What’s poppin, Razzpimples?
As we inch closer to the MLB regular season, I thought I’d stop and take stock of some interesting things from Spring Training up to this point. I can’t find anywhere that lets you filter out just RP ST stats, so what I’ve done is gone to Baseball-Reference > Player Spring Training Pitching > sort by team name. It’s a daunting task, but I’m doing it so you don’t have to. And maybe you don’t give a rat’s peach emoji about ST stats. I don’t…for the most part. But I do like to see strikeouts and don’t like to see walks or homers. So really that’s about all I’m looking at here.
So, since I’ve sorted by team, I’ll just list notes in alphabetical order by team name.
Don’t forget to keep that Bullpen Chart bookmarked, y’all.
Let’s do it to it!
- Kirby Yates has struck out seven in 5 IP with just 1 BB, but also allowed 6 ER (2 HR). I don’t figure he makes any fantasy impact ever again, but comeback stories are fun and maybe an injury or two opens the door. Still has some K stuff apparently. But I’m more inclined to think of him as Kirby Yikes these days.
- Mark Melancon will be on the IL to start the year. The buzz I’m hearing is Miguel Castro is the favorite to at least get the most save opps for Zona, but you never really know with these guys.
- Andrew Chafin is another potential favorite, though his spring line leaves much to be desired: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 1 HBP, 1 WP, and 5 K.
- Felix Bautista is healthy again and is perfect thru 2 IP and has 4 K. Locked into the closer role and could push for Top 10 RP status if he’s able to dominate like he did in 2022.
BOSTON RED SOX
- I just love out-of-nowhere types like John Schreiber last year, so I really hope he can repeat his success. Spring has been ugly, with 4 ER, 5 BB, 1 HBP, and 3 WP thus far in just 6.1 IP. Good news is no homers and 6 K, I guess.
- Chris Martin was very quietly a badass last season, especially in the second half. Has 4 K and just 1 ER in 4 IP to this point. Might be he overtakes Schreiber as the #1 setup option?
- Well, it got announced that the Cubs will favor Michael Fulmer and Brad Boxberger to start the season as the closing duo despite Brandon Hughes‘s success last season. Of course I would rank Hughes highest and then this bomb would drop. Fulmer’s looked good with 0 ER and 7 K in 7 IP. Box Burger also has been scoreless but a 4:4 K:BB in 5.2 isn’t the prettiest. But again, this is just spring y’all. Take these notes as you will.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
- Reynaldo Lopez is a genuine sleeper candidate for saves, and there’s a good deal of hype with him after an offseason spent with Driveline. He’s been effective so far in ST, with 7 K and 2 ER in 7 IP.
- Kendall Graveman is faring worse, with 5 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, and 2 BB allowed in just 2.2 IP so far. I don’t think he’s as good as ReyLo, I just don’t know if ReyLo will get the nod before Graveman in Liam Hendriks’s absence. Monitor closely!
- Wowzies, my former favorite sleeper Lucas Sims has been awful. Allowed 11 H, 10 ER, 2 HR, 3 BB, and 1 HBP in 5 IP. Has 7 K at least? I’ve still got him as the top setup guy, but if he pitches like this then you’ve gotta think he’s still not 100% healthy or something, so a demotion might be in quick order.
- The only other name out of this pen worth a mention is someone I’ve got in my Top 10 for closers: Alexis Diaz. Sadly the only Diaz closer you’ll see in 2023. Walks were a major problem in 2022 but haven’t been so far in ST (1 BB and 7 K in 3 IP). Unsurprisingly, he’s been named the full-time closer for Cincy, and his ADP is still quite palatable at 124.1 on Yahoo.
- Not elite stuff from Emmanuel Clase this spring, but please don’t let that deter you. He’s as sure a pick as there is for RP1 now that Edwin Diaz is out all year.
- It’s really hard to get behind a Rockies non-closer, so I ain’t even gonna bother. Even in an NL-only holds format, it’s tough. The only arm to care about is Daniel Bard, who finished as the #4 RP last year on our Player Rater. Bonkers. He’s been…not good for Team USA in the WBC. Ain’t worried. Yet.
- Alex Lange is my love affair this year. Just such juicy upside and everyone’s fading the hell out of him in drafts. Is he a lock to be closer? Nah. Is one of the worst BB% guys around? Yah. Do I give a fudge? Narp. Yeah, okay, he’s got 6 BB in 4 IP, not to mention 3 WP lol. I’m still in at his price (200.4 ADP on Yahoo).
- Jose Cisnero has racked up 8 K in 4 IP. If Lange doesn’t close, this dude probably does.
- Ryan Pressly has been kinda meh for Houston but has been solid enough for Team USA. No question about his status as top fantasy closer regardless.
- Hector Neris has 6 K in 3 IP with no hits/runs allowed. Does have a couple walks. He’s a better-than-most holds source (led HOU with 25 HD in 2022).
- Neris does have competition, however. I’m pretty high on Bryan Abreu, who was damn near untouchable last year. Has a 0.42 WHIP and 2 K in 4.1 IP. If he looks like he did last year, he might be one of the very best holds guys around.
- Rafael Montero is another big holds daddy. Has 4 K and no walks in 3 IP. Houston pen is annoyingly good.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
- Aroldis Chapman has 9 K but in just 5 IP. Hmmmmmmmmmm.
- Dylan Coleman is nasty. It might take a trade/injury to get him into setup duties, however. He’s got 10 K in 6 IP, but he’s also allowed eight (!) walks. Plus two hit batters and a wild pitch. Still high on this kid long-term, but the walks are a pretty legit concern.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
- Ben Joyce, of 105.5 MPH fastball fame last season with the Tennessee Vols, has 6 K and 0 ER thru 5 IP, but also has issued four free passes. Everyone wants to jump on this hype train it feels like, but I just don’t have any kind of clue what his potential call-up timeline could look like. But let’s say the Angels suck and it’s September: maybe pay attention to Joyce for some garbage time saves/holds. He has zero chance to make the MLB roster right now though.
- Carlos Estevez is the current odds-on closer, but woof, peep this line: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 8 ER, 1 HR, 10 (!!!!!!) BB, 1 WP, and 5 K. Haven’t seen anything to indicate they’re already giving up on Estevez, but this is not the kind of impression he wanted to make with his new squad, that’s for sure.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
- Reports lately have indicated that Brusdar Graterol is the saves favorite for the Dodgers to start the season. Been effective thus far in spring. If he falters, though, there are more than capable guys breathing down his neck.
- A.J. Puk is the Marlins RP you want, methinks. There’s some hype, there’s some buzz, and he’s got 7 K with no runs allowed in just 3 IP.
- Dylan Floro has given up 8 H, 7 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 1 HBP, and 1 WP in 7 IP. Does have 7 K, though. You can’t totally write this guy off, no matter how bad I want to. I wrote a little here about his boringly impressive metrics in 2022.
- Once upon a time I thought Jake Cousins would grow into an elite setup guy. Maybe he still can, cuz the K stuff is there. Walks and injuries have been the problem. And so far his ST hasn’t been much to write home about: 6 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 2 HR 4 BB, but those 8 K look nice.
- Peter Strzelecki and Matt Bush have had not great springs but figure to be the top two setup men. Maybe if Cousins can figure these walks out he can jump ahead of at least Strzelecki.
- Griffin Jax with a cool scoreless 5 IP thus far, adding 8 K. Tbh at this point I think he’s the #2 in that pen talent-wise, but he’s just a holds guy for 2023.
- Jhoan Duran took a comebacker off his leg but sounds like he’ll be right as rain soon enough. SVHD gold, but not quite SV-only gold thanks to Jorge Lopez being around.
NEW YORK METS
- You’ve all heard about Edwin Diaz. Tore a patellar tendon in his knee while celebrating a WBC victory. Out all year by all estimations. Look for David Robertson to step up as main closer, with Adam Ottavino potentially mixing in some but at least being a beast SVHD option.
NEW YORK YANKEES
- Like the 9 K I’m seeing from Wandy Peralta thru 5 IP, but not liking the 10 H and 6 ER allowed.
- Ron Marinaccio has 9 K as well in just 4.1 IP. Maybe a sneaky holds source?
- Remember Michael King? He’s back and has logged 6 IP, in which he’s allowed no runs, 1 BB, and 7 K. Health permitting, he should be a top-end holds guy.
- Trevor May has the K stuff going (9 K in 4.2 IP), but also has allowed 6 H and 5 ER.
- Zach Jackson has walked more (8) than he’s struck out (5) in 6 IP. Ruh roh. May’s the only one to care about in this pen for now.
- Craig Kimbrel is the highest paid RP in terms of AAV, so one would think he’d get a crack at closing duties. He’s got 9 K to just 1 BB so far in 5 IP. Only 1 ER, too. If he can get even halfway back to 2021 form…
- Jose Alvarado is the highest paid RP in terms of total contract. Had a damn good 2022 and is having a fine spring (perfect thru 3 IP with 4 K). Might see some save chances, and I’d be wanting this guy for SVHD for sure.
- Honestly nothing stands out to me here from this bullpen. David Bednar has been a little meh but ain’t nobody taking his job no matter how crappy he does in ST. Wil Crowe has 8 K in 6.2 IP but has also allowed 10 hits (2 HR).
SAN DIEGO PADRES
- Josh Hader hasn’t allowed any runs in 4 IP, striking out two and walking one.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
- Taylor Rogers was a great closer for a while last year, then he sucked. Now he’s with his twin bro in San Fran and looks to be a the main setup guy behind Doval. Has 9 K and 3 BB with just 1 ER so far in 5.1 IP. Not too shabby.
- Andres Munoz finally got back to action recently, picking up right where he left off in 2022: pitched a perfect inning with all three outs via strikeout. Maybe y’all noticed, but no one called me out for forgetting to rank Munoz in my Top 40 RP lol. Plumb slipped right through my brain. He’s an elite SVHD option of course, I just don’t know how many saves we can realistically expect. Projection systems have him at 10, with ATC being the outlier at 14.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
- I just watched Giovanny Gallegos blow a save and take the L for Team Mexico in the WBC semifinal, so that’s fun as a Cards fan. He gets to enter 2023 with that on his shoulders.
- Ryan Helsley has struck out approximately 50 of his last 55 batters faced this spring. Lol jk jk, but he does have 10 K in 5 IP and looks every bit like the guy we had last season. Stoked af.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
- Colin Poche has 7 K in just 3 IP, with only 1 ER to his name. Probably a very solid SVHD guy in 2023.
- Pete Fairbanks has 3 K and hasn’t allowed a run in 3 IP. Saw on the Twitter that he’s got a new splitter that’s already looking good. More like Pete Unfairbanks.
- Jose Leclerc should be on your radar if he isn’t already. Been saying this for like two or three years now, and have been shouting it from the rooftops all spring. Think he’s the clear-cut closer given his dominance in the latter part of 2022, and so far this spring he’s looking pretty tasty: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 9 K. So yeah the walks are kind of a bummer, but them Ks tho.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
- Jordan Romano could suck and he’d still be a lock to close, just still nice to see 9 K and 1 ER in 5.2 IP.
- Might have to temper my expectations on Kyle Finnegan a bit. Seeing reports that he’ll get the Jhoan Duran treatment of highest-leverage appearances as opposed to just being saved for the ninth. Booooooooooo.
- Hunter Harvey, Carl Edwards Jr., and maybe Alex Colome could see save chances as well. I mean, this is the Nationals, so there aren’t gonna be that many to go around. All in all, Finnegan is gonna be the best of the bunch, right? Right.
I do some fantasy baseball as well as some fantasy hockey here at Razzball. Find me on Twitter: @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.