Three full days in to the MLB season and things are definitely becoming more clear in the world of closers and other bullpen affairs. Blake Treinen and Greg Holland are the big winners/movers on the list for the week, with Santiago Casilla as the biggest surprise as it seems like he could be locked into the 9th inning role in Oakland. As this list is updated from week to week, keep in mind, this doesn’t include pitchers who are currently on the DL or suspended.
TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U
No changes in this tier for the week. Aroldis Chapman came in with a 5 run lead last night to get some work in and was his usual self recording 2 K’s. Zach Britton pitched in a tie game (looks like Buck has learned from past mistakes…) and worked himself out of trouble. He got his groundballs but they were hit fairly hard, 2 being for base hits and 1 was a double play ball off the bat of Jose Bautista. Ken Giles is currently the best closer in baseball, going 2 innings for 2 saves and 5 K’s. There is certainly room for him to climb these rankings if he keeps this up.
TIER 2: Save Tonight
7. Mark Melancon (San Francisco Giants)—Derek Law, Hunter Strickland
13. Blake Treinen (Washington Nationals)—Koda Glover, Shawn Kelley
Blake Treinen and Addison Reed join the group here, with Reed essentially being a placeholder for Jeurys Familia’s return in a few weeks. Reed should still be worth owning for 2 weeks if given chances. Familia will be in the top portion of this tier when he returns. Seung Hwan Oh wasnt very sharp in his first appearance Sunday night, but “earned” a dirty win as the Cardinals walked off in the bottom of the 9th. His average at best fastball is definitely a concern, but as long as he can locate his slider better and mix the two, he should settle in and be ok. The last thing Giants fans wanted to see on opening day was their shiny new closer blow a save, nut Mark Melancon did just that (while Santiago Casilla nails down his first save opportunity nonetheless.) It’s obviously still too early to worry about him. Craig Kimbrel looked good in his first save attempt, flashing his vintage stuff. Wade Davis was good last night in his save chance, but his control still seems a bit off. Cody Allen was sharp in nailing down a save on Monday night. The big takeaway here was that Francona used him for 3 outs in the 9th, despite Andrew Miller throwing only 12 pitches the inning before and a lefty up (Gallo) to lead off the inning. He then came back Tuesday night and made things interesting, but ultimately recorded his 2nd save. Alex Colome pitched a nice clean inning on Sunday to earn a save after inheriting a 2 runners in a 4 run game. Blake Treinen making his closer debut all the way up in tier 2 looked great on Monday. He earned a save working a clean 9th inning and picked up 2 K’s. For the time being, he is a top 15 closer and has a chance to stick here with more shutdown outings.
TIER 3: Bound for the Floor
15. Greg Holland (Colorado Rockies)—Adam Ottavino, Jake McGee
20. Cam Bedrosian (Los Angeles Angels)—Andrew Bailey, JC Ramirez
21. Neftali Feliz (Milwaukee Brewers)—Corey Knebel, Jacob Barnes
22. Jason Grilli (Toronto Blue Jays)—Joe Biagini, Joe Smith
Greg Holland not only worked a quick 9th on Monday but more importantly, he pitched on back to back days. He looked great on Tuesday picking up his 2nd save and 2 K’s in the process. His stock is certainly trending upwards. Francisco Rodriguez pitched a clean inning after coming in with 2 runners on and no outs. He didn’t record a K and his fastball was sitting around 86 which is obviously a big concern. Sam Dyson imploded on Monday, but the good news for him is Matt Bush struggled, letting up a HR the inning before. They very well could be the team to go hard after the next guy on this list. The bad news for Cam Bedrosian and owners alike is that it sounds like he will be in a committee with Andrew Bailey to earn saves while Huston Street is out. The good news is, Bedrosian got the opportunity on Tuesday and did not disappoint. It should only be a matter of time before he is the sole closer in LA. Jason Grilli let up a walk off HR to Mark Trumbo two days ago, but he should still serve as the teams closer until Roberto Osuna is healthy. He should be a solid RP to own for the next week or so on a team that faces Tampa Bay and Milwaukee next.
TIER 4: Better Days (and the Bottom Drops Out)
25. Brandon Kintzler (Minnesota Twins)—Ryan Pressly, Matt Belisle
26. Brandon Maurer (San Diego Padres)—Brad Hand, Ryan Buchter
27. Raisel Iglesias (Cincinnati Reds)—Drew Storen, Michael Lorenzen
29. Santiago Casilla? (Oakland Athletics)—Ryan Dull, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson
Brandon Kintzler threw a scoreless 9th inning in a non-save situation Monday. He kept the ball on the ground and failed to record a strikeout, which will certainly be the case with him more often than not. Fernando Rodney was Fernando Rodney on Sunday. Own and use at your own risk. Despite all off the bullpen by committee talk entering the season, it sure seemed like Bob Melvin knew exactly how he wanted to use his bullpen on Monday night. Ryan Dull pitched the 7th with Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson splitting the 8th. This left Santiago Casilla to record 3 outs in the 9th and he did just that. This led fantasy players (and reasonably so) to rush to add Casilla in most leagues, only to be punked by Melvin the very next night. On Tuesday we saw Madson pitch the 8th, with Dull throwing the 9th. With Dull struggling, and ultimately blowing the save, it was Doolittle, not Casilla warming up to relieve him in the 9th inning. I still think Doolittle is the best option here for the A’s, but at this point in time, none of them are must owns. I’ll give Jeanmar Gomez two more weeks at most til he is replaced as the Phillies closer. Hector Neris needs to be owned in all leagues and Joaquin Benoit/Edubray Ramos in deep leagues. All 3 are significant upgrades over Gomez.