Brad Ziegler wasn't the Diamondbacks' Plan A for saves in 2015, but when they were forced to turn to Plan B midway through May, he was right at home in the role, his 1.85 ERA ranking third among relievers with at least 30 saves. So naturally, he'll be Plan A for 2016, right? Well ... we'll see. His 4.8 strikeouts per nine inning were also by far the lowest among relievers with at least 30 saves, and while his pitch-to-contact approach may serve him well in a setup role, it's asking for trouble in the ninth inning. And obviously, it limits his upside in Fantasy, so while Ziegler should be a fairly reliable source of saves as long as he's in the role, he should be one of the last closers you draft.
Manager Dave Stewart announced Monday that Ziegler will begin the season as the Diamondbacks' closer, Jody Jackson of FOX Sports Arizona reports. Bringing Tyler Clippard into the fold could have been taken as a challenge to Ziegler's gig, but the incumbent will remain in the closing role once Opening Day rolls around. In 2015, Ziegler replaced Addison Reed in May and proceeded to complete 30 saves, which he supplemented with a crisp 1.85 ERA and 0.956 WHIP. However, Ziegler's lack of heat doesn't equate to many strikeouts, as evidenced by 4.76 K/9 last season.
Ziegler is expected to remain the Diamondbacks' closer to begin the year despite the addition of Tyler Clippard on a two-year contract, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. While Ziegler does not have the swing-and-miss stuff of a prototypical closer, his ability to keep the ball on the ground and success in the closer role a year ago will likely keep him in the ninth inning to start the 2016 campaign. Clippard's signing bolsters the team's back-end depth for now and gives the Diamondbacks a quality fallback option should Ziegler's ERA return closer to his 2014 mark.
Ziegler will return to the Diamondbacks after the team picked up his $5.5 million club option for 2016, Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic reports. Ziegler recorded a career-high 30 saves to go along with a sterling 1.85 ERA in 68 innings with the team this season, so this move was expected. The Diamondbacks could bring in a closer this season, thus bumping the 36-year-old back into his customary set-up role, but that decision will likely come later in the offseason.
Diamondbacks reliever Brad Ziegler picked up his 29th save Sunday in a win over the Padres, pitching a clean ninth inning. This was Ziegler's fifth save in his last six outings, and the 27th consecutive save he has converted successfully dating back to May 27. With only two blown saves on the season, Ziegler has quietly been one of the games most effective closers since taking over the role early in the season. For Fantasy purposes, however, the lack of strikeouts (just 34 in 66 innings) does limit his value compared to the elite relievers in the game.
Diamondbacks closer Brad Ziegler allowed a hit in a clean ninth inning to record his 28th save in a win over the Padres on Friday. Ziegler yielded a leadoff single, but followed with two grounders and a flyball to end the game. He has a 1.94 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 64 appearances this year. For anyone who picked him up off waivers early in the season, you're surely reaping the rewards. The one thing Ziegler could improve on are the strikeouts, as he has just 34 in 65 innings.