We haven’t had many developments in terms of closing duties, but we’ve had many intriguing actions in numerous bullpens. We’ve seen some pitchers fall apart and others rise up the totem pole in their particular pen. That makes things exciting for us because we have a ton to discuss.
With that in mind, let’s look at the murky bullpens.
Week 4 Saves + Holds League Guide
Closer Situations to Watch
These are bullpens we need to monitor!
Arizona Diamondbacks (AVOID)
Andrew Chafin has a stranglehold on this bullpen, picking up four saves and two wins so far this year. Miguel Castro is the only other fascinating arm in this pen. One more solid week, and we’ll shift the D’Backs to the next section!
Chicago Cubs (AVOID)
Michael Fulmer has let this job slip through his fingers. He’s flirting with a 9.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP, likely earning Brad Boxberger the next save chance. Adbert Alzolay is the best reliever in this bullpen, so let’s also keep an eye on him.
Chicago White Sox (AVOID, for now)
Liam Hendriks should steal this job whenever he can return, but it’s been a nightmare without him. Reynaldo Lopez has almost all of the saves, but he’s struggled along with the rest of this pen. Don’t trust anyone until we see some consistency!
Daniel Bard just returned from an IL stint last week, but we haven’t seen him pick up a save. He’s the only pitcher worth rostering because this pitching staff is the worst in baseball. Pierce Johnson was filling in for Bard, but it’s just a matter of time before he’s done.
Detroit Tigers (AVOID)
Alex Lange finally looks like “the guy.” He’s allowed no runs in seven straight appearances and has pitched the ninth in most of those. Jason Foley is next in line, but that’s not very important from a fantasy perspective.
Kansas City Royals
Aroldis Chapman is reaching nearly 105 MPH on the radar gun, tallying a 1.93 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 47 percent K rate. Scott Barlow was the closer at the beginning of the year, but he’s been struggling. He did get the two most recent saves, but watch this team carefully!
Los Angeles Angels
Jose Quijada had this job locked up before the weekend, but a five-run shelling has us wondering. Since then, Carlos Estevez has picked up two saves, and it’s really tough to get a read on who will get the next chance. Both pitchers are worth rostering in all formats!
Los Angeles Dodgers
Evan Phillips got the first two saves for this team, but a trip on paternity leave still makes this a murky situation. Brusdar Graterol got a save without him, and if anyone can steal this job, they’d be a massive grab in all fantasy leagues. Both are worthy options in hold leagues, and don’t forget about Daniel Hudson‘s impending return.
AJ Puk is the best reliever in Miami, and we saw him pick up three saves over the last week. One more week of stability, and this team will move sections! Nobody else in this bullpen should be picked up, but Dylan Floro is sporting a 0.00 ERA.
Oakland Athletics (AVOID)
Dany Jimenez has been pitching the ninth inning, but he was just placed on the IL. Trevor May appeared to be next in line, but he’s injured too. Zach Jackson and Jeurys Familia are next up, but do you really want an A’s reliever or closer? Familia got the two most recent chances but looked sketchy at best.
It looks like Jose Alvarado has sniped this job. The lefty has a 0.87 ERA, 0.47 WHIP and 56 percent K rate. Those look like video-game numbers, but we’ve also seen Craig Kimbrel pick up two saves. Alvarado is rostered everywhere, but Kimbrel and Seranthony Dominguez are interesting holds options.
Tampa Bay Rays
This situation is terrible. Jose Leclerc looked like the closer, but Will Smith has two saves. Smith has been the much better pitcher and has a history with Bruce Bochy. Both pitchers need to be monitored, but Smith has to be the safest bet for the next chance, especially since Leclerc blew two saves last week.
Washington Nationals (AVOID)
Kyle Finnegan is up to six saves, but you’re playing Russian roulette riding him. He’ll be lucky to get to 20-25 saves, even if he stays on the Nats. He’s worth rostering for now, but don’t be afraid to drop him for a speculative add.
Closer Situations Not to Worry About
These are the teams with clear-cut bullpen plans heading into the 2023 season.
Rasiel Iglesias is nearing a return and will steal this job when he’s back. A.J. Minter has been filling in and needs to be held in holds leagues. Nick Anderson and Kirby Yates are interesting hold options, too, because those two used to be two of the best relievers in baseball.
Boston Red Sox
Alexis Diaz has taken over this job, and we don’t trust anyone behind him. Diaz has struggled early on, but the rest of this pen is pitiful.
Jhoan Duran is one of the best relievers, and he already has five saves. This looked like a committee at the beginning of the year, but Jorge Lopez and Griffin Jax will hold down the seventh and eighth innings.
New York Mets
This situation is getting a bit murky. David Robertson has four saves, while Adam Ottavino has three. Brooks Raley also leads the league with eight holds, so all three pitchers are hard to overlook for fantasy.
New York Yankees
Clay Holmes looked like the closer at the beginning of the year, but Wily Peralta got the most recent chance. That’s mainly due to Holmes’s subpar numbers, but look for him to get the next opportunity. We don’t trust anyone else in this pen.
David Bednar is amazing, and he’s been massive for this overachieving team. If you sniped him late in drafts, congratulations! Colin Holderman is one of the league leaders in holds, and his name couldn’t be more fitting.
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
St. Louis Cardinals
Ryan Helsley has some of the nastiest stuff and should remain the Cardinals’ closer. That said, he allowed three runs in a horrific blown save on Tuesday. Giovanny Gallegos has been successful in that role in the past and is an elite option in holds leagues. He could also steal this job if Helsley isn’t careful.
Toronto Blue Jays
Jordan Romano is one of the best relievers and has a stranglehold on this closer gig. Erik Swanson is one of the best eighth-inning pitchers in baseball and has seven holds already. He’s a must-roster in holds leagues!
My Saves/Holds Rankings
|Rasiel Iglesias (IL)
Relievers on the Rise
Bryan Abreu (HOU)
Abreu picked up two saves over the last week and has taken over this eighth-inning job. He has an ERA and WHIP below 1.00 and is a sneaky add in most formats.
Will Smith (TEX)
Smith got the first save of the season and the most recent save. Leclerc looked like the closer, but the righty has struggled. Smith also has some history with the Rangers manager and could be the closer in the future.
Jeurys Familia (OAK)
This is gross, but Familia looks like the A’s closer for now. He used to be good, but he’s been terrible for two years now. In any case, Jimenez and Trevor May are both on the IL, allowing Familia to pick up two saves over the last week.
Potential Closers on the IL
Rasiel Iglesias (shoulder) – 15-Day IL. Recently resumed throwing and could return soon.
Liam Hendriks (Hodgins Lymphoma) – 15-Day IL. Return unknown, but there’s optimism he could return within a month.
Edwin Diaz (knee) – 60-Day IL. Out for the season
Dany Jimenez (shoulder) – 60-Day IL. Out for three months
Andres Munoz (deltoid) – 15-Day IL. Resumed throwing and could be back within a week or two.
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Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive.