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Closers Trending Up: Guerra, Johnson, Marshall

Javy Guerra:

Guerra has done all that he can do to fend off Kenley Jansen, and if he keeps striking out over 10 batters per nine while walking fewer than three he should hold onto the job. Despite Jansen pitching well, he will only get the opportunity to close if Guerra falters. Currently, Guerra is 7-8 in save opportunities and has a sparkling 1.52 FIP in 9.1 innings. He has generated a ton of ground balls, albeit in a short sample size, but he has pitched very well in the early portion of this season. Of course, the Dodgers have had a very easy schedule, so Guerra hasn’t faced the best competition. Even so, it looks like he is gaining more and more control of the ninth inning in Los Angeles.

Jim Johnson:

Johnson was another relative uncertainty in the closer role before the season, but with how well he has performed to start the year he likely will have a good deal of breathing room. This would not be a bad time to sell high on Johnson if you have a surplus of closers and can sell him to a team looking for saves. He has a 0.00 ERA thanks to a perfect left on base rate, but his 1.50 K/BB rate isn’t too impressive. He won’t give you great strikeouts, so selling him while his ERA is 0.00 could be at the pinnacle of his value.

Sean Marshall:

Marshall only has three saves, but he has pitched tremendously early in the year. He has nine strikeouts and two walks in 5.1 innings, despite allowing two earned runs. Don’t stress too heavily on his 3.38 ERA, it’s likely purely the result of a small sample. The Reds have not been in many save situations, so his save total should skyrocket as the Reds start winning more games, which is expected. Aroldis Chapman has been tremendous in a set-up role, but Marshall should have a solid comfort level in the ninth inning. The only unfortunate sign for Marshall is that as a closer, he will likely pitch less innings, as most managers only use them in “closer” situations. ZiPS has him at 69.3 innings for the season, which is probably a high-end estimation at this point.