Fantasy Baseball Closer Chart (last updated February 27)
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.
NOTES: Harvey's 1.42 ERA and 11 K's in seven late-2019 appearances make him an interesting upside candidate for the Orioles' closer role, though he'll probably begin spring training challenging Richard Bleier, Miguel Castro and Shawn Armstrong for primary setup duties behind Givens. ... Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke announced at the start of spring training that Workman has earned the opportunity to begin the season as the team's full-time closer. ... Emilio Pagan's February trade to the Padres opened up the Rays' closer job to several candidates, amongst which Anderson is the most deserving option. Castillo, Colin Poche and Jose Alvarado could also be in the mix in a possible spring traing competiton.
NOTES: Hand's 11-of-15 save conversions, 5.40 ERA and dropping average fastball velocity and swinging-strike rate during the second half of 2019 have cast some doubt upon the health of his arm, but the Indians' offseason moves haven't given any indication they're concerned about his closer status. Clase has the best skill set to occupy the primary setup role, though Nick Wittgren, last year's man in that role, might provide competition.
NOTES: The Mariners' bullpen is an open competition heading into spring training, but Magill, who was 5-of-7 converting saves with a 3.21 ERA in his final 15 appearances of 2019, is the presumed favorite to close. Tuivailala, Carl Edwards Jr. and Dan Altavilla are other strong possibilities. ... Leclerc might face spring training competition for the closer role from Montero or Jesse Chavez.
NOTES: The Braves indicated shortly after signing Smith on Nov. 14 that Melancon would remain their primary closer to begin the 2020 season, despite the fact that Smith had more saves and strikeouts and the better ERA and WHIP last season (and by considerable amounts in each category). We'll see whether that sticks. ... Kintzler's past experience as a Twins closer in 2016-17 might put him at the head of the Marlins' bullpen, though it's possible that Stanek or Adam Conley could press him for those duties with a strong spring. Jose Urena could also be in the mix if he doesn't land a rotation spot. ... Dominguez avoided Tommy John surgery on his injured UCL, and is expected to have a normal offseason. If all goes well for him on the health front, he'll probably begin 2020 as the Phillies' primary setup man. ... The Nationals might have a fluid back end of their bullpen, but initial indications have Doolittle closing, with Harris and Daniel Hudson setting him up.
NOTES: The Brewers' mix-and-match pitching staff approach leaves their "next in line" option fluid, but Corey Knebel, who had Tommy John surgery on April 3, 2019, might be ready to return by May and could quickly emerge in that role. ... With Felipe Vazquez on MLB administrative leave, Pirates manager Derek Shelton announced Kela as his Opening Day closer at the onset of spring training. Crick and Richard Rodriguez should compete for the primary setup role throughout March. ... Carlos Martinez, the Cardinals' 2019 closer, is expected to compete for a rotation spot during spring training, but if he fails to provide durable enough he's projected to return to his former role. Gallegos, Miller, Alex Reyes and/or Ryan Helsey could be candidates to close should Martinez stick in the rotation.
NOTES: Rockies manager Bud Black announced at the onset of spring training that Davis, who had an 8.65 ERA and was 15-for-18 converting saves in 50 appearances in 2019 but sports a $17 million 2020 salary, will be his Opening Day closer. ... The Dodgers' $10 million signing of Blake Treinen signals that they're confident he could eventually move into the eighth-inning role and, possibly, replace Jansen if one is needed. At the onset of spring training, Baez and Joe Kelly will probably battle for primary setup duties. ... After signing Pomeranz to a four-year, $34 million contract on Nov. 27, Padres general manager A.J. Preller called the left-hander "a guy that can pitch at the back end and pair with [closer Kirby] Yates to give us a really top-notch combination, right- and left-handed." Andres Munoz, Craig Stammen and Jose Castillo are also late-inning options, and would probably begin 2020 third, fourth and fifth in the closer pecking order. ... Giants manager Gabe Kapler said he'll probably go with a closer-by-committee initially. Watson is the most logical choice to lead, but Anderson and Tyler Rogers could be in the mix, assuming Anderson falls short in his race for a rotation spot during the spring.