Reliever Roulette: Opening Day Updates

(Photo Credit: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

(Photo Credit: Steve Russell/Toronto Star)

It’s only been a couple days since my latest piece in this forum, yet as we head into Opening Day the closer landscape has already changed substantially since that time. Most notably, Roberto Osuna is the new Toronto closer, the Braves appear to be leaning towards a committee approach, and the entire Philadelphia bullpen is a dumpster fire. Now while this isn’t necessarily how I saw things playing out, none of these moves are really all that shocking.

Below is a quick hits section where you’ll find all the recent bullpen news and my take on the situation – do with it as you please.

- Roberto Osuna named as Toronto’s closer.

Osuna’s success in the role last season along with his dominant peripherals indicates that he could easily keep the job all year. I would treat him as a top-12 option at the position moving forward. This news also makes Drew Storen droppable in most 10 and 12 team leagues.

- The Braves will use Jason Grilli and Arodys Vizcaino on a match-up basis in save situations.

Seeing as both pitchers are hard throwing righties with fairly even platoon splits this seems like an interesting approach. That said Vizcaino’s upside would make him my preference in this situation. Between Grilli’s likely trade and Atlanta’s projected struggles don’t expect either guy to be a top 20 option.

- Phillies send Andrew Bailey to the minors.

I didn’t have much confidence in Bailey to begin with so this is hardly a surprise. However, I also don’t see David Hernandez or Dalier Hinojosa running away with this job. I’d give Hernandez the slight edge if I had to choose, but a committee seems entirely plausible.

- Andrew Miller will pitch through chip fracture in non-throwing wrist

Unless I see that Miller is visibly affected by this injury I’m not moving him in my rankings. If he does miss time, Dellin Betances would be the obvious replacement until Chapman returns. Keep in mind however that Betances taking over the 9th inning role will likely reduce his overall value by limiting his innings and win potential.

- Rockies officially name Jake McGee their closer

I never considered any other outcomes to this situation so the impact is minimal. I am higher on McGee than most however as I value his outstanding peripherals more relative to the higher save upside of lesser pitchers.

- Brewers place Corey Knebel on 15-day DL

I already expected Jeremy Jeffress to win the job, but this gives him some added security. And while the Brewers likely won’t win more than 60 games, I’d still take him over any of the options in Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Diego.

- Astros, Rays still haven’t named closers

I acknowledge that by the time you’re reading this we may already have additional news on this situation. Once that does happen I’ll give you an update later in the week, but if I had to choose right now I’m still going with Giles and Colome to win these jobs.

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