This article is part of our Mound Musings series.
Last week, we discussed characteristics to look for when trying to determine the next closer candidate for an MLB team. It seems natural to look at specific bullpens where those characteristics might soon be relevant – and there are plenty of them. Starters are throwing more pitches, in fewer innings, and relief pitchers get into more games and often enter in the middle innings. For fantasy purposes, managing your relief pitching is both challenging and rewarding if you can find the best contributors before the other owners in your league, so I am trying to dedicate space in the Musings to bullpens.
Playing musical chairs out in the pen
Already this season, perhaps more than ever (and I seem to say that every year lately), we have seen closer scenarios changing or at least potentially changing. Relief pitching has become an ever-increasing part of success – or failure – in major league baseball. Very few teams have five reliable starters. In fact, there are teams that would be hard-pressed to pencil in more than a couple of regular starting pitchers who can be expected to generate positive innings on a consistent basis. True quality relievers are becoming more important, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find them. Let's take a look at some closer assignments in the AL to see where they may be headed:
Here are some AL closer scenarios to keep an eye on:
- Minnesota Twins – The Twins opened the 2021 season projected to be major