The number of clearly available closers has dwindled with teams settling into routine closer roles. With that, speculative closers and current holds candidates are the main focus of this week’s streamers.
Pete Fairbanks' return corresponded with Diego Castillo going on the injured list, but it was Jeffrey Springs who got the first save on the day Fairbanks was activated. This was Springs’ second save and a continuation of his high-leverage responsibilities. He’s performed well and has been a reliable arm in those situations. With Castillo healthy, Kevin Cash seemed more comfortable letting Castillo take on the bulk of the saves. Without Castillo available, it isn’t clear whether Fairbanks will fit into that role now that he’s healthy. Regardless, Springs is a worthwhile pick-up if you need holds or want to speculate on potential short-term saves.
Sandlin is another interesting Indians pitcher with a dominant college and minor league track record and a good fastball/slider combination from a low slot and weird angle. His first handful of tries have been successful, and Terry Francona trusted the rookie with escaping a stressful situation on Thursday. With two runners on base, no outs, and a three-run lead to protect Sandlin got Salvador Perez to roll over a sinker for a double play and got Jorge Soler to softly ground out. He won’t be in line for saves anytime soon but could be a solid source of ratios, strikeouts, and holds.
Rogers may be the beneficiary of Jake McGee’s latest struggles. McGee gave up four runs in Colorado on Tuesday before rookie right-hander Camilo Doval let up a walk-off home run to Charlie Blackmon. McGee has struggled since returning from the COVID list on April 20th, giving up three home runs in five games. Gabe Kapler has already mentioned Rogers as a potential option for saves in the near future. Rogers goes against the current trend of increasing strikeout rates, sporting a paltry 14.5% strikeout rate. Despite this, he’s proven extremely difficult to square up and elevate. A ground ball rate over 65% explains a lot of his success. The novelty of his delivery and arm slot may wear off as teams see him more often, but for the time being, he’s preventing runs and looks to be in line for saves. He should be a priority add if you need holds or need to speculate on saves. Particularly for this week, the Giants are going up against the Rangers and Pirates. There should be multiple save opportunities with those matchups.
With how many close games the Phillies have had this season (their first five games of May were decided by one run), Hector Neris has been busy. When he’s needed days off, the Phillies have turned to Sam Coonrod and Jose Alvarado in save situations. Both are worthwhile pick-ups in deep leagues.
Edwin Diaz was pulled from a near-disastrous May 2nd outing with back discomfort. If for any reason Diaz is not available for future saves I’d prioritize Trevor May as the backup.
Daniel Bard has allowed multiple base runners in six of his last seven appearances. Whoever the closer is for Colorado will be undesirable, but if Bard is pulled from the role it will likely fall to Mychal Givens. As a darkhorse, rookie Justin Lawrence was warming during Bard’s last save and has flashed some impressive stuff.
Lou Trivino entered in the eighth inning on Wednesday and allowed five runs. He and Diekman look like more of a clear split than either having the advantage. It should also be noted Yusmeiro Petit secured a save earlier in the week as well.
Adam Ottavino picked up a save on Thursday. Matt Barnes had worked the previous two days, so it’s likely he wasn’t available.