As an extreme groundball pitcher, Brad Ziegler relies on soft contact and the resultant infield outs. Despite recording a below-average hard contact rate, Ziegler sported a high .346 BABIP, yielding a career-worst 1.55 WHIP. Making matters worse, in 2016, Ziegler's strikeout percentage spiked to a career best only to plummet to his lowest ever last year. Despite a bloated 4.79 ERA, Ziegler managed to save 10 contests while recording a hold in seven others. He began the season setting up A.J. Ramos, but after Ramos was traded to the Mets, Ziegler returned from a five-week stay on the DL to inherit ninth-inning duties. He held the gig until late September when a committee was employed. Ziegler will likely be considered the underdog to Kyle Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider for the Opening Day closer job. Even if he emerges with the role, Ziegler's lack of strikeouts makes him a third closer at best in mixed formats.
Ziegler pitched two-thirds of a scoreless inning Friday against the Braves en route to his 10th save of the season. Interestingly, the Marlins opted to begin the ninth inning with Jarlin Garcia, but after he loaded the bases with one out in the frame, it was up to Ziegler to clean up the mess. The sidewinder wound up inducing a game-ending double play on his only pitch of the evening. Ziegler's stock certainly isn't trending upward right now, as his 7.20 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in September suggest, although he hasn't allowed an earned run in his last three appearances. However, he seems to have been leapfrogged for save opportunities in Miami, which could remove him from fantasy relevancy heading into 2018 if he's unable to reclaim the closer's role next spring.
Ziegler (illness) was charged with a blown save after allowing an unearned run on two hits in one inning Sunday against the Diamondbacks. He struck out one. It was just Ziegler's second appearance in the past two weeks thanks to a back injury followed by an illness. He's 0-for-3 in save chances in September with an 8.31 ERA, so it may be wise to stay away from him for the final week of the season.
Manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday that he's hoping Ziegler (illness) will be available Wednesday, Tim Healey of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. Just as Ziegler turned the page on a back issue, he fell under the weather. The submariner was unavailable both Monday and Tuesday as a result of the illness. Ziegler has squandered his last two save opportunities and the save chances have been few and far between lately for Miami, but he figures to remain the top endgame option over the remainder of the season.
Ziegler (back) is available out of the Marlins' bullpen Monday night for the first time in over a week, Tim Healey of the Miami Sun-Sentinel reports. Ziegler has been out of action since Sept. 7. Expect the club to give him some lower-leverage outings to ease him back into action; Kyle Barraclough or Drew Steckenrider are the most likely to receive save chances in Ziegler's first few days back.
Ziegler (back) said Monday that he's hoping to pitch at some point this week, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports. Ziegler is nursing a back issue and recently underwent an MRI, the results of which have not been disclosed publicly. We should know more about his status in the coming days. Kyle Barraclough seems like the top candidate to see save chances in Ziegler's absence, but Drew Steckenrider, who earned his first career save earlier this month, will also be an option.