Emergency Closers: Antonio Bastardo and Javy Guerra

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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Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.

6 Responses to “Emergency Closers: Antonio Bastardo and Javy Guerra”

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  1. Brad Johnson says:

    “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.”

    Perhaps I’m picking nits, but shouldn’t we avoid confusing “one of the best relievers” with “one of the relievers with the best results to date.”

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    • Mr. Thell says:

      I think that’s a fair distinction, but he currently owns a 2.90 FIP after posting a 2.76 in 25 appearances last season. His K/9 stands at 9.84 for his (albeit brief) MLB career. I’m not buying just yet, but there’s an argument to be made it’s not just the end results.

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  2. John says:

    Wait a minute- how can Bastardo have a LOB% of 99.1? Doesn’t that mean he’s allowed over 100 baserunners and let one score? Am I missing something here?

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  3. Dave S says:

    Bastardo looks for all the world like a closer. He seems much more comfortable with the role than Madson ever has. I can’t wait to see how Antonio reacts to a bad outing.

    The only problem is that he’s a lefty. And the Phils don’t have another lefty in the pen.

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