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Saves + Holds Rankings & Targets: Daniel Hudson, Collin Holderman, Yennier Cano (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Saves + Holds Rankings & Targets: Daniel Hudson, Collin Holderman, Yennier Cano (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

The last couple weeks have been wild from a waiver wire perspective, but this week has been disappointing.

While we did have some interesting injury news, it doesn’t matter from a fantasy perspective. We say that because AJ Puk and Andres Munoz both returned, but both guys were rostered in every league anyway. We also saw Pete Fairbanks land back on the IL, but that doesn’t matter because Jason Adam is also rostered everywhere.

The closing situations are constantly in flux, and we still have a ton to discuss despite not having many developments on the waiver wire.

Saves + Holds League Guide

Closer Situations to Watch

These are bullpens we need to monitor!

Arizona Diamondbacks

This has developed into a full-blown committee, but both are rostered in almost every league. Miguel Castro has six saves and eight holds, while Andrew Chafin has eight saves and seven holds. Both guys need to be held in every format. Don’t overlook Scott McGough, who’s got a 0.55 ERA and 0.80 WHIP over the last month. He’s also up to 12 holds and is a sneaky add in those formats.

Chicago Cubs (AVOID)

This is the most frustrating bullpen in baseball. Brad Boxberger and Michael Fulmer both blew this job early, and it’s looking like a combo of Adbert Alzolay and Mark Leiter Jr. These two have been incredible, but neither guy has more than three saves. They’re both speculative adds, but who knows what will happen next!

Chicago White Sox

We’re about one week away from moving this pen! Liam Hendriks made his long-awaited return two weeks ago and got his first save this week! We’ve been waiting for him to recapture this job, because he’s been one of the best closers in baseball over the last five years. That said, he’s struggled a bit, while Kendall Graveman hasn’t allowed a run in a month. Both guys are worth rostering for now.

Colorado Rockies (AVOID)

This is another tricky situation. Daniel Bard should be the closer behind his 1.04 ERA, but they’re hesitant about sticking him in that ninth-inning role with his anxiety issues. That allowed Pierce Johnson to pick up the first 11 saves for this club, but his 6.56 ERA and 1.86 WHIP have Bud Black horrified. Justin Lawrence has picked up the last two saves for this team and could be the guy in the future.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Evan Phillips hasn’t had a save in a month! They’ve been regularly pitching him in the seventh and eighth innings, strictly using him for high-leverage situations. He will be the leader in saves as we advance, but he will only pitch when the opposing team’s best bats are up. Look for Brusdar Graterol to pick up the saves when Phillips is in early, and don’t forget about Daniel Hudson coming off the IL.

Miami Marlins

AJ Puk just made his return to action on Wednesday! Dylan Floro picked up a few saves in his absence, but was also blown up a couple times. Look for Puk to get the next chance, as he picked up six saves before landing on the IL.

New York Yankees

Talk about a difficult situation. The Yankees usually have a dominant closer, but it’s impossible to guess who will get the next save. Clay Holmes, Wandy Peralta, and Michael King all have multiple saves this year, and all three are worth keeping an eye on in most fantasy formats. Holmes was the guy last year and picked up this team’s most recent save.

Oakland Athletics (AVOID)

Trevor May picked up his first save of the season on Wednesday. He’s likely to be the closer since he’s the highest-paid player in this pen, but he might not crack 10 saves playing for the worst team in baseball. Only pick him up if you’re desperately desperate.

Philadelphia Phillies

Jose Alvarado was the best reliever in MLB through the opening month, but a trip to the IL gave Craig Kimbrel this closing gig. CK is one of the greatest closers of all time, and he’s responded by providing a 1.64 ERA, 0.45 WHIP, and 15.5 K.9 rate across his last 11 appearances. It’s tough to say who will get the next chance with Alvarado returning on Friday, but we’re betting on Kimbrel. Both guys are must-roster in all formats for now.

Washington Nationals (AVOID)

Kyle Finnegan has 11 saves, but this team is bad. He’s also got a WHIP just below 1.60, and there’s a chance he loses this job to Hunter Harvey. The righty has 11 holds and three saves, along with a 3.33 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Don’t be surprised to see Harvey get the next save chance!

Closer Situations Not to Worry About

These are the teams with clear-cut bullpens.

Atlanta Braves

Rasiel Iglesias has allowed just one run over his last 10 appearances, and he picked up seven saves in that span. The sneaky addition in this pen is Nick Anderson, who has accrued 10 holds and a 0.82 WHIP. If Anderson is available in your holds league, go pick him up.

Baltimore Orioles

This bullpen is unbelievable. Felix Bautista has 15 saves and the best K rate in baseball. Yennier Cano just allowed his first run of the season two weeks ago, while Bryan Baker and Daniel Coulombe have been incredible in the late innings as well. All of these guys can be rostered behind their elite rates.

Boston Red Sox

Kenley Jansen has been one of the best closers over the last decade, but he’s starting to worry us. He’s got a 7.88 ERA and 2.13 WHIP across his last nine appearances. He’s likely to hold this job, but keep an eye on John Schreiber, Chris Martin, and Josh Winckowski. All three have ERAs below 2.60, and they’ve combined for 25 holds.

Cincinnati Reds

Alexis Diaz is absurd, and we’re starting to wonder if he’ll hang around in Cincy. He’s got a 1.54 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 16.9 K/9 rate, making him one of the most dominant relievers in baseball. No other player has more than six holds, and Diaz is the only guy worth rostering in this pen.

Cleveland Guardians

Emmanuel Clase leads the league with 19 saves and is one of the best closers in baseball. James Karinchak and Trevor Stephan have the seventh and eighth innings locked down, combining for 20 holds.

Detroit Tigers

Alex Lange is in the same boat as Diaz. He’s developed into an elite closer, but he could be on the move soon since Detroit is freefalling down the standings. If he does get moved, Jason Foley is an interesting addition, with a 1.42 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.

Houston Astros

If Baltimore has the best pen, Houston is right behind them. Ryan Pressly has 11 saves and a WHIP below 1.00. Bryan Abreu and Hector Neris have been unstoppable, and both of those guys need to be rostered in holds leagues.

Los Angeles Angels

Carlos Estevez is up to 15 saves, and he’s developed into one of the best picks from our early-season articles. With that said, no one else in this pen is interesting with Matt Moore is on the IL after posting 12 holds.

Kansas City Royals

Scott Barlow has been amazing over the last two months. Since the end of April, Barlow has a 1.10 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 13.8 K/9 rate. The only issue is that Kansas City is still below 20 wins, and the saves will be limited for Barlow all year. Aroldis Chapman also has a 14.8 K.9 rate and could be on the move at the deadline if a team is desperate for a closer.

Milwaukee Brewers

Devin Williams is the best reliever in the game with his 0.44 ERA. Peter Strzelecki has been dominant in the eighth inning and he is ranked second in baseball with 14 holds.

Minnesota Twins

Jhoan Duran has this job secured, allowing just one run over the last month. Jorge Lopez and Griffin Jax are next in line, picking up six holds apiece.

New York Mets

While David Robertson looks like the closer, this pen has plenty of fantasy options. Adam Ottavino has five saves and seven holds, while Brooks Raley is one of the league-leaders with 13 holds. All of these guys are worth rostering for now.

Pittsburgh Pirates

David Bednar has been a trade target throughout his career, and we’re hoping he’s finally on the move. He’s got a 1.13 ERA and 0.75 WHIP for this overachieving team and remains one of the best relievers around. Colin Holderman has been impressive in a setup role, generating 12 holds.

San Diego Padres

Josh Hader has returned to the form that made him a stud in the past. He’s got a 1.61 ERA and 0.85 WHIP, but the rest of this pen has been struggling. Luis Garcia was rolling before hitting the IL, but it looks like Nick Martinez will be next in line.

San Francisco Giants

Camilo Doval is up to 15 saves, amassing a 13.7 K/9 rate. He’s one of the best arms in baseball, with the Rogers brothers cleaning up behind him. Tyler Rogers is next in line, tallying a 1.86 ERA and 0.93 WHIP.

Seattle Mariners

This was already one of baseball’s best bullpens, and getting Andres Munoz back from the IL makes them terrifying. He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball and picked up a hold in the eighth inning in his return to action. Paul Sewald should keep getting the ninth inning with his 12 saves, but Munoz and Matt Brash are also great holds options. If you can buy low on Munoz in a holds league, do it!

St. Louis Cardinals

Ryan Helsley and Giovanny Gallegos have been at the backend of this pen for three years now, and both are elite options. It looks like Helsley is the preferred closer with six saves, but Gio has seven saves and four holds. It’s tough to say who will get the next chance, but you should roster both guys anyway.

Tampa Bay Rays

Jason Adam has been one of the best adds this year. He’s up to nine saves with Pete Fairbanks on and off the IL. We have to wonder if Fairbanks will get that job back when he returns, but both guys should be universally rostered with how dominant this Tampa team has been.

Texas Rangers

Will Smith is the only reliever worth looking at in this pen. He’s up to 11 saves and has a WHIP below 0.90. We had him as a pickup early on, so hopefully you did that!

Toronto Blue Jays

Jordan Romano is one of the best closers in baseball, while Erik Swanson is one of the best eighth-inning guys. He leads MLB with 15 holds, and both guys should be rostered in every league.

My Saves/Holds Rankings

Rank Player Team
1. Devin Williams MIL
2. Emmanuel Clase CLE
3. Felix Bautista BAL
4. Josh Hader SD
5. Jordan Romano TOR
6. Ryan Pressly HOU
7. Jhoan Duran MIN
8. Paul Sewald HOU
9. Rasiel Iglesias ATL
10. David Bednar PIT
11. Alexis Diaz CIN
12. Andres Munoz SEA
13. Camilo Doval SF
14. Kenley Jansen BOS
15. Peter Fairbanks TB
16. Ryan Helsley STL
17. Jason Adam TB
18. Evan Phillips LAD
19. Will Smith TEX
20. David Robertson NYM
21. Alex Lange DET
22. Yennier Cano BAL
23. Scott Barlow KC
24. Carlos Estevez LAA
25. Giovanny Gallegos STL
26. Clay Holmes NYY
27. Miguel Castro ARI
28. Bryan Abreu HOU
29. Adam Ottavino NYM
30. Erik Swanson TOR

FantasyPros My Playbook

Relievers on the Rise

Daniel Hudson (LAD)

We haven’t seen many relievers step into closer roles, but Hudson is an interesting option. This talented reliever just started his rehab assignment and was rumored to be the closer in LA back in March. That intrigues us because Evan Phillips has been stuck in a fireman role and doesn’t have a save in a month. The Dodgers would love to keep Phillips in those high-leverage spots and lock in Hudson into the ninth, but this is all speculation!

Potential Closers on the IL

Edwin Diaz (knee) – (60-Day IL) Out for the season

Jose Alvarado (elbow) – (15-Day IL) Alvarado should return on Friday!

Peter Fairbanks (hip) – (15-Day IL) Fairbanks is expected to return within the next two weeks.

MLB DFS Lineup Optimizer

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Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive.

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