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Florio's Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Report: Getting Ahead of a Confusing Trade Market

Trevor Megill - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

If you have read this article the last couple of months, and especially the last couple of years, you know I am a big believer in attempting to get out in front of reliever trades. But that is harder than ever this season. As of right now, there are just two teams that are more than a couple of games out of the NL Wild Card race. The AL has three teams that are more than seven games back, with a number of teams that can still convince themselves they can go on a run. 

Teams being this bunched together means very few teams are currently out of the race. No teams are going to be sellers this early in the season if they are still alive in the playoff race. That is why these next six weeks are going to be extremely important in determining who will be buyers and who will be sellers.

I will touch on some trade candidates this week, but the truth is the teams will decide their own fate with their play over the next six weeks. Until then, we have to just scour the rumor mill and keep a close eye on the standings. 

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:


Changing Bullpens for Fantasy Baseball

Trevor Megill is the set closer for the Brewers. He has a team-high 12 saves, including all three of Milwaukee’s in the last week. No one else on the team has more than four. But, Devin Williams is set to begin throwing this week and the expectation is he will return shortly after the All-Star break. It could take some time, but I would expect Williams to return to the closer role once he is fully back. 

Now, there are two ways you can go with this. You can just keep riding it out with Megill. That will be at least another month of save attempts and perhaps more. We have seen setbacks often as pitchers work their way back from injury. We have also seen teams just stick with the incumbent. Or, you could trade Megill and sell off a month or so worth of saves. Your standing in the saves category should largely help you decide what to do, but if you are chasing saves, it is just best to keep riding with Megill. 

The suddenly red-hot Mets have been featured in this article a lot as of late, but with Edwin Diaz back, he received the lone save for them. Diaz has looked more like his old, dominant self since returning from the IL with a shoulder injury. He is back to being a must-start fantasy option. Reed Garrett and Jake Diekman may remain involved for a bit, but I would anticipate most, if not all, save chances to go to Diaz moving forward. 

Alexis Diaz has picked up 15 of the Reds' 17 saves this season. But he has a 5.47 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. This past week, Charlie Clifford joined Scott Engel and me on RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM. He stated that there is an internal battle about who should close out games for the Reds. Now, how much of that debate is going on between Reds officials is unknown, but given Diaz’s results so far, it is worth consideration. Do not give up on Diaz or anything, he remains a must-start as long as he is getting the bulk of save chances here. But, if you have a bench spot, it is not a bad idea to grab Fernando Cruz or Lucas Sims. Cruz has electric stuff, while Sims has closer experience in the past. Clifford, like myself, leans toward Cruz in the fallback options. 

The Mariners picked up three saves in the last week -- each went to Ryne Stanek. On the year, Stanek now has seven saves to Andres Munoz’s 12. While Munoz should see the bulk of opportunities, he is the arm they trust most, so we could see them use him in high-leverage situations. Whenever he is not saved for the ninth, expect those saves to go to Stanek. Munoz is also dealing with a lingering back issue. Munoz remains a must-start fantasy option, but Stanek is quickly joining him as long as he continues to get consistent save chances. He should be started in all roto formats. 


Speculative Saves for Fantasy Baseball 

Tanner Scott has eight of the Marlins' 10 saves this season, including their only one in the past week. However, the Marlins are one of two NL teams that are clearly out of the playoff race and destined to be sellers. That means they could shop their closer, as there is always a market for relievers. If he is dealt, there is a high chance he is no longer a closer. That means if you have Scott, you can try to shop him now before he loses all value. Just understand the risk, as he will remain the closer if he is not traded. A.J. Puk appears to be next in line should Scott be dealt. 

The Rockies are the other NL team that is out of the playoff hunt and will clearly be sellers. That means they could trade their late-inning arms. If anything, a trade could provide some more clarity as this is a full-out committee right now. Jalen Beeks and Tyler Kinley remain the top-two options here and both should be started by save-needy teams in roto formats. I lean toward Kinley, who has been utilized more as of late. It is worth holding onto both for now, as if one is dealt, it would be a boost for the other. Justin Lawrence could also be on the trade block. He is a name to add to your scout list in case he is the last one standing of the three in Colorado. 

The A’s have a clear-cut closer in Mason Miller. He has been one of the most electric pitchers in all of baseball this season and there will definitely be a market for his services. Plus, he is on an extremely affordable one-year deal and the always rebuilding A’s can flip him for a sizable haul. Miller may be the top reliever on the market and I would imagine a team that trades for him would likely keep him as the closer, unless it has a proven answer already. I would roll the dice and hold onto Miller unless I had a very comfortable lead on saves. Dany Jimenez and Lucas Erceg are names to add to your watch list as they are the likely next options up in this bullpen if a trade was to occur. 

Just like the A’s, the White Sox have a clear closer, but they are the worst team in baseball, and a closer does you no good then. They could flip Michael Kopech, who is on a one-year deal, for a haul. There is no guarantee he would remain the closer on a new team and only has five saves this season. So shopping him now would be a smart idea. Tanner Banks and John Brebbia are names to add to your watch list as they are the next options up. 

Elite Strikeouts and Ratios for Fantasy Baseball

Mark Leiter Jr. is an interesting add right now. Not only does he provide a 32 percent strikeout rate to go along with a 4.50 ERA, 3.12 xERA, and 1.32 WHIP, but the Cubs are in that large jumble of teams fighting for their playoff lives. If they stumble the next few weeks, they could shop Hector Neris, which would leave Leiter as the next in line. It is also possible Neris just struggles for an extended period and we see a switch that way. If you are trying to get out in front of closer changes, Leiter is a sneaky option. 

Jason Adam is the next man up for the Rays. We saw him operate as the lead option of a platoon when Pete Fairbanks went down earlier this season. We also saw him take over when Fairbanks missed time twice last season. If the Rays, who are quickly falling behind in the Wild Card race, opt to trade Fairbanks, that would leave Adam as the primary closer for the second half of the season. There are worse uses of a roster spot than speculating on Adam. 

Dedniel Nunez has been a very reliable option for the Mets. Since rejoining them in late April, he has pitched to a 1.72 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, and a 41 percent strikeout rate. Batters have hit just .132 against him and he has limited walks. The best part? He routinely goes multiple innings. Nunez has gone more than an inning in five straight outings and seven of his last eight. So not only are you getting elite ratios, but due to the multiple innings, he can give you a starter's workload in a given week. He is a sneaky add in deeper roto leagues right now.

Yennier Cano remains one of the best sources of ratios. So far this season, he has pitched to a 2.30 ERA, 3.73 xERA, 1.24 WHIP, and a 25 percent strikeout rate. He is also next in line should anything happen to Craig Kimbrel. If you need a reliever to stabilize your ratios for a bit, Cano is always a safe bet. 

Make sure to follow Michael on X, @MichaelFFlorio. 

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