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Monday, January 23, 2017

FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: KEEP AN EYE ON MATT BUSH FOR TEXAS CLOSING SPOT

Sometimes before a fantasy baseball season even gets started, you just know that a certain prospective closer is going to fail and likely quickly.  Think Fernando Rodney at any of his million stops, or more often with an unproven guy who doesn't have a high K rate, these closers are guys you don't drat but instead select their backups in forecasting the doom which seems imminent.  Such a situation could very well unfold in Texas where closer chaos has reigned for the last two seasons.  Whether it was Neftali Feliz or Shawn Tolleson, the ninth inning for Texas has been an annual adventure and 2017 looks like it could be more of the same.  Right now the Rangers are going to go into the season with San Dyson in the ninth and on the surface this would be understandable when you see he converted 38 saves with a 2.43 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.  Terrific looking numbers for sure but they don't tell the whole story with Dyson.  For one thing, Dyson's 2.4 K/BB rate is pretty poor and is a recipe for disaster in the ninth inning.  Also Dyson got quite a bit of batted ball luck last season and when his ERA was adjusted, came out to a more troubling 3.62.  Finally, Dyson's overall K/9 rate last season was a below-average 7.0 for a bullpen arm and that alone is a huge red flag.  With Dyson not being able to generate a good number of outs though strikeouts, he is in big potential trouble for issues when his BABIP luck evens out this season.  Guys who don't miss bats like Dyson are almost always going to give away the closing gig at some point and it seems here it would just be a matter of time before this would occur.

Now in terms of who would be next in line, scratch of Jake Diekmann who does throw hard but who is out until the All-Star Break after undergoing surgery on his intestines for collitis.  That leaves the very hard-throwing and very interesting Matt Bush.  Of course Bush is interesting because of his previous journey in making it to majors as a 30-year-old rookie last May.  Bush dealt with a great deal off personal trouble with substance abuse prior to turning his life around and just by making it back he is a success.  Upon his promotion, Bush quickly got into he eighth inning where his explosive fastball (which made him such a talked about prospect in the first place in going number 1 overall in 2004) ranked fifth in the majors at an average of 98.2,  61 strikeouts in 61.1 innings ensued.  What was really positive was the fact Bush also had good control in posting a 2.04 BB/9.  This is very rare for a rookie and also a guy who throws such power stuff.  As he goes into the 2017 season, Bush looks like a very good candidate to close eventually and his role in the eighth inning would make him the heir apparent on bullpen setup.

So when you evaluate whether or not to draft Sam Dyson this season, be sure you back him up with Matt Bush.  Ideally we would punt on Dyson and pick Bush in the late rounds where you could easily end up with the better pitcher.  This one is too obvious to not happen this season.


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