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?

I kicked off the bullpen parade last week with the AL East. It’s a safe place for us reliever analysts with mostly secure jobs and quality arms. The tradeoff for that comfort is following it up with the AL Central. The odds are far better that all five of these projected closers will be changed out than none of them being replaced. There isn’t a ton of depth either. I suppose that’s what happens when you refuse to spend money. Let’s push through this muck like a swamp on dagobah and hope a little green man imparts us some wisdom in rearranged syntax. Did no one else take a hit of acid for this? Just me? Ok. Fire up the Rage Against the Machine and on to the pens.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As is the on-trend thing to do this season, Mike Yastrzemski joined the 3-homer club Friday night smashing three long balls in one night including his 16th of the season, a go-ahead solo shot in the 11th inning. The three-dinger-day!?! Yaz queeen! That kind of feat is something his hall-of-fame grandfather Carl, who will ALWAYS be mentioned whenever Mike does anything of note, only accomplished once in 3,308 career games. But this is 2019. We have Monster energy drinks and super baseballs and over 15 players who have had a 3-homer games this season alone. Friday’s Giants/DBacks match up was a perfect illustration of this with both team’s combining to hit 12 home runs. Just the second time two teams have combined to hit this many homers. Kevin Pillar had his own double-dinger day, hitting his 16th and 17th of the year, the second a go-ahead in the 10th. But the Snakes countered with homers from Wilmer Flores (his second of the game) and Nick Ahmed to tie it up before Yaz’s game-winner. Brandon Belt, Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Adam Jones also chipped in their own bombs.  Yeah so, basically, everyone was dinging dongs Friday night at Chase. Still, Mike Yasztremski deserves his credit, and his credit is due. The hat-trick is a special thing and he’s now rocking 5 homers and a .333 average in the past week.  His .272/.324/.548 slash is nothing to sneeze at and he’s also slugging .755 in August with a 1.088 OPS. He’s a 30+ homer hitter across a whole season, folks. Yeah, you’d own that! And Yaz is criminally still available in about half of leagues at this point. Sure, Vlady and Bo and Cavan are cool, but grand kids are where it’s really at and Mike Yastrzemski needs to be owned everywhere. Yaz more please!

Please, blog, may I have some more?