Fantasy baseball managers who roster Miami Marlins closer A.J. Puk, Philadelphia Phillies closer Jose Alvarado and Seattle Mariners co-closer Andres Munoz got some good news this week. All three are getting closer to being reinstated from the IL and collecting saves for their respective teams. Chicago White Sox fans got to watch Liam Hendriks make his triumphant return to game action after beating cancer, but Tampa Bay Rays fans weren’t so lucky as they watched their closer hit the IL for the second time this season. In this week’s Fantasy Baseball Closer Report, we’ll let you know how the White Sox plan to use Hendriks for the short term and provide some insight as to who’s likely to take over as the Rays’ closer in the near future. We’ll also identify middle relief pitchers who should be on your radar. 

Unless otherwise noted the statistics quoted in this article are accurate as of Wednesday morning May 31, 2023.



Fantasy Baseball MLB Bullpen Updates

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays have the best record in baseball, but their one weakness has been their bullpen. They are tied for having the third most blown saves (10) in the major leagues and their bullpen’s 4.38 ERA is the eighth worst in baseball. Things are about to get a bit tougher for the Rays bullpen as they’ll have to navigate the latter innings of their games without their closer Pete Fairbanks. Fairbanks hit the IL for the second time this season. His first stint on the IL was due to right forearm inflammation, but now Fairbanks is dealing with left hip inflammation. The good news is that an MRI did not reveal any structural damage in Fairbanks’ hip, but there is no target date for his return yet. Jason Adam picked up five saves during Fairbanks’ first IL stint and is expected to be used in the majority of save situations with Fairbanks sidelined once again. However, sometimes the Rays are gonna Ray and on Wednesday, Adam was used in the seventh inning and Jalen Beeks came in with one out in the ninth inning and picked up his first save of the season. Nevertheless, if you’re streaming saves and Adam is on your league’s waiver wire, he’s worth an add. 

Chicago White Sox

In one of the 2023 season’s most heartwarming stories of the year Liam Hendriks battled all the way back from Stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma and was reinstated from the IL this past week. Hendriks has been one of baseball’s best closers over the past several seasons, however the White Sox won’t be using him in save situations right away so hold onto Kendal Graveman for the time being. Hendriks showed some rust in his first appearance of the season on Monday, giving up two runs and a walk in one inning pitched, and is going to be eased back into late inning high leverage game action.

St. Louis Cardinals

Giovanny Gallegos has recorded the last three Cardinals saves. He now has seven saves and four holds on the season. Ryan Helsley, who led the team with 19 saves last season, (Gallegos was second with 14) has six saves this season but he’s also tied for having the second most blown saves in baseball with four. By comparison he had four all last season. Helsley has also had some issues with his command this season. His walk rate increased from 2.8 last season to 4.3 this season. Cardinals’ manager Oliver Marmol has been reluctant to name a designated closer in the past but this season it appears that Helsley and Gallegos are being utilized as true co-closers. Both have moderate fantasy value but at least for now Gallegos is providing fantasy managers with better ratios (21/4 K/BB).

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:

Albert Abreu, New York Yankees

The Yankees have been juggling their relief pitchers, bringing them into games in situations that puts them in the best position to be successful…and it’s been working. The Yankees bullpen has the best ERA in the major leagues (2.90) and Abreu has played a large part in their success. In the 12 games that he pitched in the month of May, Abreu has thrown 14.1 innings and struck out 14 batters. He’s won two games and held two others. Abreu has pitched to a 1.88 ERA and has a 0.977 WHIP during that time span. 

Nate Pearson, Toronto Blue Jays

Pearson was considered one of the Blue Jays’ premiere pitching prospects, but a multitude of injuries derailed his upward trajectory. For now, Pearson has settled into a bullpen role and while six of his 12 appearances have been multi-inning efforts the Jays have also occasionally used him in high leverage late inning situations. For the season Pearson has pitched 16 innings across 12 appearances and posted an 18/3 KK/BB ratio. He has a 1.69 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. Pearson has one win and one hold on the season, and he has thoroughly dominated left-handed batters who have a .115/.207/.154 triple-slash against him.

Jacob Webb, Los Angeles Angels

The Pirates promoted Webb from their Triple-A affiliate on May 21st and since then he’s made three relief appearances, two of which were multi-inning efforts. Ramirez has a respectable 3.60 ERA so far this season and has nine strikeouts and zero walks in five innings pitched to go along with a 0.400 WHIP. 


Fantasy Alarm is the home of expert MLB Fantasy content. We also bring you all of the best online sportsbook free bets & promo codes and fantasy sports bonuses. 

MLB Related Links: