February 21, 2019
Arizona Diamondbacks – Archie Bradley has his fingernail back (and, with it, his curveball), and so we peg the 26-year-old as the favorite in the Diamondbacks’ three-man closer competition. Also in the mix will be January signee Greg Holland and last September’s committee leader, Yoshihisa Hirano. There’s every indication that Torey Lovullo will pick one guy, so we’re not going to give the D-Backs a committee asterisk; watch this space for updates as draft day draws nearer.
Starting 2019 hierarchy: Bradley | Holland | Hirano.
Holds candidates: Holland, Hirano, Andrew Chafin.
Colorado Rockies – With Adam Ottavino and his Bambino-baffling slider off to the Bronx, the Rockies will rely on veterans like Scott Oberg, Seunghwan Oh, and Bryan Shaw to get the ball to $18 million closer Wade Davis. Mike Dunn and Jake McGee are still around too, hoping to move past their disappointing 2018 seasons and finally give Colorado a bullpen that produces in line with its high price tag.
Starting 2019 hierarchy: Davis | Oberg | Oh.
Holds candidates: Oberg, Oh, Shaw, Chris Rusin.
Los Angeles Dodgers – After (presumably) hurling Ryan Madson into Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers bullpen looks strong again in 2019. Kenley Jansen is feeling healthy and confident after heart surgery and a new, strict diet featuring absolutely no ice cream. To shore up the eighth inning, LA signed Joe Kelly, who was as dominant in the World Series as Madson wasn’t, and the team will also bring back key contributors like Pedro Baez, Scott Alexander, and Josh Fields.
Starting 2019 hierarchy: Jansen | Kelly | Baez.
Holds candidates: Kelly, Baez, Alexander.
San Diego Padres – Kirby Yates should get the chance to build on his fantastic 2018 and start the year as the Padres’ closer. Craig Stammen should keep his eighth-inning role, with Phil Maton, Jose Castillo, Robert Stock, and newly-signed Aaron Loup also in the setup mix. Matt Strahm is another arm to watch in the late innings, but he has his eye on a rotation spot. Oh, and when Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. lead the Padres to the 2022 title, it’ll be current Sod Poodle Andres Munoz and his 103 MPH fastball striking out Aaron Judge to close out Game 6 at Petco.
Starting 2019 hierarchy: Yates | Stammen | Maton.
Holds candidates: Stammen, Maton, Castillo, Loup.
San Francisco Giants – It’s a two-man race between Will Smith and Mark Melancon, and with Smith a pending free agent (and thus an ongoing trade candidate), we’ll give the slight edge to the guy with the $19 million salary. Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, and Reyes Moronta make up the second tier of Giants relievers. Pat Venditte probably won’t be too relevant to your fantasy team, but you better believe we’re going to mention he’s a Giant now.
Starting 2019 hierarchy: Melancon | Smith | Dyson.
Holds candidates: Dyson, Watson, Moronta.
February 21, 2019