2019 MLB Draft Guide: Fantasy Baseball Closer Grid
Howard Bender builds the 2019 MLB Closer Grid to alert fantasy baseball owners to the current hierarchy in each team's bullpen.
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UPDATED: AUGUST 15 @ 9:25 pm ET
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Jose Altuve went 3-for-4 with a solo home run, a stolen base and three runs scored in Thursday's loss to the Diamondbacks.
Altuve and Alex Bregman were a two-man wrecking crew in the middle of the Astros lineup, but it wasn't enough on this night. Still, the diminutive second baseman showed off all his skills, mashing a hanging Zac Gallen curveball into the seats in left field in the sixth inning, finishing a triple shy of the cycle. He also stole his second base of the season in the fourth inning. The 30-year-old is hitting just .192/.288/.404 through 12 games but nights like Thursday help to remind how dynamic Altuve still is as an offensive player.
Added 11:38 pm (EST)
B. Bielak - SP
Brandon Bielak blanked the Diamondbacks over five innings on Thursday, settling for a no-decision.
Bielak joined the rotation after Josh James struggled in a starting role to begin the year, and the 24-year-old certainly stated his case to stay in his first major league start. Bielak didn't light the world on fire, striking out just one batter in his five innings, but he didn't give the D'backs much to work with, either, allowing just two hits and walking three before exiting. Unfortunately for the right-hander the Astros bullpen wasn't able to hold the lead and get him his third win of the year, but it was still an overwhelmingly positive first turn for Bielak. He's now got a 0.87 ERA and 1.16 WHIP through 10 1/3 innings overall this year and has a favorable matchup against the Giants on tap next. It's definitely a streaming-worthy spot.
Added 11:28 pm (EST)
Hector Neris got four outs for his second save of the season Thursday against the Yankees.
Neris faced only one batter in Wednesday's doubleheader, so the Phillies felt comfortable going a little longer with him tonight. Since he did throw 27 pitches in this one, he'll likely be unavailable Friday, which could lead to a save chance for Jose Alvarez or Adam Morgan.
Added 11:09 pm (EST)
Jordan Montgomery was tagged for five runs in four innings by the Phillies on Thursday.
Montgomery was down 3-0 after facing four batters tonight, and while he did somewhat better from there, he never really settled into much of a groove. Montgomery remains a decent option as a sixth starter in mixed leagues. He'll get the Braves next time out.
Added 11:07 pm (EST)
Gary Sanchez hit his first homer of the year Thursday against the Phillies.
It was a two-run shot off Nick Pivetta. We hesitate to state that Sanchez has broken out of his slump, but at least he is 3-for-16 this month after going 0-for-15 with 10 strikeouts during July.
Added 11:05 pm (EST)
M. Franco - 3B
Maikel Franco went 2-for-5 with a two-run home run and two runs scored in a win over the Cubs on Thursday.
Cubs starter Tyler Chatwood left a cutter out over the plate in the third inning and Franco reached out and yanked it over the left field wall for a two-run shot. The homer was his third this year, a year that's been pretty true to form for the 27-year-old to this point -- some decent power but not much else. Franco is hitting .250/.246/.518 with 10 RBI and seven runs to go with his three homers in 14 games to date.
Added 11:04 pm (EST)
Salvador Perez went 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored in Thursday's lopsided win over the Cubs.
Perez banged a pair of RBI doubles in the win, capping a six-run third with a run-scoring double before tacking on another run with a double in the fifth. The 30-year-old hasn't shown many lingering effects from his COVID-19 absence during Summer Camp, getting off to a strong .293/.305/.466 line with a pair of homers and seven RBI through the season's first few weeks. He's also batting in a great spot in the Royals' lineup and remains one of the fantasy game's premier hitting options behind the dish.
Added 10:54 pm (EST)
Nomar Mazara left Thursday's game against the Brewers after being hit by a pitch in the lower body.
Mazara was hit in his left leg by a Freddy Peralta offering in the seventh inning. Adam Engel has replaced him in the lineup. More information on the severity of the injury should be available after the game.
Added 10:52 pm (EST)
Added 10:52 pm (EST)