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As the resident save chaser, I feel it’s my duty to give you some names that you maybe don’t expect to get shots at saves this year. Bullpen’s are more volatile than the fake friendships on the Real Housewives programs my wife watches to get back at me for monopolizing the TV during the NFL season. I did this exercise last spring and Wily Peralta was in there. I almost didn’t publish it after including him, if that gives you an idea of what we’re dealing with here. I’m not talking the closer in waiting or guy that got 30 saves two seasons ago. I’m going to do my best to write a name so repulsive you consider never reading my column again. We’ll go division by division, starting with the NL East.
- Atlanta Braves- Luiz Gohara. The Braves aren’t the best bullpen for deep saves prospecting. There’s uncertainty at the top, but they have quality options ahead of big Lu. I include him because it seems like he may have missed his shot at the rotation with injuries last year. They brought him back as a reliever and now all those young arms are a year closer. He’s primarily a fastball/slider guy, which become more pronounced in the pen. That fastball sits 95-97. So he’s got the heat to get late outs.
- Miami Marlins- Tayron Guerrero. Speaking of guys with heat, Guerrero melts radar guns fast than Miami temperatures melt your desire to live in Florida. You might think of Jordan Hicks as the guy with the fastest recorded pitch last year, but Tayron edged him by a hair with this 101.8 face melter. I love that he missed inside with it, too. Could he possibly go the route of Edwin Diaz and learn to focus that heat to increase effectiveness? The path to the ninth is pretty open on a go-nowhere team that can move guys ahead of him.
- New York Mets- Seth Lugo. Lugo got about a week of save opportunities last year and converted three of four. He isn’t your typical closer, but neither is Robert Gsellman, who earned plenty of 2018 saves on that team. It’s long odds with the guys ahead of him, though.
- Philadelphia Phillies- Tommy Hunter. The Phillies may be the worst team for guessing saves chances. Gabe Kapler is a possible sociopath. They also signed David Robertson and have mentioned Craig Kimbrell’s name. Should one of their top options go down, Hunter could get into the mix. They signed him to a hefty 2 year/$19 million contract last year, so clearly the team likes him. He also came on strong to end last season and earned a handful of saves.
- Washington Nationals- Justin Miller. After being activated in late May, Miller hand a crazy month. He had 32 strikeouts to 5 walks, with no earned runs through his first 8 appearances. The magic went away after the calendar turned July. Anytime I see a guy go on that kind of tear, I keep their name in the back of my head. My favorite to earn saves if/when Sean Doolittle goes down is Kyle Barraclough, but any hot reliever could be the guy.