The Tampa Bay Rays brought in Grant Balfour as the closer to replace the departing Fernando Rodney. However, Balfour has struggled as of late and manager Joe Maddon decided to go to a “closer-by-committee” to help Balfour regain his confidence. In the process, Jake McGee has pitched to prove he should be the everyday closer.
McGee has frequently pitched in both the eighth and ninth innings. He was the closer on June 15, set-up man on June 16 and 22, back to closer on June 27 and 28 and currently the set-up man on June 30 and July 1.
He has been the most effective reliever for the Rays and it’s due to his ground ball-inducing fastball. McGee’s fastball has caused about 41 percent of the time he’s on the mound. Many experts are reminded of Oakland A’s closer Sean Doolittle, with his balance between lefties and righties. Doolittle broke free from a committee and was named the closer, giving hope to McGee and fantasy owners alike.
McGee is owned in 32.6 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Most of his value will come in AL-only or deeper, 16-team leagues. He has a 1.21 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 44 strikeouts in 37.1 innings. If McGee can record a string of saves, then Maddon should make the move to have McGee as the permanent closer.
If you missed out on Doolittle’s rise to closer, then make sure you don’t miss out on McGee. He is still widely available, so make the move now. McGee is a great pitcher that will help lower your team’s ERA and WHIP.