It was another active week for fantasy baseball managers seeking additional pitching resources who can help them climb up the ranks in the saves and holds categories. Two former closers are once again in the mix for save opportunities moving forward and are worth a look if they are available on your fantasy baseball waiver wire. One earned his way back by turning back the clock and the other got his job back after the pitcher who replaced him as his team’s closer suffered a potential long-term injury. We’ll talk about those two pitchers and another closer who has been slumping lately and could be in jeopardy of losing his job. We’ll also identify a few middle relief pitchers who have some fantasy value that you should be aware of. 

Unless otherwise noted the statistics quoted in this article are accurate as of Wednesday morning July 19th, 2023. 



Fantasy Baseball MLB Bullpen Updates

Texas Rangers

We should have seen it coming when the Rangers traded for Aroldis Chapmanbut last weekend manager Bruce Bochy officially confirmed that both Chapman and Will Smith would operate as co-closers moving forward. At 35 years old Chapman, who has 318 career saves, looks like his old self. His velocity has gradually crept up to his previous career norms and it often surpasses the 100 MPH mark. With both Chapman and Smith being left-handed Bochy’s strategy may seem a bit odd, but he told the media that he and pitching coach Mike Maddux will evaluate best matchups in determining which reliever will have the opportunity to close out Rangers games on any given day. Bochy is no stranger to successfully using multiple closers in one season. He utilized two closers on two of his three world championship teams. Unfortunately, neither Chapman nor Smith can be expected to be significant contributors to the saves and holds categories moving forward. Their new roles work against their potential fantasy production. Usually if one pitcher is closing out a game the other will be working as the setup man and brought in to hold the lead.

Washington Nationals

After losing his closers job to Hunter Harvey due to his ineffectiveness, Kyle Finnegan is back closing out games for the Nationals. Harvey was placed on the IL due to an elbow injury and he could be on the shelf for an extended period. Finnegan had been the subject of trade rumors and still could be moved before the trade deadline, but at least for the short term, he should be rostered by fantasy baseball managers looking for a boost in the saves category. Should Finnegan be traded before the MLB deadline he will likely be a better resource for holds instead of saves while pitching for his new team. Unfortunately, if Finnegan is traded, with Carl Edwards Jr. Jr. and Harvey on the IL there isn’t enough depth in the Nationals bullpen to definitively name one Nat reliever as the clear next man up. However, Jose Ferrer, who despite having had an uneven start to his big-league career, is an interesting name to watch. He has 13 career saves over his last two minor league seasons. 

Miami Marlins

Keep an eye on Tanner Scott as a potential replacement for Marlins closer A.J. Puk who has been struggling lately. Puk has a 13.50 ERA in his last five appearances dating back to July 5th. He has a 1-2 won/lost record, one save and two blown saves during that time frame. Scott has a 0.79 ERA and 19 strikeouts in his last 11.1 IP. He’s blown a save but he’s also recorded six holds in that time span which includes 10 appearances. 

Arizona Diamondbacks

Kevin Ginkel has established himself as a potential future contributor to the fantasy baseball saves category. With Andrew Chafin on the paternity list as this article is being written, the Diamondbacks have been utilizing Ginkel in late inning high leverage situations. He recorded saves on Tuesday and Wednesday. Ginkel is no stranger to closing out games. He has 38 career saves between his major and minor league career. Ginkel’s save opportunities will likely fade once Chafin is reinstated but he should be on your watch list.

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

Richards has often been called upon to make multi-inning relief appearances this season and has been very effective of late. In his last nine appearances Richards has pitched 14.1 innings. He has struck out 21 batters while walking just four. He has one win, two holds and a blown save during that period. 

Chris Stratton, St. Louis Cardinals

Stratton has been one of the bright spots in the Cardinals’ bullpen. In his previous eight appearances leading up to Wednesday’s action Stratton had pitched to a 1.04 ERA and he’s struck out 10 batters while walking just one during that time frame. Opposing hitters are batting .133 against him and he has one hold in those appearances. Stratton picked up his first save of the season on Wednesday. 

Joel Payamps, Milwaukee Brewers

Payamps hasn’t given up a run in his last 16 innings pitched spanning 15 appearances. He has 20 strikeouts, three walks, two saves and nine holds during that time frame. He is featured as the next man up for the Brewers on our closer grid.


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