Fantasy Baseball Closer Chart (last updated May 8)
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: Valdez has four of the Orioles' five saves thus far and has been excellent in the closer role, posting a 0.96 ERA and 26.3% strikeout rate. Scott, Paul Fry and Dillon Tate have been mixing and matching behind him in setup duty. (4/22) ... Barnes has been excellent in the closer role thus far, going 3-of-3 converting his save chances with a 1.00 ERA and 50.0% strikeout rate. Ottavino continues to get the eighth-inning work despite his sluggish start to the year (6.35 ERA). (4/22) ... The Yankees have increasingly used Jonathan Loaisiga in shorter and higher-leverage appearances in the past few weeks, and he has one save, three holds and a 0.00 ERA in his past seven appearances, creeping up on Green for the honor of Chapman's primary setup man. (5/6) ... The Rays placed Diego Castillo, owner of seven of the team's 11 saves so far in 2021, on the injured list with a groin injury on May 5, activating Fairbanks from the IL in a corresponding move. Jeffrey Springs then notched the save in the team's game that night, a signal that this will be a similar closer-by-committee arrangement to 2020 while Castillo is out. Fairbanks, Springs, Thompson, Andrew Kittredge and Hunter Strickland might all get chances when the matchups dictate it. (5/6) ... Romano returned from the injured list in time to absorb the loss on April 24, having entered a tie game at the time. Dolis closed the April 25 game, a signal that these two could be involved in a partnership until Romano proves himself worthy of the role on his own. (4/26)
NOTES: Clase has four of Cleveland's past five saves, and Karinchak has three eighth-inning holds and a 10th-inning save in his past four appearances, lining this bullpen up in this clear pecking order. (4/22) ... Tigers manager A.J. Hinch did not name a formal Opening Day closer, and to his word, Soto and Garcia each have two saves as the team has gone with the matchups in the late frames. Soto has both the best stuff and is off to the strongest start of this bunch, but Garcia, Jose Cisnero, Buck Farmer and Daniel Norris are all candidates for late-inning work. (4/22) ... Staumont has each of the Royals' past three saves, all of them games in which Holland was on the active roster after a one-day injured list stint presumably for COVID-19 protocols. While it's possible that manager Mike Matheny is simply easing Holland back into high-leverage work, the signals are there that this is now Staumont's job. Previously, this had been a committee picture, including Staumont, Holland, Scott Barlow and Wade Davis. (4/29) ... Just as quickly as Rogers appeared to wrest the Twins' closer role from Colome, things might be swinging back in the other direction. Rogers has struggled in his two May save chances, allowing four total runs and two home runs, while Colome has turned in back-to-back scoreless appearances. This bullpen might well be in closer-by-committee status, with these two, and perhaps also Tyler Duffey or Hansel Robles, involved. (5/6)
NOTES: Mayers' stint on the 10-day injured list was short, just one day in length, but he was activated on May 5 to reclaim the Angels' primary setup role. (5/6) ... Three different Athletics relievers -- Trivino, Diekman and Yusmeiro Petit -- have recorded saves thus far, signaling this more of a closer-by-committee than Trivino's job exclusively. Diekman has pitched the ninth in each of his past two appearances, registering a save and a win, so this looks like a partnership between the former two. (5/8) ... Graveman and Montero each has four saves, but Graveman has clearly outpitched Montero thus far and has been getting the majority of the highest-leverage assignments. Expect Montero to get the easier save chances, with Graveman getting the tougher ones. (5/8)
NOTES: Chris Martin's (fingers, shoulder) placement on the injured list on April 10 opened up the primary setup role in the Braves' bullpen. Minter has gotten each of the past two eighth-inning calls with a lead, though Tyler Matzek and Sean Newcomb might also be factors in a setup capacity. (4/22) ... Garcia is a perfect 4-of-4 converting saves since taking over the role from Anthony Bass, who continues to work in lower-leverage middle innings. Floro has pitched well in the primary setup role and should continue to occupy the eighth. (4/22) ... Alvarado served as Neris' night-off fill-in on May 5, after serving a two-game suspension. He appears back in the primary setup role. (5/6) ... Hudson worked the eighth inning with Tanner Rainey handling the seventh in the Nationals' back-to-back victories April 20-21, a clear sign of the team's preferred bullpen hierarchy. (4/22)
NOTES: The Cubs' May 7 game illustrates the wide-open competition for the primary setup chores behind Kimbrel. Chafin, Ryan Tepera and Rex Brothers all got a chance to finish that game off, with Kimbrel apparently unavailable, not that any was that effective. (5/8) ... The Reds won on April 26, snapping a seven-game losing streak, so it's been difficult to get a read on their closer picture. Garrett (14.21 ERA) and Sims (6.23) have struggled thus far, while Tejay Antone (0.66) has been the team's clear bullpen standout. Since Antone is usually reserved for multi-inning outings, he might not be a closer candidate, but this committee could draw from any of the three, as well as perhaps Sean Doolittle, Carson Fulmer or Sal Romano. (4/27) ... Brewers manager Craig Counsell said on April 13 that he'd remove Devin Williams from high-leverage work in the short term, per MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, opening up the team's primary setup role to competition. Feyereisen, Brad Boxberger and Brent Suter have most often been getting those opportunities since, but after Feyereisen worked out of a bases-loaded, eighth-inning jam on April 22, extending his season-opening scoreless streak to 9 2/3 innings, he might've stepped up to claim the gig. (4/22) ... Between his own perfect 8-of-8 performance converting his save chances and Jordan Hicks' (elbow inflammation) May 4 placement on the injured list with an expected absence of 3-4 weeks, Reyes looks locked into the Cardinals' closer role. Gallegos has also been excellent and serving as Reyes' primary setup man. (5/5)
NOTES: The Diamondbacks activated Chris Devenski from the restricted list on April 29, but he pitched the fifth inning of that night's game. Crichton picked up his third save, another sign that this job is fully his. Ginkel pitched the eighth in that game. (4/30) ... After a sluggish first 10 days of 2021, Jansen has rebounded with renewed velocity, four straight successful saves and 11 strikeouts in his past 21 batters faced. He appears to have reestablished himself the Dodgers' clear closer. The team's setup corps has fallen on some hard times due to recent injuries, as Corey Knebel (lat) and Brusdar Graterol (forearm) are currently on the 10-day IL. (4/30) ... While McGee's recent struggles -- a 10.80 ERA and three home runs allowed in his past seven appearances -- hinted at a loosening of his grip on the Giants' closer role, he got the save chance on May 7 and converted it with three strikeouts. Manager Gabe Kapler said on May 5 that Rogers, who has a 1.02 ERA, two saves and eight holds in 17 appearances, might get some ninth-inning looks going forward, so we'll see whether he's truly in the mix. (5/8)