Fantasy Baseball Closer Chart (last updated May 25)
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: Givens appears to be Orioles manager Brandon Hyde's go-to option in the ninth inning, but the right-hander has absorbed three consecutive losses (through May 24) and might soon lose his grip on the role. Armstrong, Paul Fry, Miguel Castro and Richard Bleier have all been used in late-and-close situations recently and could factor into the mix. ... We're back to it being anyone's guess whether Brasier or Barnes will get the Red Sox's next save opportunity. Brandon Workman even earned a save on May 19. ... While the identity of the Rays' closer on any given night remains unclear, Alvarado appears to have moved himself back into consideration, having earned save chances on both May 17 and 18 (though he blew the former opportunity). Castillo, Alvarado and Emilio Pagan are all in the mix.
NOTES: The Twins have given ninth-inning save chances to Parker (7), Rogers (4), Trevor Hildenberger (1) and Mike Morin (1) already this season (through May 20), with each of those pitchers successfully converting every opportunity, as good a hint as any that manager Rocco Baldelli views his closer situation as a committee. Parker and Rogers appear to be the clear two favorites, in that order, Morin has moved himself into consideration in recent days, and Trevor May could also move into the mix at some point. Hildenberger was optioned to the minors on May 15.
NOTES: Cody Allen rejoined the Angels on May 7, though he's working in lower-pressure situations after struggling in the closer role to begin the season. Robles and Buttrey have been sharing the closer duties in Allen's absence, with Robles getting the slight edge on most nights due to manager Brad Ausmus' tendency to keep Buttrey available for longer outings and/or critical spots in the middle-to-late frames. ... Anthony Swarzak's trade to the Braves on May 20 presumably locked Elias into the Mariners' closer role, though manager Scott Servais' tendency to use the left-hander for multiple innings does open things up to alternatives. Brennan is probably in the lead for the role of Elias' primary setup man, though Cory Gearrin, Austin Adams and newly acquired Jesse Biddle could all factor in. Hunter Strickland (lat, IL), who began the year the Mariners' closer, is targeting a mid-June return to action. ... Kelley has converted all three Rangers saves -- in all three of their games -- since he was activated from the IL on May 21. He's their go-to option in the ninth inning, so long as he remains healthy and/or at least until Jose Leclerc proves himself worthy of recapturing the job.
NOTES: Jackson, the Braves' de facto closer since A.J. Minter's May 10 demotion to Triple-A Gwinnett, has blown back-to-back save chances May 18 and 21, perhaps casting some doubt upon his grip on the role. Newcomb notched a save on May 20 and has seven consecutive scoreless appearances (through May 21) since his move to the bullpen, so he could soon get a look in the role. Jacob Webb, Dan Winkler and Anthony Swarzak also have factored into recent primary setup duty. ... Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has shown a tendency to mix and match with his bullpen, with Neris (9), Pat Neshek (3), Nicasio (1) and Edubray Ramos (1) all receiving ninth-inning save chances thus far. Neris and Neshek successfully converted each of their opportunities, while Nicasio blew his only chance on May 21. David Robertson (elbow, IL) and Seranthony Dominguez lurk as candidates for later in the season. Neshek (shoulder) is headed to the IL.
NOTES: The Cubs' top two options to close, Brandon Morrow (elbow, IL) and Pedro Strop (hamstring, IL), are on the shelf, and while manager Joe Maddon has said the team will use a closer-by-committee in their absence, Cishek appears to be his go-to guy. Brach, Carl Edwards Jr., Kyle Ryan and Brandon Kintzler should all be in the mix for setup duty. Morrow and Strop, incidentally, have both resumed throwing as of May 20. ... Carlos Martinez rejoined the Cardinals' bullpen May 17 and pitched consecutive scoreless outings May 18-19. He probably won't factor into the late-inning mix right away, but could be a factor later in the year if successful in lower-pressure situations initially.
NOTES: Rockies manager Bud Black said Oberg will serve as his primary closer while Wade Davis (oblique, IL) is sidelined, though Davis' absence isn't expected to be lengthier than the 10-day minimum. Shaw has pitched well enough to be an option if Oberg struggles, with Carlos Estevez also a candidate for late-inning work. ... Joe Kelly's struggles have opened up the setup duties to other members of the Dodgers' bullpen. Kelly, Baez, Dylan Floro and Scott Alexander have all been used in that capacity in the early stages of May.