The good news for the Astros in 2015 is that they have better options in the bullpen. The bad news is that before spring training, they don’t seem to have a clear-cut favorite for a closer like other teams do. This post will look at who will get saves and holds for the Houston Astros in 2015. This post will be in a different format than my normal post, because most of the Astros bullpen will not drafted. To start things off, let’s look at what happened in 2014.
Recap of 2014 Astros Bullpen
The Astros were first in something, yes! Wait, first in blown saves is not a good thing. There is a reason that Jeff Luhnow went out and spent some money on the bullpen. New names to the Astros bullpen are Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek, Will Harris, and James Hoyt.
The reason the Astros bullpen numbers were so bad was because of inexperienced pitchers being thrown into critical situations because of injuries last year. With these new additions Astros starting pitchers, fans, and fantasy baseball owners are looking forward to a more efficient bullpen.
Projected Astros Bullpen (subject to change)
Closer: Luke Gregerson
Setup: Chad Qualls
My pick for saves
Jun 28, 2014; Miami, FL, USA; Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Luke Gregerson (44) throws during the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Ballpark. The Oakland Athletics won 7-6 in 14th inning. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
While it’s still up in the air right now, I think Gregerson will be given the job as closer. Manager A.J. Hinch will probably use spring training to figure this out, but the structure of Gregerson’s contract hints that he will close out games. Gregerson has had a checkered past with saves, so hopefully he can handle the pressure. If he can’t, the veteran Qualls will be ready. So below are my chances by percentage for saves in the 2015 season.
Before writing this article, I asked Evan Drellich who he thought would close games? He feels like it will be Gregerson.
Luke Gregerson- 65%
Chad Qualls- 25%
My picks for holds
Oct 16, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Pat Neshek (37) throws against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of game five of the 2014 NLCS playoff at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Obviously, whoever loses the closer battle will be worth picking up if your league does holds, or even “Solds,” saves and holds together. In fact, Luke Gregerson is considered a master of holds, getting 22 last year in Oakland. Neshek also has had success getting holds, getting 25 last year with St. Louis. Who gets the holds will depend on new manager Hinch. He will put out the player that he feels most comfortable with in the situation.
Luke Gregerson-10% (will be primary setup man if not closer, he’s elite as a setup pitcher)
Astros “Big Three Relievers” 2015 Projections
From Lindy’s Sports Fantasy Magazine
In this magazine, Gregerson is the 26th best reliever and Neshek is the 37th best reliever. With the Astros inching back towards contending again, every win will be crucial.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
- Alex Bregman goes off in August, leads Astros
Fantasy Advice for Saves, Holds, and Solds.
A rule I have is not to draft closers early or keep closers from one season to another. My friend Tony always tells me that relievers are the most unpredictable position in any sport. They come and they go. Last year especially was this true. One year I kept Drew Storen, but he was a bust, so I have vowed to never repeat the mistake.
In traditional 10-category leagues, you can get away with not having closers if you are strong in other areas. Someone will probably reach for Gregerson or Qualls around the 15th round or they may not even be drafted. Depends on the “Bill” out there who are Astros fantasy homers.
If your league is one of the rare leagues that has a saves/hold (solds) category, reaching for either one would be useful in that situation. The Astros will win more games in 2015, but this is depending on whether the new look bullpen can get the job done.
Wait to see what happens during spring training, because you will regret blowing a mid-round pick for a non-closer Chad Qualls.
What’s next in the series?
January 2nd, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 1: Astros Top 10 prospects
February 6th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 6: Dallas Keuchel
February 13th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 7 : Luke Gregerson and the Big 3
February 27th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 9: Colby Rasmus
March 6th, 2015 – Astros in your Fantasy Part 10: Starting Rotation