It’s only mid-March and already we are seeing closers having issues.
While Joe Nathan is still going to try and test his elbow this weekend, the chances of him feeling 100 percent are slim. Even if he decides to pitch through the pain he probably won’t be effective enough to continue going forward. His likely replacement is Jon Rauch, who has 26 career saves on his resume. Rauch brings decent command, but below average strikeout rates to the table. He is also a fly ball pitcher, which has translated into some home run problems in the past. If Nathan is out for the year, which is likely, Rauch would become a low-end fantasy closer. Pat Neshek (10.6 career K/9 and 3.84 career K/BB) could be a dark horse challenger as he attempts to return Tommy John surgery.
Houston Street has been battling a sore shoulder all spring. This type of injury has plagued Street before, but he made a full recovery to post good numbers for Colorado last season. Franklin Morales should replace Street to begin the season. Morales has always been blessed with a great fastball, but control issues have haunted the lefty for much of his career. He did pick up seven saves in Street’s place last season. Feel free to snag Morales at the end of drafts for a few cheap saves.