We're almost halfway through March and we have about as much clarity at the back end of some bullpens as we had in December. While many bullpens are set in stone, there are still a few heated competitions happening across Grapefruit and Cactus League play as managers try to decide who to hand the ball to in the ninth inning when their teams have a small lead.
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Here's a look at where the bullpens stand as of now, all are of course subject to change before Opening Day based on injury or in some cases competition.Editor's note: Get 50% off any MLB Premium Pass. Draft guide, cheat sheets, 200 days of DFS access, and over 20 premium tools. Dominate your leagues all year long! Sign Up Now!
AL East Closers & Saves Options
New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman (solid, top tier option)
Boston Red Sox: Craig Kimbrel (solid, top tier option despite a somewhat down year last season.)
Toronto Blue Jays: Roberto Osuna (solid, excellent option)
Baltimore Orioles: Zach Britton (solid, top tier option, despite being found on a milk carton in last year's Wild Card game.)
Tampa Bay Rays: Alex Colome (solid, very good option, but keep an eye on trade rumors.)
AL Central Closers & Saves Options
Detroit Tigers: Francisco Rodriguez (solid, mediocre option)
Kansas City Royals: Kelvin Herrera (solid, very good option)
Chicago White Sox: David Robertson (shaky, excellent option if closing. Robertson's name has come up in trade rumors. He'll likely close wherever he plays, but there's always a chance he ends up setting up an established closer on a new team. If Robertson is traded, Nate Jones becomes a very good fantasy option as Chicago's closer.)
Minnesota Twins: Brandon Kintzler (shaky, and not a good option anyway. Kintzler is in the lead to return as the Twins closer, but he's not a particularly good pitcher and will likely lose his job once Glen Perkins returns.)
AL West Closers & Saves Options
Texas Rangers: Sam Dyson (solid in his role, but a middling option at best due to low strikeouts)
Seattle Mariners: Edwin Diaz (solid, excellent option)
Los Angeles Angels: Huston Street (injured- Street might not be ready for Opening Day, and he probably won't be great once healthy anyway. Cam Bedrosian has a chance to run away with the Angels ninth inning job, and he'd be a strong fantasy option if he did.)
Oakland Athletics: Committee (the A's seem not only destined but also resigned to a closer-by-committee for this season. They have Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle, Santiago Casilla, and John Axford in their pen. All would make average to above average fantasy closers, but as members of a committee, none will have mixed league value. Avoid.)
Houston Astros: Ken Giles (somewhat shaky. The Astros gave up a ton to get Giles last year and they really want him to work as their closer. He will get the chance to solidify himself in the role, but Will Harris and Luke Gregerson will be breathing down his neck. Lots of upside, some significant risk.)
NL East Closers & Saves Options
Miami Marlins: A.J. Ramos (solid, but a shorter leash than previous years. Still a very good option.)
Washington Nationals: Shawn Kelley (solid unless a trade is made, rumors of the Nationals talking to the White Sox about David Robertson. Kelley can be an above average option if he locks down the role though.)
New York Mets: Addison Reed (most likely. Mets closer Jeurys Familia is likely to begin the season by serving a suspension stemming from a domestic violence incident. Reed is an excellent option as a closer, but not knowing how long he will stay in the role makes him a very risky draft pick at this point.)
Atlanta Braves: Jim Johnson (shaky. Johnson isn't very good, and the Braves are rebuilding and may want to see what their younger arms can do at the end of games. This is a bullpen to avoid outside of deep leagues and NL-only.)
Philadelphia Phillies: Jeanmar Gomez (shaky. The Phillies believe that Gomez "deserves a chance" to close, but the problem is there are several better pitchers who project as excellent closers in the Phillies bullpen. While Gomez keeps the job (maybe until mid-May?) this is a bullpen to avoid in all formats, but if Hector Neris takes over, he could be an above average fantasy option.
NL Central Closers & Saves Options
Chicago Cubs: Wade Davis (solid. Davis is an excellent closer when healthy, and he seems to be okay this spring, but he missed a lot of time last season with forearm issues, so he is a risky pick despite significant upside.)
St. Louis Cardinals: Seung-Hwan Oh (solid. Oh is just outside of the top-tier of closers and has no real competition in the Cardinals bullpen. He's a great fantasy choice.)
Pittsburgh Pirates: Tony Watson (shaky/competition. Watson and Daniel Hudson are competing for the closer role in Pittsburgh. Watson will likely get the first chance due to incumbency, but he didn't do great as the Pirates closer last season and he hasn't been having a great spring. This may be a bullpen to avoid until some more clarity is provided.
Milwaukee Brewers: Neftali Feliz (shaky. Feliz was signed to be the Brewers closer, but injuries limited him to one game last September. He is reportedly healthy though, and should be able to fend off any competition from Corey Knebel and Carlos Torres. Still, he's a middling fantasy option at best.)
Cincinnati Reds: Raisel Iglesias (shaky/committee. Iglesias is the favorite to start the season as the Reds closer, and he has been great this spring, helping himself in the process. However, he has been used for multiple innings several times and there has been chatter coming out of Reds camp that the team may go with a matchup-based committee approach. Iglesias can be a solid closer, but he likely doesn't have the upside to be worth the risk of drafting a reliever who ends up as a part of a committee.)
NL West Closers & Saves Options
San Francisco Giants: Mark Melancon (solid, great option. Melancon is very effective relief pitcher, but he doesn't put up the strikeout numbers to be an excellent fantasy option.)
Los Angeles Dodgers: Kenley Jansen (solid, top tier option. Jansen might end up as the best fantasy closer in 2017.)
San Diego Padres: Brandon Maurer (shaky. Maurer will enter the season as the Padres closer, but his 4.52 ERA/1.26 WHIP in 2016 doesn't inspire much confidence. With Carter Capps back from Tommy John Surgery, Maurer's days as Padres closer in 2017 may be numbered before they even start. Capps has league-winning upside, but the risk of re-injury and rule changes are always there with him, not to mention he is not even the closer yet.)
Arizona Diamondbacks: Fernando Rodney (solid in name only. Rodney is the closer for the Diamondbacks. Rodney was a very bad pitcher in the second half of 2016. Both of these statements are true right now, but the first won't be true anymore if Rodney doesn't go back to his 2016 Padres form quickly. The DBacks don't have much else in their bullpen behind Rodney, so while he may get a long leash in real life, he probably shouldn't be on many fantasy teams.)
Colorado Rockies: Adam Ottavino (solid, but with competition. Ottavino is almost sure to start the season as the Rockies closer, but Colorado signed Greg Holland this offseason and will likely have him work late in games and may want him to close sooner than later. If he solidifies his spot, Ottavino becomes a more attractive fantasy option despite playing his home games in Denver.)