X
Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

X

Receive free daily analysis

NFL
NBA
NHL
NASCAR
CFB
MLB
MMA
PGA
ESPORTS
BETTING

Already have an account? Log In

X

Forgot Password


POPULAR FANTASY TOOLS

Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
News and Alerts

Florio's Bullpen Report - Figuring Out Early Season Closer Confusion (Week 4)

Daniel Bard - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, MLB DFS Picks, Betting Picks

The only thing consistent with early bullpen usage is change. There are still many teams that are figuring out which relievers they can trust in late-inning situations. While it is still essential to keep a close eye on those situations, it is also important not to overreact to one save opportunity. 

My favorite way to navigate early-season bullpens like this is to have a roster spot or two that I am okay churning and burning relievers with. I will not spend a ton on any one reliever, usually anywhere from one to five percent, and hope something sticks. This has worked out for me the past few years, as it helps you find a couple of closing options for cheap. 

Also, Ariel Cohen joined Scott Engel and me on Sirius XM this past Sunday (listen every week from 3-5 pm ET). He talked about how one of the best ways to manage early-season ratios is to use those elite relievers who are not full-time closers. These pitchers provide ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts similar to a back-end pitcher who will give you five innings in a week. Of course, I would agree, as I have been writing about these pitchers for years!

Featured Promo: Get any full-season MLB and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Team Sync platform, Premium articles, daily Matchup Rating projections, 15 lineup tools, DFS cheat sheets, Research Stations, Lineup Optimizers and much more! Go Premium, Win More!

 

Changing Bullpens for Fantasy Baseball

The biggest bullpen change this week is with the Rockies. Closer Daniel Bard had been away from the team as he dealt with anxiety, but he is back with the club and should quickly regain his spot in the ninth inning. Pierce Johnson has been serviceable outside of one bad outing, but he will surely return to a setup role once Bard is back. The good news is we know who is next in line should Bard miss more time. Check your waiver wire just in case for Bard, but this bullpen should be pretty linear in terms of save chances moving forward. 

The Mariners have settled on a closer in Paul Sewald. That was what I speculated last week in this article after Andres Munoz landed on the IL. Sewald has four saves on the season with a 3.00 ERA, 1.59 xERA, 0.89 WHIP, and a 31 percent strikeout rate. He should be rostered in all formats and you can spend over 10 percent of your FAAB to secure him. 

Coming into the season, it seemed that the Marlins would have a committee between A.J. Puk and Dylan Floro. That has not materialized. Instead, it has been Puk manning the ninth inning, while Floro has pitched in a setup role. Floro doesn’t have a save this season. Puk is the closer to trust here moving forward. If he is out there on the waiver wire, you can use between 10 and 15 percent of your FAAB to grab him. 

The Diamondbacks bullpen is a committee, but it's one of the better ones in the league. Why is that? Because there is a clear-cut top option in Andrew Chafin. He has already picked up three of the five saves for the Diamondbacks while not allowing a run through seven innings. He has struck out 44 percent of the batters he faced while pitching to a 0.57 WHIP. He is the clear arm to roster in this bullpen and I would have no problem going over 10 percent of my FAAB if he was still out there. 

The Mets bullpen went from one of the easiest to figure out with a healthy Edwin Diaz to a full-out committee without him. The good thing is the save chances will all go to either David Robertson or Adam Ottavino. They’ve had six chances so far and four have gone to Robertson, with two going to Ottavino. Robertson is the top option, as when they do not use him in the ninth, it is often because he faces the heart of the order in the eighth. Robertson should be rostered in all leagues, while Ottavino is a strong secondary option for those in roto leagues. 

The Dodgers do not have a set closer, which is rare after they have spoiled us for years. Evan Phillips has picked up two saves and has been their best reliever. He has a 32 percent strikeout rate and a 1.17 WHIP. Phillips is the top option in the bullpen and the only one I would roster in 12-team leagues or shallower as of now. In deeper leagues, you can take a flier on Brusdar Graterol or Andre Jackson -- in that order. 

 

Speculative Saves for Fantasy Baseball 

The Cubs have a closer committee between Brad Boxberger and Michael Fulmer. Each has picked up a save so far this season, while Fulmer has blown two. Boxberger has been the more effective pitcher. Despite that, Fulmer has received more opportunities and has a 38 percent strikeout rate. Due to that, Fulmer is the option I would prefer to roster at the moment. But both Fulmer and Boxberger should be rostered in roto formats. You can avoid this bullpen in head-to-head leagues where you only need to roster a couple of relievers.

The Royals don’t get many save chances, which makes this bullpen tough to figure out. Each of Aroldis Chapman and Scott Barlow has picked up a save for Kansas City so far. But Chapman has pitched to a 0.00 ERA, 1.65 xERA, and 0.67 WHIP with a 55 percent strikeout rate. Barlow has pitched to a 6.35 ERA, 4.43 xERA, 1.59 WHIP, and a 24 percent strikeout rate.

Clearly, Chapman has been the more effective arm of the two early on. The Royals also have an incentive to build up Chapman’s trade value, especially if he continues to look like his old self. Chapman remains the reliever I most want to roster here and I would recommend adding him now before he gets more save chances. 

The Angels have already had three different pitchers pick up a save this season. Jose Quijada and Carlos Estevez lead the way with two each. Estevez has pitched to a 2.57 ERA, 3.39 xERA, 1.71 WHIP, and a 27 percent strikeout rate. Quijada has a 0.00 ERA, 2.58 xERA, 0.50 WHIP, and a 19 percent strikeout rate. Estevez is the pitcher that the Angels seem to trust most, using him in high-leverage situations, but that leads to save chances going to Quijada. Right now, both are rosterable in roto formats. Both also fit my strategy of grabbing for cheap off the waiver wire and hoping for one to stick. 

The A’s have picked up just one save this season. It went to Dany Jimenez, who blew a save this past Sunday. On the year, he has a 5.40 ERA, 6.59 xERA, 1.50 WHIP, and a 13 percent strikeout rate. It's been a rough start to the season for Jimenez, who looked like he could be a bright spot on a team with an independent league roster. The hope is he can turn it around. At the very least, he is getting save opportunities. Jimenez is the only reliever I can recommend here in good faith. 

The Rangers have two options here with William Smith and Jose Leclerc picking up a save. Smith has pitched to a 1.35 ERA, 1.35 xERA, and 0.75 WHIP with a 38 percent strikeout rate. Meanwhile, Leclerc has a 0.00 ERA, 1.93 xERA, 0.83 WHIP, and an 18 percent strikeout rate. I trust Smith more because he is simply missing more bats. However, both are pitching very well as of now and providing ratios while also getting the occasional save chance. Both can be rostered in roto formats. 

 

Elite Strikeouts and Ratios 

Giovanny Gallegos has been outstanding so far this season. He has yet to allow a run while pitching to a 1.46 xERA and 0.20 WHIP with a 50 percent strikeout rate. He has also already picked up a save. While he is not the closer for the Cards, he will get the occasional save. Plus, he is next in line if Ryan Helsley was to miss time. Add in the amazing strikeouts and ratios he has been providing, and Gallegos would be the top non-closer reliever to roster right now. 

Jose Alvarado leads all relievers with a 70 percent strikeout rate so far this season. He has pitched to a 1.42 ERA and 1.55 xERA with a 0.63 WHIP. Simply put, he has been outstanding through his first six appearances. Plus, with Philly having a shaky bullpen, it is possible he could see himself getting some save chances at some point. If you are looking for a reliever to balance out your ratios, Alvarado is a great option. 

Mark Leiter Jr. has not allowed a run in his first seven outings. He has pitched to a 0.00 ERA, 2.92 xERA, and 0.95 WHIP to go with a 46 percent strikeout rate. The fact that the Cubs currently do not have a set closer only increases his chances of potentially seeing the occasional save opportunity. Leiter is an alternative to a shaky start for managers looking to stabilize their early season ratios. 

Ron Marinaccio has pitched to a 1.50 ERA, 1.93 xERA, and 0.83 WHIP with a 48 percent strikeout rate in six innings so far this season. He is also on the short list of potential closer replacements should Clay Holmes miss time. Marinaccio can help the ratios of those in deeper leagues. 

Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.



Download Our Free News & Alerts Mobile App

Like what you see? Download our updated fantasy baseball app for iPhone and Android with 24x7 player news, injury alerts, sleepers, prospects & more. All free!



More Fantasy Baseball Advice




POPULAR FANTASY TOOLS

Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
News and Alerts

REAL-TIME FANTASY NEWS

Kenneth Walker III2 hours ago

Scores Twice In Week 3 Victory
Geno Smith2 hours ago

Finds Success Again In Week 3
Travis Kelce4 hours ago

Caps Off Blowout With Touchdown Catch
Patrick Mahomes5 hours ago

Earns First Three-Score Effort In Short Day
Travis Etienne Jr.5 hours ago

with 138 Total Yards in Loss vs. Texans
Stefon Diggs6 hours ago

Tags Commanders For 111 Yards In Rout
Davante Adams6 hours ago

Shines For Two Touchdowns
Josh Allen6 hours ago

Manages Game In Easy Week 3 Win
Jimmy Garoppolo6 hours ago

Fills Stat Sheet Against Steelers
Tank Dell7 hours ago

Shows Out Again In Week 3
Lamar Jackson7 hours ago

Puts Up 300 Total Yards
C.J. Stroud7 hours ago

Picks Up First NFL Win In Week 3
Deandre Ayton8 hours ago

To Portland A Possibility?
Damian Lillard8 hours ago

Bulls, Raptors Expressing Interest In Damian Lillard
Raheem Mostert8 hours ago

Scores Four Times Against Broncos
Tim Hardaway8 hours ago

Pacers Reportedly Not Interested In Tim Hardaway Jr.
Buddy Hield8 hours ago

To Dallas?
De'Von Achane9 hours ago

Puts Together An Extraordinary Performance
Francisco Alvarez9 hours ago

Removed Early On Sunday
DJ Chark Jr.9 hours ago

Draws 11 Targets, Finds The End Zone In Week 3
Courtland Sutton9 hours ago

Scores Second Touchdown, Fumbles Twice
Adam Thielen9 hours ago

Hangs 145 Yards On Seahawks In Week 3 Loss
Breece Hall10 hours ago

Quiet In Week 3 Loss
Romeo Doubs11 hours ago

Catches Go-Ahead Touchdown In Win Over Saints
Jordan Love11 hours ago

Leads Packers To Comeback Victory
Derek Carr11 hours ago

Likely Has Shoulder Sprain
Luis Robert Jr.14 hours ago

Replaced During Sunday's Game
Yandy DĂ­az14 hours ago

Yandy Diaz Leaves Early Sunday
Ricardo Ramos19 hours ago

Submitted Early At UFC Vegas 79
Charles Jourdain19 hours ago

Extends Win Streak To Two
Marina Rodriguez19 hours ago

Scores One-Sided TKO Win At UFC Vegas 79
Dan Ige20 hours ago

Falls Short Against Another Top-10 Opponent
Bryce Mitchell20 hours ago

Returns To Win Column At UFC Vegas 79
Brad Keselowski20 hours ago

Feels Good About His Car at Texas
Tyler Reddick20 hours ago

a Very Strong Option at Texas
Denny Hamlin21 hours ago

Pegged as Favorite to Win at Texas
Carson Hocevar1 day ago

Looks Impressive Again at Texas
Zane Smith1 day ago

Slow In Practice and Qualifying at Texas
Todd Gilliland1 day ago

in Downgraded Equipment for Texas
Luis Arraez1 day ago

Suffers Injury On Saturday
Ryan Preece1 day ago

Will Start 25th At Texas
Chase Briscoe1 day ago

The Top Value Play On Sunday At Texas
Ricky Stenhouse Jr1 day ago

.'s Struggles At Texas To Continue This Weekend
Joey Logano2 days ago

Makes For A Nice Bounce Back Play At Texas
NASCAR2 days ago

Bubba Wallace Wins Pole At Texas Motor Speedway
Ryan Blaney2 days ago

A Core Play At Texas
Harrison Burton2 days ago

Still On Wood Brothers Hot Seat
Austin Cindric2 days ago

Keeps On Struggling In Qualifying
Daniel Suarez2 days ago

Thrives In Texas Qualifying Saturday
Chase Elliott2 days ago

Starts From Near The Back At Texas
Ross Chastain2 days ago

Offers Less Upside At Texas
Ty Gibbs2 days ago

Poised To Continue Strong Run In Texas
Aric Almirola2 days ago

Tops Stewart-Haas In Qualifying
NASCAR2 days ago

A.J. Allmendinger Surprises With Sixth In Qualifying
Kyle Larson2 days ago

Starts 11th On Sunday Afternoon
Kenley Jansen2 days ago

Returns From COVID List
Mike Trout2 days ago

Hits Off Tee
Yordan Alvarez2 days ago

Doubles In A Run, Managing Elbow Issue
MLB2 days ago

Diamondbacks-Yankees Postponed Saturday Due To Rain
MLB2 days ago

Braves-Nationals Postponed On Saturday
Nolan Arenado2 days ago

Cardinals Place Nolan Arenado On Injured List
Sandy Alcantara2 days ago

Suffers Setback After Rehab Start
Clayton Keller2 days ago

Ready To Become 100-Point Player
Nicklas Backstrom2 days ago

Feeling At 100 Percent
Oliver Ekman-Larsson2 days ago

Set To Get Look On Top Power-Play Unit
Carter Verhaeghe2 days ago

Battling Muscle Tightness
Nikolaj Ehlers2 days ago

Struggling With Neck Spasms
Logan Cooley2 days ago

Scores Wonder Goal In Preseason Opener
2 days ago

Chauncey Billups Backs Scoot Henderson To Become A "Star"
Josh Green2 days ago

Aims To Become A Bigger Defensive Presence
Josh Hart2 days ago

Set To See Minutes As Power Forward
Cade Cunningham2 days ago

Jaden Ivey Believes Cade Cunningham Will "Shock" People
DeMar DeRozan2 days ago

Ready To Shoot More Threes
Marcus Morris2 days ago

Sr. Set To Remain A Starter In New Season
Brandon Lowe2 days ago

Finished For 2023 With Knee Fracture
Salvador Perez2 days ago

On Track For Return On Sunday
Triston McKenzie2 days ago

Set To Return For Sunday's Start
Jaden McDaniels2 days ago

Timberwolves Desire To Extend Jaden McDaniels
Boston Celtics2 days ago

Celtics Signing Lamar Stevens As Bench Piece
Frank Ntilikina2 days ago

Could Be Limited At Training Camp
Jayson Tatum2 days ago

To Play More Point Guard In 2023-24?
Randy Arozarena2 days ago

Leaves With Right Quad Tightness
Ha-Seong Kim2 days ago

Returns To The Lineup
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.2 days ago

Rejoins The Lineup On Friday
Luis Arraez2 days ago

Back In The Lineup On Friday
Rasmus Dahlin3 days ago

Sabres Aiming To Lock Up Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power Long-Term
Connor Hellebuyck3 days ago

Focused On The Jets In 2023-24
Trevor Zegras3 days ago

Jamie Drysdale Absent On First Day Of Camp
Andrew Cogliano3 days ago

Hoping To Be Cleared For Season Opener
Alexander Barabanov3 days ago

Prefers To Remain In San Jose
Mattias Ekholm3 days ago

Roughly A Week Away From Skating
Matt McLain3 days ago

On Track To Return Tuesday
Orion Kerkering3 days ago

Phillies Promote Prospect Orion Kerkering Friday
Michael Kopech3 days ago

Undergoes Surgery, Placed On Injured List
Damian Lillard3 days ago

Suns Considered Dark Horse To Facilitate Damian Lillard Deal
Donovan Mitchell3 days ago

Not Expected To Sign An Extension Next Summer
3 days ago

Amen Thompson Is Ready To Go For Training Camp
Buddy Hield3 days ago

Mavericks, 76ers, Bucks Have Shown Interest In Buddy Hield
Kelly Oubre3 days ago

Jr. Expected To Sign With 76ers
Mateusz Gamrot3 days ago

Seeking Victory In Seventh UFC Appearance
Rafael Fiziev3 days ago

Looks To Get Back In Win Column
Michelle Waterson-Gomez3 days ago

In Dire Need Of Victory
AJ Fletcher3 days ago

Set To Showcase On Main Card
Bryan Battle3 days ago

A Favorite At UFC Vegas 79
Evgeny Kuznetsov3 days ago

Sees New Head Coach As "Perfect Match"
Mark Scheifele3 days ago

Open To Staying With Jets
BUF3 days ago

Buffalo Sabres Reportedly Eyeing Patrick Kane
Alexander Romanov3 days ago

100 Percent For Training Camp
Jack Quinn3 days ago

Not Close To Returning
Christian Dvorak3 days ago

Out Until November
Jusuf Nurkic3 days ago

Heading To Phoenix?
Damian Lillard3 days ago

Could Be Moved Before Training Camp
Ricardo Ramos3 days ago

Set For First Fight In Over A Year
Charles Jourdain3 days ago

Hoping To Bring UFC Record Above .500
Marina Rodriguez3 days ago

Gets A Rematch At UFC Vegas 79
Dan Ige3 days ago

Enters UFC Vegas 79 On Two-Fight Win Streak
Bryce Mitchell3 days ago

Looking To Bounce Back After First Career Loss
VEG3 days ago

Daniil Miromanov Ruled Out Long-Term
Chris Wideman3 days ago

Out Indefinitely With Back Injury
Mason McTavish3 days ago

Nursing An Upper-Body Injury

RANKINGS

QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
RANKINGS
C
1B
2B
3B
SS
OF
SP
RP