Just a little over a week into the season and we have seen a few bullpen shakeups thus far. Sam Dyson is officially out as the closer in Texas for the time being, and Tony Barnette was the one warming up in the top of the 9th last night while the game was still within 3 runs. He has been removed from this list for the week, while we wait and see how things play out this weekend once Matt Bush returns to the team. Jeanmar Gomez lost his job to Joaquin Benoit, and the move should further solidify Hector Neris’s as a top holds option. Neither Sean Doolittle or Santiago Casilla are on this list as well, as they figure to share almost a 50/50 split of the save opportunities.
TIER 1: Good Vibrations
TIER 2: I’ll Be There For You
3. Hector Neris (Philadelphia Phillies)
7. Arodys Vizcaino (Atlanta Braves)
- Hector Neris would be in the top tier if I were confident in the Phillies ability to win more than 75 games this season. He is that good and it’s a shame the Phils wont allow him to pitch the 9th just so they can save some dollars.
- Matt Bush is battling a AC joint injury, and while its never a good thing to hear a pitcher have any arm trouble, it is an issue he pitched (effectively) through last season as well. He very well could be on our Closing Time list next week if he can pitch this weekend.
- Adam Ottavino is leading the league and saves, and whether he pitches the 7th or 8th, he should still see plenty of chances and certainly has the stuff to be highly effective.
- Nate Jones and Luke Gregerson have had some struggles early on but their track record doesn’t have me ready to move them down a tier just yet.
- I will admit, I missed hard on Bruce Rondon heading into the season. Now that he is in AAA, that opens up the set-up job solely to Justin Wilson who has pitched well so far. He could even work his way into some save chances if/when Francisco Rodriguez breaks down.
TIER 3: Torn
19. Derek Law (San Francisco Giants)
23. Cory Knebel (Milwaukee Brewers)
25. Hector Rondon (Chicago Cubs)
26. Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati Reds)
30. Pedro Baez (Los Angeles Dodgers)
- Derek Law and Hunter Strickland both figure to see similar hold opportunities. Strickland has been better thus far, but Law is the only one with a hold to his credit.
- The same can be said about Daniel Hudson and Felipe Rivero. Rivero has been better, but Hudson should still see the bulk of 8th winning work, unless a lefty heavy part of the lineup is due up in the inning.
- Corey Knebel has looked really good so far, flashing a pretty nasty curveball that’s been missing bats. He is the clear set-up guy to Neftali Feliz and the duo could be a surprisingly effective this season.
- Unfortunately for Grant Dayton, Sergio Romo and Pedro Baez, Dave Roberts certainly seems to not care for having set roles late in games with his bullpen, outside of Kenley Jansen closing out games. Ross Stripling got a 2 inning hold last night, and he has already done the same with Alex Wood. I still like Dayton’s upside, but it’s concerning has hasn’t been used in a hold situation yet.
- Fernando Salas has been a nice surprise for the Mets this season. He won’t be the main setup man when Jeurys Familia returns, but should get plenty of chances still for a Mets teams that tends to keep games close.
- Its time to start monitoring Trevor Rosenthal’s usage as he could be used in high leverage situations right away. The rest of the Cardinals bullpen has been a disaster, and Rosenthal arguably has the best stuff of the group. He struggled yesterday but looked awesome in his debut.
TIER 4: You Get What You Give
39. Drew Storen (Cincinnati Reds)
41. Darren O’Day (Baltimore Orioles)
51. Sammy Solis (Washington Nationals)
- I don’t really know where to rank Chris Devenski. Obviously if he is going to pitch 8 innings a week and rack up almost 2 K’s an inning with great ratios, he needs to be owned and used in most leagues. I want to see more of a sample size though before putting him up a tier.
- Jeremy Jeffress or Tony Barnette could get a boost depending on how things shake out in Texas with Sam Dyson likely on his way out of the closers role soon. Jeffress hasn’t been good but he has closer experience. Both are good speculative adds.
- A lot of the names in this tier are in holds limbo for me but with upside. Ryan Dull, Edubray Ramos, Sammy Solis, David Phelps and Joe Blanton can all be good fantasy relievers, just as long as the opportunity for holds is there for them. Right now, I just don’t see it. Regarding the two Nationals mentioned, Dusty Baker doesn’t really seem to have a set plan with his bullpen roles at the moment, so either one could bounce back up a tier in now time.
TIER 5: There She Goes
55. JC Ramirez (Los Angeles Angels)
64. Sam LeClerc (Texas Rangers)
66. Xavier Cedeno (Tampa Bay Rays)
HM. Joe Jimenez (Detroit Tigers)
- Matt Belisle and Carlos Torres should continue to get a good amount of hold chances. Just don’t expect them to help out much in any other categories.
- JC Ramirez figures to be the Angels top set-up man with Andrew Bailey on the DL. So that should give him some value I suppose.
- While Alex Wilson could see the most secondary hold opportunities in the near future, its tough not to be excited about Joe Jimenez’s call up. It’s completely reasonable to think he ends the season as the Tigers closer if he can limit the free passes.
Houston Street (Los Angeles Angels)
Glenn Perkins (Minnesota Twins)
JP Howell (Toronto Blue Jays)