We are down to the brass tacks of our fantasy seasons, where daily hard work pays off, or our worst nightmares come true. This is the time of restless nights and early mornings, trying to set that perfect lineup, and trying to squeeze out every statistic we can get down the stretch.  The should I, or shouldn’t I decisions loom large now.

All this consternation for a game we enjoy more than our daily work, right? People who do not play do not understand the love affair of it, the twists and turns, the heartache of it all.  But we will all be back next year and prep over the winter for a news season, even if we get out hearts broken in the coming days and weeks. Here’s hoping you are contending for a title!

Mailbag Questions

Any Northside bullpen arms you’d hold in dynasty for above draft slot price (e.g. 10 round pick costs a 9th slot to hold him) JayDub @JayDubTheGamer

Hey Jay, that is a tough question. As of right now it looks like Rowan Wick would be the favorite for the job going into 2022 if the Cubs decide to do nothing to address the closer. position.  The one guy I have dogeared to check out in the spring is Manuel Rodriguez, despite some poor results and injury this year.  He has a three-pitch mix that intrigues me, especially an exploding 97 MPH+ sinker.  One to watch for sure.

Who would be your favourite adds for a 2022 breakout? Dave Funnell @sportz_nutt51

Hi Dave, I am guessing you mean in bullpens, and I have a few guys that I think could be breakouts next year. I look at bullpens that could be in flux, due to ineffective performances this year, a departing free agent, or teams that have nothing to lose by looking at a number of options. One such place is Cincinnati: the battle between Lucas Sims and Amir Garrett could continue.  Both are too good to be as bad as they were this year. If Raisel Iglesias is not back in Anaheim, Austin Warren could get a chance there (he earned a save this week). Oakland continues to have a revolving door at closer, but Miguel Romero is a name that intrigues me. And of course every list I have contains Andres Munoz, who should be healthy in the soring for Seattle next year.  He will have to compete with a number of options there, however, including Ken Giles. One thing is for sure: we don’t know much of anything when it comes to guessing who will be closers in many situations next year!

Current Closers

  1. Josh Hader
  2. Mark Melancon: The Padres have struggled mightily lately to their 76-72 record, but it has not been the fault of Melancon. He has had three outings in a row where he has given up a run, but still leads MLB with 37 saves and is still the preferred option in San Diego.
  3. Raisel Iglesias: Iglesias has been a bright spot in an otherwise long and mediocre year in Anaheim. HE’s got 32 saves and 96 strikeouts in 64 innings. Based on opportunity we thought he could be a top five closer, and that faith has paid off for those of you who believed in the talent.
  4. Liam Hendriks/Craig Kimbrel: Still Hendriks getting the ninth, and Kimbrel getting the eighth.
  5. Kenley Jansen: Oh the demise of Kenley. Four saves and no ERA in September. Ho hum. And up to 34 saves on the season.
  6. Edwin Diaz
  7. Louis Cardinals: Giovanny Gallegos waited patiently all year for his chance and seized it when he got it. He has six saves in September and other than one outing where he surrendered four earned runs, has been excellent for the Cardinals in their late-season run to the playoffs.
  8. Ian Kennedy
  9. Ryan Pressly
  10. San Francisco: Jake McGee had been excellent, but now hits the IL with an oblique strain. While management is saying they “hope” he returns before the end of the season, his absence creates a hole, and an opportunity for others in San Francisco.  My best guess: this goes committee with Tyler Rogers, Dominic Leone and Tony Watson for now.  I would take a flyer on Leone, who got the save last night.
  11. Emmanuel Clase: Another example of how season meander and flow. At the beginning of the season it was going to be a time share at best for Clase with James Karinchak. But Karinchak was sent to AAA last month, and Clase has quietly been third in MLB with four saves this month.
  12. Jordan Romano
  13. Aroldis Chapman
  14. Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes returned from the IL this week and was thrust into an eighth inning situation. Looks to be a committee headed by Adam Ottavino right now with help from Hansel Robles and Garrett Whitlock.
  15. Seattle Mariners: This appears to be a full-on committee again. Paul Sewald blew a couple of chances this week, and last night with the game on the line, the Ms turned to Drew Steckenrider, who converted it for his eighth save. Diego Castillo lurks here as well.  Steckenrider has been a revelation this year and is proving to be valuable to both Seattle and maybe your team.
  16. Dylan Floro: After much hand-wringing in South Florida, Floro has taken the job this month and ran with it. He’s got 12 saves on the year, five this month, and has solved the role for now in Miami.Isn’t it simply amazing how bullpens twist and turn each year? Who saw this coming?
  17. Gregory Soto
  18. Tampa Bay Rays: Don’t look now but the Rays have a frightening array of arms in this bullpen for the playoffs. David Robertson is here in a setup role, and Andrew Kittredge remains the closer in name. They also have Pete Fairbanks who is healthy again, and Nick Anderson looks to be days away. So, while this bullpen may not help you in fantasy baseball because of the lack of certainty in roles, what a plethora of options they will have in October. I always feel like I pull for Tampa if the White Sox aren’t in it.
  19. Oakland A’s: Continues to be a committee but leaning more heavily towards Andrew Chafin than Sergio Romo these days.
  20. Carlos Estevez: He is a bit of a high wire act, but Estevez leads MLB with six saves in September. He should not be on the waiver wire in most leagues, and you should snatch him up if you have a spot for him.
  21. Alex Colome: Lost in the Twins’ horrid season has been the resurgence of Colome in the second half: 2-0, 2.67 ERA and 12 saves. Those are very usable stats.
  22. Scott Barlow
  23. Tyler Wells/Dillon Tate/Cole Sulser/Tanner Scott
  24. Mychal Givens: You have to hand it to Givens. Despite peripherals that give you a headache to look at them, he gets saves. He has four in September. If you can stomach the ratio hits, he can give you some saves down the stretch.
  25. Kyle Finnegan
  26. Chris Stratton: With David Bednar going down to injury, Stratton has elevated to the driver’s seat in Pittsburgh. He’s earned two saves and a win in his last three appearances and has six wins and six saves this year. He’s a sneaky pick if you are trying to get every last drop out of your bullpens.
  27. Joe Barlow: Barlow has been getting the chances (few and far between) in Texas but has done well with the opportunity, relying more on guile and deception than velocity. Spencer Patton has been used in middle inning situations.
  28. Arizona Diamondbacks: Committee for now even with the return of Tyler Clippard. Look for J.B. Wendelken and Noe Ramirez to get chances here when they are available.
  29. Rowan Wick: Manager David Ross said this week that the team’s two best options right now are Wick and Codi Heuer. I would lean Wick if forced to choose.

Below find an updated Data Monster from my good friend Paul Mammino. Basics: green is better and these stats can show you whether guys are legitimate or not. It’s no surprise to see guys like Josh Hader and Liam Hendriks at the top in In_Whiff and Stuff ERA. But look at other guys like Andrew Kittredge and Giovanny Gallegos and see how consistently good they have been.

I truly believe in the Data Monster as I get more experience using it, and feel like it can really help you differentiate between guys you may be thinking about adding.  Go to RotoFanatic and check it out for more details and how to use this great tool.

Closer Workbook
All Data According To Data Monster
Player Name In_Whiff Command Stuff ERA
Josh Hader 7.5 0.23 1.70
Liam Hendriks 6.1 0.44 2.66
Aroldis Chapman 5.0 -1.67 3.20
Chad Green 3.3 -0.18 3.38
Craig Kimbrel 4.2 3.71 2.15
Andrew Chafin 1.1 -1.44 2.89
Matt Barnes 2.2 3.07 3.32
Adam Ottavino -0.2 -0.77 3.32
Edwin Diaz 3.8 -0.20 2.98
Mark Melancon -1.4 1.87 3.59
Alex Reyes 2.5 0.71 2.56
Kenley Jansen 4.1 -3.41 2.11
Ian Kennedy 2.3 -2.53 4.23
Emmanuel Clase 5.2 1.05 1.94
Ryan Pressly 0.5 4.56 3.16
Raisel Iglesias 6.0 5.29 2.44
Diego Castillo 2.6 3.78 2.93
Will Smith 2.8 2.70 3.27
Jordan Romano 2.5 -2.14 3.34
Lou Trivino 0.9 -1.55 3.25
Gregory Soto 2.1 -1.95 2.99
Scott Barlow 1.0 5.47 2.89
Jake McGee 0.7 -6.31 3.83
Paul Sewald 4.4 -2.33 3.09
Spencer Patton 0.5 -0.97 3.77
David Bednar 2.3 0.27 2.83
Codi Heuer 2.0 1.84 3.10
Tyler Clippard 0.2 -2.13 4.10
Dillon Tate -0.6 -0.34 3.37
Kyle Finnegan -0.4 -0.72 3.94
Michael Lorenzen 1.4 3.23 3.15
Dylan Floro -1.6 0.31 3.55
Alex Colome 4.6 -2.04 3.52
Carlos Estevez 0.7 -2.71 4.45
Giovanny Gallegos 3.1 2.08 2.45
Drew Steckenrider -2.4 0.34 3.76
Andrew Kittredge 3.0 2.42 2.35
Mychal Givens 0.0 1.52 3.85
Collin McHugh 1.1 1.48 3.05
Emilio Pagan 4.9 -3.05 3.61
Garrett Whitlock 2.0 -0.76 3.31
Michael Kopech 1.7 0.21 3.86
Blake Treinen 2.1 0.41 2.26
Devin Williams 4.4 4.14 2.67
Chris Stratton 0.2 3.09 3.52