Reliever Roulette: Huston Street hits the DL

(Image via NewsLocker.com)

(Image via NewsLocker.com)

While the closer landscape has certainly had its fair share of chaos so far this year, health has not yet been a major factor. Well, that all changed with the Huston Street injury news that broke Wednesday night. Street felt discomfort in his side during his pre-game warmup and the Angels promptly placed him on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain. So where do we go from here?

Anyone who’s familiar with baseball injuries will tell you that for fantasy purposes, an oblique strain is one of the most frustrating injuries a player can suffer. The DL stint almost always exceeds the minimum and the risk of re-aggravation is relatively high. With that in mind, the conservative estimate would be that Street is out for at least a month.

On the plus side, at least the replacement option here is quite obvious. Joe Smith got the save in Street’s absence and will serve as the Angels’ closer in the interim. He does have some experience in the role – he saved 15 games in 14’ and has been the team’s primary setup man the past two seasons, which makes him a more than capable fill-in. Smith doesn’t have major strikeout upside (career K/9 of 7.5), but over 2+ seasons with the Angels he’s posted an ERA of 2.66 and WHIP of 1.02. For as long as he has the job I would rank Smith in the 20-25 range among closers. Treat him as a must-add in almost all roto leagues.

In other news…

– The Reds bullpen is a disaster. No really, like’s it’s worse than what we thought of the Phillies situation two weeks ago. Hoover has been terrible and is no longer worth owning. While Cingrani appears to be the guy the team wants to put in the role, he’s currently the only lefty in their pen and has yet to resolve his control issues. By this process of elimination one would think Caleb Cotham would be next in lines for saves, but his usage patterns in recent games have not been consistent with that of a traditional closer. Still, Cotham has been Cincinnati’s best reliever so far this year and if I were forced to invest in this situation he would be my pick.

– The Detroit closer curse continues! K-rod has a 6.14 ERA and a 5/4 strikeout to walk ratio over his first eight outings. If you happen to own him, do yourself a favor and never watch him pitch – calling it stressful would be an understatement. That said, he’s still converted four of his five save chances and I see the Tigers giving him a fairly long leash. Mark Lowe and Justin Wilson would be the likely fill-in’s if anything were to happen, but despite diminished stuff I still expect K-rod to deliver his usual 30-save season. Treat him as a mid to low end number two closer moving forward.

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