SAGNOF: Early Observations – Razzball Fantasy Baseball

A fine Tuesday to all of you Razzbeotches!

With almost a week of real-life, these-games-count baseball behind us, I wanted to use my first regular-season S(aves)AGNOF report to give y’all some of my early notes on how things are (or aren’t ‘t) shaking out across the RP landscape thus far.

Friendly reminder: I keep our Bullpen Chart updated almost by the hour. And if you subscribe to the site, Rudy’s Relievonator projects SV+HD and all that good stuff! Aaaaand you can check out Last 7 Days and Last 30 Days pitching stats by following those links, where SV and HD and other fun stats are tracked for ya’s (use the blank field boxes to filter out whatever you want!).

Early Risers

It’s not smart to make drastic decisions after just a handful of days of action. Let’s get that out in the open from the get-go. On the flippity flip, if you play it too conservatively you could miss out “the next big thing.” It’s a real fun line to balance.

  • One definite early riser is David Robertson. He’s been impressive while Rowan Wick has not. Sure, sure, yes, yes, Wick just has 0.2 IP to his name right now (and even a hold), but Robertson has looked good, and news flash, he’s always been really good when healthy. Robertson is simply one of the best strikeout relievers in baseball when he’s on the field, and so far he’s looking nice with 35.5 CSW% early on.
  • Diego Castillo is another guy I’m watching. With Ken Giles out, it’s between Castillo, Drew Steckenrider, and Paul Sewald to handle the lion’s share of late-inning work. Steckenrider and Castillo each have a save so far, but Castillo has been more crisp, with a mark of 30 SwStr% and 66.7 K% in his lone perfect inning of work. I say I’m watching him more for the fact I thought he’d probably be the third wheel in this scenario, but for now he’s got the most mojo between the three. Of course, this could do a 180 come time for next week’s update.
  • Taylor Rogers‘s surprise move to San Diego initially made me worried he’d get lumped into a messy committee. Turns out they got him cuz they want him to be this year’s Mark Melancon, as in a full-time closer. Bob Melvin immediately handed the reins to Rogers and he’s already converted all three chances without allowing a run nor a walk.
  • Jordan Romano notched his third save of the season already as I was typing this up. 3 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K, and no runs allowed yet. I ranked him in my Top 5. Too early for victory laps? I know the answer, but this is my column dammit. On pace for 122 SV!!!!!!
  • I have so much Ryan Pressly this year and I’m very pleased about it. Very pleased indeed. He’ll push for 40 SV.
  • Jake Diekman was a low-key acquisition by the Red Sox and he’s already gotten 2 SV+HD on the year. He’s struck out half the batters he’s faced and is entrenched in high-leverage work for the time being. I would say Matt Barnes is still the top option but keep a close eye on Diek. Garrett Whitlock is still around, too, and he’s looking pretty sharp.
  • With Lucas Sims still not back, it’s been Tony Santillan and Art Warren logging a save apiece for the Reds. I figured Warren would be leaned on early, and of course it was annoyingly Santillan — who wasn’t even on my radar at all, oof — who got the very first save of the season in Cincy. Until Sims is back, it’s probably a toss-up on who has the most fantasy value of the two. Luis Cessa might sneak in the mix, but Sims is due back pretty soon anyway. Already rehabbing in Triple-A Louisville. Maybe it’s a committee moving forward? Ugh I hope not. I pumped Sims’s tires something fierce all preseason.
  • Jorge Lopez is a speculative add for some saves in Baltimore, notching his first of the season yesterday. His competition is the mighty mighty duo of Dillon Tate and Paul Fry. Fry has looked real bad so far (-8.4 K-BB% and 2.57 WHIP).
  • Maybe Sean Doolittle is it worth watchinglisting? Definitely worth a look in SVHD leagues regardless. Doolittle will probably get hurt cuz he always does, but it’s nice to see that right now he’s looking like his old self in the stats department: 2 IP, 3 K, 40 CSW%, and he’s been perfect.
  • Joe Barlow to work back into saves mix sooner rather than later? He got demoted before the season started but half of his replacement, Greg Holland, has been no bueno. What a surprise. Barlow on the other hand has 5 K already in just 2 IP and he’s yet to walk anyone.
  • Yimi Garcia Looking like a good holds guy right now, and he’d be my first bet for a vulture save in the event that Romano needs a day off.
  • Ditto for Pierce Johnson potentially spelling Rogers in San Diego. Already three holds and 6 K for that guy.
  • Michael Fulmer Looking really good for Detroit already but don’t forget that guy Andrew Chafin is set to return before too long and will see high-leverage work.

Early Fallers

Don’t go dropping Liam Hendriks, like, ever (unless he gets hurt *knocks on wood repeatedly*), but here are some guys whose stock has dropped a tad in my eyes. That’s not to say they can’t climb back in my good graces very soon. Such is the world of relief pitchers.

  • Kenley Jansen and Liam Hendriks were awful in their 2022 debuts. Do not panic; do not worry. They will come around. I shouldn’t have even tried to scare you by putting their names here, but I had to at least bring it up, right? You probably paid an uncomfortable price for these guys, especially Hendriks, so this stinks. They’ll shake off the rust, though, you can bet on it.
  • Ahhh, Emmanuel Class. What to make of this start? A 17.06 FIP in his first inning of work after being a polarizing talking point among fantasy pundits since last October basically. His ADP sure showed that people think he can be a Top 5 fantasy RP, and now everyone who didn’t believe in that upside is at least internally victory lapping right now. Again, duh, it’s WAY early, but he’s pitched twice now and it hasn’t been even a little bit pretty: 1 IP total, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, and 1 K.
  • Robert Suarez went from my favorite Padres closer option to irrelevant in SV-only leagues. Drop him unless his potential holds can help you. But even then, he’s had a rude welcoming to Major League Baseball: 2 IP, 4 ER, 2 BB, 1 HR, and 2 K. He walked basically no one in Japan and already has dished out a couple free passes in good ol’ US-of-A.
  • I touched a little on Rowan Wick up above. I’d definitely make the swap for Robertson if you can. To be honest, I’d be looking at other speculative save sources before holding Wick, but I wouldn’t feel an existential dread if I had to hold him a little longer either.
  • Paul Fry was supposed to be a saves guy in Baltimore after Cole Sulser and Tanner Scott got traded to Miami, but early signs are not good for him. Still could see him turning it around and pitching better than the likes of Lopez and Tate, though. But man, that’s a doo doo pen if I’ve ever seen one.
  • Camilo Doval was another polarizing figure in the RP real, and right now he’s not looking great. Tyler Rogers looks a little better, but surely Doval’s electric stuff catches up and he’s able to turn it around. Jake McGee is the guy to own in SV-only formats for now, though I can definitely see Doval working into a timeshare (or stealing the gig) down the road.
  • Alex Colome looks like he lost the closer gig already lol, putting a “1” in the BS column while Daniel Bard (and two other Rockies relievers) have a save to their name. Daniel Bard went and blew a save yesterday (and got bailed out for a win), though, so who knows. It’s an ugly situation no matter which way you look at it. Might be Carlos Estevez szn after all.

Other Notes

  • Two different Rays pitchers have a save (Andrew Kittredge and Brooks Raley) while even a third has a blown save (Matt Wisler), so Tampa has been the carousel we assumed it’d be. Pretty clear that Kittredge and JP Feyereisen are the two biggest names, though, as JPF has already appeared in three games and has yet to allow a run. Both are beastly in SVHD formats but I’d lean Kittredge if you made me pick one in SV-only.
  • Brad Hand vultured a save with Corey Knebel unavailable last night due to a flu-esque illness. Pitched a perfect inning with 2 K.
  • Random af save yesterday for a guy I’d never heard of before: Ashton Goodeau for Colorado. He got the opportunity since the game went into extras and all the other closer-hopefuls had already pitched. Fun fact: this is the very first time in Razzball history Goodeau has been tagged in an article. Attaboy!

I do some fantasy baseball as well as some fantasy hockey here at Razzball. Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. DMs are always open for questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc. Odds are good I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at any given time.

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