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Fantasy Baseball Saves + Holds Rankings & Targets: Trade Deadline Recap

Fantasy Baseball Saves + Holds Rankings & Targets: Trade Deadline Recap

This might end up being the most informative article of the season. We usually try to give you stats to dive into these bullpens a little deeper, but we will keep it simple today.

There were a ton of bullpen moves at the deadline, and we want to clarify every situation. Numerous teams changed closers over the last week, and we have many just as many questions as answers after that wild deadline.

There’s obviously a ton to discuss, so let’s get into it!

Closer Situations to Watch

These are bullpens we need to monitor!

Chicago White Sox

Kendall Graveman was just traded to Houston, while Liam Hendriks got elbow surgery. That’s left this bullpen thin, but Gregory Santos got the first save chance and looks like the closer going forward. Aaron Bummer is the only other viable option in this pen. Santos is a worthy addition in all formats.

Colorado Rockies

Justin Lawrence is looking like the closer, but Colorado is always risky. “J-Law” has blown two saves over the last week but has eight saves since June 2. Daniel Bard could also get some chances, but we wouldn’t want anyone in this pen unless we’re desperate for saves.

Detroit Tigers

Alex Lange was one of the few closers on bad teams who stayed pat during the deadline, and his recent form is a significant reason why. The righty has allowed 18 runs across his last 19 innings pitched! That’s far from a lockdown closer, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jason Foley get the next chance. Foley has a 2.33 ERA and 1.10 WHIP on the year.

Kansas City Royals

Aroldis Chapman and Scott Barlow were both traded over the last month, and it’s left this team extremely thin in the backend. Carlos Hernandez and Taylor Clarke look like the best option for saves, with Hernandez pitching really well since the opening month. We’ll talk about him later on!

New York Mets

New York has been the biggest disappointment in MLB, forcing them to trade David Robertson at the deadline. That leaves Adam Ottavino and Brooks Raley to get all the saves, but Raley picked up the first two since that trade. Both need to be rostered until we learn more.

Oakland Athletics

Trevor May has this job locked up, but riding an Oakland closer is risky. The righty has 10 saves in his last 16 appearances, posting a 3.07 ERA in that span. This is one of the worst closing options in baseball, but saves are saves!

St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals have also been a collosol disappointment, and that had them moving Jordan Hicks at the deadline. We thought Giovanny Gallegos would be the closer early in the year when Ryan Helsley went down, but Hicks took that job. It has to be Gallegos gig now, but we saw Jojo “Rabbit” Romero pick up the first save! In any case, Helsley is expected back soon and should regain the closer role.

Washington Nationals

We’re close to moving this team out of this section, but the impending return of Hunter Harvey worries us. He was the closer before landing on the IL, but Kyle Finnegan has been unstoppable in his absence. Finnegan has allowed just two runs over the last two months, picking up four saves over the last two weeks. Let’s see what happens when Harvey returns, but we haven’t had many updates on his status.

Closer Situations Not to Worry About

These are the teams with clear-cut bullpen plans.

Arizona Diamondbacks

We finally moved Arizona out of the questionable section, and we can thank their management! They finally went out and traded for a closer, snatching Paul Sewald from the Mariners. He’ll surely be the closer from here on out, with Scott McGough and Kevin Ginkel being the bridge to the ninth inning.

Atlanta Braves

Raisel Iglesias is the closer, and this team needed to make some backend moves with Nick Anderson landing on the IL. That’s why they added Pierce Johnson and Brad Hand from the Rockies to fill the middle innings.

Baltimore Orioles

We didn’t anticipate Baltimore doing anything at the deadline with their pen because it’s the best in baseball. That’s precisely what happened, with Felix Bautista and Yennier Cano locking things down.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox went on a winning streak, and it kept their bullpen intact at the deadline. Kenley Jansen still controls all the saves, while Chris Martin, John Schreiber and Josh Winckowski take care of the later innings.

Chicago Cubs

Adbert Alzolay has secured this closing gig, picking up 12 saves behind his 2.35 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Mark Leiter is up to 18 holds and is the only other worthwhile fantasy option in this pen.

Cincinnati Reds

Alexis Diaz is one of the best closers in the game, and it was surprising that Cincy didn’t get him some help at the deadline. They did add Sam Moll from the A’s, but that doesn’t move the needle for a pen that needed some help.

Cleveland Guardians

It was surprising that Cleveland didn’t add anyone, either. Emmanuel Clase is a dominant closer, but Trevor Stephan is the only legitimate arm in this bullpen.

Houston Astros

The Astros made one of the biggest splashes by adding Justin Verlander, but they really didn’t need to add to this pen. Ryan Pressly, Bryan Abreu and Hector Neris have been dominant at the end of games, but they still traded for Kendall Graveman anyway. The rich get richer!

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers added Lance Lynn and Ryan Yarbrough at the deadline but didn’t add anyone to their bullpen. Look for Evan Phillips to dominate the saves while Brusdar Graterol gets some sparing chances.

Los Angeles Angels

Carlos Estevez has developed into an elite closer, and this pen is forming nicely ahead of him. Matt Moore has quietly had a fantastic season, and adding Reynaldo Lopez at the deadline should help to sure some things up. Lopez actually picked up a save when Estevez needed some rest earlier in the week.

Miami Marlins

A.J. Puk was horrible for the last month, forcing the Marlins’ hand. They traded for David Robertson from NY, and he’ll get all the saves from here on out. Look for Tanner Scott to take most of the holds, as he’s been better than Puk.

Milwaukee Brewers

Devin Williams is one of the best closers around, and he’ll get all the saves. This team acquired Andrew Chafin from Arizona as a lefty specialist, which should be a good option for holds.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins traded Jorge Lopez for Dylan Floro, but that move didn’t do much for either team. This is still Jhoan Duran‘s job, with Griffin Jax getting the eighth inning.

New York Yankees

Clay Holmes is one of the only silver linings on this struggling Yankees team. He’ll get all the saves, even though NY traded for Keynan Middleton. Michael King is next up if anything happens to Holmes.

Philadelphia Phillies

This Phillies bullpen has been massive for this team, so they didn’t make any moves. Craig Kimbrel will continue to close while Seranthony Dominguez and Gregory Soto pile up the holds.

Pittsburgh Pirates

David Bednar has been a trade target throughout his career, but the Pirates have hesitated to move him. He’s one of the best relievers in baseball and will get all of the saves in the year’s final months.

San Diego Padres

Josh Hader was one of the biggest targets at the deadline, but he stayed in San Diego. The Padres actually decided to add to their pen, getting Scott Barlow from KC. Look for him to pick up the majority of the holds, along with Steven Wilson.

San Francisco Giants

This bullpen didn’t need to do anything, and they didn’t. Camilo Doval is second in baseball with 31 saves, while brothers Tyler Rogers and Taylor Rogers have been locking down the seventh and eighth innings.

Seattle Mariners

The Mariners made the biggest closer splash at the deadline, moving Paul Sewald to Arizona. This is one situation where we’re excited about the incumbent closer because Andres Munoz could be one of the best options in fantasy. Look for him to get all the saves and continue to strike everyone out.

Tampa Bay Rays

Pete Fairbanks and Jason Adam have dominated the late innings, keeping Tampa quiet at the deadline. Those two should be universally roster, but don’t bother with anyone else.

Texas Rangers

Aroldis Chapman was added a few weeks before the deadline, and he’ll split saves with Will Smith.

Toronto Blue Jays

Jordan Romano just landed on the IL, but he’ll resume closing duties right after his 15 days are up. Look for Erik Swanson and Yimi Garcia to get the saves in his absence. They also traded for Jordan Hicks, but we don’t expect him to jump the totem pole over any of these pitchers.

My Saves/Holds Rankings

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

FantasyPros My Playbook

Relievers on the Rise

Carlos Hernandez (KC)

The Royals parted ways with Barlow, and it looks like Hernandez will take over as the closer. This team isn’t very good, but Hernandez has a 2.76 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 11.2 K.9 rate since April 24.

Brooks Raley (NYM)

The Mets traded Robertson just before the deadline, and Raley looks like the early bet for saves. He’s picked up two since that trade and is one of the league leaders with 19 holds. Ottavino might get some opportunities, but Raley is the preferred choice early on.

Potential Closers on the IL

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

Liam Hendriks (arm) – 60-Day IL. Hendricks underwent Tommy John surgery and will be out for the year.

Ryan Helsley (elbow) – 15-Day IL. Helsley is expected to start a rehab assignment soon and should resume his role as the closer since Hicks was traded.

Hunter Harvey (elbow) – 15-Day IL. Harvey is dealing with arm fatigue but could return soon.

Jordan Romano (back) – 15-Day IL. Romano isn’t expected to miss too much time, but he needed an IL stint to get his back right.

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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