What’s poppin’, Razzpimples?

Stream of consciousness is my favorite. Just write where the wind takes you, ya dig? That’s what’s in store for this week’s SAGNOF saves column. I’ve hit y’all with rankings (closers here, setup men here) the past two weeks, so this time around is just kind of a catch-all update on some thangs, as they pop into my brain.

Remember to bookmark that Razzball Bullpen Chart, y’all! I update it obsessively.

Also, if you’re a sub (you should be a sub…it’s great value), you get access to RP Projections and the super badass Relievonator Game Log tool (which obviously isn’t handy until games start), in addition to all the other awesome tools we have to offer. Hittertron and Streamonator, etc.

Let’s do it to it.

Injury Updates

News broke earlier this morning about a couple studs for the Blue Jays. The two you care about most and want to stay healthy at all costs: Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson. The former has elbow inflammation, while the latter has forearm tightness. Both are dire omens for professional throwers of baseballs. “Good news” (very exaggerated air quotes) is that both have been checked out and no structural integrity has been compromised nor any type of injury found. I am taking these morsels of optimism with Godzilla-esque grains of salt. I would keep very close tabs on Yimi Garcia on your waiver wire. Maybe even just pounce while you can. Tim Mayza gets a big bump for holds, but I would guess Yimi is the favorite for saves.

Also coming out this morning was Kenley Jansen being scratched once again for his bothersome back. Keeps tightening up on him. I can relate to that, and I recommend a daily dose of yoga. For now, his Opening Day readiness is in limbo. Probably overall not a serious issue and won’t cause him to miss much time, though. Hopefully. Chris Martin gets a bump if Jansen misses time, although Martin has been dealing with a nagging groin issue this spring. Sounds like he’s back on track at least. For now! If Martin gets the bump to the ninth, then I figure Josh Winckowski gets the bump to the 8th for holds.

Another injury blockbuster for y’all: Jhoan Duran is on the IL with an oblique strain. Oof. Probably misses at least the first month, if not more. Two dudes have been named as options for saves in his absence: Griffin Jax and Brock Stewart. I like both quite a bit. Stewart revamped his stuff and has a great swing-and-miss repertoire now. Sneakily was a beast last year despite battling an injury midseason. Then there’s Jax, who’s just been a steady high-leverage guy for the past few years. Also has great stuff, evidenced by a Whiff% near 50 this so far this spring. So, snag one or both of these dudes for saves, and you can probably count on steady holds from Justin Topa.

I’m sure you’re aware of Devin Williams‘s injury. He’s gonna be out for a good long while after a stress fracture was discovered in his back. What will he be like when he returns this summer, even? Dunno. What I do know is that three guys take bigger leaps for fantasy purposes. Brewers still have a pretty nice trio to handle things sans Airbender — Trevor Megill, Abner Uribe, and 2023 breakout star Joel Payamps. All three have been linked to possible saves. My gut tells me that Megill and Uribe pull ahead given their strikeout prowess. Uribe mightily struggles with control, though, so his future saves largely depend on that. My gut’s gut tells me that Megill actually pulls ahead as the most consistent saves guy, with Payamps and Uribe being great for holds.

Robert Stephenson is sounding pretty unlikely to be ready for the start of the season. Shoulder discomfort just won’t go away. So, brave Carlos Estevez drafters, your man is safe for the time being. If you’re after holds from this pen, you gotta go Matt Moore if Stephenson ends up on the IL.

The Mariners save situation is clear. Draft Andres Munoz as you normally would. Duh. But beyond that, we have some issues. Gregory Santos has already been deemed unfit for the start of the season and is weeks away, and Matt Brash is a big fat question mark. Brash scared us earlier this offseason, and at first it sounded like his season was done. Now he’s slowly been ramping things up without setbacks, but none of that ramping has involved actual pitching. Just good ol’ catch and long toss and the like. Right now, the team is hoping he can be ready by mid-ish April. We gotta wait and see how things go once he pitches for real.

Scott Barlow holds stonks are to the moon now. Trevor Stephan is on the IL with a UCL problem and could very well end up missing the majority — if not all — of the 2024 season. Barlow should beast it this year, and if anything were to happen to Clase, then his SV stonks would be shooting straight into heaven.

David Bednar, who’s had a lat problem, sounds like he’s going to be pushing it purty close in order to be ready for Opening Day. Really does at least sound like that if he misses time, it won’t be much. In the interim, obviously, Aroldis Chapman would take over for the ninth, and then Colin Holderman could see more holds as a result. But that’s probably temporary. I expect Bednar and Chapman to pwn this year.

Yuki Matsui looked great in San Diego’s final spring game, striking out a pair in a scoreless inning. That’s 5 K, 1 H, and zero everything else in 2 IP for the dude. Small sample, sure, but nonetheless fun to see him match the hype. I still expect Suarez to be the lead for saves, but Matsui should be a stud for SVHD straight away, and could quite feasibly take over the ninth eventually.

Other Stuff

Jose Leclerc was essentially named closer, without being named closer. But it’s gonna be him. Just like I figured it would be. If you’re still drafting a team or two, he’s not expensive and should be a steady dude all year. Health permitting, of course. That means Josh Sborz and David Robertson handle the bulk of setup duties, with the occasional save should Leclerc need a rest.

Tyler Kinley has outclassed Justin Lawrence so for this spring, so I expect he’s the leading closer option for the Rockies heading into the 2024 regular season. Kinley’s line is thus: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, .056 OBA. Lawrence’s line is thus: 6.1 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 10 K, .379 OBA. Spring training stats don’t matter much, but if you’ve been openly named to be competing for a closing job, then they hold much more weight. And it’s clear who’s in the lead.

The White Sox situation is still messy and ugly and best avoided. They’ve acquired former setup man Steven Wilson from the Padres, and Michael Kopech has been demoted to the pen, so that’s two more names that gunk it all up. I’m sure some of you have drafted a free John Brebbia and had hoped for something like 20 SV or so? I don’t see that happening anymore. I bet Kopech’s nasty stuff, which has always been best suited to relief work, lands him at least the bulk of saves from this trainwreck of a team in 2024. So I guess if you’re of a mind not to avoid this situation, take a stab at Kopech and hope they keep him down in the pen? In SVHD formats, I’m only bothering with Chi Sox setup men in an AL-only format.

Speaking of messy situations on trainwreck teams, let’s talk the Oakland A’s. Mason Miller is everybody’s favorite, except people are ignoring the fact that it’s been reported, straight from manager Mark Kotsay’s mouth, that Miller will have to earn high-leverage duties. I take that to mean even once regular season starts. Because let’s be real, nothing about Spring Training equates to high leverage. But to Miller’s credit, he’s dazzled to this point in ST: 5 IP, 3 H, 9 K, and then a bunch of zeroes. Dany Jimenez and Trevor Gott are the likeliest save sources to start the season, based on comments earlier this offseason. However, if spring results are any indication, it’ll just be Jimenez. He’s been good, while Trevor has Nott. Lol see what I did there. Anyway, I like Jimenez for a while, but I do expect Miller to take over eventually. Kid’s the truth.


That’s all for this week! Thanks for reading. Leave me a comment below so I feel all warm and fuzzy.

I specialize in bullpens, and I also do some fantasy hockey as well here at Razzball. Find me on Elon’s Disaster: @jkj0787. DMs are always open for questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc. Odds are good I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at any given time of day.