It’s been an eventful week for fantasy baseball managers monitoring the fantasy baseball closer market in the never-ending search for saves. Liam Hendriks is proof positive that you can’t keep a good man down. After beating cancer and being reinstated from the IL it took him just a little over a week to reclaim his role as closer and record his first save of the fantasy baseball season for the Chicago White SoxAndres Munoz, who is one step away from closing out games for the Seattle Mariners, made his return this week after spending time on the IL. The Colorado Rockies have themselves a new closer and the Miami Marlins got their closer back from the IL. We’ll cover all the bullpen usage news that you need to know about and identify some middle relief pitchers who should be on your radar. 

Unless otherwise noted the statistics quoted in this article are accurate as of Wednesday morning June 7, 2023. 



Fantasy Baseball MLB Bullpen Updates

Colorado Rockies

The Rockies entered the preseason expecting Daniel Bard to be their primary closer, however he started the season on the IL due to anxiety. The Rockies turned to Pierce Johnson to close out their games and while he converted 11 of his 12 save chances and missed a ton of bats (12.3 K/9), his 6.56 ERA, 10.8 H/9 and 5.8 BB/9 left a lot to be desired. After watching Johnson blow a save opportunity against the Diamondbacks last Thursday the Rockies gave Justin Lawrence the chance to close out potential victories for them on Friday and Saturday and he recorded saves on consecutive days. Lawrence leads the Rockies with seven holds, and he has been one of the Rockies’ best relievers this season. Bard (1.04 ERA) has been very effective since being reinstated off the IL, but the Rockies have been reluctant to use him in save situations. While it would make sense for the Rockies to use Lawrence as their primary closer moving forward however if he continues to be successful, they may end up eventually using him as trade bait and there’s a good chance that he won’t be the closer on his potential new team.  

Miami Marlins

After missing close to a month of the season due to left elbow nerve irritation A.J. Puk was finally activated from the IL on Tuesday. Before his injury, Puk had settled into a role as the Marlins’ closer, converting six of seven save chances. He missed plenty of bats (11.7 K/9) and demonstrated good control over his pitches (1.8 BB/9). Dylan Floro recorded six saves while Puk was sidelined but gave up at least three runs in three of his 11 appearances and pitched to a 9.00 ERA during that time. With Puk back, he’ll be a good resource for holds. 

Middle Relievers Who Should Be On Your Radar

The following are a few relievers who provide good ratios, can be good resources for holds, and occasionally make multiple inning appearances. They might be worth streaming in place of mediocre starting pitchers:

Trevor Richards, Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays have been using Richards as a middle reliever this season and he has occasionally made multi-inning appearances. Over his last 9.2 IP spanning seven appearances Richards has struck out 14 batters, walked just three and pitched to a 1.86 ERA. He’s held two games during that time frame. 

Steven Okert, Miami Marlins

In his last 17 appearances spanning 14.1 IP, Okert has pitched to a 1.26 ERA, and he has struck out 25 batters while walking just four. He’s picked up two wins and three holds during that time span. 

Scott McGough, Arizona Diamondbacks

Some fantasy managers and analysts speculated that McGough would have an opportunity to regularly close out games for the Diamondbacks this season but unfortunately that hasn’t been the case. He did record one save in his second appearance of the season, but from there he slumped a bit and the Diamondbacks primarily used him in the seventh and eighth innings. McGough has been on a roll of late and he hasn’t given up a run in his last nine appearances spanning 13 IP. During that time McGough has struck out 20 batters and he’s picked up four holds. Miguel Castro and Andrew Chafin have been utilized as co-closers this season, but McGough did collect 80 saves while pitching in Japan and he does have a potential path to saves should they be unavailable.  


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