I don’t recall a more volatile time in the fantasy closer market than what’s transpired over the last two weeks approaching the trade deadline, and the hits keep coming. The carousel has to stop at some point and time may be running out to pick up an asset to help in this scarce rotisserie resource. Let’s look at some prime targets as we head into the weekend.
Edwin Diaz has recorded 52 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched this year while issuing just eight free passes. He’s even improved his K/BB ratio to 40/4 K/BB over his last 18 appearances. Queue the Dellin Betances comparisons, at least on paper. Diaz’s heater gets up to triple digits, and regularly sits in the high 90’s. Tuesday night, the flamethrower threw 13 straight fastballs before pulling out a slider. Truth be told, he doesn’t need a secondary pitch. This rookie is highly animated on the mound and fun to watch, and if you need to make up ground in saves, the Mariners’ newly anointed closer could put up elite numbers if he can handle the pressure of pitching in the ninth inning.
Huston Street just hit the 15-day disabled list, this time due to knee inflammation. At this point, it seems as though he’s being held together with scotch tape. In his stead, Cam Bedrosian struck out the side to chalk up his first career save. The 24-year-old leans heavily on the fastball, occasionally mixing in a quality slider 10-12 mph slower than his main offering. It’s enough to keep hitters from sitting on his fastball and also keeps runners off the base paths. The Angels of Anaheim don’t figure to have as many save opportunities as the Mariners, so Diaz is worth the higher FAAB bid.
Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith have left Miller Park for greener pastures, leaving a void that will be filled by a veteran failed starter, turned reliever. Tyler Thornburg doesn’t strike out two batters per inning, but a closer with 61 K’s in a little under 44 innings of work is a nice asset to find on the wire. The repertoire doesn’t blow you away at first glance, but by mixing locations and even changing speeds with his curve, opposing hitters have enough to think about to keep them off balance.
If you blinked, you may have missed Will Harris’ short stint as the Houston Astros closer. That means front office brass can finally anoint their favorite son as the closer. They didn’t want Luke Gregerson closing, but given Ken Giles’ poor spring showing, they had no choice. Houston’s prized off-season acquisition seemingly took forever to make it through the rough waters early in the season, but it’s actually been smooth sailing for awhile now. Dating back to May 9th, the former Phillie has compiled a 1.74 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 47 strikeouts across 31 innings.
Through the beginning of June, Reds closer Tony Cingrani had compiled a 1.48 WHIP and five blown saves. He then stopped using his slider and used only his four-seam fastball and the occasional changeup. The fruits have been a 1.33 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is a sad 10/6 over that stretch, but fans aren’t complaining since the southpaw is no longer blowing saves left and right. This makes mining for nuggets in the Reds bullpen less enticing if you’re only after saves. Still, Raisel Iglesias is worth a look to boost your ratios. Since coming off the disabled list on June 21st, the Reds sophomore boasts a 0.38 ERA and 0.72 WHIP in 23.2 IP over 12 appearances.