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Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: Jordan Romano, Michael Kopech, Paul Sewald (2024)

Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: Jordan Romano, Michael Kopech, Paul Sewald (2024)

Trying to make sense of all 30 teams’ closing situations before the season starts is difficult. While the majority of teams have their guy in place, 10 teams are still unsettled. Whether it’s an injury replacement or a cast of new characters, we’ll go over which pitchers to target and which ones to scout as the season begins.

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Fantasy Baseball Closer Report

Before we get to the 10 unsettled situations, here is a breakdown of the top 20 closers likely not involved in a committee to begin the year. Pitchers are in order by cumulative average draft position (ADP).

Here are the rest of the league’s updated closer reports as of Opening Day.

Toronto Blue Jayes

Jordan Romano (injured), Yimi Garcia

Jordan Romano will start the year on the injured list (IL), so Yimi Garcia will likely take his place in the interim. Garcia pitched adequately in his fill-in role last year, collecting three saves with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. Romano won’t be out for long, though, so Garcia may not be worth picking up unless you’re already desperate for saves and have a roster spot open.

Chicago White Sox

Michael Kopech, Jordan Leasure

Michael Kopech was officially moved to the bullpen this spring and has been lights out in the four appearances since. His stuff could play up in a single-inning role and he’s worth taking a chance on in most leagues. Unfortunately, the White Sox aren’t going to win a ton of games with their current rotation so save opportunities may be few and far between. If you do roster Kopech, keep an eye out for Jordan Leasure. He is likely the closer of the future and was a strikeout machine in the minors. He is also expected to have a role in the pen this season.

Minnesota Twins

Jhoan Duran (injured), Griffin Jax, Brock Stewart

Griffin Jax was the primary setup man in the second half of last season for the Twins and now it seems he’ll take on an even more pivotal role. With Jhoan Duran out for at least a month with an oblique injury, look for Jax to fill in while he’s gone. That said, Brock Stewart arguably has better stuff and would likely be the next man up if Jax falters. Jax had an impeccable spring, so the job will probably be his outright to begin the season.

Kansas City Royals

Will Smith, James McArthur

Most publications have Will Smith splitting time with James McArthur this season but I’m not sure I believe it. At least to begin the year, you have to think the 34-year-old they signed for $5 million with 113 saves under his belt will have the first crack at saves. Unless he shows signs of aging, Smith will likely be out there in the ninth inning with a lead in April. However, McArthur did have a great spring and throws right-handed while Smith is a lefty. Depending on matchups, McArthur could be saved for the ninth on occasion. My money’s on Smith earning the bulk of the chances early on. It’s not a terrible idea to roster both in deeper leagues.

Oakland Athletics

Mason Miller, Dany Jimenez, Lucas Erceg

The A’s will struggle to win games again this year but they can’t lose them all. Plus, they have a potential star on their hands who may end up as their closer this season. The A’s hope Mason Miller can be their lights-out stopper this year before returning to a starter role in future seasons. Injuries have been a problem for the young right-hander but he’s worth rostering in all leagues. Lucas Erceg and Dany Jimenez are worth monitoring in case Miller isn’t handed the job, yet neither has produced well this spring.

Philadelphia Phillies

Jose Alvarado, Orion Kerkering

With Craig Kimbrel out of town, the closer role should sit solely on Jose Alvarado’s shoulders. However, Phillies manager Rob Thomson has yet to name him as the guy. Alvarado had some trouble staying healthy last year and racked up just 10 saves in over 40 appearances. That said, he is nearly unhittable and should be the closer of choice to start the season. Eventually, Orion Kerkering could earn some save chances as the possible closer of the future. For now, it’s Alvarado’s job to lose.

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Washington Nationals

Kyle Finnegan, Hunter Harvey

Kyle Finnegan will have a short leash in Washington but the job should be his to begin the season. He seems to perpetually be in a situation where he’s one bad game away from losing his job until he surprises everyone with a nice scoreless streak to keep it. Finnegan won’t win your league for you but he could be a decent source for 20+ saves. Harvey is a fine handcuff if you have a bench spot available.

Milwaukee Brewers

Devin Williams (injured), Joel Payamps, Trevor Megill, Abner Uribe

With Devin Williams likely missing the first half of the season, the Brewers’ pen is one of the tougher ones to predict. Joel Payamps is likely the front-runner to claim the job but he hasn’t looked great in spring and doesn’t exactly fit the profile of a typical closer.

Uribe has the nastiest stuff of the group but can be wild. And while Trevor Megill is a giant on the mound (6-foot-8, 250 pounds) and throws hard, the 30-year-old has yet to earn a single save in his big-league career.

Payamps will likely get the first shot at closing because he pitched well in high-leverage situations last year. That said, the role could go to any of these guys and is worth keeping close tabs on. For now, Payamps is target number one followed by Megill and then Uribe. If Uribe can cut down on the walks and the other two are slow out the gate, the job could be the young flamethrower’s sooner rather than later.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Paul Sewald (injured), Kevin Ginkel

Paul Sewald is out with an oblique injury and could be gone for some time. In his absence, the team will likely turn to last year’s playoff hero, Kevin Ginkel. Ginkel has been filthy since retooling his fastball and is someone you can rely on to begin the season. Depending on how long Sewald is out, Ginkel should be an excellent source for saves.

Colorado Rockies

Justin Lawrence, Tyler Kinley

Either of these fine young men could earn save chances in Denver, but honestly, I’d stay away. Outside of National League-Only leagues, these guys will likely drag down your ERA and WHIP while only offering a single save every 10 days. Use your roster spots more wisely until a front-runner emerges.

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Austin Lowell is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Austin, check out his archive.

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