We may just be a few weeks into the season, but the fluidity of bullpens is most certainly visible. Closer situations have begun to work themselves out, new closers have been introduced, and other roles in bullpens are beginning to solidify. In the seemingly endless chase, fantasy owners are always trying to keep up with, and even stay one step ahead of, managers’ bullpen decisions on a day-to-day basis.
No need to worry however, as it’s my job to take all of the closer and bullpen news from the past two weeks and give you a rundown of the action. There are still a handful of bullpens using the dreaded closer by committee approach (i.e. Athletics, Reds and to a less extent Phillies and Nationals), while others have opted to go with an entirely new closer like the Rangers.
Los Angeles Angels
There may be Angels in the outfield, but the Devil purchased real-estate in the bullpen. Cam Bedrosian joins Huston Street and Andrew Baily on the disabled list, leaving fantasy owners wondering who will close things out.
Bud Norris (yes he still pitches) got the first save chance on Saturday. Recently recalled Kirby Yates pitched the 8th innings, but expect to see Blake Parker there more often than not. If not for the presence of Mike Scioscia I might speculate on Parker or even Jose Ramirez getting a chance to close. Scioscia loves his veterans, and you don’t get much more veteran than Norris.
Keep in mind that Bedrosian only recorded three saves so it’s not like whoever takes the closer role will rack up the saves. Norris is the add for now, but I would probably avoid the entire bullpen.
Hector Neris was able to pick up his first save of the season on Friday night. While Joaquin Benoit has not yet officially lost the closer role, manager Pete Mackanin opted to use the veteran in the eighth inning Friday rather than the ninth. Mackanin said after the game it is nice having two guys who can close, yet did not call the bullpen situation a closer by committee.
Although Neris is obviously the more talented of the two, Benoit figures to see save chances until he proves he can’t handle them. Neris should get some opportunity too, but the Phil’s hesitance in using him may have something to do with keeping his arbitration cost down for future seasons.
While Ken Giles hasn’t struggled so far this season, he hasn’t been the most consistent either. This could be part of the reason why manager A.J. Hinch decided to use relief ace Chris Devenski through the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to earn a save on Friday night. This move wasn’t to begin ushering Giles out of the closer role, however, so owners shouldn’t fret too much.
Manager Dusty Baker summed up Blake Treinen’s closer stint fairly well by saying “this ain’t working.” Shortly after, Baker announced that Washington will be using a closing tandem of Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover moving forward. After picking up saves in consecutive chances on Thursday and Friday, Kelley appears to be the bullpen arm to own for the Nationals.
With that being said, it is important to note that Baker intends to keep an eye on Kelley’s workload as the pitcher has had two Tommy John Surgeries over the course of his career. Glover will most likely be used whenever Kelley is unavailable, but could also see chances over Kelley if the situation permits.
After a dreadful start to the season and a DL stint, Sam Dyson is out of the closer role in Texas. It didn’t take an expert to figure out it would happen eventually, but now Matt Bush figures to see the majority of chances in the ninth. As the best pitcher in the Rangers’ bullpen, Bush will take over closer duties with Jeremy Jeffress setting him up.
Although he has a lot to prove, Keone Kela has back-of-the-pen potential and has pitched well since being called up. He shouldn’t see any kind of chances in the near future, but if Bush or Jeffress struggle or get injured, he is certainly a name to keep an eye on.
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||2||Brad Brach||Darren O’Day||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||Tommy Hunter|
|Toronto||1||Roberto Osuna||Jason Grilli||Joe Smith|
|Chicago||2||David Robertson||Nate Jones||Dan Jennings|
|Cleveland||2||Cody Allen||Andrew Miller||Bryan Shaw|
|Detriot||2||Francisco Rodriguez||Justin Wilson||Alex Wilson|
|Kansas City||2||Kelvin Herrea||Joakim Soria||Matt Strahm|
|Minnesota||3||Brandon Kintzler||Ryan Pressly||Taylor Rogers|
|Houston||2||Ken Giles||Luke Gregerson||Chris Devenski|
|Los Angeles||4||Bud Norris
|Oakland||4||Santiago Casilla||Sean Doolittle||Ryan Madson|
|Seattle||1||Edwin Diaz||Dan Altavilla||Nick Vincent|
|Texas||3||Matt Bush||Jeremy Jeffress||Jose Leclerc|
|Atlanta||2||Jim Johnson||Arodys Vizcaino||Jose Ramirez|
|Miami||2||A.J. Ramos||Brad Ziegler||Kyle Barraclough|
|New York||1||Jeurys Familia||Addison Reed||Fernando Salas|
|Washington||2||Shawn Kelley||Koda Glover||Blake Treinen|
|Chicago||1||Wade Davis||Koji Uehara||Hector Rondon|
|Cincinnati||4||Raisel Iglesias||Drew Storen||Michael Lorenzen|
|Milwaukee||3||Neftali Feliz||Corey Knebel||Jacob Barnes|
|Pittsburgh||2||Tony Watson||Daniel Hudson
|St. Louis||2||Seung Hwan Oh||Trevor Rosenthal||Brett Cecil|
|Arizona||3||Fernando Rodney||Jorge de la Rosa||J.J. Hoover
|Colorado||2||Greg Holland||Adam Ottavino||Mike Dunn|
|Los Angeles||1||Kenley Jansen||Sergio Romo||Grant Dayton|
|San Diego||3||Brandon Mauer||Ryan Buchter||Brad Hand|
|San Francisco||1||Mark Melancon||Hunter Strickland||Derek Law|
Visit Fantasy Rundown for additional closer news and rankings.