Welcome back baseball! It’s great to be seeing Spring Training games in March again and with the new CBA agreement came a flurry of player movement, with plenty of relievers joining new teams over the past two weeks. The biggest name of that group would have to be Kenley Jansen who surprised pretty much everyone by agreeing to a one-year deal with Atlanta. While it all but eliminates Will Smith’s value in save only leagues, it’s a huge boost to the Braves bullpen in general as they didn’t have much depth from the right side before, even after signing Collin McHugh. The two additions put the Braves bullpen in the “top bullpen in baseball” discussion and Jansen should be a safe bet for another RP1 finish.
With Jansen moving on from the Dodgers, it leaves the door open for Blake Treinen to become a full-time closer once again. There’s talk that they may go with a committee approach but I’m not so sure I buy into that. Daniel Hudson, Brusdar Graterol, and Alex Vesia would assumingly be part of a late-inning committee should it go that way, but at the end of the day, Treinen should be considered the heavy favorite to lead this bullpen in saves this season. Who knows, perhaps there’s even a chance that the Dodgers, already well over the salary cap threshold anyway, could swing a deal for Craig Kimbrel and make this all a moot point anyway.
Editor’s Note: For those looking for the original Top 30 Closers from February, click here.
- Outside of the Jansen signing, there hasn’t been much movement that would impact the top 20 closers in a big way. Joe Barlow moves up a slight bit based on having no competition and the Rangers improving their roster. I still have my doubts about him being the team’s closer after the All-Star break but for now, he’s relatively safe I suppose.
- Alex Colomé signed with a team as their primary closer, which would be great…if it weren’t the Rockies. It would be a minor miracle for Colomé to be fantasy relevant for the entire season pitching in that environment but this is baseball, stranger things have happened.
- Lou Trivino is a not very good closer pitching on a not very good team that seems fully committed to tanking this season. That being said, this bullpen is certainly the worst in all of baseball so Trivino doesn’t have to look over his shoulder for competitors. Unless maybe A.J. Puk puts its all together this year?
- Back in February, I had Tanner Rainey listed as the Nationals closer and while I still think that’s a possibility, the tea leaves are suggesting that Kyle Finnegan will at least get the first crack at closing out games this season. I’d still stay away from him and watch Rainey or even Sean Doolittle who returns to the team he saved 75 games for between 2017-2019.
- The Cubs bullpen is also up for grabs, but I think the incumbent Rowan Wick gets the slight edge over newcomer Mychal Givens for now. This bullpen may not be as bad as it looks on paper, but it still feels like it’s shaping up to be a headache as far as finding saves goes.
- Lucas Sims, the Reds perceived closer, will not be available for opening day so that leaves an opening for their closer role to start the season. Art Warren is my personal favorite in this bullpen so I’d love to see him grab the role and run with it, but in all likelihood, we are trending to a committee approach at least until Sims returns (and possibly after).
- The Padres six+ headed closer committee is likely just going to create chaos for fantasy purposes so unless it’s a very deep league, I’d rather just stay away from the situation entirely or maybe stash Drew Pomeranz in an IL spot. It doesn’t look like there will be a rotation spot for him, so Dinelson Lamet has the most intriguing upside in the role in my opinion.
- The Orioles are still a couple of years away from competing in the AL East but nonetheless could still see someone close out 10 or more games this year. Who that will be is still up in the air, as Tyler Wells is getting stretched out as a starter this spring. Cole Sulser likely remains the favorite for saves but perhaps this is the year Tanner Scott puts it all together.
|1.||Craig Kimbrel||CWS||More and more likely he stays in Chicago but never say never|
|2.||Tanner Rainey||WAS||Most talented arm in this bullpen, disappointed in 2021 but flashed in Sept.|
|3.||Lucas Sims||CIN||Will miss the start of the season, but shouldn’t be a long term concern|
|4.||Pete Fairbanks||TB||Has injury history and committee to deal with but has electric stuff|
|5.||Ken Giles||SEA||If one member of this bullpen breaks the committee, it’d be Giles|
|6.||Drew Pomeranz||SDP||If healthy (when will he be?) he’s easily the best option in this bullpen|
|7.||Michael Fulmer||DET||Soto is the closer but Fulmer could push him in his first full season as an RP|
|8.||Garrett Whitlock||BOS||Has a real shot at the rotation, but the team may view him as Barnes insurance|
|9.||Tyler Wells||BAL||The team has him being stretched out as a starter, but likely winds up in the pen|
|10.||Anthony Bender||MIA||Floro should be safe for now, but Bender has the higher upside|
(Photo by Icon Sportswire) Adapted by Shawn Palmer (@PalmerDesigns_ on Twitter)