Bench spots are limited, so as much as we might want to stash all eight relievers just to be safe, it’s time to put our prioritization skills to work. To help with the weeding out, I have ranked these eight closers-in-waiting. If it makes it more fun to call these Power Rankings, then let these be Closer-in-Waiting Power Rankings.
Note: Since we now know that Rays manager Kevin Cash intends to re-install Brad Boxberger as the Rays’ closer, in place of Alex Colome, once he comes off the disabled list, he has been omitted from these rankings. Or you can just consider him the de facto No. 1 closer-in-waiting.
1. Trevor May, Twins (14 percent owned)
Trevor May RP / Minnesota Twins (2016 STATS)
IP: 19 ERA: 1.89 K: 27 BB: 8
Pros: Jepsen has been shaky, and May has been excellent since being moved into a relief role last season. As Jepsen has done seemingly everything possible to lose the job, May has been peaking, having not allowed a run in his last eight appearances and pitching with better control than he had been earlier in the season.
Some weeks, finding five teams with definitively good matchups and five with definitively bad matchups is a challenge.
Week 7 (May 16-22) isn’t one of those weeks.
In fact, there’s even some overflow. The Twins are scheduled to face Jordan Zimmermann, Justin Verlander, Marco Estrada, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ and Marcus Stroman in a seven-game slate, yet they don’t make the cut for worst matchups. That Mike Pelfrey matchup drags down the whole thing.
Brandon Finnegan ($6,000, $6,200)
If Volquez is the cash game play, Finnegan is definitely the tournament option. He hasn’t been good since his last start against this offense and there’s something to learn from that. The Phillies are terrible against LHP. Their .265 wOBA vs. LHP is better than only the Braves and their 24.1 percent K rate is just as enticing. Finnegan struck out nine in his last appearance against this lineup,
The Coors effect is an interesting one tonight. I could see Matt Harvey as a contrarian play, but I could also see the Rockies lighting him up. The Mets will be the more conventional plays, particularly Michael Conforto and Lucas Duda. I’ll probably have the most exposure to Curtis Granderson, who will be leading off and is the cheapest of the good Mets’ LHH.
Blue Jays @ Rangers
It’s time for the checklist. Are the Jays in a good park? Yes. Are the Jays facing a bad pitcher? Yes. Stack the Jays! This got us into trouble when the Rangers went to Toronto earlier this year, but I’m going right back to it. Thankfully, the Jays have also seen a decrease in price with Josh Donaldson falling all the way down to $4,300. I’d play almost any RHH in the Jays lineup against Martin Perez.
Nationals vs. Marlins
Tom Koehler on the road has basically been a disaster for the past three years. This year he’s been even worse. With Daniel Murphy hitting fourth, the preferred Nationals stack is now 1-4 again. You don’t need the BvP excuse to play Bryce Harper, especially at $4,300, but boy does he have it. Harper has six home runs in 31 career plate appearances.