Well, we knew this MLB mini-season could get weird in a hurry. And here we are.
The season itself feels tenuous as of this writing, while we wait for further details on the Marlins' coronavirus outbreak. Baseball's opening weekend was plenty entertaining, however, before it took a disturbing turn. The leaderboards are just as hilarious as you'd expect at this stage.
If you're a fantasy manager who adopted a don't-pay-for-saves approach on draft day ... well, that strategy is looking good. Several surprise closers have already emerged — pitchers who weren't really on the radar two weeks ago, and definitely weren't in our plans when many leagues drafted back in March.
For example, this gentleman is currently tied for the MLB lead in saves, having closed out the Dodgers twice over the weekend:
That would be Trevor Gott, a 27-year-old hard-thrower who struck out 57 batters in 52.2 innings last season, posting a 1.10 WHIP. Most of us expected a committee-ish bullpen for the Giants this year, perhaps with Tony Watson as its head. Instead, Gott has shut the door in both of San Francisco's wins. Neither of his saves has been completely clean, but they all count in our game. Gott is a must-add for saves-desperate fantasy teams; he's rostered in just 10 percent of Yahoo leagues.
Here's another half-dozen potential sources for saves who remain available in nearly all leagues ...
Anthony Bass, Toronto Blue Jays (10 percent rostered)
Ken Giles is dealing with an elbow issue of as-yet-unknown severity, and it sounds as if the Jays will simply elevate every reliever one rung on the bullpen ladder:
“I could see everybody moving up,” [Charlie] Montoyo said. “Instead of the sixth, he'd get the seventh, with [Rafael] Dolis to the eighth, or the other way around. When you lose one, then everybody moves up. That’s why Bass was there in the eighth. He’s been that good."
Consider Bass the clear favorite, with Jordan Romano an understudy of interest.
Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals (22%)
Yup, that Greg Holland, the guy who was outrageously great in his prime, six years ago. He earned the save for KC on Saturday, striking out the side in the process. His velocity is a few ticks off its peak, but the slider still plays. Ian Kennedy got the sixth and seventh frames on Saturday, followed by Trevor Rosenthal, Scott Barlow, and Holland.
Nick Burdi, Pittsburgh Pirates (4%)
No one actually has a save for the Bucs just yet, but Burdi closed out the team's lone win in impressive fashion, striking out the side:
He's the guy to add while Keone Kela is sidelined, and he certainly has the stuff to hold the job indefinitely. Kyle Crick has made one appearance thus far, in the seventh inning of a loss on Saturday.
Taylor Williams, Seattle Mariners (1%)
Seattle's bullpen remains unsettled, to say the very least. But Williams earned the team's first save in a 3-K roller-coaster of an inning against Houston (2 H, ER). Matt Magill took the fifth inning in the win, it should be noted. Ultimately, Yoshihisa Hirano may still claim the ninth for the Mariners when healthy. Williams is a desperation add.
Oliver Drake, Tampa Bay Rays (6%)
Drake earned the first save of the season for Tampa Bay, protecting a three-run lead in a game won by Nick Anderson. This is a team that won't necessarily manage to the save rule, holding Anderson (or anyone else) for a specific inning. Drake delivered a sub-1.00 WHIP and excellent K-rate last season (11.3 K/9), so he can help in any role.