With a week already in the the rear-view mirror, a few bullpen landscapes are starting to clear up. Although, we have some less fortunate ones making our lives much more difficult that we prefer. And closers have become such a translucent position that is keeps up guessing on which one to grab next. If all the available closers in your league are snatched up, grab someone from the “In the mix” category. There is plenty of movement in that areas.
Also, we need to establish where each team is with the bullpen. Are they relying on one person to closer the games? Is there a committee in place? Is there someone that could lose the closer role in the near future? Who could take the closer role much later on? We will define each conference into three tiers: Safe, Committee, and Hot Seat. As the season progresses, teams will move in and out of the tiers. Rest assured, we will help keep you updated!
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American League Bullpen Depth Chart
|AL EAST||Closer||In The Mix||In The Mix||Stash / *IL|
|BAL||Cesar Valdez||Paul Fry(L)||Tanner Scott(L)||Cole Sulser|
|BOS||Matt Barnes||Adam Ottavino||Darwinzon Hernandez(L)||Garrett Whitlock|
|NYY||Aroldis Chapman(L)||Jonathan Loaisiga||Chad Green||Wandy Peralta(L)|
|TB||Diego Castillo||Peter Fairbanks||J.P. Feyereisen||Ryan Thompson|
|TOR||Jordan Romano||Rafael Dolis||Tyler Chatwood||A.J. Cole|
- New York Yankees: No changes here. Keep plugging Aroldis Chapman in your lineups. Anyone rostering Chapman can breate, he finally got his first save.
- Chicago White Sox: Liam Hendricks is still safely the closer in Chicago. The ERA doesn’t look pretty but its early and everything will even itself out. Solid and safe!
- Houston Astros: The Astros bullpen has been ravaged with injuries. Pedro Baez and Enoli Paredes were potential holds candidates that could vulture a save opportunity but find themselves on the IL. Joe Smith and Ryan Stanek step into the spotlight as closers waiting in the wings.
- Los Angeles Angels: Iglesias is having a rocky start to the season. He has been knocked around but does still showcase the 43% K-rate and not giving up many walks. The speculative setup RP to own is Mike Mayers, whose been a similar version to Iglesias. He has plenty of strikeout potential but gives up a bit of hard contact.
- Tampa Bay Rays: New addition to the safe tier is Rays. Mainly due to Diego Castillo’s competition for saves going down with injury. Outside of Castillo, there isn’t much to look at. Ryan Thompson and Andrew Kittredge have walk issues and don’t strike enough batters out to be relevant. Lock and load Castillo with confidence.
- Texas Rangers: Ian Kennedy has firmly grabbed a hold on the closer job, now that Matt Bush winds up on the IL. If hes out there, get him! This bullpen lacks any real depth to knock him out of this role for awhile.
- Baltimore Orioles: I would love to move Cesar Valdez and the Orioles up to the safe tier, but it’s still too early. Tanner Scott is still in the mix and supplies a much better strikeout rate. More than likely, these two will split the saves based on batter handedness.
- Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes looks terrific to start the season. His 11:1 K/BB is re-assuring because the walks have always jumped up to bite him. The track record for Barnes just keeps him out of the safe tier for me. Oddly, the only save for the BoSox belongs to Matt Andriese, which was a late inning fluke. Don’t read into it. But, the RP of interest to me is Garret Whitlock. Lots of strikeout potential and is yet to walk anyone.
- Cleveland Team: Still a committee for me but with a heavy lean to Emmanuel Clase. He notched two saves this week and looked electric at the same time. Let’s give this another week to wait and see. Nick Wittgren isn’t living up to the hype or performance carry-over from 2020. We are yet to see Clase pitch on back-to-back days after missing all of last year with injury. James Karinchak is still a likely candidate to grab a few saves.
- Oakland Athletics: Jake Diekman’s poor command caught up to him and he was bounced from the closer job. Manager Bob Melvin spoke with a strong backing of Lou Trivino. Now he could grab this job and run away with it for a long time, but let’s see how he does first. In deeper leagues, Trivino should be picked up.
- Seattle Mariners: Rafael Montero has two saves and has looked capable of remaining in the closer role. Montero’s skills are not that much better than Kendall Graveman, to move him into the safe tier. Graveman has that 98-mph fastball that is way up from 2020. Lots of strikeout potential that could come with saves.
- Toronto Blue Jays: Tommy Milone picked up a save this week on a 42 pitch outing. Will he get another one this season? Highly unlikely. Julian Merryweather appears to be the front-runner over Jordan Romano. But that is not set in stone yet. If someone drops Romano, might not be a bad week to scoop him up to wait and see.
- Detroit Tigers: This whole bullpen should be an avoid. Gregory Soto keeps walking too many batters and Bryan Garcia is getting hit all around the yard. My darkhorse pick, Jose Cisnero was roughed up as well. I will say it again, avoid this bullpen for now.
- Kansas City Royals: Greg Holland looks like himself, walking too many batters and likely going to lose the closer job. As I stated last week, there is plenty of arms to turn to. One really catches my eye, and that is Ryan Zimmer. He is a former 1st round pick with a deeper arsenal for a bullpen arm. The Royals have used him quite a bit already. Keep an eye on him and Josh Staumont in dynasty leagues too.
- Minnesota Twins: Alex Colome blew another save and we can’t expect the leash to be too much longer. The strikeouts have been lacking and the hard contact given up is troublesome. I would guess the closer role gets handed over Hansel Robles, whose fastball is up a tick. Taylor Rogers is in the mix as well, but a lefty. Grab Robles as a speculative stash before its too late.
NL Bullpen Notebook
|NL EAST||Closer||In The Mix||NL CENTRAL||Closer||In The Mix||NL WEST||Closer||In The Mix|
|ATL||Will Smith||A.J Minter, |
|CHC||Craig Kimbrel||Alec Mills, |
|ARI||Stehan Crichton||Kevin Ginkel,
|MIA||Yimi Garcia||Dylan Floro, |
|CIN||Amir Garrett||Lucas Sims,|
|COL||Daniel Bard||Mychal Givens,
|NYM||Edwin Diaz||Trevor May,|
|MIL||Josh Hader||Devin Williams,|
|LAD||Kenley Jansen||Blake Treinen,
|PHI||Hector Neris||Jose Alvarado,|
|PIT||Richard Rodriguez||David Bednar,|
|SD||Mark Melancon||Emilio Pagan,
|WAS||Brad Hand||Tanner Rainey, |
|STL||Alex Reyes||Giovanny Gallegos, Jordan Hicks||SF||Jake McGee||Matt Wisler,
- Atlanta Braves: After a slight bit of speculation last week, Will Smith is the closer. He notched two last week and Atlanta will keep rolling him out there as much as they can. Dynasty stash, I would point to A.J. Minter. Even if you had to use him in a week, there is a solid strikeout upside.
- Chicago Cubs: Craig Kimbrel is nearly all that is left in the bullpen after a COVID issue. Potentially Alec Mills might be around to snipe another save. That is something to monitor for this following week.
- Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard picked up his second save this week and still showcases a 35% strikeout rate. Due to an absolute lack of competition in Colorado, Bard moves into the safe tier. Though it should be a little lackluster of a feeling. They chances for a save may not be there much.
- Milwaukee Brewers: It is Josh Hader’s job to lose. All the Hader fantasy managers can take a breathe as well. He finally picked up his first save!
- New York Mets: It’s always a bumpy road with Edwin Diaz. Could he put up a 57 save season again? Absolutely! Could he get replaced by Trevor May or Miguel Castro as the closer? Yep! Stash either of those two if you see the wheels coming of for Diaz.
- Philadelphia Phillies: Archie Bradley gets sent to the IL and Hector Neris gets the closer duties. The Phillies are a sleeper team that could win in bunches. Vulture wins and saves could likely be from Jose Alvarado, just incase a string of left-handed batters show up.
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Richard Rodriguez still stands in as the Pirates closer. After him, there isn’t a ton of interest from the bullpen. Save chances will likely be slight and there are tremendous flaws in the rest. If you have to twist my arm to make a speculative stash I would go with David Bednar. He has some nasty stuff but het’s hit hard.
- San Diego Padres: Mark Melancon is leading the MLB in saves with five. With back-to-back saves over the weekend, it’s safe to save he is locked into the closer role. Emilio Pagan, Drew Pomeranz, and Keona Kela have 17 strikeouts to 2 walks. In a holds+saves league? Any of th0se three is terrific targets.
- San Francisco Giants: No change here from last week. Jake McGee’s strikeout rate looks strong and he should be started with confidence in any format.
- St Louis Cardinals: Alex Reyes picked up the team’s lone save chance. He is prone to the walks but kept it at bay in 2021. Reyes should get full run at this role for awhile. Speculative stashes need to include Jordan Hicks, especially in a dynasty format. For re-draft this year, Giovanny Gallegos is sending everyone to whiff city by striking out more than 50% of his batters faced.
- Arizona Diamondbacks: Devinski and Soria head to the IL. As I mentioned last week, Stefan Crichton would be the idea stash followed by Kevin Ginkel. Between the two, you will find them sharing saves. Long-term, I think Ginkel wins this job. If he can mitigate those pesky walks, he should strike out enough to be the closer.
- Cincinnati Reds: Still not resolution on who will be the full-time closer. Looks like another split that will depend on batters handedness. This would have us leaning towards Lucas Sims. Oh! Who just so happened to record a save last night.
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Just like that, Kenley Jansen is moved to the hot seat! He keeps walking batters and Dave Roberts appears to have a short rope on this situtation-as shown by Corey Knebel pickup up his second save. Kenley has to find his mojo and get back to form quickly or he will be replaced. Grab Knebel if hes on your wire.
- Miami Marlins: Anthony Bass was thrown back to the middle relief and Yimi Garcia was named the closer. Yimi struck out a batter to pickup his first save on the season. I am going to leave the Marlins closer situation on the hot seat again for a week. Yimi wasn’t originally named the closer because he walks too many batter and gives up too much hard contact. So far in 2020, he has been doing just that. While Bass might get another bite at the closer role later, my eyes are on Dylan Floro. He touts good strikeout potential and could runaway with the job if he gets a shot.
- Washington Nationals: The fastball velocity concerns on Brad Hand might be gone. He flashed 93-mph on the four-seamer, which is up two ticks from 2020. Due to the Nationals delayed start, I am going to leave them here and wait another week to see where we are at. Last week I gushed over Tanner Rainey, who has struggled with command again. I still can’t quit him with the very small sample size we have seen. If Rainey is there, I would scoop him up fro a week or so to see if Hand’s velocity sticks.
It’s never too early to tweak your roster! Head on over and check out Eric Cross’s first Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire of the year and David Mendelson’s Pitching Streamers!
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