Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Report: Can we trust Art Warren, Jake Diekman or David Robertson for saves?

If you want to know who’s in line for each team’s next stop, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m joking of course. It is impossible to know these days. Managers are deliberately silent, and those who aren’t seem to go out of their way to mislead us (looking at you, Gabe Kapler). Usually we’re left to infer their inclinations based on past usage, but as you’d expect, patterns are hard to spot at this time of year.

Here’s my read on the 10 closest most evolving scenarios right now.

Note: “pecking order” refers to rosterability in Fantasy and not necessarily who is first in line for saves (although it’s usually one and the same).

Tony Santillan, who recorded an opening day stoppage, introduced an immediate complication in a closer storyline that was never resolved last season, but in retrospect it was probably just because he got stuck. was already warming up when the chance to stop presented itself. A more conventional one appeared on Sunday, and that’s when Art Warren made his season debut, almost as if it had been the Reds’ plan all along. Presumably, it was. He certainly showed closer potential last year, and as long as there’s no slump between now and Lucas Sims’ return from an elbow injury, I guess that’s how the things will stay.

At one point in spring training, Matt Barnes was manager Alex Cora’s stated preference to shut down, but he struggled to get his speed up to par while Jake Diekman was electric recording a save against the rival Yankees Sunday. “He was the closest today,” was all Cora would say of Diekman afterward, but when Barnes made his season debut the next day, it was in the sixth round, with its speed still lagging behind a year ago. Diekman is the Red Sox’s only high-leverage southpaw, making it difficult to confine him to the ninth inning, but that may be the way Cora leans.

Manager Gabe Kapler has been his usual mess when it comes to using the bullpen. One thing is clear is that Jake McGee is not closest despite Kapler apparently anointing him as such during spring training. He worked the eighth inning in one game, giving Camilo Doval a save chance, and the seventh inning in another. So it’s Doval? Well, he missed that stoppage in particularly disastrous fashion and hasn’t worked the ninth inning since. Dominic Leone is the Giants’ only reliever with an actual stoppage, but he got it on a day when McGee and Doval weren’t available. Doval has been looking good since the only collapse so I guess he has another chance.

David Robertson got the opening day stoppage, with Mychal Givens and Rowan Wick teaming up round eight, and it all went so smoothly and conventionally that it seemed like it must have been the plan. And we have no reason to believe that’s not the case, but Robertson’s second appearance came in the eighth inning of a one-run loss on Sunday. Maybe he just needed some work. He has the most conclusive experience of anyone in the Cubs bullpen, but after three injury-ravaged seasons, it’s hard to have much faith in the 37-year-old.

Manager Rocco Baldelli has long expressed a preference for a tighter committee, which is why he rarely stuck with Taylor Rogers in the role even though he was clearly the team’s top reliever. Well, Rogers is gone now, and Baldelli finds himself with a bunch of unproven right-handers alike. Tyler Duffey got the first save chance on Saturday and missed it. He was then asked to work round seven on Monday. Emilio Pagan, who has come back the other way in the Rogers trade, has only worked the eighth inning so far, suggesting he has a high-leverage role. Jhoan Duran is the least tested but also the tallest of the group and closed a four-point lead on Monday. Whatever Baldelli’s leanings are today, however, they are likely to change on a whim.

The Mariners never came close last year in their surprise playoff push, so it’s only fitting that their two saves so far have gone to different guys (Drew Steckenrider and Diego Castillo). Manager Scott Servais seemed to favor Steckenrider slightly towards the end of last season, and it’s possible he still does. Steckenrider got the chance on opening day and then Castilllo got the chance the next day, probably because Steckenrider wasn’t ready to do the same yet. Ken Giles always has the best chance of claiming the role whenever he returns from a finger injury, but that’s far from a certainty.

This one’s no mystery, but considering Anthony Bender is still only listed in 41% of the CBS Sports leagues, well behind even the unclosed like Jake McGee and Blake Treinen, it deserves a mention here. . Manager Don Mattingly called Bender the favorite for the ninth inning just before the start of the season, and so far he has had only two save chances from the Marlins, missing the first but converting the second the following day. He was the team’s top reliever last year, so it makes sense that he’ll keep the role even when Dylan Floro returns from injury.

There were rumors just before the start of the season that Daniel Bard would have the first chance to close even though the Rockies signed a more proven option, Alex Colome, in the offseason, and that’s exactly how it has happened so far. Bard looked particularly impressive as he struck out three Dodgers for his first save on Saturday, and while he missed his second chance on Monday, a solo home run was the only damage against him. He’s got a 98mph fastball and a swing-and-miss slider, both with plenty of spin, so our only reason to think he can’t keep the job going is…well, he didn’t last year.

We still don’t have much information on how Rangers think given they haven’t had a save chance yet, but Monday’s game offered some clues. Presumed closer, Joe Barlow was brought in to hold a tie in the ninth, and although he didn’t, serving a solo home run, he also struck out three. Greg Holland, Barlow’s main competitor for the role, fared no better when Rangers rallied to send him to 10th, so Barlow still appears to be the favorite here. His only other outing was also in the ninth inning of a game, but with Rangers leading by six.

Manager Brandon Hyde, who never had a chance to get closer given the Orioles’ loss under his management, identified Jorge Lopez as his top choice for saves after the Orioles traded Cole Sulser, and well Sure, the veteran right-hander converted the team’s first chance on Monday. His major league record is pretty miserable, and again, you can’t count on the Orioles to give him many chances. With his fast ball speed of up to 2 mph, however, he could potentially survive in the role.

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