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Monday, February 12, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: KEEP AN EYE ON BUD NORRIS IN ST. LOUIS

With the St. Louis Cardinals having let 2017 closer Seung-Hwan Oh depart to the Texas Rangers in free agency and before that saw the promising but inconsistent Trevor Rosenthal succumb to Tommy John surgery, there remains a hole in the ninth inning for the team as 2018 fantasy baseball gets set to launch.  While Greg Holland remains a very valuable piece that could be had on the market, the Cardinals have not gone that route yet and instead on Monday, inked lefty reliever Bud Norris who actually could be a possible solution himself for the closer role this season.  By now it is well-established that Norris has been a failed starting pitcher through various stops around the major leagues but the Los Angeles Angels may have stumbled onto something by placing him in the closer role during the middle portion of 2017.  Almost immediately, Norris saw an uptick in velocity with his fastball and the one weapon the veteran always seemed to have previously was a heater that could net strikeouts.  Well Norris took to the role quickly and overall saved 19 saves and punched out 74 batters in just 62 innings.  Yes, Norris' 4.21 ERA and 1.34 WHIP were ugly that was helped by three failed starts prior to going to the bullpen.  Now as of this signing, the Cardinals have not said if Norris will be involved in saves and we are more prone to liking the chances of Tyler Lyons more at the moment.  However like Oh in Texas and Addison Reed in Minnesota, Norris should at least be watched in spring training and perhaps early in the regular season in order to get a better read on his outlook.  With the Cardinals in need of a steady presence in the ninth inning, Norris make be able to fit the bill.


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