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Saves+Holds Rankings & Targets: Adbert Alzolay, Brusdar Graterol (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

Saves+Holds Rankings & Targets: Adbert Alzolay, Brusdar Graterol (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

We had a slow week in our last save + holds piece, but this week was full of turbulence.

We thought we had a read on some of these situations, but the managers laughed in our faces. We’ve had to move a few teams into the questionable section, and more might be headed in that direction.

There’s obviously a lot we need to discuss, so let’s start by looking at the questionable bullpens.


Saves + Holds League Guide

Closer Situations to Watch

These are bullpens we need to monitor!

Arizona Diamondbacks

We thought Miguel Castro had this job locked up last week, but this team continues to frustrate us. Andrew Chafin picked up the team’s most recent save and leads the club with eight saves for the year. Castro has five over the last month, though, and this is genuinely looking like a committee.

Chicago Cubs (AVOID)

This bullpen has been a roller coaster all season. Brad Boxberger and Michael Fulmer both blew it early on, and it looks like Mark Leiter Jr. and Adbert Alzolay are the top options now. Both have one save over the last week, and it’s nearly impossible to gauge who will get the next one. Both pitchers have incredible rates, though, and they should be rostered in all formats until we have more clarity.

Chicago White Sox (AVOID, for now)

Liam Hendriks made his long-awaited return! He did allow two runs in his debut but was showcasing a 97 MPH fastball. We assume he’ll regain the closer role later on, but Kendall Graveman is the pitcher for saves now. He’s picked up four saves over the last three weeks and has 11 consecutive scoreless appearances.

Colorado Rockies (AVOID)

Daniel Bard is the best arm in this pen, but they don’t want him to close. He has a 0.57 ERA, but Pierce Johnson has all 11 saves for this club. That’s hard to understand because PJ is posting a 6.23 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. We figured Bard would steal the job by now, but the Rockies will be the Rockies!

Los Angeles Dodgers

Ugh, this looked like Evan Phillips‘ job two weeks ago, but Dave Roberts is making this an annoying situation. He hasn’t picked up a save since May 12, regularly featuring in a fireman role in the seventh and eighth innings. He’s still the best option in this pen, but Brusdar Graterol has the most recent save and pitched the ninth just two days ago. Graterol is worth keeping an eye on but don’t drop Phillips either!

Miami Marlins

AJ Puk is about to return next week, and he should recapture the closer role with the way Dylan Floro has been struggling. Floro has allowed eight runs over his last four appearances, while Puk provided six saves before landing on the IL. Tanner Scott is an interesting option in holds leagues, generating a 3.46 ERAm, 1.15 WHIP and 12.8 K.9 rate.

New York Yankees

We had no clue who the closer was last week, and the same goes this week. Wandy Peralta, Clay Holmes, and Michael King all have saves over the last month, and it’s impossible to know who’s up next. All three should be rostered until we get some clarity.

Oakland Athletics (AVOID)

I’m tempted to keep this section blank. Oakland has 12 wins this year and might struggle to get to 50. Even if they had a designated closer, we wouldn’t roster than in any format. This team has four total saves on the year, and none of those pitchers are on the active roster.

Philadelphia Phillies

Man, Craig Kimbrel is making this situation difficult to understand. He’s one of the greatest closers of all time, but he was horrible when Jose Alvarado stole this job early on. CK has bounced back since Alvarado landed on the IL, collecting a 2.25 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 16.9 K.9 rate and four saves over his last eight outings. Alvarado and Kimbrel need to be owned in every league.

Washington Nationals (AVOID)

Kyle Finnegan leads the club with 11 saves, but he has a WHIP above 1.60. We’ve also seen Hunter Harvey grab three saves, and he’s been the much better pitcher behind his 3.70 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 31 percent K rate. Don’t be surprised to see Harvey steal this job if Finnegan continues to slide because he has 10 holds in an impressive season.

Closer Situations Not to Worry About

These are the teams with clear-cut bullpens.

Atlanta Braves

Rasiel Iglesias has struggled a bit since returning, but he’s converted four of his five saves. He’s one of the best closers around. Nick Anderson looks like one of the best additions in holds leagues, picking up eight of them, thanks to his 0.85 WHIP and 30 percent K rate.

Baltimore Orioles

Felix Bautista has the best K rate in baseball and is up to 14 saves in an unbelievable season. Yennier Cano has been even better in the eighth inning, totaling a 0.93 ERA and 0.59 WHIP. Don’t forget about Bryan Baker and Danny Coulombe, with each picking up nine holds. This is the best pen in baseball, and all of these pitchers can be rostered in holds formats.

Boston Red Sox

Kenley Jansen has 11 saves, but he’s blown three while providing ugly peripherals. He’ll keep this job, but Chris Martin, Josh Winckowski and John Schreiber are attractive holds options with elite rates.

Cincinnati Reds

Alexis Diaz has 13 saves and an absurd 17.3 K/9 rate. He was one of the best bargains in drafts, but we don’t want anyone else in this pen.

Cleveland Guardians

Emmanuel Clase leads the league with 17 saves and is one of the best closers in MLB. James Karinchak is an interesting option in holds leagues, picking up nine while amassing a fantastic 12.7 K/9 rate.

Detroit Tigers

Alex Lange has a 1.21 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and nine saves. He has this job locked up, but he could be moved at the trade deadline. If that’s the case, Jake Foley is next in line. He has nine holds behind a 1.66 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.

Houston Astros

This bullpen is terrific. Ryan Pressley has the ninth inning with 10 saves, but the rest of this pen is impressive too. Bryan Abreu and Hector Neris are some of the best options in holds leagues. Abreu has a 2.13 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 14.9 K.9 rate, while Neris has a 0.49 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 11.3 K/9 rate since the opening week.

Los Angeles Angels

Carlos Estevez has been one of the best adds in fantasy, picking up 13 saves. Matt Moore was a solid option in holds leagues as the lefty specialist, but he’s on the IL. We don’t want anyone else in this bullpen.

Kansas City Royals

We finally moved this pen into the reliable section with the play of Scott Barlow! He

He’s totaled a 1.27 ERA and 0.77 WHIP since April 19, producing five saves in that span. Aroldis Chapman hasn’t been too shabby in the eighth inning, accruing a 14.6 K/9 rate.

Milwaukee Brewers

Devin Williams is the best reliever in the game. Peter Strzelecki has been remarkable in front of him, leading baseball with 13 holds.

Minnesota Twins

Jhoan Duran is one of the best pitchers in baseball. His job is becoming more secure, with Jorge Lopez and Griffin Jax both struggling.

New York Mets

This pen is full of worthy fantasy options. David Robertson is the top option for saves, with 10 on the year, but he’s sharing with Adam Ottavino, who has five saves and six holds. Both need to be owned in all formats but don’t forget Brooks Raley‘s 11 holds.

Pittsburgh Pirates

David Bednar is probably the best player on this lackluster roster, generating a 1.29 ERA, 0.71 WHIP and 10 saves. Colin Holderman is also up to 10 holds, but this Pirates team has been freefalling down the standings. Don’t be surprised to see Bednar shipped off near the trade deadline.

San Diego Padres

Josh Hader has an ERA and WHIP below 1.00 and is back to being a premier closer with 13 saves. Luis Garcia and Robert Suarez were the late-inning pitchers, but both are on the IL right now. Tim Hill and Steven Wilson are next up, but neither is worth watching.

San Francisco Giants

Camilo Doval is up to 14 saves, tallying a 13.3 K/9 rate. He’s an elite closing option, but Tyler Rogers and Taylor Rogers are doing a good job behind him. Tyler Rogers is up to 11 holds and is worth rostering in holds formats.

Seattle Mariners

This is one of the best bullpens right now, and they’re about to add one of the best arms in baseball. Andres Munoz is making his return over the next week, adding a whole new level to this absurd pen. He should be in a fireman role, while Paul Sewald will hold down the ninth. If Munoz is out there on your waiver wire, add him immediately! Matt Brash is also second in baseball with a 41 percent K rate and could be a sneaky option in holds leagues.

St. Louis Cardinals

This can sometimes be frustrating, but Ryan Helsley and Giovanny Gallegos need to be rostered in every format. Helsley has six saves but has also blown four. That’s allowed Gallegos to pick up the two most recent saves, recording seven saves and four holds as well. We need to monitor this situation to get a better read because we have no clue who will get the next chance.

Tampa Bay Rays

Pete Fairbanks is back on the IL, so this looks like Jason Adam‘s job once again. He had five saves when Fairbanks was out for two weeks, and he’s one of the best closing options as long as Fairbanks is sidelined. Colin Poche has a 2.29 ERA and is next in line behind these two.

Texas Rangers

Will Smith is up to nine saves and still has a WHIP below 1.00. Nobody else in this pen is worth keeping an eye on.

Toronto Blue Jays

This is an easy pen to dissect. Jordan Romano is an incredible closer, while Erik Swanson is one of the best holds options in fantasy. That’s evident since Romano has 12 saves, and Swanson has 12 holds.

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. Pete Fairbanks TB
11. Alexis Diaz CIN
12. Andres Munoz SEA
13. Evan Phillips LAD
14. Kenley Jansen BOS
15. David Bednar PIT
16. Ryan Helsley STL
17. Jason Adam TB
18. Camilio Doval SF
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. Giovanni 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

Adbert Alzolay (CHC)

We thought Leiter Jr. would secure this job, but he’s been thrown into some questionable roles recently. We saw Alzolay pick up the most recent save, posting a 2.42 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 27 percent K rate this year. We’re unsure who has the job, but Alzolay is a nice speculative addition.

Brusdar Graterol (LAD)

We’ve seen Phillips thrown into a fireman role, making this situation a bit murky. That allowed Graterol to pick up a save last week, and he also entered the ninth inning in a four-run game a few days ago. It doesn’t appear Phillips is the everyday ninth-inning man, making Brusdar an intriguing add behind his 0.96 ERA and 1.07 WHIP across his last 20 innings.

Potential Closers on the IL

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

Andres Munoz (deltoid) – (15-Day IL) He’s on a rehab assignment and could return by next week’s article.

Jose Alvarado (elbow) – (15-Day IL) Alvarado should be back in the next two weeks, starting a rehab assignment in the coming days.

AJ Puk (elbow) – (15-Day IL) Puk resumed throwing and could return in a week.

Peter Fairbanks (hip) – (15-Day IL) Just landed on the IL but is not expected to be out too long.

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

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