Well, that answers that question.
... Or does it?
Santiago Casilla recorded the Athletics’ first save Monday, issuing one walk in a scoreless ninth inning. It would seem to bring clarity to a situation about which the Athletics have been curious tight-lipped.
But they didn’t loosen those lips after the contest.
Ryan Dull was the Athletics most effective reliever on the night, as he was last year, and Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle worked the highest-leverage situation, sharing the eighth inning against the Angels middle of the order. Manager Bob Melvin said in spring training that several relievers would share closing duties this year, and that may still be the case. It just so happened that the ninth-inning share landed in Casilla’s lap this time.
Casilla is owned in just 11 percent of CBS Sports leagues, which is certainly too low for a presumptive closer. But I can’t advise adding him across the board seeing as better-positioned closers like Blake Treinen (77 percent), Greg Holland (62 percent) and Neftali Feliz (59 percent) aren’t universally owned either.
I’d equate Casilla’s situation to Raisel Iglesias’ (70 percent owned) in that he’s little more than a front-runner in a most delicate situation.
Skimmers beware: Not every one of these players is one I’d recommend adding. Reading is both appreciated and encouraged.
Speaking of delicate situations, the Phillies find themselves in one after Jeanmar Gomez did what you’d expect him to do, nearly blowing a three-run lead by serving up a two-run homer in the ninth inning Monday. Already manager Pete Mackanin is questioning the logic of having a pitcher who posted a 8.33 ERA in the second half last year fill the most critical role with Hector Neris right behind him.
“I’m concerned,” Mackanin told MLB.com. “He’s just not getting the ball down the way he did when he was successful. I want to make sure that he gets opportunities, but at the same time, I don’t want to let games slip away. He has to execute. Like I said, for me, he’s earned the right to be the closer for right now. But he’s got to get the ball down.”
Jason Grilli is the presumptive choice to fill in for Roberto Osuna (back), but he failed to preserve a tie in the 11th inning Monday and probably won’t have a chance to find his footing anyway with Osuna expected back next week. Unless you play in a daily league where saves are nowhere to be found or are so desperate that your best hope is to bet on an Osuna setback, you can let this one go.
Ervin Santana is already highly owned at 75 percent, but there’s a case for him to be universally owned after his two-hit effort Monday. He’s not a big bat-misser, but he eats innings and typically posts a respectable ERA and WHIP, making him a stable option to keep around if only for two-start weeks.
Hitting leadoff is one of the quickest ways to Fantasy relevance, and in a playoff-caliber lineup, that’s especially true. Andrew Toles got the nod against a right-hander Monday, and while he made an impression during the Dodgers’ playoff run last year, you may not know he hit .309 over his minor-league career with a 62-steal season to his name. Whether he plays against lefties could make all the difference in mixed leagues.
Kendall Graveman’s strikeouts Monday night were a little surprising, but perhaps they shouldn’t have been after he struck out 13 over his final 13 innings this spring. He continues to pick up velocity -- a trend that began over the final two months last season -- to the point he was peaking at 98 mph Monday. The Athletics have long raved about his upside, so another start like this one could make him worth a flier.
Don’t fall for the Rangers’ shenanigans. After leading us to believe Delino DeShields would be their leadoff hitter given that he ranked among the spring leaders in both walks (14) and stolen bases (14), Jurickson Profar started in left field opening night, batting only ninth, and promptly went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. DeShields is the more impactful player at this stage of their careers, so expect to see him in there Tuesday night and more nights than not going forward.