Fantasy Baseball Closer Chart (last updated September 20)
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: Giles has been battling an elbow injury almost nonstop since the All-Star break, and while his availability on any given night has been hit-or-miss, he does seem healthy enough and locked into the closer role as of the beginning of September. Law, however, is 4-of-5 converting saves with a 2.45 ERA in 16 appearances since the beginning of August (through Sept. 10), establishing himself as Giles' fill-in on any night necessary.
NOTES: Usual Indians closer Brad Hand has struggled of late, going only 11-of-15 converting his save chances with a 5.68 ERA in 20 appearances since the All-Star break (through Sept. 16), and he was diagnosed with a tired elbow during the Sept. 13-15 weekend, albeit one lacking in any structural damage. Adam Cimber picked up a save in Hand's place on Sept. 11 and Oliver Perez on Sept. 15, but Wittgren seems the most logical fill-in most nights, with Tyler Clippard also a candidate in a likely committee. ... Despite his 6.19 ERA in 17 appearances since the trade deadline (through Sept. 10), Farmer still appears to be the Tigers' first choice to pitch the eighth inning and set up Jimenez's saves. Still, Jose Cisnero and Bryan Garcia have begun working into the late-inning mix and could soon provide competition for the role.
NOTES: Harris is 2-of-3 converting saves with 11 holds and a 1.35 ERA in 21 appearances since the All-Star break (through Sept. 10). Even if Ryan Pressly (knee, IL) is able to return before the season ends, Harris might well retain the primary setup role behind Osuna. ... Magill has blown two of his past four save chances and has a 6.75 ERA in his past six appearances (through Sept. 10), so Bass has gotten the call to successfully convert back-to-back saves (Sept. 10 and 11).
NOTES: Melancon is a perfect 9-for-9 converting saves albeit with a 4.09 ERA in 12 appearances since taking over as the Braves' closer (through Sept. 10), though it's worth pointing out Greene's recent excellence in a setup capacity. Greene has one save, seven holds and a 1.29 ERA in his past 14 appearances and is more than capable of stepping in to close on Melancon's off nights or if Melancon falls into a funk. ... The Marlins have generated just five ninth-inning save chances since Sergio Romo's trade on July 27, with Urena and Stanek combining to go 2-of-5 converting them. Urena, the former starter who recently returned from the injured list, converted a successful save in his first opportunty on Sept. 3, but blew his second on the very next night in spectacular fashion. It appears that manager Don Mattingly intends to have Urena close in September, but if the right-hander falters, he might have to turn back to Stanek, or perhaps to Jarlin Garcia or Adam Conley. ... Have the Mets morphed into a closer-by-committee team? Lugo has been by far the team's most effective reliever since the All-Star break, going 5-of-6 converting saves with eight holds and a 1.93 ERA in 21 appearances (through Sept. 10), but manager Mickey Callaway seems to still trust Diaz enough to hand him save opportunities. Diaz's ineffectiveness, though, makes Lugo the one in which to invest, and note that Justin Wilson did pick up a save on Sept. 10 on Lugo's off night.. ... The Nationals haven't generated a single save chance in the month of September, making the identity of their closer on any given night difficult. Doolittle would seem the logical top choice, but he worked the seventh inning in a 6-2 game on Sept. 11 as the team tries to build up his stamina. Fernando Rodney and Daniel Hudson worked the eighth and ninth in that game, so it's possible that that's the current pecking order.
NOTES: Craig Kimbrel (elbow) was activated by the Cubs on Sept. 19, and he served up a home run in a losing effort while striking out two batters in that night's game. While he hasn't looked the part of an elite closer during the season's second half, the team should continue to use him in that role so long as he's on the active roster. ... Hader has converted five consecutive save chances and has 10 1/3 scoreless innings in his past eight games (through Sept. 11), and continues to maintain his grasp on the Brewers' primary closer role. Since he is often used in multi-inning outings, though, there are save chances to go around between his outings, and Pomeranz, Junior Guerra and Matt Albers all appear to be factors for those when the matchups call. ... Felipe Vazquez was placed on administrative leave by MLB on Sept. 17. The Pirates had been going with a setup-by-committee approach in recent weeks, but Kela's past experience and four holds in his past six scoreless appearances (through Sept. 16) makes him the most likely closer fill-in. Rodriguez, Francisco Liriano and Michael Feliz could all get chances if the team decides to go with a closer-by-committee.
NOTES: Bradley was unavailable to close the Diamondbacks' Sept. 16 game, with details on his absence unknown. In his place, Kevin Ginkel got the save. ... Diaz has converted three consecutive saves for the Rockies over a six-day span (Sept. 6 , 10 and 11), giving him the look of the team's clear closer. Estevez and Bryan Shaw appear to be setting Diaz up most nights. ... Will Smith returned from a back injury to save the Giants' Sept. 15 game. Assuming full health, he should handle the save chances from this point forward, with Anderson and Jandel Gustave available to step in if necessary.