziegler||Kyle Barraclough/Junichi Tazawa/Jarlin Garcia/Drew Steckenrider||Drew Steckenrider||Kyle Barraclough|
|MIL||Corey Knebel||Jeremy Jeffress/Jacob Barnes/Matt Albers||Josh Hader||Jacob Barnes|
|MIN||Fernando Rodney||Addison Reed/Taylor Rogers/Zach Duke||Addison Reed|
|NYM||Jeurys Familia||A.J Ramos/Anthony Swarzak/Jeremy Blevins||Anthony Swarzak||A.J. Ramos|
|NYY||Aroldis Chapman||Dellin Betances/Adam Warren/Chad Green/David Robertson/Tommy Kahnle||David Robertson|
|OAK||Blake Treinen||Santiago Casilla/Yusemiro Petit/Chris Hatcher||Ryan Dull||Ryan Dull||Santiago Casilla|
|PHI||Hector Neris||Luis Garcia/Tommy Hunter/Pat Neshek||Luis Garcia||Pat Neshek|
|PIT||Felipe Rivero||George Kontos/Michael Feliz|
|STL||Dominic Leone||Matt Bowman/Tyler Lyons/Bud Norris/Brett Cecil||Luke Gregerson||Bud Norris|
|SD||Brad Hand||Kirby Yates/Kazuhisa Makita||Kazuhisa Makita||Kirby Yates|
|SF||Mark Melancon||Hunter Strickland/Sam Dyson/Tony Watson||Sam Dyson||Hunter Strickland|
|SEA||Edwin Diaz||Juan Nicasio/Nick Vincent||Juan Nicasio|
|TB||Alex Colome||Dan Jennings/Sergio Romo||Sergio Romo|
|TEX||Alex Claudio||Keone Kela/Jake Diekman/Matt Bush||Keone Kela|
|TOR||Roberto Osuna||Danny Barnes/Ryan Tepera/Aaron Loup/Seung-Hwan Oh||Danny Barnes|
|WSH||Sean Doolittle||Koda Glover/Brandon Kintzler/Ryan Madson/Shawn Kelley||Koda Glover||Brandon Kintzler|
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
Brad Boxberger Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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