What a disaster! We knew the 2020 fantasy baseball season was going to be one like no other, and it certainly has lived up to that billing after just a week. It is also little surprise that managers are using bullpens a little bit differently than they would in a normal 162 game schedule. There have been some situations that have gone as planned, but many more have us scratching our heads and wondering how much patience to have in such a sprint of a season. As always, keep your eye on the closer’s grid that is constantly updated as news breaks. Let’s take a look at the most newsworthy situations of the week.

Pittsburgh Pirates

As far as we know, there is no imminent return for Keone Kela . He is reportedly asymptomatic but is not getting negative tests. In his absence, Kyle Crick looked terrible, and now he is on the IL with a lat strain. Manager Derek Shelton has already said he will use a committee that includes Nick Burdi , Richard Rodríguez , and perhaps even Michael Feliz . If I had to put my money down, it would be on Burdi who got the save on Tuesday and didn’t give up a hit in his two innings while striking out four.

Tampa Bay Rays

We all had confidence that the Rays wouldn’t be giving the saves to just one guy this year, but Nick Anderson and José Alvarado would be getting the bulk of the saves but here we sit a week into he season and Anderson has been pitching in high leverage situations in the seventh inning and Oliver Drake has two saves. I know this season is a sprint and we need saves, but I would not move on from Anderson or Alvarado just yet, nor would I rush to grab Drake unless you punted saves completely. The Rays bullpen is likely to be a fluid situation all season long and will likely be a giant headache. That being said, it would be a bit of a surprise if Anderson and Alvarado didn’t end up with save chances soon.

Chicago Cubs

Craig Kimbrel didn’t look great at times in 2019, and he picked up right where he left off in 2020. In his first appearance he looked flat and gave up two runs in a third of an inning, walked four, and now has an ERA of 54.00 and a WHIP of 12.00! That is borderline comical! While he is likely to rebound from this, don’t be surprised if he loses the closer job in a couple of weeks. You might not want to drop him yet, but you want to have a backup plan. The Cubs could turn to Rowan Wick or Jeremy Jeffress to close out games. Kimbrel is already running out of time in the ninth inning for the Cubs.

San Diego Padres

Kirby Yates blew a save on Sunday and had thrown more than 20 pitches, but it was still a surprise to see Drew Pomeranz called upon for the save chance on Tuesday. That is two days after Yates blew the save, and Pomeranz did convert the chance. Does that mean we should start to panic and maybe Yates isn’t long for the ninth inning? I am not ready to say that yet. I am hoping that he was given an extra day to clear his head and Yates will be find going forward. This is a situation to monitor, but not one to lose your mind over yet. 

Toronto Blue Jays

Ken Giles has a forearm strain, which is never a good thing, and he is sidelined without a definite timetable for return. Anthony Bass has been named the closer in Giles absence and converted his first save opportunity. If he is available, he should be a priority in your waiver claims or free agent pickups. The Blue Jays might not be one of the best teams in the league, but Bass looks like he should be able to convert most chances he is given. He isn’t a dominating strikeout machine, but Bass should be effective.

Kansas City Royals

Ian Kennedy seemed to have the job coming into the year, but he has pitched twice this season and neither was in a save situation. In fact, one was in the sixth inning and the other was in the seventh. Greg Holland has the only save for the Royals right now, and has held the job for the team in the past. He at least appears to have the job right now. 

Minnesota Twins

Taylor Rogers hadn’t appeared in a game until Wednesday night and set down the Cardinals quietly to earn his first game of the year, striking out two. There was some concern when Sergio Romo saved Tuesday’s game and we still hadn’t seen Rogers, but Wednesday’s appearance hopefully means all is well in Minnesota. Rogers was a dominant closer last season, and while Romo also has closing experience he shouldn’t get many chances as long as Rogers is effective. And given the year that Rogers had last season, I see no reason for him to yield many chances away. Wednesday’s save should squelch all worries about him this season.

Cleveland Indians

Brad Hand does have two saves, but he also has given up four earned runs in his last two appearances. He came into a scoreless game on Wednesday and totally was blown up and finished with the loss. Hand did save 34 games last year and had great strikeout numbers, but his 3.30 ERA is much higher than a closer should be. The fact that he has not looked sharp in his last two appearances is not ideal. He still has a nice hold on the job, but don’t forget the name James Karinchak who has been filthy so far.

Baltimore Orioles

With Hunter Harvey still sidelined, this bullpen is a complete dumpster fire. We thought that maybe Mychal Givens would be the guy in the ninth. However, he has only pitched once so far this season, and it was in a 7-2 game back on Saturday. Cole Sulser has the only save for the team so far, but he doesn’t have typical closer stuff. Harvey will be the guy when he is able to return, but until then it appears that all bets are off in this bullpen and you should likely avoid all together.

New York Mets

In all honestly, Edwin Díaz was robbed. He was clean in his first save chance of the year, and then he was one out away from his second clean save chance before giving up a home run to Marcell Ozuna of the Braves. He has four strikeouts in two innings so far, but the home run is a black eye on the young season. This has been complicated by Manager Luis Rojas decision to let Seth Lugo pitch a four out save on Monday. This still seems like it is Diaz job easily, and if not for that little hiccup, he would be looking like a strong candidate. Lugo still looms large, but right now I would guess that Diaz is still called upon for the next save chance.

San Francisco Giants

While it seemed like Tony Watson was the favorite for saves with Tyler Rogers a close second, it is Trevor Gott who has the first two saves for the Giants. He is 27 years old and doesn’t have overpowering strikeout stuff, so in my opinion this isn’t likely to last long. If you are a person who punted saves you can make a move on Gott, but this doesn’t seem like a long-term solution to the ninth inning in San Francisco. Watson even seems like a bit of a stop gap, and it is Rogers who has the best stuff in that bullpen. Keep an eye on this situation in the coming days, but it is likely to be a continued mess.

Seattle Mariners

Taylor Williams got the first save, and then on Wednesday night he pitched in the seventh inning and Dan Altavilla got the save. All offseason we figured it would be Matt Magill in the ninth. Right now, your guess is as good as anyone’s about this situation, and there isn’t likely to be a clear cut closer during the year.

Texas Rangers

You will notice that Nick Goody recorded a save for the Rangers. It was noted that José Leclerc didn’t quite feel right warming up for the game and that is why he didn’t get the ball. It still appears that he should get the chances when he is right.


 If you have held their closers to this point, I would continue to do so. The Phillies are due to start back up tomorrow, and the Marlins hopefully have their situation under control. While they missed a week, they certainly are going to still play the full 60 games (further outbreaks excluded), so the stats still could come. At least Brandon Kintzler did get one save so we got a look at how the ninth inning might play out for them.

This is truly a rollercoaster of a season, and one that is as difficult to cover as it is to play. Good luck for the coming week for your teams, and stay healthy!