With a lot of you drafting this weekend and early next week, I’ve decided to post a quick updated SV+HLD list based on everything we know as of April 2nd. The next update (April 8th) will have more notes and analysis, but for now, enjoy!
- Andrew Kittredge gets a bump as the Rays bullpen will be missing Pete Fairbanks and Nick Anderson to start the year, leaving last year’s All-Star as the clear favorite to lead the team in saves this season. With Fairbanks out, it still opens up more opportunities for the likes of Matt Wisler, J.P. Feyereisen and JT Chargois.
- This ranking for Robert Suarez may be too aggressive, but it’s looking more and more like he will open the year as the Padres closer, and what’s not to like about his stuff? He finished the game for the Padres last night, the same day the team was open to moving Emilio Pagán in a deal just so they could get rid of Eric Hosmer’s contract. Dinelson Lamet and Pierce Johnson are likely to pitch in high leverage spots early on in games, and two of their best relievers, Luis García and Drew Pomeranz, will begin the season on the IL.
- I’ll admit I was a little too low on Tyler Rogers because there’s likely to be some ratio regression and he doesn’t strike anyone out, BUT, I wasn’t being fair when it comes to his usage. Rogers is unique in that he can pitch three days in a row with no issue, and he may be the only reliever in baseball who can. Based on sheer volume alone, he gets a boost in the update.
- Cole Sulser is actually a really good pitcher, who is the clear-cut closer for one of the 30 MLB teams. The obvious issue is that it happens to be one of the worst teams in baseball, but even so, if he is able to maintain the role for the entire season (or even until the All-Star break, we should see him with 20 or so saves.
- The same could be said about Athletics closer Lou Trivino, although I don’t think he has quite the same upside as Sulser. But a closer is a closer, right?
- Kyle Finnegan, while not overly impressive as well, will open the year as the Nationals closer. The one guy I felt could challenge him in the role, Tanner Rainey, has not looked all that great this spring which should only give Finnegan more breathing room to hold on to the job. This is a weird, short spring, so I’m trying not to put a lot of stock into velo readings as relievers ramp up, but Rainey has just not looked right.
- Jorge Alcala and Tyler Duffey move up the list slightly as the Twins have made significant moves this offseason to boost their lineup and rotation. The two remain the clear-cut favorites to help set up closer Taylor Rogers with each having upside to roster in Holds leagues.
- Two of my favorite relievers to watch are back in action this spring and looking like their pre-injury selves. Jordan Hicks and Seranthony Domínguez are both returning from TJS, with both showing the velo and stuff they flashed before surgery. Their respective bullpens may be all set when it comes to a closer, but the high leverage set up roles are up for grabs in St. Louis and Philly…
- Andrés Muñoz, also returning from surgery, looks healthy this spring and should find himself in an important role moving forward as the Mariners will be without Casey Sadler for the year and Ken Giles is still out. Muñoz was once the top pitching prospect in baseball, and flashes an elite fastball/slider combo.
|Lucas Sims||3-4||Elbow. The Reds continue to say they are just being cautious with Sims and he could be back after a week or two, but not a given with his injury history.|
|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 May.|
|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.|
|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|
|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 a few weeks to start the year with his new club.|
|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.|
|Phil Bickford||6-9||Arm soreness. The Dodgers are taking thins slow with Bickford, who’s dealing with arm soreness. He could return by the end of the month.|
|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.|
|Josh Taylor||6-9||Back. Taylor will miss some time early in the season with a back injury, but it’s not expected to keep him out long.|
(Photo by Icon Sportswire) Adapted by Shawn Palmer (@PalmerDesigns_ on Twitter)
Do you have a list for leagues that don’t include holds?