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Thursday, April 28, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: MORE INJURY FRUSTRATION FOR HUSTON STREET

When it comes to the fantasy baseball stock of Los Angeles Angels closer Huston Street throughout his entire Major League career, the one common theme concerning the outlook of the guy on a yearly basis went something like this:  "very good pitcher but guaranteed to hit the DL at least once during the season."  Yes Street was your classic boom or bust guy in that his numbers were always good to very good but the inevitable DL stint clouded and took a major chunk of his value away.  Things have not changed much in 2016 as the Angels placed Street on the 15-day DL late Wednesday with a dreaded oblique strain.  That means top setup man Joe Smith is back in the closing chair as he has done at times over the last two years while Street has been out with various ailments.  Smith is already off to a good start as he nailed down the save Wednesday night and he is a must own grab in all fantasy baseball leagues due to his high level of performance in setup since becoming a pro.  In fact Smith will likely be saving games for awhile for the Angels as oblique strains for a pitcher usually entail them missing about a month or more.  While it is frustrating to do so, it still is in your best interest to stash Street in your DL spot because he remains a highly effective pitcher. 

-The Detroit Tigers got back closer Francisco Rodriguez from his family emergency leave.  Still no word on what exactly it was that had Rodriguez absent from the team but maybe it explains his rough (6.14 ERA) start.  While Rodriguez successfully gave himself a second major league life the last few years by working more off his secondary stuff than with his fading heater, the fact of the matter is that his margin for error was growing razor thin as his velocity continued to dip.  He did whiff two in a scoreless non-save chance Wednesday so maybe with a clearer head Rodriguez will start throwing better. 

-It has not been a very smooth handoff at the back end of the Minnesota Twins bullpen from injured closer Glen Perkins to setup man Kevin Jepsen.  With a ballooning 4.66 ERA, Jepsen has been hit at a fairly decent clip and has given up runs in four of his last five outings (2 appearances were unearned runs).  Perkins meanwhile still has not even begun throwing which means the closer role is Jepsen's for awhile if he can get his act together.  If he can't, Trevor May is making a case that he should be considered as he has registered a very good 2.66 ERA and racked up an insane 20 strikeouts in just 12.1 innings pitched.  Control is an issue for May (7 walks) which doesn't give a manager comfort in the ninth inning but the high K stuff works in that setup.  Keep May close by.

-Finally still nothing definitive about the setup of the Cincinnati Reds back end of the bullpen since J.J. Hoover was given the boot from the ninth inning.  What we do know is that Tony Cingrani and Brandon Wood have pitched in setup situations while Caleb Cottham has continued to pitch very well with a high K Rate.  That makes him the guy to own even if no save chance has appeared lately to confirm this assessment.

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