These last two weeks have been a bumpy ride in many bullpens. We’ve had COVID issues, regular old injuries and wear down, and some long-awaited blow-ups. We’re into the final month of the slog that has been a return to 162 games. If you’ve made it this far you probably feel like a bomber returning from The Battle Of Berlin with more than a few holes. There are likely to be continued opportunities for new faces in the saves chase every day. Straighten up and fly right!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re back to chasing speed this week. Keep an eye towards shuffling batting orders, rookies on the horizon, and second-half surges. The NFL pre-season will soon have its hooks in us. There may be some surprising names on the wire thanks to this. Maybe suggest a surprisingly friendly trade for the thing you need most. Grind on in the name of the faceless god, free category juice.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

We’re reaching the point of the baseball season that feels like the Bastogne episode of Band Of Brothers depicting the Battle of the Bulge. We’re running out of everything, can’t help the injured, and hold our breath that disaster isn’t looming. It’s also the turning point. Ground gained now will decide who’s in for the stretch run. The ever-changing saves landscape is a big part of that. Get in a foxhole with someone you can trust.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s SAGNOF speed week! That means saves are the thing that need to have no faces. We’ll talk a few runners and a few catchers. I’ve included a chart of the catchers yielding the most stolen bases thus far. I find people often forget that half of the equation when trying to find a hitter to stream as a speed spec play. We’re looking for both a volume of steals given up and poor defense throwing runners out.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

As the weather turns hot so do the seats of shaky relievers. It can be risky to jump ship early on someone that’s been good to you but a shrewd move can pay off big time in the summer. I often tell myself, “Carl, live in the future, dammit!” Don’t ask me why “Carl” is how I refer to myself in the third person.

  • Mark Melancon remains a step ahead of the league. He ditched spider tack weeks ago and is now using beetle spunk. It’s the only explanation for a guy that projected to be mediocre, yet leads the league in saves. In actuality, he’s likely locating his stuff as well as ever with a near career high in GB% and career low in FB%.
  • The Reds are optimizing the adage if you many of something you really have none. Their bullpen is filled with quality arms. Without that clear-cut go-to closer, things have been messy. Lucas Sims is starting to show the strain of the role. Tejay Antone just returned from the IL but also blew a save (and poached a win).
  • Tampa Bay can’t catch a break in their back end either. Name a reliever for them and they’ve blown a save or took a loss in the past week. Nothing like some extra ambiguity in the murkiest of bullpens.
  • Richard Rodriguez continues to be a sharp closer. That almost certainly means he’ll be relocating prior to the trade deadline. Two possible paths exist here. He could go to a contender that needs a clear closer and earn many more save opps. He could also go to a team with an already strong closer and become a setup man, which seems the more natural fit for him.
  • Please, blog, may I have some more?

Allow myself to reintroduce myself: I’m Roto-Wan. Long-time saves chaser, non-pricey pick payer, part-time closer ranker. You may remember from such columns as this one, last season. Grey kidnapped my dog and is forcing me to write about saves with masks or something. Contact the authorities if you’re reading this. All kidding aside, I enjoyed my hiatus and look forward to helping valued readers like you navigate the treacherous waters of saves in the MLB. I’ve dusted off Grey’s original tiers, as I like to do in the early going. It’s important to remind us of the jerks we’ve been to help us know the jerks we can become.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Take the opportunity this week to sneak some adds by your leaguemates who could very well be distracted by the impending start of the NFL season. Things are happening around the league on the waiver front. The last crop of rookies are getting their shots. Some IL returns are happening. Time to push your chips in.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The MLB trade deadline is today. So far the fireworks haven’t been overly bullpen related. We’ll see if that holds true as many teams fashion themselves plucky upstarts in the mix for expanded playoff spots. As far as rumormongers go, Jeff Passan is really the only name I put any stock in at this point. Evening-bird and Yo-dude are banned from my twitter feed.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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?