by Nick Hutcherson
We are going to adopt a bit of a new format to this column now that the season has arrived. Instead of completely mining into pure statistics, we now have some games to analyze. My goal going forward is to identify three players to grab and two players to watch each week. I understand that many of you play in deep leagues and some of these may be rostered, but you can certainly work a trade!
Three to grab
1) Santiago Casilla- Oakland A’s
Let me preface this by saying I don’t buy Casilla as the most talented pitcher in this bullpen as I prefer both Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle. However Casilla has been there before and he got the first save opportunity of the year against the Angels. These committee bullpens do not typically remain committees long and any reliever getting saves needs to be owned in all but the shallowest of leagues. I would grab Casilla in any 10+ team league in which he is available. My desire to trade for him is rather low considering I believe Doolittle or Dull will ultimately emerge to take this job and run with it.
2) Jason Grilli- Toronto Blue Jays
As most of you should know by now, Roberto Osuna ended up on the 10 day disabled list to begin the season his injury has been termed minor by many, but it would not be any major surprise if Grilli is still closing out games when May rolls around. Go ahead and grab him in leagues where Grilli is being left on the wire and worry about replacing him when Osuna returns. I am not willing to believe the optimists when it comes to pitchers and injured necks.
3) Joaquin Benoit- Philadelphia Phillies
Surprise! One game into the season and Jeanmar Gomez is already on a very shaky seat. Everyone has anointed Hector Neris as the next man in. Would it really surprise you if manager Pete Mackanin decides to go with the ultra experienced Benoit instead? The Phillies are going nowhere fast and putting Neris into the role could very well lead to Dellin Betances arbitration 2.0. If the Phillies want to avoid a situation like that Benoit could be the next man in line.
Two to watch
1) Arizona Diamondbacks Bullpen
Want to take a stab at who is next in line? I still believe that Randall Delgado is the guy, but he got himself shelled earlier this week giving up 6 baserunners and 4 runs in 2/3 of an inning against San Francisco. The guy I am really keeping a close eye on is Archie Bradley. Unfortunately, by the time you read this it may well be too late to get him. He looked dominant Tuesday night and if he is going to pitch like that with any consistency, look out. The big question with Bradley is whether Arizona prefers him in the bullpen or in the rotation. If he sticks in the ‘pen, he could well be the answer to the ninth inning.
2) Matt Bush- Texas Rangers
Sam Dyson pitched great last season amassing 38 saves to go along with a 2.43 ERA. I believe the leash will be shorter than it should be with Dyson because his pitching style leads to the ball being put into play much more than the styles of elite closers. If he triples up again his seat is going to start to get quite warm. Keep Bush on your radar in all league formats.