The Detroit Tigers are stacked from the top of their batting order to the bottom. Heavy hitters like Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder gel well with contact hitters like Torii Hunter and Austin Jackson.
The team also has one of the most dangerous pitchers in all of fantasy baseball in Justin Verlander. Fantasy owners have come to love the team from Mo-Town, and with good reason.
The only weakness on the team, though, has been at the closer position. The team’s previous closer, Jose Valverde, was cut during the off-season, which left the position up for grabs.
However, over the spring no one stepped up to claim the job. Many thought youngster Bruce Rondon would walk away with the job, but he struggled to adjust to the role and was sent down to the minors before the season started.
On Opening Day, Detroit had a 4-2 lead over the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning. Everyone in the world was looking to see which player would get the nod, and the reliever this time was Phil Coke.
Coke ended up getting the save in a spotless appearance. He also struck out one of the two batters he faced and it was a very promising showing for fantasy owners.
Coke was the hero of the team’s run to the World Series last year. He pitched 8.2 innings of flawless baseball in the first nine games of the playoffs. The southpaw cost the team game three of the Series, though, so many were skeptical he would remain as the team’s closer.
Here we are five months later, and it appears that Coke has the strong hold on the job for now. He is still competing with Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel, and Al Alburquerque, but Coke appears to be first in line.
Coke is still available in almost every league, so check your waiver wire if you are desperate for a closer. His time may be short lived, but then again, what closer’s time isn’t these days.