Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Oakland Athletics Closer Situation

Brad Berreman

Brad has contributed to (or is contributing to) various websites, most notably Rotowire, Rant Sports, FanSided and Bruno Boys Fantasy Football. He joined GoingFor2 in June of this year.

So far on the young season, the Oakland Athletics have had the definition of a closer by committee. Santiago Casilla, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle have all gotten save opportunities, with Doolittle getting the ninth inning of Monday’s 2-0 win over the Kansas City Royals. Dull blew a save chance last week, so he appears to be out of the mix right now.

When asked about his bullpen deployment on Tuesday, A’s manager Bob Melvin narrowed down to two guys to close games.

Left-hander Doolittle got Monday’s save chance based on Kansas City having left-handed hitters due up in the ninth inning, and the reverse would be true for Casilla getting his opportunities. That’s a frustrating and unpredictable situation for fantasy baseball owners, though both Doolittle and Casilla will help with strikeouts and holds when they don’t register a save. That said, should fantasy owners look to add Doolittle or Casilla? Maybe neither? Maybe both?

Doolittle has missed time in three straight seasons with injuries, including making just 12 appearances in 2015 due to a shoulder issue. But his 10.6 career K/9 rate is closer-worthy, and he had 22 saves in 2014. With a history of stifling left-handed hitters (.195 batting average against, 8.3 K/BB ratio), and only a slight drop against right-handed batters (.216 batting average against, 5.1 K/BB ratio) Doolittle may be the best bet to take over the closer role by himself at some point.

Casilla picked up Oakland’s first save of the season on April 3, and he has five strikeouts in four innings of work thus far. He has experience as a closer, with at least 19 saves in four of the last five seasons with the San Francisco Giants and 30-plus saves in each of the last two seasons. Casilla struggled some against left-handed hitters last year though, with an .849 OPS against compared to a .622 OPS posted by right-handed hitters against him, so Melvin declaring a platoon split based on matchups seems to mostly be about Casilla.

Owners in AL-only leagues could consider adding both Doolittle and Casilla, and anyone that’s getting saves has to be on the radar in mixed leagues. Adding both could even be considered in very deep leagues, though I would add Doolittle before Casilla in most situations.

Sean Doolittle ESPN Ownership: 4.3%
Santiago Casilla ESPN Ownership: 20%

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Brad Berreman

Brad has contributed to (or is contributing to) various websites, most notably Rotowire, Rant Sports, FanSided and Bruno Boys Fantasy Football. He joined GoingFor2 in June of this year.

Brad Berreman

Brad has contributed to (or is contributing to) various websites, most notably Rotowire, Rant Sports, FanSided and Bruno Boys Fantasy Football. He joined GoingFor2 in June of this year.

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