Week 10 Pitcher:
May 6, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Will Harris (36) reacts after getting an out during the eighth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Will Harris (Owned in 16.4% of ESPN Fantasy Leagues)
As Eric Huysman wrote about today in “Astros: Do We Have a New Closer in Will Harris?” the Astros are entering into a closer by committee phase of their season after Luke Gregerson blew his fifth save of the season Saturday night. Although the Astros are 4-1 in those games, according to a tweet by Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart, A.J. Hinch, and the Astros are looking for other options in the ninth inning.
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The clear option is Will Harris, the waiver wire pickup to bullpen juggernaut. In his 26 games this season, Harris has a 0.34 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP with 29 strikeouts in 26.2 innings of work.
His stuff does not blow hitters away by any means, only averaging 92 miles per hour on a cutter that he throws 62% of the time. However, like Keuchel did in his 2015 Cy Young Award campaign, Harris is making his ground ball specialty a huge success. Opposing hitters have a ground ball percentage at a whopping 68.7% against Harris.
Another key part of Harris’ game is his control. He has only walked four batters in his 26.2 innings this season.
One worry that fantasy owners should have is the unstable nature of a closer by committee. Owners don’t know how often Harris will be used as the closer. He has been successful in the setup eighth inning role, recording 15 holds so far this season.
However, after Hinch made those comments, Harris came out and pitched a scoreless ninth for his third career save Sunday afternoon.
If you have a league that has extended categories, such as holds, you should have picked up Harris a long time ago. However, Harris is a riskier option in a standard league. If he starts getting save opportunities, Harris is a great option as a second or third closer on your fantasy team.
***Statistics provided by Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference, and MLB.com***