Unless your closer’s name is Mariano Rivera, there’s a possibility he’s going to get hurt at some point during the season. Pitchers are a fragile bunch. It happens. Two teams have been hit especially hard in that area this season.
If you had told the Phillies and Dodgers at the start of the season that their closers on June 30th would be Antonio Bastardo and Javy Guerra you’d have been laughed out of the building by Ruben Amaro and Ned Colletti. Yet, here we are. The two teams haven’t needed their star closers much; the Phillies would be in first with me at the back of their pen, and the Dodgers just aren’t good enough for an elite closer to matter. But, to the fantasy consumer, they mean plenty. Let’s take a look at the two new faces.
Antonio Bastardo: 34% owned
Of all relievers with at least 29IP – what Bastardo currently sits at – none have a lower ERA than his 0.93. Couple that with a 10.24 K/9 and 0.83 WHIP and he’s currently one of the best relievers in baseball closer or not. Injuries to Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras and Ryan Madson have given Bastardo a chance to close the games Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay don’t finish themselves. He’s a lefty with no problematic platoon splits that users a 92mph fastball and 83mph slider to keep hitters on both sides of the plate honest. His fly ball percentage is high at 58.7, which could cause problems in homer-friendly Citizen’s Bank Park, but generates enough K’s and swings and misses (15.7%) to make up for it. His LOB% is 99.1, so expect that to come back down to Earth. Bastardo is currently owned in just 34% of leagues, and Madson could come off the DL as early as Monday, but if you need immediate help and have a lame bench player you can dump he’s worth adding.
Javy Guerra: 6% owned
In Philly you have an idea of the reliever hierarchy. There’s a pecking order. In Los Angeles? Good luck. Incumbent closer Jonathan Broxton was scheduled to come off of the disabled list but has been shut down for at least three more weeks after a set back with his throwing elbow. Guerra, the reliever with just 15.1 innings pitched above AA, looks to be the closer at the moment, picking up the save in the Dodgers’ last save opportunity. His current 5.28 K/9 isn’t impressive, but he averaged over 8.00 K/9 in his time in the minors, so I’ll trust that sample until he proves otherwise in the majors. Kenly Jansen recently came off the DL and is an attractive choice to close, but I think his 5.33 BB/9 in 54 big league innings could keep him out of the role despite his crazy 14.17 K/9. Guerra is healthy and is currently pitching well, which might be all Don Mattingly needs to make his selection. For now, that is.
*ownership based on Yahoo! leagues
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