This article is part of our Mound Musings series.
At this stage of the season, the saves category is often a primary target for adding points and moving up in the standings. Having passed the non-waiver trade deadline, some closers have moved on to contending teams – often having been relegated to a set-up role – while their former teams scramble to find the guy who can adequately protect a lead in the ninth inning. Some role changes could be fairly obvious, but more often, there are several arms with at least some chance of claiming the job.
When your bullpen goes sour.
Bullpens are changing the fabric of the game. Saves are a scoring category in most leagues, but the lack of quality starting pitching has impacted the scoring strategies for many fantasy owners, and relievers are becoming more relevant, including some nonclosers. Quality starts, and wins, are becoming less predictable. The so critical "do no harm" principle is becoming even more critical as more and more time bombs take the mound. The best teams are stockpiling quality relievers in an attempt to shorten games to five, six, or at most, seven innings for their starters. For fantasy players, you could be in crisis, but opportunities are also arising. So, let's take a look at some evolving bullpen assignments in the NL (we'll do the AL next week) and see where they may be headed:
Here are some NL closer scenarios to monitor closely:
- Washington Nationals – As the trade deadline approached in 2017, the Nats were among