No, the 2018 White Sox are not going anywhere. They’re a team built for the future; lots of young talent and a loaded farm system. But they’ll win a few games, and their handshakes matter to us, too.
And with that, it’s last call on relief pitcher Nate Jones. We got a thing going on.
No one thought the Joakim Soria closing platform had a long shelf-life expectancy, but it appears that Jones has already taken over for Soria. Jones recorded saves in his last three outings — it was a little rocky Tuesday, but he converted — and has four on the year. The other numbers are good enough, if not lights-out: 19 IP, 16 H, 7 R, 8 BB, 22 K. A little more control would be appreciated, but that’s a strikeout rate that befits a closer. Jones has a 3.32 ERA, a 1.26 WHIP. Playable numbers if we’re getting that one elusive stat at the end.
Jones is still available in two-thirds of Yahoo leagues. Chicago’s been disappointing at 14-31, but they’re probably not that bad. Better days are coming, and Jones figures to have a hand in them. Let’s push that ownership tag up where it belongs.
• Over in the National League, the Braves might be a team set up for now. They’re off to a 29-18 start, with a roster of young, exciting talent. And their bullpen is stocked with names to know, too.
Arodys Vizcaino is already gone in any fantasy league of depth, as the team’s closer. A.J. Minter’s electric stuff has drawn plenty of attention, and maybe he’s the closer of the future here (depending on how Vizcaino handles the balance of the year). But don’t miss the job Dan Winkler is doing.
Winkler took some time to percolate to the majors, but he’s come together in his age-28 season. Check the 0.89 ERA over 20.1 innings, the 0.64 WHIP. He’s struck out a ridiculous 39.7 percent of the batters he’s faced — Minter and Vizcaino have knockout stuff, and they’re only in the low-to-mid 20s. Even if Winkler doesn’t turn into a closer anytime soon, he’s giving us the type of ratio-smoothing innings that are gold in deeper leagues.
You can still grab Winkler in 77 percent of Yahoo leagues. Let’s have some fun on this Braves bandwagon.
Jared Hughes (1.30/0.90) and Amir Garrett (1.67/1.04) are doing solid work in the bullpen, Garrett from the left side. I suppose that probably pushes Hughes to the front of the pick-up stack. Hughes isn’t missing a ton of bats (22 K in 27.2 innings), while Garrett is over a strikeout per inning. Veteran David Hernandez has 22 career saves, strewn over nine seasons. Throw your dart.