Saves continue to be one of the toughest categories to fill in our respective fantasy baseball leagues. There are still several real-life baseball teams who haven’t yet committed to naming a dedicated closer and whose bullpen remains in flux. The following are just some of the teams whose bullpens are still being pieced together evolving as the first weekend of the MLB season gets underway.

Colorado Rockies

Closer: Daniel Bard has had a tough spring. He’s lost about three MPH off his fastball, given up two HRs (he only gave up three all last season) and has had trouble throwing strikes. After signing a two year $19 million contract this offseason he’ll open the season as the Rockies’ closer, but you have to wonder how long of a leash the Rockies will give him. 

Handcuffs and Holds: Should the Rockies need to name a new closer set up man Pierce Johnson would likely be next in line for the job. Dinelson Lamet could also be called upon to pitch in late inning high leverage situations as well. Brad Hand has not pitched well this spring but has 131 career saves. Walks have been an issue for him, but the Rockies seem to have been grooming Justin Lawrence for a late inning reliever role. He has 39 career minor league saves to go along with an ugly 4.90 ERA and 4.2 BB/9. 

New York Mets

Expected Closer: Mets manager Buck Showalter hasn’t named David Robertson as his closer but suggested that one pitcher would probably have the majority of save chances. With Robertson’s background as a closer he’s the likely candidate. As per Showalter Adam OttavinoBrooks Raley and Drew Smith could get the occasional save opportunity as well. 

Handcuffs and Holds: If Robertson does get the bulk of the Mets’ save opportunities Ottavino would likely be his handcuff. Ottavino, Raley and Smith are all projected to produce double digit hold totals this season as well as an ERA well below four.

Miami Marlins

Expected Closer: Dylan Floro’s velocity was down by about 2 MPH earlier this spring but it’s since bounced back to his career norms. He got off to a shaky start this season but has pitched better of late. He was the favorite to open the season as the Marlins closer however, Marlins manager Skip Schumaker suggested that Tanner Scott and A.J. Puk could also be in line for save opportunities early in the season as well. This is a situation that needs to be watched closely.

Handcuffs and Holds: The Marlins have some pretty good arms in their bullpen. The aforementioned Puk and Scott along with Steven Okert (Hip, expected to open the season on the IL) and JT Chargois are all projected to have an ERA under four and double digit hold totals.

Atlanta Braves

Expected Closer: With Raisel Iglesias temporarily on the shelf due to low-grade shoulder inflammation, A.J. Minter is the favorite to open the season as the Braves’ closer. Minter has 25 career saves for the Braves, including five last season. 

Handcuffs and Holds: Joe Jimenez is likely to operate as Minter’s handcuff while Iglesias is out of action. Kirby Yates could also be called upon to pitch in late inning high leverage situations as well. He has a 6.75 ERA this spring, but Yates saved 41 games for the Padres in 2019 and he has a career .207 BAA right-handed batters. Minter, Jimenez, Collin McHugh and Dylan Lee are all projected to have an ERA under four and produce hold totals in the double-digit range.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Potential Closers: Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has suggested that he might use a closer-by-committee based on matchups, but Scott McGough has been gaining attention in late preseason drafts as some expect he could be the favorite to open the season as the team’s closer. McGough has looked sharp this preseason and has 69 saves in his last two seasons pitching in the Japan Central League. Kevin Ginkel (.200 BAA left-handed batters last season) could also be used in save situations as well. If the Diamondbacks do go with a committee approach to managing their closers Andrew Chafin and Miguel Castro might also be called upon to pitch in high leverage situations.

Handcuffs and Holds: Chafin, Ginkel, Castro and Joe Mantiply (who is expected to open the season on the IL) are projected to have an ERA under four and produce hold totals in the double-digit range.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Potential Closers: The Dodgers have one of the deepest bullpens in baseball, and plenty of potential saves to go around,  but they don’t have a set closer. ATC Projections predict that six Dodger closers will have at least one save. With Daniel Hudson expected to start the season on the IL, Evan Phillips and Brusdar Graterol are considered the favorites to lead the team in saves early on but based on the committee approach that the Dodgers plan on using that can change rather quickly. Alex VesiaCaleb Ferguson, and Yency Almonte are also projected to record at least one save for the Dodgers this season.

Handcuffs and Holds: Without a set closer there is not set handcuff but all six pitchers mentioned in the previous section are projected to record double-digit hold totals.

Philadelphia Phillies

Potential Closers: Rob Thompson is another real life manager who doesn’t care about your fantasy baseball team and will be using a closer by committee approach to managing his bullpen this season. That means that Seranthony Dominguez, Craig Kimbrel, Jose Alvarado and Gregory Soto all have a shot at pitching the ninth inning and pick up a save for the Phillies to start the season. Eventually one, or two of those pitchers will distance themselves from the pack and emerge as potential closers but for now this is a situation to avoid.

Handcuffs and Holds: The Phillies have a deep bullpen, and several quality relievers have the opportunity to log double-digit hold totals including Alvarado, Soto, Dominguez, Kimbrel and Andrew Bellatti. 



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