Fantasy Baseball Closer Chart (last updated July 21)
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: None of the Orioles' most logical closer candidates has pitched well of late. Sulser has been scored upon in three straight appearances, Fry has an 11.57 ERA in three July appearances and Dillon Tate has a 10.80 ERA in four games in the month. Tanner Scott and Tyler Wells could get opportunities, but it still seems likely that this pecking order goes Sulser-Fry, for now. (7/12) ... While he has been scored upon in 7-of-13 appearances, has a 13.97 ERA during that stretch and allowed a run in his July 20 save, Chapman appears to once again be Yankees manager Aaron Boone's preferred choice to close. Britton, activated from the injured list on July 15, appears solidified in the team's primary setup role. Chad Green could get ninth-inning looks if either is unavailable or Boone chooses to play the matchups in the late frames. (7/21) ... The Rays continue to play the matchups in the ninth inning, with Castillo and Fairbanks their top two choices, generally speaking. J.P. Feyereisen landed on the injured list on July 20, so Matt Wisler and Andrew Kittredge would probably now be their Nos. 3 and 4 in the pecking order. (7/21)
NOTES: Clase has a pair of blown saves in four appearances in July, while Karinchak has one blown save but also a pair of wins and a hold. These two continue to share the closer duties, but Karinchak might be the hotter hand right now. (7/12) ... The Tigers' bullpen has been much better since the All-Star break, with a league-leading 0.48 ERA, but they still prefer a closer-by-committee arrangement at the back end. Interestingly, Soto got the save on July 20, despite three Rangers righties being due up in the ninth. He's still the most talented arm, and therefore most fantasy-worthy, of the bunch. (7/21) ... While it was merely one game, as the Royals have gone closer-by-committee in the ninth inning all year, Holland did record the save on July 20, with Barlow setting him up. They're the top two options for save chances in this bullpen, though Kyle Zimmer, Josh Staumont or Jake Brentz could factor in the eighth or ninth if the matchup calls for it. (7/21) ... The Twins have been using a closer partnership between these two, both of whom might be trade candidates in advance of the July 30 deadline. (7/20)
NOTES: Cishek has 10 consecutive scoreless appearances and has begun getting eighth-inning looks in front of Iglesias. Mike Mayers and Tony Watson, however, are also still involved in that mix. (7/12)
NOTES: Bender has been scored upon in each of his past three appearances, but the Marlins have still handed him the ball in the ninth with a lead in three of his past four outings, a signal that they now see him as the next-in-line behind Garcia. Garcia, by the way, is 4-of-6 converting his save chances with a 6.57 ERA in 14 games since June 1, and he's an impending free agent who might be traded before the July 30 deadline. (7/12) ... Diaz has blown three straight saves, allowing seven runs in three innings during that time, which is notable in that May saved each of the Mets' July 18 and 19 comeback victories (the latter one of Diaz's blown saves). There has been no signal yet of a change in roles, but Diaz might be only one more poor outing away from a demotion to low-leverage work. (7/20) ... The Phillies' July 16, 17 and 18 victories, each providing ninth-inning save chances, gave a bit of a glimpse into their late-inning pecking order. Suarez converted the July 16 save but blew the one on July 17. Neris pitched the sixth and seventh on July 17, then got the save on Suarez's day off on July 18. Archie Bradley set up Suarez in the July 16 game, so it seems clear that these are manager Joe Girardi's top three, in that order, with Jose Alvarado fourth at best. (7/19)
NOTES: Hembree pitched the eighth inning of the Reds' July 20 game, with Garrett ultimately recording the save in the ninth, despite the fact that Hembree is 5-of-6 converting his save chances with a 2.08 ERA in nine appearances in July, while Garrett is 2-of-4 converting saves with a 3.86 ERA in 10 games in the month. Matchups probably had something to do with it: The Mets had righties J.D. Davis and James McCann due up to begin the eighth, with lefties Dominic Smith and Brandon Nimmo likely aligned for the ninth. (7/21) ... The Brewers placed Devin Williams (elbow) on the 10-day injured list on July 17, only to see Boxberger, their next-most-likely primary setup man behind Hader, exit that day's game with an injury of his own. If Boxberger needs to miss additional time, the team might need to turn to Hunter Stickland, Brent Suter or Jake Cousins in the eighth inning. (7/19)
NOTES: After Rogers had an ugly blown save on July 20 (3 ER, 0 IP), perhaps the Giants should reconsider their closer partnership. McGee hasn't allowed an earned run in 16 appearances since June 1, and he's a perfect 7-of-7 converting saves with four holds in that time. Giants manager Gabe Kapler seems to prefer a matchups-driven approach to the late frames, but keep an eye on this partnership. (7/21)