One of the more frustrating early season trends has been how the Pirates have used elite reliever and best pitcher on the roster, David Bednar. Sure, Chris Stratton is the perfect closer for a team who doesn’t want to win games now and would prefer to keep their best relievers arbitration numbers down, so I suppose this does make perfect sense for the Pirates. It’s still wildly frustrating as Bednar could really be one of the games top closers if they were to just let him run with the job. If they are worried about paying him, they could always deal him for some prospects at the deadline, and his trade value would assumingly be higher if he had more closing experience. Anyways, Bednar does have 4 holds and 2 saves on the season, so for those in SV+HLD leagues, he remains a great option so just ignore Stratton’s presence there.
- Two of the bigger disappointments to open the year are Jonathan Loáisiga and Aaron Bummer, both of which have struggled mightily to start, but for now still remain in the mix for holds for their respective teams. The key here being “for now”, as Loáisiga has some stiff competition in New York, and while the White Sox bullpen isn’t exactly deep, Bummer has been bad enough where they may have to consider moving him into low leverage work, at least temporarily. Something to keep an eye on in the next few weeks.
- Andrés Muñoz has shot up the Mariners late inning depth chart, and even with Paul Sewald returning this week, may still factor into SV+HLD’s moving forward. The command is still a bit shaky, but Muñoz can touch 100 MPH with ease and currently sports 51.9% K and 23% SwStr rates.
- I admittedly don’t know what to make of Dany Jiménez, who just last year was pitching in Buffalo and now the 28 year old finds himself as the closer of the Athletics. That role may change once Lou Trivino returns (who’s been on the Covid-IL for 12 days with no updates in between) but either way Jiménez is off to a hot start. The slider is great, the fastball suspect and ultimately this could be a Vargas rule type situation. Remember, this is a pretty bad A’s team, so when they get cold, there will be next to no value here some weeks.
- Emilio Pagán has already had a meltdown as the Twins closer, but I wouldn’t expect it to push him out of the role just yet. Jhoan Duran continues to do his thing and lurks as a potential successor, but I’m still holding out some hope that Pagán can turn things back around after a disappointing season.
- Matt Barnes may be the Red Sox closer again by default, but that doesn’t mean he goes all the way back up to his typical spot in the rankings just yet. He’s still not where he was a year ago, although their are some encouraging signs finally. It’s just taking longer than expected for him to progress, so perhaps Hansel Robles will get some save chances in the meantime as well. Still, I think Barnes is finally headed in the right direction, as Alex Cora has been hinting for some time now.
- Anthony Bass and Josh Hader each had 4 SV+HLD’s over the past week. This is what we’ve come to expect from Hader, but Bass certainly is a bit of a surprising name here. He now has 5 holds to open the year, but I don’t think he’s someone to recommend quite yet, especially with Dylan Floro potentially returning this weekend or early next week.
|Ryan Pressly||2-3||Knee. Chance he returns next week, but not sure thats the smart move this early.|
|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.|
|Blake Treinen||3-6||Shoulder. It was originally deemed as a minor issue, but Treinen still has yet to resume throwing.|
|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|
|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.|
|Pierce Johnson||6-8||Elbow. Elbow’s are never a good injury for a pitcher, so this could be a while.|
|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.|
|Josh Taylor||6-9||Back. Was one of the Sox best relievers last year and could be back soon.|
|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 Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)