Happy Opening Day everyone! We have a trio of new faces to the top of the list, as offseason acquisitions (or demotions) have bumped them from the closer spot back into a setup role. The newest addition is Blake Treinen who was looking more and more likely to wind up in a setup role, even before the Dodgers traded for Craig Kimbrel, as the team prefers using him in more of a fireman role anyway. Look for him to put up similar numbers to last season. His former teammate Kenley Jansen signed with the Braves which moves Will Smith (not his teammate) back into a setup role. It’s probably the best for Smith and the Braves, and if this bullpen can get/stay healthy, they should be one of if not the best in baseball. The final player to mention is Camilo Doval, who appears to be beginning the season in more of a setup role as Gabe Kapler has elected to give closing duties back to Jake McGee. Doval is still the closer of the future in San Francisco, and it could happen sooner than you think this year if McGee struggles out of the gate.
- It’s looking like Aaron Ashby won’t begin the season in the Brewers rotation, which is unfortunate because I’d really love to see him working 5-6 innings a game. That said, he is still definitely someone to target, especially in holds leagues, as he should still provide help in multiple categories, whatever his role may be. I hope he isn’t on this list next week, but even if he is, hold tight for now.
- The rumored Taylor Rogers/Chris Paddack trade that was floating around Twitter has me even more interested in Twins relievers now, as it looks like there’s a possibility that one of Tyler Duffey, Jorge Alcala, or Jhoan Duran could open the year as the teams closer. If that’s the case, most teams would elect to go with the veteran in the role to start (so Duffey) but the Twins have been aggressive this offseason to try and compete (which is why this trade makes no sense) so perhaps they’d just turn things over to the electric Duran despite zero MLB experience.
- Two exciting pitchers coming off TJS are back on the list after a year away in Seranthony Domínguez and Andrés Muñoz. Both have looked great this spring and should be major factors in their teams (both playoff contenders) respective bullpens. The window to buy in on each may be closing shut.
- On the flip side of that alleged Paddack/Rogers trade, the Padres bullpen remains very much in flux. Even still, I feel like Pierce Johnson is a safe option in holds leagues as he will assuredly fill in a late-inning role, while Dinelson Lamet remains a high upside target to chase. If the Padres land Rogers, either he or Robert Suarez likely become the top setup option to begin the year. EDIT: the Twins/Padres deal DID go through this morning, with Taylor Rogers and Emilio Pagán trading places. The list has been updated to reflect this move.
- Injuries have forced a pair of underwhelming relievers into top set up options for their respective clubs to begin the year. JT Chargois seems likely to begin the year as the Rays 7th or 8th inning option, potentially closing out games as well. While in St. Louis Génesis Cabrera is the favorite for holds after the team announced Jordan Hicks as the 5th starter and will be without Alex Reyes for a while.
- The addition of Craig Kimbrel perhaps should bump Brusdar Graterol down the list instead of up, but I really feel like there’s a potential Emmanuel Clase type leap to be had here for Graterol, and it wouldn’t shock me if he outperformed Daniel Hudson in holds leagues when all is said and done.
- A pair of trades took place this past weekend that will have holds league implications. Joely Rodríguez heads to the Mets from the Yankees, giving the Mets a much needed lefty out of their bullpen. His role shouldn’t change much in the grand scheme of things, but this is the Mets so will so how he responds. Miguel Castro goes the other way and gives the Yankees a new “Clay Holmes” type to mold into a slider specialist.
- The Orioles also sent their two best relievers to Miami in Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser. Their respective values don’t take a hit, but I imagine Richard Bleier’s will, as not only does he have two more arms to compete with, but another lefty in Scott. What happens in Baltimore’s bullpen remains to be seen, but I think it’s safe to say that you should be avoiding it at all costs.
Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)
Great article as usual Rick, thanks for the help for those of us in HLDs leagues! Ashby sitting high on the list since he’s starting in the pen, but what about Christian Javier down in Houston? Don’t see him with the same value upside until he gets his shot in the rotation?
Thanks bobbo! Thats actually a great call and an oversight on my part. I’d still prefer Ashby over Javier, but Javier deserves to be in the top 50 discussion here. Tough trying to come up with a value for these SP/RP hybrids.
No Paul Sewald?
I have Sewald with the closers, projecting him to lead the team in saves.
These are so awesome. Play in several SOLDs leagues and your lists are something I look forward to each week. They have really helped in the past.
Thanks PTM, happy to hear that!