Welcome in save chasers! The closer landscape is taking shape and while Craig Kimbrell remains a free agent, most of the other dominoes have fallen. As it’s a new season, I’ll be rolling out new titling for the tiers. This week’s feature four popular 7-Eleven offerings.
The crème de la crème of convenience offerings. Is there any mountain an entire liter of caffeinated beverage can’t help you climb? These hurlers get you going just like that literal pound of sugar juice.
- Edwin Diaz (Jeurys Familia, Robert Gsellman) – Diaz may have moved to Queens but he’s still the ninth inning King. His velocity was more dialed in last year, improving his effectiveness.
- Roberto Osuna (Ryan Pressly, Hector Rendon) – I rank stats, not morals.
- Blake Treinen (Fernando Rodney, Joakim Soria) – Oakland’s been a great fit. They aren’t afraid to mix options and that’s benefitted Treinen.
- Jose Leclerc (Jesse Chavez) – The Rangers have given him the closer keys to start the year. He was a buzzsaw to end last season.
- Kenley Jansen (Joe Kelly, Pedro Baez) – I expect Jansen to manage his heart condition during the offseason and be good to go when the spring rolls around. He probably can’t afford to lose much more velocity, nevertheless.
A Bag Of Chips
A totally solid snack option. Nothing spectacular here, but fulfilling. You’re going to get what you pay for with these guys.
- Aroldis Chapman (Dellin Betances / Adam Ottavino / Zach Britton) – We probably don’t get through 2019 with a Chapman DL stint, so he kicks off this tier. Good luck speculating on his backup.
- Brad Hand – Barring a signing, which Cleveland has so far shown they’re terrified of, it’s all Hand.
- Felipe Vazquez (Keona Kela, Richard Rodriguez) – Not much to see here.
- Kirby Yates (Craig Stammen, Jose Castillo) – Yates is rising up boards fast. He’s one of favorite tier 2 plays if the price doesn’t explode.
- Sean Doolittle (Kyle Barraclough, Trevor Rosenthal) – Health has been the only question with Doolittle.
- Wade Davis (Seung-Hwan Oh) – The Rockies do rack up save opportunities with how much they lean on the pen.
- Cody Allen (Ty Buttrey) – Allen landed a pretty clear gig in LA. Buttrey is green and should be well served in a setup role.
- Corey Knebel (Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress) — Seems like the hierarchy, unless Hader begins to tweet for Knebel.
- Ken Giles (Ryan Tepera) – Oddly enough Giles punched himself in the face more than he had blown saves last season (1-0).
- Will Smith (Mark Melancon, Tony Watson) – Melancon probably deserves to be ranked as co-closer, but I have no faith in him holding up.
- Raisel Iglesias (Jared Hughes, David Hernandez) – With a new coaching staff, we’ll have to see what the back end shakes out like.
It might taste burnt and stale, but the part you’re after is the caffeine bump. There’s usually a trade-off in life. Your ratios ballooning might be the one here.
- Chaz Roe / Jose Alvarado (Deigo Castillo) – We need more to go on in this pen. I’ll be paying close attention in spring training.
- Jordan Hicks / Andrew Miller – I’d prefer Miller despite the chance he gets a fireman role. I just don’t have that much faith in Hicks to have a smooth season.
- Archie Bradley (Greg Holland, Yoshihisa Hirano) – Will Holland cause wake in a bullpen for a second straight year?
- Brad Boxberger / Wily Peralta – Peralta might be on the outside looking in after Box signed.
- Kelvin Herrera (Alex Colome, Nate Jones) – All three could be on a new team by the end of July.
- Shane Greene (Joe Jimenez) – Why didn’t the Tigers trade him again?
- Mychal Givens (Paul Fry, Richard Bleier) – I’m not buying the closer by committee talk. Givens is significantly better.
Day Old Hot Dogs
- Seranthony Dominguez / David Robertson – Your new least favorite bullpen manager, Gabe Kapler.
- Matt Barnes / Ryan Brasier / Unnamed free agent – I really can’t see this being what the defending champs go into the season with. Bud Norris would be a great fit.
- A.J. Minter / Arodys Vizcaino – Both should see their share of saves this season.
- Drew Steckenrider / Sergio Romo – I’m not sure what Romo has left in the tank. I thought the same thing last year, 25 saves ago.
- Blake Parker (Trevor May, Taylor Rogers) – We’ll need to see how this pen shakes out. The Twins have FIVE relievers that can close.
- Hunter Strickland / Anthony Swarzak – Give the nod to Strickland as the free agent signing.
- Pedro Strop / Steve Cishek / Carl Edwards, Jr. / Brandon Morrow – Morrow might be on the shelf, so expect Maddon to mix and match.