The Mariners bullpen usage has been predictably unpredictable to begin the season, but I think we got a taste of what it will look like the majority of the time when protecting a lead yesterday afternoon. Andrés Muñoz came into the 6th, followed by Drew Steckenrider, Diego Castillo and finally Paul Sewald. That to me seems like the most logical route for the bullpen to go moving forward, so just because Sewald hasn’t done much yet, don’t give up on the talent just yet. There’s no reason to believe his breakout from 2021 won’t carry over to 2022.
- Perhaps the huge rise in the ranks for Jhoan Duran seems a bit steep today, but he is exactly the type of reliever you want to target and take chance on this early in the season. Duran’s three-pitch mix (curveball is coming along) will certainly play up as a reliever and with the Twins having no other closer to turn to, recent usage suggests he is the favorite for saves moving forward.
- We finally get to see Tanner Rainey in the closer role, and while the early results have been great, the fastball velocity being down yet again is something to monitor, but not panic about just yet. With his slider as good as it is, it’s certainly possible for Rainey to live around 95 MPH, but it will need to come with refined command (which so far, has been fine).
- Chris Woodward tried telling us that Joe Barlow wouldn’t close out games right away but then he must have realized the other options he has to close out games at the moment. By no means is Barlow near the elite level of closers, but having the steady role for a team that should be improved this role makes him a near must roster in all SV+HLD formats.
- The Red Sox continue to go with a timeshare in their later innings, but it looks like Jake Diekman and Hansel Robles will be the top options for the time being. Diekman is my preferred target here, he seems to be the safer option as long as he isn’t walking people left and right and he also has the higher strikeout upside. Matt Barnes is still a work in progress as he looks like a shell of his former self, but if he is able to get back to where he used to be, he’d once again be the top option in this bullpen.
- Closers like Mark Melancon and Lou Trivino with low strikeout upside and on bad teams can get lost in the mix in SV+HLD’s leagues but I’d prefer many setup options to them.
- Jake McGee has yet to see a save chance with the Giants and has been used all over the place, including the 6th inning of games. McGee’s skill set is pretty basic as he only has a fastball albeit one that he typically commands very well, but if he isn’t locked into a closer or setup role, I’m not sure this is something I’d want to chase.
- Well, the one-day Tony Santillan hype seems to be wearing off, especially after last night where he allowed three earned while getting just one out. He’s still an interesting reliever but with Lucas Sims on his way back in a week or so, there are likely other relievers worth targeting.
- Jordan Romano leads all relievers in SV+HLD’s with 4 (saves) over the first week of the season as the Jays have been one of the hottest teams in baseball to start.
|Lucas Sims||3-4||Elbow. Sims finally has a target date of April 22, so expect him back on this list next week|
|Drew Pomeranz||3-5||Flexor Tendon. Starting the year on the 60 day IL so don’t expect to see him until June/July.|
|Nick Anderson||3-5||UCL. It’s looking like another potential short season for Nick Anderson, who will be out until (at least) the All-Star break.|
|Ken Giles||3-5||Finger tendon injury. Giles was making his way back from TJS this spring before a finger injury derailed him. Expect him back by June|
|Kirby Yates||3-6||TJS. Don’t expect to see Yates until after the All-Star break (at the earliest). If he’s back to his normal self, he should be a top 50 RP.|
|José Leclerc||4-6||TJS. Similar story to Yates, but he has a higher chance to close out games despite a lower overall floor.|
|Jonathan Hernández||4-6||TJS. Should also return at some point this season to help boost the Rangers pen, but likely not as a closer.|
|Pete Fairbanks||4-6||Torn Lat. Tough break for Fairbanks who will now miss at least 3 months of the season. Look for him to be back around the All-Star break.|
|Tommy Kahnle||4-7||TJS. Kahnle should be ready to go early in the 2022 season, but how he looks or what his role will be remains to be seen. Started rehab assignment this week|
|Luis García||5-8||Side/Oblique. García suffered the injury in his first spring outing and has been able to throw recently, so expect him back sometime in April/May. Rehab started|
|James Karinchak||5-8||Shoulder. A teres muscle strain has shut down Karinchak for the time being, with no timetable to date. Perhaps late May is realistic.|
|Andrew Chafin||6-8||Groin. While it sounds like a minor injury, Chafin will still miss some time to start the year with his new club. Had a setback recently in a bullpen session.|
|Joe Kelly||6-8||Biceps. Kelly is still recovering from the nerve issue injury he sustained in last years NLCS. He should be available at some point in May.|
|Jorge Alcala||6-9||Elbow. Alcala landed on the IL after a significant drop in velo during his latest outing. Remains to be seen how long he will be out.|
|Dylan Floro||6-9||Arm. Floro is also dealing with arm soreness and likely to miss a couple weeks to begin the year. Once he returns, he should factor back into the saves mix.|
|JT Chargois||6-9||Oblique. The side injury for Chargois has been classified as minor and he should be back in May, but obliques can be tricky|
Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)