Whether it’s due to a current closer’s ineffectiveness, or a trade, or a sudden injury, we’re likely to see at least one new closer emerge in the second half of the fantasy baseball season. 

Last season we saw Baltimore Orioles reliever Felix Bautista and Cincinnati Reds reliever Alexis Diaz develop into reliable closers in the second half of the 2022 season. Bautista took over as the Orioles’ closer after they traded All-Star closer Jorge Lopez to the Minnesota Twins. Keep in mind that with so many teams still currently in the running for a Wild Card spot we may not see baseball’s trade market heat up until we get much closer to the August 1st trade deadline.

As for Diaz, a combination of injuries and general ineptitude within the Reds’ bullpen cleared the way for the mega talented reliever to grab hold of the team’s closers role last season and he’s yet to let go.  Together Bautista and Diaz collected 20 saves after the All-Star break last season and are currently featured among the elite relievers on our closer grid.

Elite closers don’t grow on trees and there’s no guarantee that even one closer with the kind of talent that Bautista and Diaz possess will emerge before the end of the season, but you never know so let’s dig deep and familiarize ourselves with a few relievers who could eventually play an important late inning role in their respective teams’ bullpen.



Fantasy Baseball MLB Bullpen Updates

Jose A. Ferrer, Washington Nationals

As we mentioned last week, the Nationals will likely be sellers as MLB’s trade deadline approaches. With one of Kyle Finnegan, Hunter Harvey or Carl Edwards Jr. potentially being traded. Jose A. Ferrer could eventually find himself being used in late inning high leverage situations. Ferrer has only made five appearances for the Nats this season, but he does have 13 saves in his minor league career. Ferrer throws a fastball that tops out in the upper 90’s and also features a changeup and a hard slider as part of his repertoire. He has averaged 11 strikeouts per nine IP in his five seasons in the minor leagues and should be on your watch list.

Jose Cuas, Kansas City Royals

The Royals are also likely to be sellers as baseball’s trade deadline approaches and Scott Barlow, their current closer, could net them some valuable prospects in a potential trade. Jose Cuas is another reliever who has some experience in closing out games in his minor league career. Cuas started his career as a position player but as his hitting skills plateaued his pitching skills started to take off and got him notoriety. In five minor league seasons, Cuas pitched to a 2.64 ERA and saved 17 games. He features a three-pitch arsenal anchored by a hard sinker and supplemented by his changeup and slider. Cuas needs to work on his command but overall, he has progressed in his second season in the major leagues. In his last 15 appearances he has pitched to a 2.70 ERA, and he has struck out 13 batters in 13.1 IP. Cuas has been especially effective against left-handed batters this season who have a .189 BAA him. Carlos Hernandez is another Royals reliever who could benefit should the Royals decide to trade BarlowHe doesn’t have the same type of career minor league pedigree as Cuas, but he has been equally effective against right-handed and left-handed pitchers this season. Hernandez has been primarily used in the seventh inning of games lately and has a 0.73 ERA in his last 10 appearances.  

Tim Mayza, Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano was removed from the All-Star game on Tuesday night due to back tightness. As this article is being written the extent of the injury is unknown but should he need to miss time Erik Swanson would likely fill in as the Blue Jays’ closer. The Blue Jays are fortunate enough to have a deep bullpen and Yimi Garcia, who has 19 career saves, would also likely be used in late inning high leverage situations. Tim Mayza is another Blue Jays reliever who has had good success this season and has occasionally been used in high pressure late inning situations. He has four career saves, one of which was recorded this season and Mayza also has 11 holds on the season. He has a 1.17 ERA and a 9.4 K/9 to go along with a stingy 1.5 BB/9.


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