Jenrry Mejia Suspended 80 Games
Continuing the trend of MLB players getting suspended for the throwback steroid Stanozolol, Mejia tested positive last week. He was already on the 15-day disabled list, which I wrote about last week, but this obviously pushes him back even further. It adds a little protection to Jeurys Familia’s job, but not much. As I said last week, Bobby Parnell is gearing up to start his rehab assignment, and should be back on the roster in a couple of weeks. Familia has almost certainly been picked up in your leagues by now, but if Parnell is still available and you can afford to stash him, he could pay off relatively soon.
Toronto Shakes Up Their Bullpen
Well, I’ve had my first way-off prediction of the year. When the Blue Jays named Brett Cecil their closer, I confidently stated he would hold on to the job for the majority of the year. So much for that. This past week, John Gibbons took Cecil out of the role and handed the job to 20-year-old Miguel Castro. He hadn’t pitched above High-A coming into this season, but he’s looked good in the early going this year. Gibbons did indicate that part of the reason for the move was to get Cecil back on track with his mechanics. That, combined with Castro’s inexperience, could mean another move could be made relatively quickly, so don’t go dropping Cecil just yet in deep leagues.
Joe Nathan Hits the Disabled List
Many people predicted that Nathan would lose his job as Detroit’s closer rather quickly, though that was more due to projected underperformance than injury. He was diagnosed with a Grade One flexor strain, and likely won’t be back for a few weeks. In his absence, Joakim Soria will be taking the ninth inning as expected. He tallied a couple of saves last week, with one semi-rough outing tossed in there. If he doesn’t implode over the next few weeks until Nathan returns, he can be expected to hold onto the job even after the incumbent is healthy.
Koji Uehara is Back From Injury
Uehara started the year on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, but was activated for yesterday’s home opener in Boston. In his stead, Edward Mujica was handling the 9th inning duties. He was a bit shaky in his outings, giving up two solo home runs over the first week of the season. Uehara should add a bit of stability to the position, though it’s no guarantee. As I’ve stated before, he’s in his age-40 season, and has an injury history. He’s an obvious must-own in all leagues, but keep an eye on his status. It may be a good idea to hold on to Mujica as a handcuff if you have room for him.
The Rockies Situation is Getting… Rocky
Horribly uncreative subheaders aside, LaTroy Hawkins was the other popular pick to lose his closer spot early in the season. The season is still extremely young, but he hasn’t done much to change people’s minds just yet. He’s made three appearances this season, and blew saves in two of them. Yesterday, Walt Weiss said that he’ll be giving Hawkins a “break” from closing duties for now, but I’d expect that to turn into a permanent arrangement. Early indications are that Rafael Betancourt will be getting the saves and he converted the opportunity on Monday. With that being said, Ottavino seems like a better bet to have the job long-term. The former is still a safe add in the short-term, but grabbing shares of the latter if he’s available should prove prudent.
The back of Atlanta’s bullpen hasn’t missed a beat since losing Craig Kimbrel. Jason Grilli is a perfect 3-for-3 in save opportunities with four strikeouts and one walk. Jim Johnson even successfully converted a save opportunity while Grilli took a night of rest.
The Dodgers’ situation at the end of games has cleared up slightly, with Joel Peralta taking most of the save opportunities. If no one in your league has picked him up yet, jump on that.
Steve Cishek was a borderline top-10 closer heading into the season, but he’s struggled mightily thus far. Of course, it’s too early to panic, but it’s never too early to try to take advantage of a panicking league-mate. If someone is looking to sell after this rough start, jump all over that.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now