How any more FAAB periods do we have to go? Is it the All-Star Break yet? There’s plenty of baseball left, as the Masters just concluded in a Tiger Woods win. Speed is as scarce as ever. There are very few dependable sources for steals. Smart owners are constantly on the lookout for a good opportunity to gamble on a guy in a plus situation to swipe a bag. You need a runner able to pull the trigger when they actually manage to get on just like Tiger in the hunt for a win, or an opp at a Perkins.

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It’s Masters Week! Let’s enjoy some Augusta themed tiers (hold the bigotry). First some (mostly bad) closer news.

  • Jose Leclerc blew a save and couldn’t get more than one out with a four-run lead. He’s earned some leash, but we’ve seen ineffective periods from him before. Expensive salads don’t melt down. He’s downgraded for a spell.
  • The Mariners can’t seem to get their bullpen sorted. Anthony Swarzak is their best arm but that means coming in when it’s the seventh or eighth. He should still see more saves than any other reliever for them.
  • Hate to say I told you so on Trevor May, but also I told you so on Trevor May. When in doubt back greed. His deployment is very characteristic of a team looking to save in arbitration. Not that he won’t see any save opps, they’ll just be too unpredictable for most of our leagues. Blake Parker gets most of the looks with Taylor Rogers matching up with lefties on occasion.
  • Raisel Iglesias got through a clean ninth inning for a save finally. That’s encouraging but between his struggles and being used in other innings I’m dropping him all the way to the bottom rung until we can feel comfortable in his stuff and role.
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Do you own Trea Turner, he of a broken finger? Welcome to the chase for speed with the rest of us schlubs. So much changes in just a week this early on. Keep that in mind as the season unfolds. Too often owners look to trade a strength that can become a deficit with a single poorly gripped bunt attempt. Dig for steals and saves at every turn. It’s SAGNOF time!

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Is your pitching staff a disaster? Don’t worry, they all are. If you need a fill-in while transitioning a role consider some of these folks. Each tier is ranked, roughly speaking. The amount of variance in middle relief is greater than with closers so you can follow these less rigidly. I’ve pulled the names that are getting serious saves consideration, as they’re likely claimed.

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Do you own Trea Turner, he of three steals in one game? No? Then you’re chasing speed with the rest of us. It’s pretty early to go dropping players you drafted for a rabbit with a chance at a steal. However, if you have a free spot put it to use. Like Kanye craving a fair-haired lady lover, we’ll do anything for a save or steal come September. It’s never too early to pad those columns.

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Let’s dust off Grey’s tiers for this first closer report of the season. We’re one day in and the sky is already falling all over the closer landscape.

  • We have our first dumpster fire of the season in Arizona. Pudding-brained Toery Lovullo will use the guy with experience in Greg Holland, albeit awful recent experience.
  • Bruce Bochy did the right thing and confirmed Will Smith will be the closer. A manager making a sensible decision, be still my heart.
  • Taylor Rodgers earned the opening day save in Minnesota. The matchups dictated a LHP so don’t go overboard changing that hierarchy. We need to be aware Rocco Baldeli will mix and match, however.
  • An old fashioned 6-out save was on the menu for Josh Hader. He needed Lorenzo Cain to bring a homer back over the wall, but the stuff was nasty as ever with plenty of whiffs.
  • Pedro Strop hammy wasn’t a big deal and he’s ready to go. Bump him up a tier with another leap pending his hold on the role of.
  • The Reds and Royals bullpens got off on the wrong foot. Both spots need to be monitored to see if roles are changing.
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It’s been a messy couple of weeks for relievers. Shoulders, elbows, backs, oh my. We’re getting daily news bombs that feel like a gut punch. Welcome to baseball season! My tiers are aptly themed friends of March Madness this week. A good portion of the third and fourth tier are close to moving up, I just need more concrete confirmation on their roles once the real bullets start flying…

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Draft season is suddenly reaching its climax, not unlike the titular Rabbit does in women that aren’t his wife in Rabbit, Run. He’s not the rabbit we’re interested in, however. We’re after some free steals late in drafts because Steals Ain’t Got No Face. Let me type that again in all caps so you’ll know I’m shouting. STEALS AIN’T GOT NO FACE. Don’t overpay for Mallex Smith when you could get Dee Gordon much later. Either could be the leadoff hitter for Seattle. Chasing speed is a dangerous game. I prefer building it into my entire roster little by little but at some point, you need someone to lead the charge in the steals category. Consider these speedsters as speculative plays late in your drafts…

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If you happen to play in an enlightened fantasy baseball league you may already be incorporating holds. These relievers all get a big bump if so. If you’re still using saves alone like a neanderthal these guys are still worth having on your radar for their given boosts. The parade of arm soreness has begun in earnest. Consider these names in a pinch if/when you lose a starter.

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