Fantasy Baseball: closing arguments – drop Brandon Maurer

Padres Brandon Maurer

After an extended all star break, we are back and bullpen situations have changed. Stay tuned here and on the twitter machine as the trades are likely to come fast and furious over until the deadline on the 31st. Keep in mind that this deadline isn’t all inclusive, some MLB players can be traded after the July 31, but they are normally lesser fantasy relevant players. Just while writing this article, Anthony Swarzak got sent to the Brewers.

Surprisingly according to Yahoo, Brandon Maurer is still owned in 56% of leagues. This makes less sense to me than the Game of Thrones – Bran storyline. That stuff is really out there. This is too high and its time to drop him.

He lost his closing role in the 9th inning with the move to Kansas City. To make matters worse, he is firmly behind Kelvin Herrera who is locked in as their closer. The park move is probably neutral, Kansas City is not a bad place to pitch.The park factor information I have is a few years old but has Kansas City as slightly worse for overall runs but better on home runs than San Diego. Basically the parks are a wash.

Well he still has value as a deep league injury stash or handcuff right? Yes some value in that for sure. But pitcher’s performance often changes when switching to a new team and park. He could be outperformed and lose his 8th inning spot.

Even Brandon Maurer holds his 8th inning spot, there a number of other players in that role I would rather own based on stuff or save upside. He has been pitching well, I am not arguing that. Let’s take a look at the save upside. Kansa City has a W-L record of 52-47, and are currently in an AL wildcard spot. Looking at W-L across all of MLB, Kansas City would rank about 10th. This is pretty good obviously.

Athletics Ryan Madson

Michael Macor – The Chronicle

However some of the 8th inning players on the top five teams are available and I would rather have them versus Brandon Maurer. This includes in order (with ownership %) Pedro Baez 7%, Ryan Madson 51%, and Joe Kelly 7%.  Madson may be tough to get but the other to should be available and are preferable to  Maurer in my opinion. I would not speculate on the 8th inning relievers in Houston, Milwaukee, Colorado, Arizona because the role is uncertain and they’re clearly hitters parks. Even a guy like Juan Nicasio for the Pirates might be preferable because of their stadium being even more pitcher friendly. If you can’t find a better option, certainly keep Brandon Maurer, but I am guessing there is a better option in your league.

Below is the update Closer List as of 26July2017.

Where it says “TRADE BAIT” that means someone in the 9th or 8th inning is rumored to be available on the trade market. It doesn’t make it definite, just something to keep an eye on.

Current CloserNext in lineTeamLeagueNotes
Zach BrittonBrad Brach BaltimoreAmerican LeagueTRADE BAIT
Craig KimbrelJoe KellyBostonAmerican League
Aroldis ChapmanDellin BetancesNew York YankeesAmerican League
Alex ColomeBrad BoxbergerTampa BayAmerican LeagueBoxberger struggling recently
Roberto OsunaRyan TeperaTorontoAmerican League
Tyler ClippardunknownChicago White SoxAmerican LeagueDavid Robertson and Tommy Kahnle were traded to Yankees
Cody AllenAndrew MillerClevelandAmerican League
Justin WilsonBruce RondonDetroitAmerican LeagueTRADE BAIT
Francisco Rodriguez - released & unsigned
Kelvin HerreraBrandon MaurerKansas CityAmerican LeagueTraded for Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer from the Padres
Brandon KintzlerTaylor RogersMinnesotaAmerican League
Ken GilesLuke GregersonHoustonAmerican Leaguebullpen needs help
Bud NorrisCam BedrosianLos Angeles AngelesAmerican LeagueTRADE BAIT
Santiago CasillaBlake TreinenOaklandAmerican LeagueSean Doolittle to Nationals
Edwin DiazDavid PhelpsSeattleAmerican LeagueAcquired David Phelps, probably used in 8th
Alex ClaudioJose LeclercTexasAmerican LeagueKeone Kela could also get saves
Jim JohnsonArodys VizcainoAtlantaNational LeagueTRADE BAIT
A.J. RamosKyle BarracloughMiamiNational LeagueTRADE BAIT
Addison ReedJerry BlevinsNew York MetsNational LeagueTRADE BAIT and Jeurys Familia - Blood clot issue - has resumed throwing
Hector NerisPat NeshekPhiladelphiaNational LeagueCommittee? Neshek is TRADE BAIT
Sean DoolittleRyan MadsonWashingtonNational LeagueAcquired Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson
Wade DavisCarl EdwardsChicago CubsNational League
Raisel IglesiasMichael LorenzenCincinnatiNational LeagueTRADE BAIT
Corey KnebelAnthony SwarzakMilwaukeeNational LeagueAcquired Anthony Swarzak
Felipe RiveroJuan NicasioPittsburghNational League
Trevor RosenthalBrett CecilSt. LouisNational LeagueBullpen has struggled, closer role is fluid
Fernando RodneyRandall Delgado (DL)ArizonaNational LeagueRandall Delgado DL elbow
Greg HollandJake McGeeColoradoNational Leaguerumored to be looking for bullpen help
Kenley JansenPedro BaezLos Angeles DodgersNational League
Brad HandKirby YatesSan DiegoNational LeagueTRADE BAIT and Brandon Maurer Ryan Buchter traded to Royals
Sam Dyson Hunter StricklandSan FranciscoNational LeagueMark Melancon DL, has resumed throwing

Notes on changed / possible changed teams.

At least two thirds of MLB teams have changed or are rumored to be interested in changing their bullpens via trade. I can’t run through each scenario in this space. I will cover the most relevant ones for the closing arguments faithful. Below are current closers that may lose the closing gig either for any reason including: being traded away, with new blood coming in, committee or poor performance. 

Zach BrittonBaltimoreTRADE BAIT
Justin WilsonDetroitTRADE BAIT
Bud NorrisLos Angeles AngelsTRADE BAIT
Alex ClaudioTexasCommittee
Jim JohnsonAtlantaTRADE BAIT
Addison ReedNew YorkTRADE BAIT
Hector NerisPhiladelphiaPoor performance
Raisel IglesiasCincinnatiTRADE BAIT
Trevor RosenthalSt. LouisPoor performance / committee
Brad HandSan DiegoTRADE BAIT
Sam DysonSan FranciscoMark Melancon due back from DL in a few weeks

Please keep mind guessing at bullpen trades is difficult. Some on the list will happen, some won’t. Others that I don’t have listed will happen. Fantasy baseball relief pitching situations are murky and fluid right now.  But you can also gain a huge advantage on your opponents by either guessing correctly or being the first to scoop up a new closer. Grabbing the new closer for San Diego Padres likely won’t do you much good. I would rather gamble on a lottery ticket [8th inning guy] on a winning team but that is just my style.

I hope this helped and stay tuned here and on twitter as the bullpen trades are flying already. Thanks for reading, pals.


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