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(Editor's note: This article was written on the evening of Wednesday, April 5th. So Wednesday night's games are not included in the analysis.)
Headed into the 2017 regular season in major league baseball, Fantasy owners only trusted a few closers. There is good chance 50 percent of the starting closers will lose their jobs before the end of the year. After a couple of games, we have some information on who has the first opportunity for saves.
The A’s gave Santiago Casilla the first chance in the 9th, which he converted. The following night Ryan Dull was given the ball to project a two-run lead. He allowed a three-homerun to Danny Espinosa to put himself a step back in the rotation for saves. In both games, Ryan Madson pitched the 8th inning. For now, it’s Casilla’s job to lose with Madson looking like the second-best option.
The Fantasy market was waiting for the cloudy picture of saves to clear up in Washington. In a surprise move, Blake Treinen was named the closer. His stuff looks electric in his first outing (no runs or hits allowed in one inning with two Ks). Koda Glover has yet to pitch. He still looks like the long-term option. The downside of Treinen will be his command. Based on the progression this spring, Shawn Kelley would need an injury to move back into contention.
The reports on the health of Raisel Iglesias seemed bleak late in March. I liked his upside when I did my research on the Reds over the winter, but I had to back off due to his health late in spring. Raisel threw the ball in his first outing (one shutout inning with a strikeout), which tells me he’s going to be nice backend option for saves.
Sam Dyson put his job at risk after his first outing when he allowed three runs and four hits over two-thirds of an inning. Both Jeremy Jeffress (one run and a hit while recording one out) and Matt Bush (a HR over 1.2 innings) struggled as well. This situation could change on a dime.
After bad finish to 2016, Jeanmar Gomez was able to retain the closing job to start to 2017. His weakness emerged quickly in his first outing after allowing a two-run homer over one inning in a converted save. Hector Neris tossed a clean inning to keep his name shining in the background while Joaquin Benoit remains a dark horse (one shutout inning with two Ks).
The Rockies decided to roll with Greg Holland out of the gate. He rewarded their confidence with two saves in his two opportunities while tossing two shutout innings with two Ks. Adam Ottavino held his own in his two appearances (two shutout innings with three Ks). Holland should be the long-term option.
There was talk in Arizona that Archie Bradley could work his way into the saves conversation. His stuff was impressive in his first outing in long relief (no runs over 3.1 innings with seven Ks). Fernando Rodney did look shaky in his first appearance (1 run and three baserunners over one inning) leading to a blow save.