With a few weeks under our belts, the closer roles have become easier to detect. Not every team is as set in stone as the next, so keep an eye out for my weekly updates that will come out on Tuesday. To make things a little easier, the depth chart will be broken down by division, with specific notes to each team.
What?! Your fantasy baseball league is not using Fantrax? Inconceivable! Check out everything Fantrax has to offer, and I’m sure you’ll come around to our way of thinking.
American League Bullpen Depth Chart
|AL EAST||Closer||In The Mix||In The Mix||Stash / *IL|
|BAL||Cesar Valdez||Paul Fry(L)||Tanner Scott(L)||Cole Sulser|
|BOS||Matt Barnes||Adam Ottavino||Darwinzon Hernandez(L)||Garrett Whitlock|
|NYY||Aroldis Chapman(L)||Jonathan Loaisiga||Chad Green||Wandy Peralta(L)|
|TB||Diego Castillo||Peter Fairbanks||J.P. Feyereisen||Ryan Thompson|
|TOR||Jordan Romano||Rafael Dolis||Tyler Chatwood||A.J. Cole|
Baltimore Orioles: Cesar Valdez firmly remains the closer, even without electric velocity. The next likely candidate for saves is Tanner Scott, a southpaw, so matchups could restrict him from grabbing many opportunities.
Boston Red Sox: Ottavino blew a save chance on Thursday but only came into the game because Barnes pitched the previous two days. Barnes sports a 16.9 K/9 and 1.13 ERA, so until further notice, he is the closer. Garrett Whitlock is an intriguing arm if you’re looking for a high strikeout upside.
New York Yankees: It’s pretty obvious, Aroldis Chapman has the role locked up. Chad Green becomes very attractive in SV+H leagues, as he is firmly the setup specialist. However, Green is not a target for strikeouts.
Tampa Bay Rays: Diego Castillo picked up a save this week, bringing his total up to four on the year. Really not much else in the bullpen to write home about. Jeffery Springs grabbed a save when the Rays decided to use Castillo before the ninth, in a high leverage situation. That is worth monitoring for now.
Toronto Blue Jays: The closer carousel continues for the Blue Jays. Julian Merryweather and Jordan Romano go down due to injury. This could be a total committee approach again, but the first crack should be Rafael Dolis. If he is available, you need to pick him up ASAP.
|AL CENTRAL||Closer||In The Mix||In The Mix||Stash / *IL|
|CHW||Liam Hendricks||Aaron Bummer(L)||Codi Heuer||Garrett Crochet(L)|
|CLE||James Karinchak||Emmanuel Clase||Bryan Shaw||Nick Wittgren|
|DET||Michael Fulmer||Gregory Soto(L)||Jose Cisnero||Daniel Norris(L)|
|KC||Josh Staumont||Scott Barlow||Kyle Zimmer||Jakob Junis|
|MIN||Hansel Robles||Taylor Rogers(L)||Tyler Duffey||Alex Colome|
Chicago White Sox: Liam Hendricks is the White Sox closer and picked up another save this week. The bullpen usage has been erratic from Tony LaRussa. Bummer and Crochet offer huge strikeout potential and should be the next man if the unthinkable happens to Hendricks.
Cleveland Team: The three-headed closer dilemma finally looks like it has settled down. Emmanual Clase picked up two saves this week, while Karinchak and Wittgren notched a hold in both of those games. If you can still jump on Clase, you have to do it.
Detroit Tigers: This is a bullpen to avoid unless you are absolutely dying for saves. Any given night, it could be Gregory Soto or Bryan Garcia if the Tigers get a save chance. Neither holds a ton of strikeout potential, even though Soto hurls the ball over 97-mph. My darkhorse pick in the bullpen continues to be Jose Cisnero.
Kansas City Royals: Too many arms and not enough chances. That is the problem in Kansas City. Five different pitchers have recorded a save for the ball club. The closer is Greg Holland, for now, but he is terribly ineffective at times. I would rather stash a more interesting arm that will take his place-like Ryan Zimmer or Josh Staumont.
Minnesota Twins: The Twins bullpen was not utilized this last week very much. That’s probably a good thing Alex Colome, as he struggles to regain form. The situation here is still very murky. If Colome continues to blow saves, they have to choose between Taylor Rogers and Hansel Robles. My lean is still to Robles’ side due to the added fastball velocity.
|AL WEST||Closer||In The Mix||In The Mix||Stash / *IL|
|HOU||Ryan Pressley||Ryan Stanek||Brooks Raley(L)||*Pedro Baez|
|LAA||Raisel Iglesias||Mike Mayers||Tony Watson(L)||Aaron Slegers|
|OAK||Lou Trivino||Jake Diekman(L)||Yusmeiro Petit||Sergio Romo|
|SEA||Kenyan Middleton||Rafael Montero||Anthony Misiewicz(L)||*Kendall Graveman|
|TEX||Ian Kennedy||Joely Rodriguez(L)||Josh Sborz||Taylor Hearn(L)|
Houston Astros: Pressly owners are relieved to see he picked up his first save. He is still yet to allow an earned run and put any competition thoughts for his job very far away. There are quite a few injuries in this bullpen, but if something happens to Pressly, the next man up should be Ryan Stanek. He has looked terrific in 8 2/3 innings pitched.
Los Angeles Angels: Not a lot going on here as well. No save chances, and Iglesias hasn’t had a chance to redeem himself from a start he didn’t imagine. Still, very much Raisel’s gig to keep until further notice. Mike Mayers continues to shine early on the season.
Oakland Athletics: With full confidence from his manager, Lou Trivino gets the nod as the closer. In 10.2 innings of work, Trivino showcases a sparkling 0.84 ERA with two saves. After the blowup and injuries around him, this looks like his closer role is secure.
Seattle Mariners: I don’t know if I can think of a more frustrating bullpen for fantasy owners. Rafael Montero and Kendall Graveman continue to flip-flop on saves chances. Either one looks capable of being the closer; it may just depend on the matchups that day. My gut feeling says it’ll be Graveman because they tend to you him in higher leverage situations.
Texas Rangers: Joely Rodriguez returned from the IL to lose the game on Saturday but then picked up a hold on Monday. This whole bullpen throws heat, but the saves are falling into Ian Kennedy’s lap. Two more this week gives Kennedy four on the season.
National League Bullpen Depth Chart
|NL EAST||Closer||In The Mix||In The Mix||Stash / *IL|
|ATL||Will Smith(L)||Chris Martin||A.J. Minter(L)||Tyler Matzek(L)|
|MIA||Yimi Garcia||Dylan Floro||Anthony Bass||John Curtiss|
|NYM||Edwin Diaz||Trevor May||Miguel Castro||Sean Reid-Foley|
|PHI||Hector Neris||Jose Alvarado(L)||Sam Coonrod||Connor Brogdon|
|WAS||Brad Hand(L)||Daniel Hudson||Wander Suero||*Tanner Rainey|
Atlanta Braves: It took 34 laboring pitches before Will Smith locked down Friday’s save chance. That brings his total up to three on the season. He is still striking out batters at a 40% clip. The bullpen is riddled with southpaws, so unless they want to play a matchup with Luke Jackson, the saves should be all Smiths.
Miami Marlins: Bass out, Yimi Garcia in. And he doesn’t disappoint by saving three games and picking up a win. That’s a massively productive week. After a couple of days off, he will be ready to shut down the game if called upon on Tuesday.
New York Mets: Edwin Diaz looked great this week, locking down both save chances and not needing a ton of pitches to do so. The fastball velocity is there, and except for a non-save opportunity, he looks fine.
Philadelphia Phillies: No save chances were available for Hector Neris. He found some work on Saturday night but more importantly the fastball velocity was down two ticks. That’s pretty shaky and something to take note of. Right on his heels is Connor Brogdon, who features a 95-mph fastball and nearly 10.0 K/9.
Washington Nationals: The concerns for Brad Hand are going away as long as the velocity sticks. Which it currently is. This is a bullpen that hasn’t found a ton of usage coming it’s way. Basically, until further notice, continue to start Hand with confidence. Behind him, Tanner Rainey has struggled and might get pushed down the line for Daniel Hudson.
|NL CENTRAL||Closer||In The Mix #1||In The Mix #2||Stash / *IL|
|CHC||Craig Kimbrel||Andrew Chafin(L)||Ryan Tepera||Rex Brothers(L)|
|CIN||Tejay Antone||Sean Doolittle(L)||Lucas Sims||Amir Garrett(L)|
|MIL||Josh Hader(L)||Devin Williams||Brent Suter(L)||Brad Boxberger|
|PIT||Richard Rodriguez||Kyle Crick||Chris Stratton||David Bednar|
|STL||Alex Reyes||Giovanny Gallegos||Ryan Helsley||Genesis Cabrera|
Chicago Cubs: There was a rash of COVID issues that caused the Cubs to scramble for bullpen arms. In all the calamities, Kimbrel remains the guy and looks like his previous All-Star form. Other than Kimbrel, the Cubs have former closer Brandon Workman and Alec Mills in the pen.
Cincinnati Reds: I still look at this bullpen as a straight committee. And this bullpen could drive fantasy managers mad by switching save chances between Garrett, Sims, Doolittle, and even Tejay Antone. Garrett has looked the worst so far, and Antone is probably more suited for multi-inning relief. I would target Sims and hope he sticks there.
Milwaukee Brewers: Josh Hader is finally getting the save chances and picked up his second on the year. In 6.1 innings of work, he still hasn’t allowed an earned run and is striking out a ton of batters. Important to note, if you’re rostering Devin Williams, it is time to drop him. He won’t get any saves while Hader is there.
Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates aren’t a great team, so they also won’t get many save opportunities. That’s unfortunate for Richard Rodriguez because he only has one save on the year. The good news? He picked up a win this week but counting on that is not a good idea.
St Louis Cardinals: Right now, Alex Reyes is the closer. However, he didn’t pick up any saves this week. The biggest issue is it’s not a matter of if, but when, he gets moved to a long relief or starter role. That will open the door for Jordan Hicks or Giovanny Gallegos. Hicks looks like the future closer and likely finishes the season as the closer.
|NL WEST||Closer||In The Mix||In The Mix||Stash / *IL|
|ARI||Stefan Crichton||Joakim Soria||Kevin Ginkel||Caleb Smith(L)|
|COL||Daniel Bard||Carlos Esteves||Mychal Givens||Robert Stephenson|
|LAD||Kenley Jansen||Blake Treinen||Victor Gonzalez(L)||David Price(L)|
|SD||Mark Melancon||Emilio Pagan||Tim Hill(L)||Austin Adams|
|SF||Jake McGee(L)||Tyler Rogers||Zack Littell||Caleb Baragar(L)|
Arizona Diamondbacks: Stefan Crichton picked up the save on Sunday. Clearly, he is the closer since Ginkel and Lopez pitched the innings before him. Between those three RPs, Crichton has the lowest pitch velocity. Also, Ginkel and Lopez have higher strikeout upside. The rug could get pulled out from Crichton very fast.
Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard has a scorching 98-mph fastball that helps boost his 33% K-rate. So far, he has earned two saves. The good news? There really isn’t anybody in the bullpen to try and take his job. The bad news is that the team may not get many save chances.
Los Angeles Dodgers: For now, Kenley Jansen is the closer, but Dave Roberts has shown no need to stick with one closer. Four different RPs have closed out a game. Except for Victor Gonzalez, the whole bullpen features high strikeout potential and is getting used a lot. You have to roll with Jansen while you can.
San Diego Padres: Mark Melancon only picked up one save this week. Drop him! No, I am kidding, but he has been white-hot. Melancon is a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities. He is not a big strikeout pitcher, so if he crashes from too many batted balls in play, it could get ugly quickly. Usage patterns have been sporadic, but many of these arms are very useful.
San Francisco Giants: Jake McGee scratched together a save last Wednesday but has been quiet since. He needs another day or two after getting the COVID vaccine, which opens the door for a fill-in closer. In his absence, Tyler Rogers and Wandy Peralta each stepped in to record one. If you’re looking for a very high strikeout upside RP, Camilo Doval makes batters look foolish.
For more help, check out Eric Cross’s latest Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire column.
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2020 and we’re not stopping now. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.