It’s been a weird start for bullpens in 2017. While spring training answered some of the closer questions we had coming into the season, plenty still remain. As of April 7, we have three official “closer by committee” situations with the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds. Although Cam Bedrosian and Raisel Iglesias lead the Angels and Reds committees respectively, these are among the least desirable closer options in fantasy now.
In addition to the bullpen committees, some closers have claimed the role, but are not exactly the most reliable options. Closers such as Jeanmar Gomez, Fernando Rodney and Brandon Kintzler have both their fantasy owners and real-life managers sweating every time they take the hill.
That being said: there are still a good number of reliable closers, and of course, the elites. Saves, much like steals, are one of the most sought after stats in non-points based leagues. Identifying issues with current closers or speculative options with other members of the bullpen can give you a leg up on just about anyone in your league. After all, the position is the most volatile one in the majors.
While most figure the set-up man is the best option to snag when a closer struggles or goes down or is in danger of being removed, that is not always the case. The closer chart below gives every teams’ closer, set up and lurker. Before we get to that, let’s take a look at some news and notes from the first half a week of MLB action.
Sam Dyson really struggled in his first two opportunities this season, allowing eight runs in an inning of work. While Dyson wasn’t the safest closer option coming into the season, his skill set didn’t project a meltdown like this. Rangers Manager Jeff Banister has given the 28-year-old his vote of confidence so Dyson will get at least one more chance. This move seems fair enough seeing how Dyson converted 38 of 43 save chances last season.
This makes Matt Bush among the top waiver wire options in any league where saves are needed. He figures to be the Rangers backup option if Dyson can’t get things together in the early going. Jeremy Jeffress could see opportunities as well, but he and Dyson are very similar pitchers so the same risk is there.
Santiago Casilla got the first opportunity in the Athletics’ committee and converted it on opening night. Probably just to throw fantasy owners off, Manager Bob Melvin sent Ryan Dull out for the second save chance the following night. In his first chance of the season, Dull gave up three runs, the lead, and any chance in the near future to close a game.
Ryan Madson continues to work the Andrew Miller-esque higher leverage situations, none of which have come in the ninth so far. Sean Doolittle could be a sneaky back-end option as well. Right now, Casilla is the best bet to lead the A’s bullpen in saves, but is far from a safe option.
Despite Jeanmar Gomez converting his first save opportunity, Manager Pete Mackanin said he was “concerned” after the shaky performance. This comes as no surprise to anyone else after Gomez posted a 8.33 ERA after the all-star break last season. While Mackanin will stick with Gomez for now, it’s hard to see how much longer it’ll be that way.
Although Hector Neris is the most dominant option out of the Phillies’ bullpen, money talks. He may be thwarted save opportunities to keep his future arbitration cost down which opens up the door for Joaquin Benoit. That’s simply speculation, however, as no backup plans have been announced from the Phillies.
The Closer Grid
The Closer Grid tells you who is getting saves, how secure they are, and who is next in line. This year we moved away from the overall rankings and have listed closers by division.
For security rankings: 1 = Rock Solid, 2 = Secure, 3= Shaky, 4 = In Danger
|Baltimore||1||Zach Britton||Brad Brach||Mychal Givens|
|Boston||1||Craig Kimbrel||Matt Barnes||Joe Kelly|
|New York||1||Aroldis Chapman||Dellin Betances||Tyler Clippard|
|Tampa Bay||2||Alex Colome||Danny Farquhar||Xavier Cedeno|
|Toronto||1||Roberto Osuna (DL)||Jason Grilli||Joe Smith|
|Chicago||2||David Robertson||Nate Jones||Dan Jennings|
|Cleveland||2||Cody Allen||Andrew Miller||Bryan Shaw|
|Detroit||2||Francisco Rodriguez||Bruce Rondon||Alex Wilson|
|Kansas City||2||Kelvin Herrera||Joakim Soria||Matt Strahm|
|Minnesota||3||Brandon Kintzler||Ryan Pressly||Taylor Rogers|
|Houston||2||Ken Giles||Luke Gregerson||Will Harris|
|Los Angeles||4||Cam Bedrosian||Andrew Bailey||J.C. Ramirez|
|Oakland||4||Santiago Casilla||Ryan Madson||Sean Doolittle|
|Seattle||1||Edwin Diaz||Nick Vincent||Marc Rzepczynski|
|Texas||3||Sam Dyson||Matt Bush||Jeremy Jeffress|
|Atlanta||2||Jim Johnson||Arodys Vizcaino||Ian Krol|
|Miami||2||A.J. Ramos||Brad Ziegler||Kyle Barraclough|
|New York||2||Addison Reed||Fernando Salas||Hansel Robles|
|Philadelphia||3||Jeanmar Gomez||Hector Neris||Joaquin Benoit|
|Washington||3||Blake Treinen||Shawn Kelley||Koda Glover|
|Chicago||1||Wade Davis||Pedro Strop||Carl Edwards Jr.|
|Cincinnati||4||Raisel Iglesias||Michael Lorenzen||Drew Storen|
|Milwaukee||3||Neftali Feliz||Corey Knebel||Jacob Barnes|
|Pittsburgh||2||Tony Watson||Daniel Hudson||Antonio Bastardo|
|St. Louis||1||Seung Hwan Oh||Kevin Siegrist||Brett Cecil|
|Arizona||3||Fernando Rodney||J.J. Hoover||Randall Delgado|
|Colorado||2||Greg Holland||Adam Ottavino||Carlos Estevez|
|Los Angeles||1||Kenley Jansen||Sergio Romo||Grant Dayton|
|San Diego||3||Brandon Mauer||Ryan Buchter||Brad Hand|
|San Francisco||1||Mark Melancon||Derek Law||Hunter Strickland|
Visit Fantasy Rundown for additional closer news and rankings.