Holds League Rankings and Risk Closures (Fantasy Baseball 2022)
Welcome to the second edition of the non-closer hold league report. As mentioned last week, this will be a report on relief pitchers who are most likely to be used as set-up men in standby situations. Additionally, I’ll be ranking the closest ones who are potentially on the verge of losing their jobs and who could possibly fall into the weekly settled men rankings.
Of course, there are many teams with extremely closer situations and unclear teams with somewhat nearer situations unclear. For those that fit the latter (SF, COL, MIA, MIN, CHC), I’ll rank likely configuration men. For those who match the first (SEA, CIN, WAS, BAL), I will leave all relievers in that bullpen out of the ranking competition.
Level 1) Elite. Should contribute a high level in the ERA/WHIP/H/SV/K categories. Proven experience. Big arms.
Level 2) Awesome. Those who aren’t quite elite status but have a minor circumstance, inexperience, or slight negative in their game keep them from the top.
Level 3) Good. You will damage here or there in one, maybe two categories (i.e. Rogers with Ks and probably an overall regression) but have a proven record or a great team situation (Hudson with Dodgers).
Level 4) Above average. They can be as skilled as level 3 pitchers and will mostly do the job week to week, but could hurt ERA and WHIP with a few burst points, or they could be in a very crowded bullpen or in a bad situation.
Level 5) Slightly above average. They are hard-hitting MLB pieces and have real advantages in their game, but may also have notable past/recent stat issues elsewhere or are just in a lousy team situation.
Level 6) Average. Sure, they’re pretty useful MLB coins, but probably not too beneficial for fantasy purposes.
It’s been a pretty weird year for the closest carousel, with many relievers struggling early and many new faces getting a chance to close. As reported last week, we will highlight some alleged relatives who are at risk of losing their jobs. It could be due to past performance or maybe a very scheming trainer who could pressure a loved one who only has one or two accidents.
It will be a weekly report. Let’s dive in (again):
Tyler Duffey (RP – MIN)
With the trade and departure of Taylor Rogers (RP – SD), Tyler Duffey was the next man and a fairly clear option to take over 9th inning duties at Minnesota. However, Duffey imploded on his first save chance and missed his chance. Now Jhoan Duran (SP – MIN) seems to be waiting in the wings with his tremendous talent and exciting potential. Duran ranks as an above-average future reliever and is certainly making Tyler Duffey’s safety lower than it already was at the start. Sure, Duffey’s 2021 season makes him a decent candidate for saves, but he allowed one of the toughest contacts last year and doesn’t match Duran with his pure stuff. It’s a foggy situation – and one that certainly needs to be watched.
Camilo Doval (RP – SF)
The situation closer to the Giants is murky to say the least, but they have one of the best 1-2-3 punches in all of baseball with Jake McGee (RP – SF), Tyler Rogers (RP-SF) and Doval . Yes, I know Doval perfectly may do not to be the closest – but he had the first chance and closed out most post-season games last year. Unfortunately for Doval, he missed his first chance, but luckily he bounced back in previous round appearances. Given his nasty stuff and offensive approach, I expect the fireball right-hander to remain ninth man – but if you’re in a backup-only league – you need to keep an eye out for McGee, Rogers and even Dominic Leone (SP, RP – SF) for the opportunities.
Matt Barnes (PR – BOS)
Yes, this one might be a little unfair, as Barnes just returned from injury on April 11. The right-handed fastball/curveball was down a few ticks (as it was this spring) and had a history of drive issues. If Barnes’ stuff isn’t at its best, he could very well cede the closest role to Diekman even after he regains his speed. Left-handed dominating Diekman was one of my players to watch this season in our first edition of this article – and given his tremendous work and recent ninth-inning performance against Aaron Judge (RF – NYY), Giancarlo Stanton (OF,DH – NYY) and Joey Gallo (OF,DH – NYY), it became a very interesting situation. (Also keep an eye out for Hansel Robles (RP – BOS).)
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