We are so close to opening day and finally getting baseball back in our systems (no offense to the KBO folks), but we still have plenty of question marks when it comes to closer situations around the league. As of now, there are 4 projected closers that won’t be available for their team’s first game. Then there was the surprise out of St. Louis last night when it was announced Kwang-hyun Kim would start the season in the bullpen, most likely serving as the teams closer.
I saw some of the highlights from last Thursday’s intrasquad and I like what I saw, but I also saw a guy that probably belongs in the rotation. He may open the season as the Cardinals closer, but once Giovanny Gallegos and Alex Reyes return and when a starter eventually goes down, then what happens? For now, I’m treating Kim as the interim closer who likely lasts a few weeks before changing roles. I’d still rather take a chance on him than Zack Britton, who we know has an expiration date as a closer.
- Roberto Osuna is still working his way into games shape and is questionable, but likely out for Opening Day. It doesn’t seem like he’ll miss more than just a series though as he isn’t dealing with an injury and just needs to get game-ready. Ryan Pressly will likely fill in for Osuna in the meantime.
- Nick Anderson worked a save situation in this past weekend’s intrasquad and with Diego Castillo missing time and questionable for opening day, Anderson should be locked into the closer role from the get-go. Things could change, but Anderson is starting to look like a worthy gamble at his ADP.
- Giovanny Gallegos was able to report to camp on Saturday and is reportedly close to being game-ready with a chance of being available for opening day. That said, news out of Cardinals camp last night suggests Kwang-hyun Kim will open the year as the teams closer. This all puts a damper on the Ryan Helsley hype train, however, the situation still remains fluid. I still prefer Gallegos long term this year, but Kim needs to be rostered now as well and Helsley is still worth a speculative add or late-round pick in most leagues.
- Aroldis Chapman is doing better and has been working out while in quarantine, but he’s still likely a week or two away. Zack Britton will fill in for now, and despite only getting a week or two of closer work, we should remember how much value that could have in a 60 game season. That said, he probably isn’t worth being drafted inside the top 200 picks of drafts and I wouldn’t go blowing FAAB to add him.
- This 6th tier feels like more of a dumpster fire than usual, but I guess that kind of fits with the type of year we’re having. Brandon Kintzler is very boring but has the most job security of the group. He also may have the toughest schedule. Wade Davis has about as short of rope as any closer and could be out of the role a week from now. Mychal Givens and Hunter Harvey are battling for the 10 potential save opportunities the Orioles may muster up this season and could wind up splitting those chances.
- With Yoshihisa Hirano battling Covid-19, Matt Magill seems like the obvious choice to start the year closing out games. Hirano will be back soon and Austin Adams is healthy, so we could see a committee approach here for now. Tony Watson will probably see the bulk fo the Giants save chances, but could lose chances to Tyler Rogers or Trevor Gott against right-handed heavy lineups. Kyle Crick may be the fill-in closer for Keone Kela in Pittsburgh, but there are better options available.
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Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)