One position that has been off our waiver wire to begin the season has been closers. To-date, the position has been oddly stable. That’s partially because there are more and more closer by committees emerging as baseball teams are starting to move away from the traditional closers. Sure, it’s only in a few situations now, but it’s coming and you can look no further than Craig Kimbrell is still without a job to know that teams are no longer willing to pay pitcher’s closer money. Instead, they are paying the best talent.
Still, as fantasy owners, many league in which we play value closers and owners are always looking for saves. So, we’ve got a few names for you this week to consider as you contemplate your waiver wire bids.
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Brett Anderson, SP, OAK (CBS: 29% owned)
The soft-tossing southpaw has now started three games for Oakland and is a perfect three-for-three in wins with a great 2.50 ERA. He’s facing off against the Rangers and Jays in his next two starts, which bodes well for his chances to up that win total.
Diego Castillo, RP, TAM (CBS: 25% owned)
Jose Alvarado owns the closer gig for the Rays, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to get all the saves. Kevin Cash will not hesitate to use Alvarado in high leverage situations, which means that Castillo will also get his opportunities to close out games. Toss in the strong peripherals, and there’s a lot to like in Diego Castillo.
Austin Dean, MIA (CBS: 2% owned)
Dean got off to a great start at Triple-A New Orleans, resulting in a quick promotion to the Marlins. He made his presence felt immediately, going 4-for-4 against the Phillies Saturday with a homer, 5 RBI, and three runs scored. That performance will earn him playing time in the anemic Miami offense.
Dylan Cease, SP, CWS (CBS: 22% owned)
The ChiSox have never been shy about promoting their younger players (see Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada) and will treat Cease in the same manner. Assuming he continues to pitch well and Ervin Santana doesn’t, Cease could be plying his trade in the Windy City in the near future.
Caleb Ferguson, RP, LAD (CBS: 3% owned)
Yes, it was only a spot start on Saturday, but he held his own. He returns to his role of long relief, but in deep Mixed Leagues where the free agent pool of starting pitching has been ravaged, the strikeout-per-inning potential from Ferguson has its charms.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, CLE (CBS: 9% owned)
The past two years haven’t been good ones for Gonzalez, but the move to Cleveland should guarantee a steady diet of at-bats. He’s making his debut today and is hitting in the three-hole. On most clubs, he’d be a fourth outfielder. In Cleveland, he’s an every-day offensive threat.
Kevin Kiermaier, OF, TB (CBS: 43% owned)
Kiermaier is off to a great start with two homers, three stolen bases, and a .304 BA. More importantly, it’s the middle of April and he hasn’t found his way to the IL. Let’s hope that trend continues.
Richard Lovelady, RP, KC (CBS: 6% owned)
The Royals bullpen is a mess. Lovelady is coming off a very good 2018 campaign at Triple-A Omaha where he was 9-for-12 in save chances with a very solid 2.47 ERA. He could very well be on the fast track to owning a role of prominence in the Kansas City bullpen.
Jordan Lyles, RP, PIT (CBS: 17% owned)
Those ten strikeouts against the Cubs in Lyles last start should have your attention. The fact that he will be facing the offensively challenged Giants in his next start should add to that attention.
A.J. Minter, RP, ATL (CBS: 33% owned)
Last week we mentioned that Minter could work his way into save situations. This week he will. Arodys Vizcaino is now on the IL dealing with more shoulder woes, leaving Minter as the go-to guy in the ninth inning for the Braves.
Mitch Moreland, 1B, BOS (CBS: 32% owned)
He’s now up to four homers in his past seven games and could be the best bat in a struggling Boston lineup. Take advantage of his current tear and find a home for him in your active roster.
Blake Parker, RP, MIN (CBS: 34% owned)
Did Rocco Baldelli fib to us? The saves-by-committee in the Twin Cities currently looks to be a committee-of-one, with Parker clearly in the driver’s seat.
Josh Phegley, C, OAK (CBS: 33% owned)
In his past five games, Phegley is 8-for-19 with three homers and eight RBI. He’s a #2 catcher, hitting like a #1 and being rostered as a #3.
Kevin Pillar, OF, SF (CBS: 18% owned)
Four homers, 12 RBI, and a stolen base makes for a pretty good week for the former Jay. He’s no Brandon Belt, but in a pinch will definitely get the job done.
Chad Pinder, 2B/OF, OAK (CBS: 32% owned)
Less than a month into the season, Pinder has played at first, second, third, and in the outfield. The A’s have a super-sub, and one that is also off to a great start, with 3 homers, 8 RBI, 10 runs scored, and a .308 BA. In deeper Leagues, that roster flexibility is a huge asset.
CC Sabathia, SP, NYY (CBS: 21% owned)
Five innings of one-hit ball is a nice way to make your 2019 debut. We all need 150 inning type #4/5 type starters and Sabathia should more than fit the bill.
Jeff Samardzija, SP, SF (CBS: 27% owned)
Sharky is off to a great start, tossing a lot of zero’s against both the Padres and Rockies. His next start in Washington against the Nationals offense should provide a good test.
Touki Toussaint, SP/RP, ATL (CBS: 39% owned)
Is Sean Newcomb’s job in jeopardy? You bet it is, as the Braves have sent him to Triple-A Gwinnett to work on his control. This leaves Toussaint starting every fifth day for the Braves and a must own.
Five Under 5%
Enyel De Los Santos, SP, PHI (CBS: 2% owned)
The Phillies rotation has been anything but stellar in the early going. On the other hand, De Los Santos has been. In two starts at Lehigh Valley, he has allowed only one earned run, with 19 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched. Keep him on the radar as the Phillies are in tough in the NL East and will only exercise so much patience with their struggling starters.
JaCoby Jones, OF, DET (CBS: 2% owned)
A little pop, little speed, mediocre contact skills, and a full-time job in center field for the Tigers. Three-out-of-four isn’t all that bad?
Shawn Kelley, RP, TEX (CBS: 3% owned)
Jose LeClerc has struggled badly in his past two appearances. He’s not in any immediate danger of losing the closer job in Texas, but should he continue to struggle, Kelley is likely the short-term answer in the ninth inning for the Rangers.
Antonio Senzatela, SP, COL (CBS: 3% owned)
Senzatela is now two appearances into his rehab assignment at Triple-A Albuquerque and a return to Colorado appears to be just around the corner. Chad Bettis stay in the Rockies rotation could be coming to an end.
Erik Swanson, SP, SEA (CBS: 1% owned)
Wade LeBlanc is scheduled for an MRI on his injured oblique but looks to be heading for what could potentially be a lengthy IL stint. Swanson looks to be taking the Tacoma-Seattle shuttle and will be facing the Indians inept offense in his debut. As a streaming option, it doesn’t get much better.