Am I recycling a headline pun? Yes. We have two weeks left in the baseball season, are you going to hold it against me? Oh, you are? Fine. I don’t blame you. Just as long as you don’t hold it against me when the closers I offer up gash your ratios. The 2020 season has been very, well 2020-ish in regards to bullpens.

  • Stefan Crichton was the reliever that made sense to get the Diamondbacks closer gig based on performance so of course, they handed it to the struggling Kevin Ginkel. That experiment turned bad quickly enough. Crichton has gotten the call since to earn three straight saves.
  • Ken Giles goes back to the IL just as quickly as he returned from it. That does it for his 2020. Rafael Dolis should stay firmly atop that pen.
  • It appears more is going on with Brandon Workman than Joe Girardi just trying out all his closer options. He came in to a tie game last night and served up a homer and RBI triple. Workman had last appeared in the seventh (of a nine-inning game) and walked two while giving up three hits. Hector Neris has moved back into the closer role but literally dropped the ball in his last appearance, resulting in a balk that led to that runner scoring from second. Something is barking in his kinetic chain if I had to guess.
  • Just when we thought it was safe to go back into the San Francisco waters Gabe Kapler starts getting all Gabe Kaplery. He used Tony Watson to face the bottom of the order in the seventh and went with Sam Selman for the ninth. G’abe la vie.
  • There’s no lack of blown saves for the Cardinals back end options. I really can’t tell you who gets the next crack it. Maybe the just say yolo and try to let Alex Reyes cook in the ninth.
Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Are you tired of me complaining about how drastically so many bullpens are changing week to week yet? WELL GUESS WHAT? I’m gonna do it again. And probably again next week. Just assume I do it until Grey agrees to kick me a bonus for every change to the closer board. Even with the upheaval, most of it’s at the lower rungs. Which is nice at least. Tiers are football slate themes with the NFL kicking off last night (all you baseball purists making a face at the mention of football can go watch a Colts-Jaguars TNF game).

Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

All in all, the MLB trade deadline wasn’t an all out bullen nuke. We have some spots that need updating but nothing more than 2020 has been throwing at us. If you’re falling behind in a category you need to attack it with an all out assault from multiple angles. See if some of these cheap sources can help you out.

  • After trading away Archie Bradley we have an opening for the Diamondbacks closer. Two young names with a shot are Stefan Crichton and Kevin Ginkel. I’d have bet good money Ginkel was the guy prior to the season. He’s had lackluster results, however. Crichton has been solid on the other hand and building trust. Junior Guerra and Hector Rondon probably get the first opps but they should be moved aside fairly quickly.
  • Aroldis Chapman has been suspended three games for throwing at Mike Brosseau. Zach Britton gets a little extra life if you were holding him on the chance Chapman stumbled.
  • We’re still trying to figure out the Cubs bullpen. Jeremy Jeffress seems to be the flavor of the week after Rowan Wick had some hiccups and Craig Kimbrel is still serving meatballs. I’m still holding out hope that Wick can rise to the top of this foul brew.
  • The Padres trading for Trevor Rosenthal makes more sense with them sending Emilio Pagan to the IL. They want a RHP compliment in the ninth for Drew Pomeranz. Pagan’s shoulder fatigue isn’t a great sign for his 2020 prospects.
  • Two relievers are getting close to return from the IL and may be worth a stash where available in Nick Anderson and Wade Davis. Anderson is less likely to be out there and may not get saves even upon return. Davis will almost definitely get back into the ninth but may not have great results aside from saves. Pick your poison.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

The changes to bullpens week to week this season will probably never cease to amaze me. It’s the damn wild west out here. Why anyone would pay for saves is beyond me. With the trade deadline looming it’s also a good time to take stock and maybe stash some of the next in line guys if you have the room. Tiers are day of the week themed since everyday is Wednesday now.

  • I thought Joe Jiminez had one of the safest jobs in baseball. He did everything he could to lose it. The team has announced his removal as closer and a committee going forward. Gregory Soto is probably the only one of the lot with enough upside to make it worth the chase.
  • The Rays traded Emilio Pagan and were cursed to never again find a closer. It seems like Diego Castillo is the reliever due for an injury. He a plenty capable reliever. We’ll see what the usage looks like soon.
  • Daniel Bard snagged a pair of saves for the Rockies. As a righty, he has a lead on Carlos Estevez for manager decision making. We’ll see if that holds up until Wade Davis returns.
  • The Blue Jays are a full blown committee now. Anthony Bass didn’t do much to lose his grip but Jordan Romano is converting some opps, as well. Ken Giles is throwing so it may not matter much longer.
  • The Cardinals placed Andrew Miller on the IL. Giovanny Gallegos is kind of the guy by default at this point. Team management is still trying to stop one step shy of committing to him fully but whatever. Until Ryan Helsley is back I’m not sure anyone else earns a save.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

All in all, this was a relatively calm week on the bullpen front. At least by 2020 standards. That’s always a good time to go find the next man up and consider being a week early on a buy. Even better if they can provide an extra service like strikeouts or ratios in the mean time.

  • The Mets are right on schedule with the disaster that their rotation typically becomes. That’s required Seth Lugo to be transitioned from the bullpen to a starting role. On top of that they’re game Thursday was canceled due to COVID concerns. If they get back on the field soon expect Edwin Diaz to split closing duties with Dellin Betances. Jeurys Familia is a dark horse to mix in.
  • Hector Neris is lucky the Phillies have no one behind him to threaten his role. He blew another save Thursday. David Robertson has clawed his way back from injury and is close to pitching in the MLB again. You’d expect it to take a while to return to form for him. The threat is out there to Neris, though.
  • Color me unimpressed by Craig Kimbrel’s save this week. Rowan Wick had pitched back to back days. Kimbrel’s fastball is still not getting by anyone. The bottom of the Cardinals order was fouling off every two-strike fastball he fired. Better hitters are taking it yard.
  • Zack Britton is hitting the IL just as Aroldis Chapman makes his return. That’s one closer role that should sort itself out naturally barring Chapman being unable to shake off the rust quick enough.
  • Even as a skeptic of Nick Anderson’s role I’m starting to feel frustrated with the Rays. They’re costing themselves games at this point. Stop trying to be so smart and just save your best reliever for the ninth. It’s not like there aren’t other good pitchers in their pen.
  • Jairo Diaz has fumbled the Rockies closer gig into a committee. Carlos Estevez notched their last save. I have very little faith Estevez is the guy. Maybe if Daniel Bard continues to deal he’ll get the job.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

I posted the last Closer Report two weeks ago, the same distance in between them as always. I basically had to take a flamethrower to that ranking. It’s hard to recall a more drastic two weeks in bullpen hierarchies. Yes, it’s only been two weeks imaginary friend Carl that keeps telling me to huff some more glue. It only feels like a quarter season. Tiers are Fla.Vor.Ice themed since my three-year-old has just discovered them.

  • Keona Kela is off the COVID-IL for Pittsburgh. He should slot into the closer role by default. They may want him to get one appearance with less leverage prior to closing.
  • Mike Matheny has fired up the way back machine and found a vintage Trevor Rosenthal. Perhaps Matheny’s gentle style of yanking pitchers around and pitting players against each other just soothes Rosie.
  • Kirby Yates’ arm is barking a bit. The team is doing their best to give him days off. That does not help your fake teams. Drew Pomeranz is the guy benefiting most from that.
  • Ty Buttrey has managed to hold the closer gig after Hansel Robles was decidedly not hot. That’s a change from last season when he couldn’t string two decent appearances together. There was potential in Buttrey after his rookie year. Maybe he’s turning a corner.
  • The Rays are determined to get every reliever on the roster a save this year. They don’t want anyone feeling left out. Who has two thumbs, not enough sleep, and told you to be careful with Nick Anderson?
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Having fun chasing pitching yet? At least this short season won’t be boring. There has been no shortage of actionable bullpen moves. They’re not likely to slow down anytime soon. Get aggressive on middle relievers and closer spec plays.

  • Somethings not right with Ryan Pressly. He blew the save in his first opportunity for Houston without recording a shot. Andre Scrubb worked a clean inning and a third before that. Cy Sneed and Blake Taylor gave up a bunch of runs prior to that. We’ll see which way the wind blows next time the ninth comes up with a lead. Brad Peacock is probably worth a stash as he works his way back from arm soreness.
  • The Cardinals are going to need Kwang-hyun Kim in their rotation upon their restart from quarantine. That leaves the closer role open. Giovanny Gallegos should be ready to go at this point. Many fantasy managers have also made a bet Ryan Helsley will get opportunities.
  • Poor, cursed Nick Burdi has been placed on the season-ending 45-day IL with an elbow issue. At least he was able to earn his first career save before being struck down again. Richard Rodriguez should get the ninth until Keona Kela returns shortly.
  • Brad Hand has shown us the rumors of his demise were somewhat exaggerated. He’s notched two uneventful saves this week. I’d still expect Cleveland to try and rest him between appearances when they’re comfortable with James Karinchak handling the ninth.
  • The Angels are an unexpected dumpster fire in the backend of their bullpen. Hansel Robles has washed out as the closer. Ty Buttrey is filling in but has 1 K to 3 BBs in 6.1 innings. Kenyan Middleton is serving up gopher balls. Felix Pena is the only one treading water.
  • Jairo Diaz is cementing himself into the Rockies closer gig. His Ks and ratios don’t blow you away but the job security is nice.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Welcome to your first Bullpen Report of the season. How’d day one of your season go? You know, besides losing two top 30 players moments before lineup lock. Unfortunately, that’s more likely to be the norm than the exception. If you didn’t already (you donkey), build any flexibility into your fake teams that you can. On the pitching side that means having a reliever that can juice a category for you when a body is needed in a pinch.

  • The big free agent this week was Zack Britton with Aroldis Chapman hitting the COVID-IL. If you missed out on him I’d suggest considering Adam Ottavino. Britton is getting the first call but I wouldn’t be shocked if Ottavino gets a look if Boone feels the matchups favor him.
  • Kwang-Hyun Kim is being anointed the Cardinals closer. I’m holding my breath here. It’s hard to trust someone who’s never pitched an inning stateside to immediately walk into the closer role. To me, it feels more like they’re set on the injured Giovanny Gallegos and don’t want to disappoint Ryan Helsley with a demotion this early.
  • I’m targeting the options behind Kyle Crick as the Pittsburgh closer. Just a gut feel that Crick can’t hack it in the ninth. Richard Rodriguez and Nick Burdi get much more swing and miss with their stuff.
  • Yoshihisa Hirano is another COVID delayed player of the early year. That may give Matt Magill enough leash to take over the closer gig in Seattle. It was kind of his last year. He was kind of going to close this year. Now he can at least win or lose it on his own merit.
  • Let me remind you that Corey Knebel has nasty movement on his off-speed stuff. He’ll need to find his fastball velocity with reports of it in the low 90s thus far in summer camp. If he can get that up a few ticks he could immediately figure into the ninth for the BrewCrew.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

We know spring training is fully underway when a bunch of arms break. We’re sure to see more as soreness becomes less general and more devastating to our early drafts. The four-tier format is back for our closer report. This week, pandemic foodstuff themed tiers. I’d laugh but for fear that might cause me to cough resulting in those nearby turning mob justice on me. Let’s get to some news and notes on the reliever front first.

  • Emmanuel Clase – He of the hardest cutter in baseball is starting his Cleveland career off on a sour note. A back strain will likely sideline him for 8-12 weeks. This opens the door for fellow reliever wunderkind James Karinchak to solidify a leverage role. If you want a job relieving for Cleveland just have a hard to spell name, throw gas, and be in your early 20’s.
  • Jose Alvarado – Don’t look now but Alvarado looks sharp as ever. But Roto-Wan, Nick Anderson is *the* it closer of draft season?!? I have no issue with Anderson’s stuff, just his role. He factors into their ninth inning, no doubt. Let me ask you this, though. He saved some games for them last year since they’re a team that’s the most progressive in leverage roles, right? No? Ok, well he came over from Miami, who’s bullpen was a collection of molding leftovers. He racked up a bunch of saves there, surely? How about one save. Well, at least he’s a young prospect? Turns 30 in June. I don’t mean to rain on your Nick Anderson parade, and by “don’t” I mean I do, but he’s far from a lock. I’m betting on Alvarado seeing some of their saves as the lefty side of a committee in every league I draft that uses RPs.
  • Brandon Kintzler – Things are not off to a great start this spring for the presumptive Marlins closer. Like, walking four straight batters bad. I’d consider a spec play on Ryne Stanek early on.
  • Ryan Helsley – I’m not the Helsley guy but some people I respect (see: Matt Thompson, Nick Pollack) have made it a point to draft the young Cardinal in the late rounds. Their ninth inning is a mess to predict, as usual. Helsley also has an outside shot at the rotation it seems, depending on the health of their assumed starters.
  • Trevor Rosenthal – Rosie is the latest zombie reliever. He’s always been able to light up radar guns. He just has zero command at times, as in most of the time. The command seems to be there this spring, however. KC would love to add any talent it can to baseball’s most mediocre bullpen.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?
 

Much like the classic Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium (MECC) PC game, The Oregon Trail, we finish our bullpen parade out west. Apologies if the research in this post is light, I stayed up all night playing TOT on the Wayback Machine. Suck it deer, I shot so many of you I can’t even carry all the meat. Much like the game, your journey to saves accumulation is a series of decisions fraught with peril. Do your best not to die of dysentery. In this example, Wade Davis is dysentery.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

Please, blog, may I have some more?