You all can blame me for the weekend bullpen chaos. I said last week was a relatively calm one on the saves front and as soon as I typed the words the baseball gods launched a comet of calamity at MLB. I shall do may best not to draw their ire again anytime soon.

  • The Phillies traded for Brandon Workman to come in and close over the struggling Hector Neris. We’ll see how this goes. Workman has better results than peripherals. He may be a time bomb. He’s 1/2 for saves on Philly already. Matt Barnes was named sort of the closer but like only if he’s being cool about it. Maybe Ryan Brasier finds himself in the ninth again at some point.
  • 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?

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?

As pitchers and catchers report we’re beginning to be graced with some reassurances as to who certain teams will use at closer. Those are always nice. Just remember managers don’t feel beholden to what they say in February and situations can change. Not unlike myself and fellow analysts. “I don’t recall recommending Jose Leclerc as a top 10 2019 closer, Senator.” We’re all playing a guessing game. My best advice is to invest lightly and spread your exposure over as many arms as possible.

AL East AL Central AL West

NL East NL Central NL West

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The end of the 2019 fantasy baseball will be no easier than the rest of it. Pitching is imploding all around us. Do what you can to stem the tide of disaster and consider an effective middle reliever over a volatile starter.

  • The Brad Hand saga continues. More positivity from the team (shocker!) as they say Hand “looked like himself” in a bullpen session. I guess that’s better than looking like Willie McGee? We’re still locked in the downward spiral of news, shaky outing, rest, repeat. The bullpen usage in Cleveland hasn’t sent any clear message about saves in Hand’s stead. Oliver Perez earned a save of the one out variety while Nick Wittgren is getting used in leverage spots but not getting the final out. Call ups James Karinchak and James Hoyt are also in the mix with Nick Goody and Adam Cimber as other possibilities. Fun times.
  • Turns out Felipe Vasquez is an asshole and a pedophile. Can’t say it was nice knowing you. Enjoy federal pound me in the ass prison. As for the shipwreck that is the Pirates Keona Kela is the lead candidate to close given his stuff and closing experience. Richard Rodriguez could see the ninth if Kela is shaky or gets hurt, as he tends to do.
  • Kenley Jansen blew his eighth save, just after a stretch of solid outings. The Dodgers seem to be committed to him as their closer and want him to get right for the postseason. When you thrive with only an elite cutter the end comes fast when the pitch loses some bite. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jansen retire this offseason when you consider his 2018 heart issue.
  • Matt McGill returned to the head of the closer committee in Seattle notching his fifth save Wednesday. He’s the favorite to finish as their primary closer if he remains healthy.
  • We all roasted the Brewers for acquiring Drew Pomeranz. Who’s laughing now? He’s been an excellent reliever and just picked up his second save. Only having to face batters once clearly suits him with 36 Ks in 21.1 IP.
  • Hunter Harvey is being shut down for the rest of the season with bicep soreness. File his name away as a late dart in the 2020 saves chase.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?