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The closer carousel this season has been dizzying. In Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Baltimore, Philadelphia and more, we've chased reliever after reliever searching for elusive saves. And we've got a fresh new batch to chase after the weekend. There's an opportunity in New York after Jeurys Familia went on the DL, Joakim Soria looks to be back, and Tampa Bay still doesn't have an actual closer. But the name everyone is going to be talking about is Hector Rondon.
Rondon collected a pair of saves over the weekend and has now earned a save in each of his last three appearances. For the year he has a 1.50 ERA that's supported by 10.9 K/9 and just 1.9 BB/9. In other words, he looks pretty legit. Which is more than we can say for Ken Giles at this point. Just don't take that to mean that Giles is entirely out of the picture.
Manager A.J. Hinch specifically brought up Giles when asked about Rondon getting saves and. While Rondon is currently the hot hand, it only takes one outing to change that. I'm adding him in any league where saves are scarce, but I wouldn't feel good about starting him in a 12-team points league yet.
I don't know how Carlos Rodon is still just 62 percent owned but all of you need to check and see if he's available in your league right now. Rodon made his debut on Saturday at Fenway Park and gave a very encouraging performance against arguably the best offense in baseball. Over five innings he struck out seven Red Sox and allowed two earned runs. It wasn't a perfect outing by any means, but it was enough that the former top prospect should be universally owned.
In case you need a refresher, Rodon is a former top-20 prospect who is still just 25 years old. He's thrown 378 innings in the major leagues with more than a strikeout per inning and a slightly above average ERA. Walks have been a problem, but this guy was essentially Blake Snell and Sean Newcomb before they were. And he still has every bit as much upside as them. He's actually six days younger than Snell.
I was skeptical of Danny Duffy's recent resurgence. It sure looked like he was just enjoying some fairly random batted ball luck. On Saturday, however, he just didn't let the Athletics put the bat on the ball. In seven shutout innings Duffy generated a season-high 18 swinging strikes while striking out 10 batters. In his last four starts he's thrown 25 2/3 innings while giving up just six runs. I'd rather own Rodon than Duffy, still. But in leagues where the former is already owned, Duffy would be the second name I'm looking for. He doesn't have the strikeout upside that Rodon has, but he could give you a better ERA over more innings.
It's been a rough year for Randal Grichuk, but the streak he's on lately should give him another shot at regular plate appearances. In his last four games Grichuk has eight hits, including two home runs and four doubles. While he still has just a .181 average overall, a lot of that can be attributed to a miserable .188 BABIP. Grichuk has changed his approach at the plate, and since returning from the disabled list he has a .357/.400/.786 slash line with just three strikeouts in 30 plate appearances.
The sample size is still way too small to call Grichuk must-own but I'm speculating on him in any 12-team league with five outfielders.
Speaking of small sample sizes, Seth Lugo looked dominant on Sunday against the Yankees. In six shutout inning he struck out eight Yankees and didn't walk anyone. In a familiar tale, Lugo looks like he took improvements he made in the bullpen and carried them over once he got a chance to start again. In his last 26 1/3 innings he's struck out more than a batter per inning and has walked just one batter total.
It's still not clear there's a spot for him in the rotation once Noah Syndergaard comes back, but we know enough about the Mets to know there will be another spot for him soon enough if he's squeezed out. In the short term, he has SPARP eligibility and a game at Chase Field this week.