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The Nationals closer has been a hot topic in Fantasy Baseball circles the last few weeks. Would it be Shawn Kelley? Maybe the Nationals would go with the closer of the future Koda Gloverr? How about none of the above?
Blake Treinen was a bit of a surprise and he will start the year as the closer. He didn't get drafted in most leagues and is likely on the waiver wire. And as most Fantasy owners know, anyone with a the closing job should be rostered. It doesn't mean Treinen will keep the job all season. If he continues to pitch like he did in the spring, he won't lose the job, but dominating in the spring and closing games during the season under pressure is a completely different atmosphere.
Treinen has pitched 4.2 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and a 0.21 WHIP. He averages 95 miles per hour with his fastball but he doesn't get a lot of strikeouts. He had an 8.46 K/9 last season, but he throws a sinker that induces a lot of ground balls and Texas Rangers closer Sam Dyson had success with a similar profile.
Treinen had a 65.9 percent ground ball rate last season and allowed just five home runs in 67 innings. For his career, he has a 0.49 HR/9. That's great for a closer, but Treinen still has issues with walks. Treinen had a 4.16 BB/9 last season and 4.26 two years ago. This will lose someone a closer job. The Nationals seem to believe Glover is the future closer and if Treinen falters early, it wouldn't be surprising to see Glover take over. The Nationals said they wanted resiliency in a closer and they are concerned about the usage of Kelley, since he's had Tommy John surgery twice.
The other factor with the Nationals is they could still trade for a closer. There have been a lot of rumors with them dealing for David Robertson since the White Sox are in rebuild mode. Chances are Treinen isn't the closer by the end of the season, but we are often surprised by many pitchers we don't expect to succeed. If Treinen is available, add him. I wouldn't spend a lot of FAAB on him though unless I was desperate for saves.
Jason Kipnis is going to start the season on the disabled list and the Indians will move Jose Ramirez to second base. Depending on the league rules for eligibility, Ramirez will add second base to his third base and outfield eligibility giving him a slight boost. Third base is really deep, so being able to use Ramirez at second base helps his value. Yandy Diaz will start at third base for the Indians.
Oakland Athletics To Go With Committee at Closer
The worst words a Fantasy owner can hear is “closer by committee.” Thanks to the A's for causing ulcers to the Fantasy community. A's manager Bob Melvin said the team could open the year with more than one closer. Ryan Madson had the job last season and will vie with Santiago Casilla and Sean Doolittle for saves. Doolittle has the best arm, but has problems staying healthy and was homer-prone last season. Casilla allowed five runs in a game the other day, but has closer experience. I'd lead Madson, but don't feel confident about it. Any of the three could emerge. If they're available and you are desperate for saves, you can add one and see how it works out in Oakland.
Aaron Judge was named the starting right fielder for the Yankees. Judge has power, but struggles to make contact, striking out 44 percent of the time in 27 games over 84 at-bats. He hits a lot of fly balls with a lot of hard contact, but if he doesn't make adjustments, it will be difficult to have success and keep the job. The average won't be high, so he's limited to 15-team deep leagues and AL-only.