Even though the baseball season is winding down, many of us fantasy baseball managers continue to seek out any closers who can help us remain competitive in our league’s saves category.  We’ll identify a closer who is actually available in 83% of Yahoo! leagues. In addition, and as we often do in this column, we’ll identify three under the radar relievers who can sometimes provide better weekly fantasy production than some ordinary starting pitchers. Don’t forget to utilize our Closer Grid throughout the week. It’s a great resource for identifying bullpen closers, handcuffs, and sleepers. 

(The statistics quoted in this article are accurate as of the morning of 9.13.2022)


Fantasy Baseball Weekly MLB Saves Leaders

José Leclerc, Rangers, 3

Leclerc, who is rostered in just 17% of Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues, has picked up the Rangers’ last three saves and is now firmly entrenched as the Rangers’ closer. He has five saves, two holds and a 1.84 ERA in his last 14 games. Leclerc also has 21 strikeouts in 14.2 IP during that time span. Jésus Tinoco is not on our closer grid, but he’s a pitcher you need to familiarize yourself with. The Rangers have been using him in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings of late and he’s pitched six scoreless innings and recorded three holds in five appearances since September 1st. Tinoco recorded 13 saves for the Rangers’ Triple-A franchise this season.

Ryan Helsley, Cardinals, 3

Helsley has recorded saves in his last four appearances and unfortunately, he also has given up a run in his last two appearances as well. He’s also recorded the last four saves that a Cardinals pitcher has recorded. Giovanny Gallegos is still pitching in late inning high leverage situations and picking up occasional saves as well. Helsley has 16 saves and Gallegos has 13 saves on the season.

Emmanuel Clase, Guardians, 3

Clase’s three saves last week give him an MLB leading 34 saves. James Karinchak recorded two saves last week and is firmly entrenched as Clase’s handcuff. 

Jordan Romano, Yankees, 3

Romano pitched three scoreless innings last week, striking out five batters and walking none. His three saves last week puts him right behind Clase with 33 saves on the season. 

Fantasy Baseball Weekly MLB Holds Leaders

Trevor Stephan, Guardians, 4

Stephan pitched 3.1 scoreless innings last week. He struck out four batters and walked just one. Stephan has a 1.40 ERA and 13 holds in his last 25 appearances dating back to July 10th.

Matt Moore, Rangers, 3

Moore pitched 2.2 scoreless innings on his way to recording three holds last week. He has a 2.14 ERA on the season.

The Phillies had a trio of relievers who held three games each last week including

Andrew Bellatti

Bellatti who was out of major league baseball for six years looks like he has found a home within the Phillies organization. He has a sparkling 1.04 ERA, four holds and one save, (he has two on the season), in his last nine appearances. 

José Alvarado

Alvarado, who has 21 career big league saves, has given up just one run in his last 15 appearances. He’s picked up a win, struck out 19 batters in 13.1 IP, and held nine games during that time frame. 

Brad Hand

Hand’s three holds last week gives him 13 on the season. The Phillies typically use him in the eighth or ninth innings of games. He has 131 career saves and five on the season.

Fourteen other relievers had two holds last week.

Bullpens To Take Note Of

Atlanta Braves

Kenley Jansen has blown three saves and pitched to an 11.12 ERA in his last seven appearances dating back to August 27th. The Braves have an extremely deep bullpen including Raisel Iglesias who, with 157 career saves, is no stranger to closing out games. Iglesias hasn’t given up a run in 14 appearances dating back to August 10th. He’s saved a game, held seven others and struck out 13 batters in 12.2 IP during that time span. A.J. Minter (who has 25 career saves) and Collin McHugh also have experience working in late inning high pressure situations.  

Middle Relievers Who Should Be On Your Radar in Deep Leagues

With starting pitchers averaging 5.2 innings per start so far this season, in some instances you might get similar, or even better production by using a top middle relief pitcher instead of a mediocre starting pitcher in a given week. The following are examples of middle relievers who often make multi-inning relief appearances and might have deep league fantasy value based on their recent performance.

Hayden Wesneski, Cubs

The rookie Wesneski has been used in long relief since joining the Cubs on September 6th. He pitched 8.2 innings across two relief appearances striking out 11 batters while walking just two. He has a 3.12 ERA and 0.923 WHIP in limited action thus far.

Mychal Givens, Mets

Givens, who has 31 career saves, pitched five scoreless innings across three appearances last week, striking out nine batters while walking just two. 

Garrett Cleavinger, Rays

Cleavinger’s overall stats are not impressive, but he did pitch 4 scoreless innings across two games last week. He struck out seven batters and walked just one during that time span. 



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