2017 Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Depth Chart: Closing Time

By on March 7, 2017
2017 Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Depth Chart: Closing Time Photo Credit: Keith Allison

Today we will look at every team’s bullpen depth chart. Drafting closers is never easy, aside from the dominant names. A lot of bullpens are always in flux, never naming someone and going with a hot hand/committee approach. This is never ideal, but what I am here to do is give the bullpen depth charts for every team.

A strategy myself, and others I am in Fantasy leagues with use, is to get a closer that falls and gives value. And since we also use Holds as a category in our leagues, we then draft the setup man behind guys so we get the holds, and should an injury or trade occur, we now have the closer. This is a much better approach than trying to beat everyone to the wire to grab the new ninth inning guy.

After being burned numerous times going for closers and letting other, safer offensive players go off the board, I bought into the mantra of many experts, i.e. ‘Don’t pay for saves!’ This has proven to be lucrative in many leagues. By not over drafting Aroldis Chapman or Zach Britton, you are able to fill out a more balanced offensive approach and fill out the relief arms later in the draft.

Now if you are able to get a value play for a closer, by all means jump on it. Someone like David Robertson or Alex Colome may fall in drafts because their teams are not expected to win many games. But their value lies in if they get traded to a contender at the deadline. The White Sox and Rays have already shopped these two guys but did not find the right deal.

One name to keep an eye on as spring training continues is Jonathan Papelbon. He is still waiting around to see if he wants to play again. He could boost a team’s bullpen.

2017 Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Depth Chart

Closer Report

AL East

 

TeamCloserHandcuffHoldsHoldsHolds
BaltimoreZach BrittonDarren O’DayBrad BrachMychal GivensOliver Drake
BostonCraig KimbrelMatt BarnesJoe KellyFernando AbadRobbie Ross
New YorkAroldis ChapmanDellin BetancesTyler ClippardTommy LayneChasen Shreve
Tampa BayAlex ColomeBrad Boxberger**Xavier CedenoDanny FarquharErasmo Ramirez
TorontoRoberto OsunaJason GrilliJoe SmithJoe BiaginiAaron Loup

The teams in the AL East are pretty much set at the closer position. Only the Rays could have a switch if they deal Alex Colome at the deadline. In that event, Brad Boxberger would slide into the closer role.

 

AL Central

 

TeamCloserHandcuffHoldsHoldsHolds
ChicagoDavid RobertsonNate JonesZach PutnamMichael YnoaJake Petricka
Cleveland*Cody AllenAndrew MillerBryan ShawZach McAllisterDan Otero
DetroitFrancisco RodriguezJustin WilsonAlex WilsonShane GreeneBruce Rondon
Kansas CityKelvin HerreraJoakim SoriaMatt StrahmTravis WoodChris Young
MinnesotaBrandon KintzlerRyan PresslyMichael TonkinTaylor RogersCraig Breslow

The AL Central has some interesting story lines to watch. The White Sox are shopping Robertson and could move him at any time. A couple names to watch for the rebuilding club are Carson Fulmer and Zack Burdi. They may take the path of former White Sox pitcher Chris Sale. The difference between the two kids is that Fulmer will eventually be stretched out to be a starter. Burdi projects to be the future closer for the Pale Hose.

The Indians are a committee of sorts. Miller will be used whenever Terry Francona needs the big out in any given inning. But there are times he will also get the chance to close.

The Royals may also be sellers come the deadline, possibly trading away Herrera to get some talent back. It will definitely hinge on whether they can reach agreements with some of the core guys Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. Minnesota will see how Perkins comes back from shoulder surgery before making any type of decision. The job will be Kintzler’s to lose.

Update: With Trevor May possibly headed for Tommy John Surgery, that moves Taylor Rogers into the holds mix for the Twins.

AL West

 

TeamCloserHandcuffHoldsHoldsHolds
HoustonKen GilesWill HarrisLuke GregersonTony SippChris Devenski
Los Angeles*Cam BedrosianAndrew BaileyJose AlvarezAustin AdamsYusmeiro Petit
Oakland*Ryan MadsonSean DoolittleSantiago CasillaRyan DullJohn Axford
SeattleEdwin DiazMarc RzepczynskiNick VincentEvan ScribnerShae Simmons**
TexasSam DysonJeremy JeffressMatt BushTony BarnetteKeone Kela

And then you have the AL West. Houston’s pen is pretty much set. Then you get to the Angels situation. It has already been stated that Street will have to compete for the closer role this spring. Even if he does somehow hold off the competition, I am not confident that he can stay healthy enough to keep it long term. Oakland has come out and said they are going with a committee approach. While Madson isn’t a sexy name, he can get the job done. And the high strikeout rates for Casilla and Doolittle might bump him out of that role if he starts slow.

Look out in Seattle, as the newly acquired Shae Simmons could work his way up in the pen to possibly get the seventh inning role. Texas has an interesting situation. Sam Dyson had 38 saves last year, but having Jeffress right behind you with closer experience isn’t all that reassuring. Not to mention Matt Bush might have the best stuff of all three guys.

 

NL East

 

TeamCloserHandcuffHoldsHoldsHolds
AtlantaJim JohnsonArodys VizcainoIan KrolJose Ramirezjosh Collmenter
MiamiA.J. RamosKyle BarracloughBrad ZieglerDavid PhelpsJunichi Tazawa
New YorkJeurys Familia***Addison ReedFernando SalasJerry BlevinsHansel Robles
Philadelphia*Jeanmar GomezHector NerisJoaquin BenoitPat NeshekEdubray Ramos
Washington*Koda GloverShawn KelleyBlake TreininJoe BlantonTrevor Gott

Atlanta is yet another team that could trade the incumbent closer. Look for Cabrera to take over the closer role in that event. The Mets, you just simply bump everyone up a spot until Familia comes back. When Familia comes back then that’s when the situation will get interesting. Until that happens, Reed will be the man going forward.

Oh Philly. As it stands, this is a full blown committee. For now this is how I see it starting, but it is anyone’s guess how this will go at the start of the season. Same goes for the Nationals. I could see any of the first three being the guy at multiple times this season. They might be major players at the deadline to bring in a closer like they did last year when they went and got Mark Melancon.

 

NL Central

 

TeamCloserHandcuffHoldsHoldsHolds
ChicagoWade DavisHector RondonPedro StropKoji UeharaCarl Edwards, Jr
Cincinnati*Rasiel IglesiasDrew StorenMichael LorenzenTony CingraniRobert Stephenson
Milwaukee*Neftali FelizCorey KnebelJacob BarnesCarlos TorresJhan Marinez
PittsburghTony WatsonDaniel HudsonFelipe RiveroJuan NicasioJared Hughes
St. LouisSeung Hwan OhBrett CecilKevin SiegristTrevor RosenthalMatt Bowman

The Cubs have three closers and their future closer in the pen at the start of the season. Rondon and Strop just were not themselves after injury last year. Maybe they come back like they were before, but the Cubs didn’t sit around and hope for that to happen. They flipped Jorge Soler for Wade Davis. Not the flashiest move, but if Davis can get close to what he was in Kansas City, the trade will be well worth it.

Bringing in Uehara just gives the pen more depth. His experience will come in handy should an injury befall Davis and Rondon and Strop can’t be trusted. While Edwards, Jr. is the future closer, he needs more time before he can be trusted to go the full season.

Cincinnati has three guys that were supposed to be in the starting rotation. Now they are manning the back end of the bullpen. For at least the start of the season, Iglesias will have the first crack at the job, but with Storen having experience as setup and closer in the past, he could work his way up the depth chart.

Milwaukee has a talent in Feliz; he has the best stuff of the guys on the list. He should keep the job for most of the season without much resistance. Pittsburgh and St. Louis are cut and dry. Only St. Louis could look to move Rosenthal if they need to fill an injury hole. Or just to a team that is willing to take a chance he can regain what he used to be.

 

NL West

 

TeamCloserHandcuffHoldsHoldsHolds
ArizonaFernando RodneyJake BarrettRandall DelgadoEnrique BurgosArchie Bradley
Colorado*Greg HollandAdam OttavinoJake McGeeMike DunnJason Motte
Los AngelesKenley JansenSergio RomoPedro BaezGrant DaytonLuis Avilan
San DiegoBrandon MaurerCarter Capps**Brad HandKevin QuackenbushRyan Buchter
San FranciscoMark MelanconHunter StricklandDerek LawGeorge KontosCory Gearrin

While Ottavino will start as the closer, it is Coors Field. Holland filled in admirably in Kansas City when Davis was out. Keep an eye on it, but both will get saves chances. The Dodgers got their bullpen even stronger by signing Romo to a deal. It seems like Brandon Maurer’s days are numbered as a closer. It just depends how quick Capps comes back from his injury. Capps as you know is the guy with the jump throw on the mound. The league has said it is legal for now, but that he needs to keep his foot on a lateral plane and not to get too elevated. Either way, his stuff is incredible, striking out nearly 12 batters per nine innings.

 

*Indicates committee

**Indicates player coming back from injury

***Indicates player suspended

So there is your bullpen depth chart for each team. Bullpens are always changing, so I will be updating this post throughout the spring to reflect any changes that happen.

 

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Derek Harvey

Derek Harvey

Derek is an avid fantasy player, playing keeper and dynasty formats for two decades. This is his first year writing about fantasy sports. Have any questions about dynasty football, baseball or basketball? Ask me on twitter @derek_harvey.
Derek Harvey

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