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Monday, April 11, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: KEEP HECTOR NERIS CLOSE IN PHILLY

Monday is here already and that means it is time to delve in once again among the crazy world of the fantasy baseball closer.  Let's get right to all the latest:

-Jeanmar Gomez seems to be the new name of the day when it comes to the Philadelphia Phillies closer carousel.  We have already seen David Hernandez and Dailer Hinojosa fail in trying to nail down a save and then the veteran Gomez comes in and picks up two in 2 days.  Manager Pete Mackanin refused to officially name Gomez but he is obviously the guy to own right now.  In this space though and also in our annual Fantasy Sports Boss Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, it was the hard-throwing Hector Neris who we touted as the best closing option on the team.  While very raw, Neris pitched very well as a rookie in 2015 when he logged a 3.79 ERA and 1.15 WHIP while striking out 41 batters in 40.1 innings.  Neris has been tremendous so far this season as well as he has thrown 4.1 scoreless inning with 5 strikeouts and only 1 hit surrendered.  Gomez meanwhile is a guy who has only an average K rate that is not conducive to the ninth inning and his career results have been hot and cold both as a starter and in the bullpen.  The margin for error is much thinner for Gomez then it is for Neris and we think long-term the latter will be the better option.  This situation reminds us of the Toronto bullpen early last season.  We had suggested hard-throwing rookie Roberto Osuna as the better closing option while the team went through a few other options instead.  We all know how this turned out as Osuna eventually claimed the role and excelled into the playoffs.  He won the battle again in spring training over Drew Storen and now looks like one of the better young stoppers in the game.  Not saying this is what will happen in Philly but Neris looks like a future closer for the team while Gomez does not. 

-So far no issues with New York Yankees closer Andrew Miller's broken pisiform bone in his right wrist.  Ever since he suffered the break, Miller vowed to pitch through it given it was his non-throwing hand and he has not complained about any additional problems there since.  Tough news for those who own Dellin Betances since he will now remain in setup but Miller's owners look like they will get the firm month-plus of saves they expected. 

-Jeremy Jeffress has taken full advantage of Will Smith being out with a torn MCL in his knee to nail down three saves in three chances with a 0.00 ERA.  While very raw as a closer, Jeffress looks like the nice work he did in the bullpen in 2015 after failing as a starter is legit.  With Smith not expected back at least until May and maybe longer as he tries to rehab the injury, Jeffress is looking more secure by the day.

-The heat came down a bit on Texas Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson after he picked up a scoreless save in his last outing after back-to-back disasters prior to that outing.  Tolleson still has a ton to prove in terms of being the team's closer but the setup in front of him has not been terrific either which helps his cause. 

 

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