With just one week left in baseball’s regular season, some fantasy managers find themselves relying on previously little-known pitchers and unexpected closers like Félix Bautista and Jimmy Herget for late-season saves. At the same time, former top closers like Raisel Iglesias and Will Smith, who combined for 71 saves last season, have become excellent resources for holds this season. Just because the season is winding down doesn’t mean that we can expect to see bullpen stability across the board. Three different Yankees relievers have recorded saves over the past two weeks and as we alluded to in our August 31st column the Dodgers are in the process of reconfiguring their bullpen with Craig Kimbrel having been removed as their primary closer. We’ll explain it all in this week’s fantasy baseball closer report.
(The statistics quoted in this article are accurate as of the morning of 9.28.2022)
Fantasy Baseball Weekly MLB Saves Leaders
Dylan Floro, Marlins, 3 Saves
With five saves and a 0.69 ERA in his last 12 appearances, Floro is finishing the season on a high note. Floro won’t be a free agent until the 2024 season and although the Marlins will have a new manager in place, he has a good chance to open the 2023 season as a pitcher who’ll be relied upon in late-inning high leverage situations.
Emmanuel Clase, Guardians, 3 Saves
Clase’s three saves give him a major league-leading 39 on the season. With Josh Hader and Liam Hendriks having slumped at times this season, expect Clase to be the first closer coming off the board in 2023 fantasy baseball drafts.
Camilo Doval, Giants, 3
Doval has established himself as a reliable closer and a mainstay in the Giants’ bullpen. In his 23 appearances dating back to July 31st, Doval has 13 saves and a 1.48 ERA. The 25-year-old fireballer won’t be a free agent until the 2028 season.
Fantasy Baseball Weekly MLB Holds Leaders
10 pitchers recorded two holds last week including:
Brad Boxberger, Brewers, 2 Holds
Boxberger pitched three scoreless innings across three appearances last week. He struck out six batters while walking just one. Boxberger has 29 holds on the season, second most in baseball.
Brandon Hughes, Cubs, 2 Holds
As the Cubs’ co-closer, Hughes pitched 1.2 scoreless innings across three appearances last week. He recorded a save in addition to his two holds. Three other Cub pitchers picked up saves last week including Manuel Rodríguez who made his first appearance with the big-league club on August 26th and has three saves and one hold on the season thus far.
Matt Moore, Rangers, 2 Holds
With José Leclerc taking over as the Rangers’ closer, Moore has been highly effective working in a setup role. In his last 10 appearances, Moore has pitched 9.2 innings, and has won a game, held seven others, and compiled a 0.93 ERA.
Bullpens To Take Note Of
Los Angeles Dodgers
Andre Jackson has been the only Dodger save since the team announced that Craig Kimbrel would no longer be their primary closer. Jackson recorded the save while pitching in long relief (three innings) and has since been sent down to the minor leagues. The Dodgers were hoping that they’d be able to activate Blake Treinen (shoulder) for their playoff run, but his availability depends on how quickly his shoulder bounces back from recent throwing sessions. For now, expect the Dodgers to rely upon a mix of Evan Phillips, Alex Vesia, Brusdar Graterol, and Chris Martin in late inning-high leverage situations. Those four pitchers have pitched a combined 9.1 scoreless innings over the past week.
New York Yankees
The Yankees are another playoff-bound team that is trying to get their bullpen in order as the postseason quickly approaches. Clay Holmes looked unstoppable earlier this season but has a 4.70 ERA in his last seven appearances. Aroldis Chapman hasn’t given up a run in his last three appearances, but recent rumors have the Yanks possibly designating him for assignment before the postseason begins. Wandy Peralta had been a reliever that the Yankees regularly used in late-inning high leverage situations, but he recently hit the IL due to a lower back strain, and his availability for the start of the postseason is in question. Three Yankee relievers have recorded saves over the past two weeks including Holmes, Lou Trivino, and Scott Effross. The Yanks do have a deep and talented bullpen, but we’ll have to wait and see if they rely on one reliever to attempt to close out their victories during the postseason.
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.
Keegan Thompson, Cubs
After spending several weeks on the IL due to a back injury, Thompson worked five scoreless innings across two relief appearances last week. He picked up a win and struck out nine batters.
Shelby Miller, Giants
Miller finally made his 2022 big league season debut this week, pitching 2.2 scoreless innings in relief. He struck out seven batters and didn’t allow a walk.
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