Thirty-two different relievers recorded saves last week. Two of those relievers (Clay Holmes and Josh Hader) were former and potentially future closers this season. We’ll talk about Holmes a little later but for now Padres manager Bob Melvin is keeping his options open when it comes to Hader and his bullpen. Even though the fantasy baseball season is winding down, bullpens remain as volatile as ever. We’ll identify fantasy baseball’s recent saves and holds leaders and as we often do in this column, we’ll identify a couple of 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 9.6.2022)



Fantasy Baseball Weekly MLB Saves Leaders

Rafael Montero, Astros, 3

Montero has proven to be a very capable handcuff for Astros closer Ryan Pressly, who has been on the IL due to neck spasms. Pressly was expected to only need a minimal stay on the IL but as of Tuesday night he was still dealing with health issues. Once Pressly is reinstated from the IL and back as the Astros’ closer, Montero’s fantasy value will be limited to leagues who feature holds as a category (he has 18 on the season). However, if you have room on your fantasy team’s bench, you’ll want to hold onto him due to Pressly’s reoccurring  neck discomfort. 

Jordan Romano, Blue Jays, 3

Romano has been one of the more reliable closers in the game this season, but he has been especially effective of late. He’s pitched 10.2 consecutive scoreless innings, striking out 13 batters and saving five games in that time span (9 games). Romano’s 30 saves are the second most in baseball. 

John Schreiber, Red Sox, 2

The Red Sox’s bullpen has been a mess this season. As a group their 4.58 ERA is the fourth worst in baseball, but there have been some bright spots of late. Matt Barnes has a 2.84 ERA, 2 saves and 3 holds in his last 14 appearances spanning 12.2 IP. Garrett Whitlock has been closing out games for the Sox recently but with two straight outings in which he gave up three runs, John Schreiber has recorded the Red Sox’s last two saves which gives him seven on the season. Schreiber hasn’t given up a run in his last five appearances. He has a 2.11 ERA and 18 holds on the season. 

Clay Holmes, Yankees, 2

With Aroldis Chapman on the IL recovering from a leg infection, Holmes seems to have reclaimed his job as the Yankees’ closer. In his first four games since being reinstated from the IL, Holmes has given up just one run, saved two games, and he’s struck out six batters in four IP. The Yanks have additional live arms in their bullpen who they can use in late inning high leverage situations like Wandy PeraltaJonathan Loáisiga, Lou Trivino and Ron Marinaccio but with Holmes’ back issues behind him (no pun intended) he’s likely to continue to see the majority of the teams’ save opportunities. 

Fantasy Baseball Weekly MLB Holds Leaders

Anthony Bass, Blue Jays, 3

Bass, who has 15 career saves, has predominantly been used in the seventh and eighth innings of games by the Blue Jays since they acquired him from the Marlins. Bass has had a tremendous season overall, pitching to a 1.38 ERA in 61 games and he has the fifth most holds in baseball with 22. 

Tim Mayza, Blue Jays, 3

Despite missing two weeks of the season, Mayza’s three holds last week give him 14 on the season. 

Eighteen other relievers had two holds last week.

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 two middle relievers who often make multi-inning relief appearances and might have deep league fantasy value based on their recent performance.

Sam Hentges, Guardians

Hentges struck out nine batters while walking just two, and he gave up only one run in 6.1 IP last week. He has a 2.77 ERA,  1.038 WHIP and 10.2 K/9 on the season. 

Hoby Milner, Brewers

Milner pitched 3.2 scoreless innings last week, striking out six batters, while walking two.



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