Nationals: Blake Treinen Named as Team’s Closer

After months of waiting, Nationals manager Dusty Baker named a starting closer and it’s not who anyone thought. Here is the fantasy impact of the news.

The Washington Nationals was one of the last teams to name a closer, especially just days before Opening Day. That changed when manager Dusty Baker made the decision on Thursday, naming right-hander Blake Treinen as the closer. With many owners drafting the two other options, how does this impact the fantasy baseball season?

Many thought, including myself, that Shawn Kelley would start the season. Despite the team trading for Mark Melancon to take over closing duties, Kelly pitched well enough to make a case.. Kelley posted a 2.64 ERA, 0.897 WHIP and seven saves in 58 innings. He also had a 12.4 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9. His 2.97 FIP proves that he was just as good as the numbers state.

He continued that trend during Spring Training. In 6.1 innings, Kelly posted a 1.42 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 6:3 K:BB ratio. However, there was something clearly missing. He was not being used in the ninth inning.

That honor would go to Treinen. He recorded two saves in his 4.2 innings pitched along with a 0.00 ERA, 0.21 WHIP and 8:0 K:BB ratio. Kelly pitched well, but Treinen was somehow even better.

This performance is far from the norm for Treinen, though. He had a lot of control issues throughout the year. In 67 innings last season, he posted a 2.28 ERA, 1.224 WHIP, 8.5 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9.

He was aided by a nice 65.9 ground ball rate and 19.8 fly ball rate. MLB Trade Rumors Jeff Todd said his “power sinker that sits in the 95 to 96 mph range” helped his performance. That with a mid-90s fastball make for a dangerous relief pitcher.

The third reliever that fantasy experts were buzzing about, including our own Brad Kelly, is Koda Glover. He was quietly rising on the draft boards as he continued his success throughout the spring.

In 11.1 innings, Glover has a 3.97 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, one save and a 13:2 K:BB ratio. The high ERA is the only negative about his spring. But, I think he will be the Nationals set-up man behind Treinen and someone to keep an eye on his Treinen struggles out of the gate.

If you already drafted and picked Kelly like I did, then you are stuck with at best a set-up man in a crowded bullpen. He will likely pitch the seventh inning more often than the eighth or ninth. More bad news is that Treinen was more than likely already added before you found out about the announcement. Again, same as me.

Situations like this are why I like to wait as long as possible before I draft and say that you can always wait for saves.