This article is part of our Mound Musings series.
It's only mid-May, and some fantasy owners are probably already looking for saves. As promised, I am going to spend a bit more time on bullpens, and this week I have decided to focus on a question I see almost every week – Which relief pitchers are likely to collect holds, or, better yet, might see save chances at sometime in the future?
Interestingly, when a team decides they need to change its closer, it's not always the seemingly obvious choice who gets the call. While you might think the top set-up guy who typically works the eighth inning is next in line, that's not always the case. I have compiled an unofficial checklist of frequently preferred attributes that could lead to a particular reliever being given the first crack at future save chances. I thought it might be useful to go over those attributes.
Things to watch for on a potential future closer's resume:
Below is an outline of factors I take into consideration when assessing possible role changes in a bullpen. Understand, these are generalizations and not cast in stone. And, the situation is often very fluid, meaning the perceived need for change can be critical one day but perhaps less important the next. Remember, baseball still tends to be "traditional," and change is not typically the preferred course of action.
- Opportunity is always first – Changes in bullpen roles may be gradual, or they can happen virtually overnight. When you assess a team's bullpen, you need to