Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: Jason Grilli toast? Craig Kimbrel still hobbled?

by Tim Heaney on April 22, 2014 @ 07:30:01 PDT

 

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RP Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh Pirates
Not many of these lately for Grilli

Assessing all the fantasy baseball closers....

Jason Grilli blew a save chance on Saturday and Sunday, allowing a homer to Ryan Braun in each instance. The Pittsburgh Pirates' righty is now 4-for-7 on the year in SVOs. Grilli has struggled to regain form after his forearm strain last summer. His September stumbles have carried over.

Of course, since he allowed taters to the same player, it could just be an isolated case of bad timing. But the 37-year-old has fanned just seven in eight innings (his K/9 usually is studly), and he's lost almost 1 mph on his favored four-seamer. Fortunately, he's still getting ahead 0-1 frequently and is forcing similar swinging-strike rates to those from recent years.

Maybe there's something wrong with Grilli. Mark Melancon already is a save-diver darling; he did the gig admirably last year and would continue doing so if given another chance. Sign him now.

  • Is Craig Kimbrel 100%? He's had two shaky outings since returning to action, including him being pulled for Jordan Walden Saturday and his 30-pitch blown save (unearned run) Monday. On the bright side, after he blew the save and let two on, he punched out the next three batters, which could indicate he's turning a corner. Don't bench him yet, but further signs of trouble should pique your interest. Is someone still willing to buy him at his normal price?
  • The homer bug has plagued Ernesto Frieri, but he's only had three save chances and gave up a run in only three of nine appearances this year. He survived a long ball Monday to seal the deal. Frieri could be adjusting to his new, more diverse pitch group. With the lack of depth behind top setup man Joe Smith, expect the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to stick with their known commodity as their punctuation.
  • Chicago Cubs manager said he eventually wants to let Jose Veras fight to get his closer job back. Veras' three-run effort in mop-up work Sunday won't do him any favors. Pedro Strop wrapped up a four-run win Monday; he, along with chime-ins from Hector Rondon, should hog the gig in the coming weeks.
  • Matt Lindstrom has settled down since his recent pair of blown saves. He yielded one hit and one walk Monday but escaped with his second wrap-up of the year. Similar to the Angels' RP corps, the Chicago White Sox's bullpen hasn't done much to convince Robin Ventura he needs to change something. Daniel Webb is within striking distance with a few breaks, and whenever Nate Jones (back) returns, they'll revisit. Maikel Cleto is hanging around but isn't yet a realistic usurper.

Closer Depth Charts

Job Security (JS):
1 (unstable)
to
5 (untouchable)
Health Outlook (HO):
1 (fragile)
to
5 (durable)
: Up
 
+: Added
 
INJ: Injured
: Down
 
M: Minors
 
DL: Disabled List

AL East

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
Baltimore Orioles
2
5
Tommy Hunter Darren O'Day Brian Matusz
Evan Meek
Boston Red Sox
5
4
Edward Mujica Junichi Tazawa
New York Yankees
4
4
David Robertson Shawn Kelley Adam Warren
Matt Thornton
Dellin Betances
Tampa Bay Rays
4
4
Grant Balfour Joel Peralta Heath Bell
Jake McGee
Toronto Blue Jays
4
3
Casey Janssen DL Sergio Santos Steve Delabar

 

AL Central

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
Chicago White Sox
1
5
Matt Lindstrom Daniel Webb
Nate Jones DL
Maikel Cleto
Ronald Belisario
Cleveland Indians
3
5
John Axford Cody Allen Vinnie Pestano M
Bryan Shaw
Detroit Tigers
4
4
Joe Nathan Al Alburquerque Joba Chamberlain
Phil Coke
Kansas City Royals
5
5
Greg Holland Kelvin Herrera
Wade Davis
Tim Collins
Aaron Crow
Minnesota Twins
5
5
Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
Michael Tonkin M

 

AL West

Team
JS
HO
Closer
Understudy/Fill-in
Lurker(s)
Houston Astros
N/A
N/A
Committee Jesse Crain DL
Josh Fields
Chad Qualls
Matt Albers
Anthony Bass
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
4
5
Ernesto Frieri Joe Smith Dane De La Rosa M
Michael Kohn
Oakland Athletics
N/A
N/A
Committee Luke Gregerson
Ryan Cook
Sean Doolittle
Jim Johnson
Seattle Mariners
4
5
Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Tom Wilhelmsen
Texas Rangers
4
3
Joakim Soria Alexi Ogando
Neal Cotts
Neftali Feliz M
Jason Frasor

Click for the National League!

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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