There are tons of moving parts in the closer realm right now, with Brain Wilson being the latest reliever to succumb to injury. For the most part, relievers have not struggled too heavily with ineffectiveness. There are none that are currently on the hot seat to the extent that one blown save will have them removed from their role. With that said, there have been a few interesting trends that we have seen over the past few weeks.
Casilla received the first save opportunity since Wilson’s injury, so he is obviously the guy to grab if he is somehow still available in your league. He is being grabbed left and right on ottoneu, as Chad Young pointed out. And Chris Cwik pointed out that he was likely the next in line, so hopefully you listened to Chris and grabbed Casilla before last night. He is a rather solid pitcher, despite having a so-so strikeout-to-walk ratio. He generates ground balls while not allowing home runs, so while he is not an ideal back-end reliever due to his low strikeout-to-walk ratio, he should remain effective enough to hold onto the role. He will not have an extremely long leash, but a few good performances should give him some breathing room.
The Diamondbacks have been in a ton of save situations this season, and they have been forced to rest J.J. Putz during some of those opportunities. In his absence, Brian Shaw has received the chances, recording two saves in seven innings pitched. David Hernandez had pitched two consecutive days before his first opportunity, but in Shaw’s second chance Hernandez had only thrown one time in four days, so it was likely that he was available. Shaw entered in the eighth and finished the game off with 1.1 innings pitched and a strikeout while allowing no base runners. J.J. Putz has had a history with injuries, so if anything happens to Putz, it may be Shaw that gets the first chance at the closer gig. If you are looking to handcuff Putz, Shaw may have sneaked past Hernandez on the closer depth chart.
Cruz recorded a save last night for the Pirates. Joel Hanrahan has been considered day-to-day with a hamstring injury that he suffered during his save on Sunday. There is reason to worry about Hanrahan and the injury, but no reason to exactly panic quite yet. Cruz seems to be the next in line, and there is a good chance that Hanrahan gets traded mid-season. If you are looking to hold onto the Pirates saves throughout the season, grab Cruz now to ensure that you have Hanrahan’s handcuff. Things can obviously change before then, and Evan Meek is a candidate to close as well in the future, but for now it looks like the role will belong to Cruz if Hanrahan’s injury becomes more serious or if he eventually gets moved.