This article is part of our Mound Musings series.
I feel like pitching is becoming more and more like the chemistry sets of my youth. Mix a little of this with a lot of that and a pinch of something else, pop on the goggles, and see if it explodes. Starters throw more pitches, in fewer innings, and relief pitchers get into more games and often in the middle innings. For fantasy purposes, managing your relief pitchers is both challenging and rewarding if you can find the best contributors before the other owners in your league, so I try to donate space in the Musings for bullpen analysis.
Playing musical chairs out in the pen
Already this season, perhaps more than ever, we have seen closer scenarios changing, or at least potentially changing. Relief pitching has become an ever-increasing part of success in major league baseball. Very few teams have five reliable starters. In fact, there are teams that would be hard pressed to pencil in more than a couple of regular starting pitchers who can be expected to generate positive innings on a consistent basis. True quality relievers are becoming more important, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to "save" that best guy for the ninth inning. Let's take a look at some closer assignments in the AL and see where they may be headed:
Here are some AL closer scenarios to keep an eye on:
- Seattle Mariners – The Mariners got off to a hot start, but they have cooled off, and the bullpen has been a