With the season opener just around the corner, there still lies plenty of uncertainty as far as the availability of players who had tested positive for Covid-19. The general consensus is, if they haven’t been cleared yet, they won’t be ready for opening day. Aroldis Chapman, Will Smith, Yoshihisa Hirano, Darwinzon Hernandez, Josh Taylor, and Brett Martin are among a few relievers who have yet to been cleared to return after testing positive for Covid-19. Giovanny Gallegos and Rafael Montero are not expected to be ready for opening day as well, as Gallegos is dealing with a visa issue and Montero just got to camp after tending to a family matter.
It remains to be seen just how much time the players with Covid will miss, as there will certainly need to be a ramp-up period once they are cleared. I think best-case scenario has them back by the beginning of August, but it will come down to how close they are to game-ready, as some pitchers have been able to throw while in quarantine. There’s certainly some risk to drafting these players, but at the same time, there’s risk in drafting anyone this season more so than any other. But the fact that we still don’t really have a timetable for their returns has them dropping down the board for now.
- As mentioned above, Aroldis Chapman tested positive for Covid-19 about a week ago, and will not be available for Opening Day. He’s experiencing mild symptoms but until we know when he’ll test negative, we can’t gauge when he may return. Zack Britton will open the season up as the Yankees closer and should fill in just fine. He’s not what he once was with the Orioles, but he can still help out with SV+HDs and ERA.
- Will Smith is in the asymptomatic group of players who tested positive for the virus, so once he gets his two negative test results, he would likely be a week or two away from game action. However, by that point, Mark Melancon may have locked down his grip on the closer gig, leaving Smith to a setup only role.
- Giovanny Gallegos has yet to show up to Cardinals camp and there has yet to be a report suggesting when he may join the team. He’s as big a mystery as anyone right now, and with Jordan Hicks opting out and Carlos Martinez likely joining the rotation, this really complicates things in this bullpen. I guess the favorite for saves, at least to begin the season, will be Ryan Helsley. Perhaps there will be a committee approach between Helsley and Andrew Miller. Helsley is still the biggest beneficiary here and should be rostered in all formats as we wait to hear what is going on with Gallegos.
- Yoshihisa Hirano seemed to have the inside track for saves in Seattle, but after Hirano tested positive for Covid-19, it looks like Matt Magill will open the season as the team’s closer. I was a little more excited for Hirano to get a chance at closing out games, I think there was more strikeout upside there, but Magill can still contribute as a cheap, end-of-draft dart throw.
- It seems as if the gap between Hunter Harvey and Mychal Givens is smaller than I imagined, but I still feel like the smart money is on Givens to see the bulk of the chances to start the season before being a potential trade target for teams at the deadline. Harvey didn’t exactly impress at AA or AAA last year either, so let’s maybe see more than 6.1 MLB innings from him before anointing him the closer.
Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)
Surprised to see Britton so low compared to some of the other names. His ratios were phenomenal last year as well as 32 S+H and will have plenty of counting stars opportunities being on a team with a great offense. Not to mention a 70% ground ball rate. ATC projections for him look real good too.
Also, Pressly has been out with a blister on his right index finger. Blisters can be a persistent problem for pitchers depending on the severity.
Reports of Osuna say he won’t be ready by opening day too. Hasn’t even been to camp and out of pitching shape if I remember correctly.
Britton’s really only helps in 2 categories (ERA/SV+HLD) as his skills have been declining the past few years. He’s good at what he does, just not as exciting as others options out there.
From what I’ve read Pressly should be fine bu next week and while Osuna has yet to appear in a game, pitching coach Brent Strom still believes he’ll be ready by opening day. Not sure that’s possible at this point so I moved him down slightly but we’ll see.
Does Britton or Pressly have more S+H this year?
Coin flip, but Pressly has the better ratio’s and K rate.
Thoughts on Diaz after Mets said they will likely go closer by committee?
I’m not buying it. Betances has never really closed and they’ve been talking about using Lugo in a hybrid role, potentially being the first out of the pen or even starting some games. It’ll be Diaz’s job to lose.
Drop Betances for Kahnle or Duffey? Other RPs: Pagan, Pomeranz, Neris. Thanks
Austin Adams looks ready to start the season with Seattle. Where will he slot in to this list?
Good to see he’s healthy. He probably belongs in the top 100, definitely more intriguing than Swanson. Depending on usage, he could move into the top 60 rather quickly.
Curious why you have LeClerc ahead of Castillo. What do you see?
I still believe in Leclerc’s talent and he has a pretty firm grip on the closer role there. Castillo still hasn’t pitched yet and may not be available opening day.
Where does Kim land on this list now that he’s given the 9th?
I like him a lot, I’m thinking he’ll start around the Tier 4/5 area. Can definitely see him moving up the board fast if things break right.