Fantasy Baseball: Closing Arguments – Add Pat Neshek

Phillies Pat Neshek

It has been a dramatic week in the world of Closing Arguments. This week I will recommend you add Pat Neshek to your bullpen. The Phillies are now going with Pat Neshek as the closer and his widely available in fantasy baseball leagues. I will also discuss last week’s suggestion to drop Tony Watson as this has been hotly debated.

First things first, here is the sacred Closer list updated as of 09 JUN.

Current CloserNext in lineTeamLeagueNotes
Brad Brach Darren O'DayBaltimoreAmerican LeagueZach Britton DL
Craig KimbrelJoe KellyBostonAmerican League
Dellin BetancesAdam WarrenNew York YankeesAmerican LeagueAroldis Chapman DL
Alex ColomeBrad BoxbergerTampa BayAmerican LeagueBoxberger inj
Roberto OsunaJason GrilliTorontoAmerican League
David RobertsonTommy KahnleChicago White SoxAmerican LeagueNate Jones DL
Cody AllenAndrew MillerClevelandAmerican League
Justin WilsonFrancisco RodriguezDetroitAmerican League
Kelvin HerreraJoakim SoriaKansas CityAmerican League
Brandon KintzlerRyan PresslyMinnesotaAmerican League
Ken GilesLuke GregersonHoustonAmerican League
Bud NorrisYusmeiro PetitLos Angeles AngelesAmerican League
Santiago CasillaRyan MadsonOaklandAmerican League
Edwin DiazNick VincentSeattleAmerican League
Matt Bush Jeremy JeffressTexasAmerican League
Jim JohnsonMauricio CabreraAtlantaNational League
A.J. RamosKyle BarracloughMiamiNational League
Addison ReedFernando SalasNew York MetsNational LeagueJeurys Familia - Blood clot issue
Pat NeshekJoaquin BenoitPhiladelphiaNational LeagueHector Neris - removed from closer role
Koda GloverShawn KelleyWashingtonNational League
Wade DavisCarl EdwardsChicago CubsNational League
Raisel IglesiasDrew StorenCincinnatiNational League
Corey KnebelJacob BarnesMilwaukeeNational League
Tony WatsonFelipe RiveroPittsburghNational League
Seung Hwan OhTrevor RosenthalSt. LouisNational League
Fernando RodneyRandall DelgadoArizonaNational League
Greg HollandAdam OttavinoColoradoNational League
Kenley JansenSergio RomoLos Angeles DodgersNational League
Brandon MaurerRyan BuchterSan DiegoNational League
Mark MelanconDerek Law San FranciscoNational League

I want to say a few things about the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tony Watson situation. I believe this is an illustrative case for the reader to learn some important fake baseball lessons. First the article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Tony Watson and the closing situation is worth reading in its entirety.  Essentially, this is a murky mess going forward. Any of Watson / Nicasio / Rivero may close. As Pirates fans know, the team plays all of the arbitration / super-2 / trade value games to save money. They are a small market team and have to be financially frugal and hope to get lucky with the team essentially outperforming expectations.

Pirates Tony Watson

Justin Berl – Icon Sportswire

After I wrote last week’s article, Watson blew two more save chances in grand fashion. This did not make me feel good at all. In fact, I felt really lousy for the guy. Plenty of writers had commented on his poor performance; I was not alone on an island. It turns out that writing negative things about players, human beings after all, is difficult.

With all of that being said, please don’t spend a lot of FAAB dollars chasing Pirates pitchers. I would still drop Watson from your fake team and stash Nicasio or Rivero if you can hold a guy that isn’t getting a lot of save chances. The Pirates problems are wider than who is the closer. That being said I think they would be better served with Rivero in that role. Even if that hurts Watson’s MLB trade value and forces the Pirates to pay Rivero more next year. I think at some point you have to go for it, but what do I know?

The Tony Watson case is a learning opportunity, and here are my beliefs on Closers in bullet point format.

Tenets of using Closers in standard Fantasy Baseball formats and situations:

  • Closers change rapidly / there is high turnover
  • Relief pitching can be very valuable to MLB teams, but it is less valuable to teams that don’t frequently enter the late innings with a lead
  • Do not assume rational coaching / that best reliever will get the 9th inning [it is debated whether the 9th inning is the ideal spot for your best pitcher]
  • Do not bank on MLB trades or lack of trades
  • Do not invest a lot of capital in acquiring Closers
  • Do not overvalue Closers, especially on losing teams
  • Do buy cheap relievers with high strikeouts and good ratios [preferably on good teams] as lottery tickets

There are exceptions to every rule of course, and if you are desperate for saves you may have to break some of the above advice. As always the reader must craft action based on the advice given and their unique situations.

This week’s subject is Pat Neshek of the Philadelphia Phillies. As per Rotoworld, Pat Neshek is the Phillies closer in the short term. This is a similar situation to Milwaukee and Seattle where the closer is demoted to work on their stuff. Pat Neshek is 36 years old, and this season has 21 strikeouts, only four walks and a WHIP of 0.77 per www.mlb.com . What surprised me is that his CAREER WHIP is only 1.03 and he has pitched in 447 games. That is truly amazing. He also holds a career K:BB ratio of 399:124, this is also pretty darn good.

Reviewing the boxes you want to check for closers:

  1. Does he have the stuff [good ratios]?
  2. Does he play for a good team?
  3. Is he “not old” ?
  4. Is he the best reliever on the team?
  5. Closer role secure and established?

Pat Neshek is a YES to #1 and #4, in my book. However the Phillies are 21-37, this is not good. At 36 he falls into the old player category, even though he may still be effective in season to come. For the 5th question I would say no, in the Rotoworld link it specifically says in the short term. The Phillies being in last place are likely to be traders again at the deadline. Pat Neshek could get moved to a contender and would likely lose the closing gig.

As I mentioned in the tenets of closers, you don’t want to invest a lot and you don’t want to guess too strongly at possible future MLB trades. With all of that out of the way, I would still add Pat Neshek to your fantasy baseball teams in need of saves and good ratios.

 

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