Fantasy Baseball Closer Chart (last updated May 19)
The chart below breaks down all 30 major-league teams' bullpens in terms of relievers' proximity to the closer role, not their overall fantasy value. Teams are broken down by division.
"CLOSER" is either that team's officially designated closer, or the pitcher most likely to get the team's next save chance. "NEXT IN LINE" is the pitcher next-most likely to take over if something happens to the closer, or the one who might get any save chances on the closer's nights off. "NOTES" beneath each division's chart provide detail on teams' closer situations that might have an unusual wrinkle, like an injury to the typical closer requiring a short term fill-in, or a committee situation.
Why Clay Holmes may be the best non-closing fantasy reliever
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NOTES: The Orioles activated Lopez from the bereavement list on May 13, so he will reclaim the closer role in which he has been quite effective so far. Note, however, that Bautista had a pair of saves during Lopez's absence and has also pitched well thus far, so he has probably moved to the front of an eight-inning committee that also includes Dillon Tate and Cionel Perez. (5/17) ... Each of Robles and Diekman has four save chances and at least six holds this season, with the duo occupying the categorical top-two spots in each of those departments from the Red Sox's bullpen, and they also occupy the top two spots in leverage index. Robles successfully closed the team's May 16 game, and he seems manager Alex Cora's preferred choice for now. Matt Barnes, who was expected to close for the team at the onset of spring training, has been scored upon in 8-of-14 appearances and doesn't seem close to recapturing his 2021 first-half form. (5/17) ... Manager Kevin Cash loves to go the closer-by-committee route -- his 2020 and 2021 Rays had 12 and 14 different pitchers recording a save, second-most (tied) and most in history -- so while Kittredge is the top choice for save chances, Raley, J.P. Feyereisen, Ryan Thompson, Matt Wisler and Colin Poche will all surely be involved in the late frames. (5/17) ... The Blue Jays placed Tim Mayza (forearm inflammation) on the 15-day injured list on May 16, so Garcia, Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards will likely continue to share the primary setup chores ahead of Romano in the left-hander's absence. (5/17)
NOTES: The Twins, under manager Rocco Baldelli, continue to exploit the matchups when handing out save chances, as Pagan, Duran and Tyler Duffey each has a successful save conversion since May 7. All three remain in the mix, as might Caleb Thielbar and Griffin Jax. (5/17)
NOTES: The Athletics' May struggles have prevented anyone getting a firm read on their closer strategy now that Trivino is back from the COVID injured list, but Jimenez had pitched excellently in Trivino's absence and has made this a valid debate. Trivino is increasingly being used in late-inning, high-leverage situations, so he might be about ready to reclaim his former role. (5/17) ... The Mariners placed Drew Steckenrider on the restricted list as they traveled to Toronto for their May 16-18 series. Sewald and Castillo should share the closer duties for that series, with Steckenrider rejoining the mix once the team reaches Boston on May 19. Andres Munoz is also a late-inning option. (5/17)
NOTES: The Marlins activated Floro from the injured list on May 9, but since then, they have used their 2021 season-ending closer in a pair of blowout losses and in the eighth and sixth innings of victories. The team's alternatives, however, including Bender, Cole Sulser and Tanner Scott, haven't been all that more effective, the team's ERA 6.60 in the eighth and ninth innings since Floro's activation. This looks like a committee for now. (5/19) ... The Mets seem to be going committee-style to set closer Diaz up, with the group including Ottavino, Drew Smith and Seth Lugo. Trevor May (triceps) was moved to the 60-day injured list on May 15 and will be sidelined until nearly the All-Star break. (5/17)
NOTES: The Cubs activated Robertson from the COVID injured list on May 18, and immediately thrust him back into the ninth inning of their game that day, going Mychal Givens, Wick, Robertson in the seventh through ninth frames. That should be their typical order to close out victories. (5/19) ... The Reds placed Lucas Sims (bulging disc in back) on the 15-day injured list on May 12, opening back up their closer role. Warren, who finished the team's no-hit loss on May 15, has been getting the most high-leverage work and figures to get the majority of the save chances in Sims' absence. Santillan and Luis Cessa could also be involved, and keep an eye on Alexis Diaz, who is off to a superb start and might quickly move up in the pecking order. (5/17) ... Bednar has each of the Pirates' past six successful save conversions, with Stratton directly setting him up in four of them. It appears that Bednar has firmly taken over the team's full-time closer role, after beginning the year in a partnership with Stratton. (5/19)
NOTES: With Pierce Johnson (elbow) sidelined, the Padres have been mixing and matching the eighth-inning role between Garcia, Robert Suarez and Steven Wilson. (5/17) ... The Giants placed Jake McGee (back tightness) on the 10-day injured list on May 11, further strengthening Doval's grip on the team's closer role. Brebbia set Doval up in the latter's past two successful save attempts, on May 8 and 16, though manager Gabe Kapler's committee-style approach to bullpenning means that Tyler Rogers and Dominic Leone will both surely still be involved in the eighth- (and perhaps ninth-) inning mix. (5/17)