Several fantasy baseball closers were already bit by the injury bug this preseason. Thankfully, the recent trend of pitchers finding their way onto the IL hasn’t affected the saves and holds market just yet.

A few MLB closers nailed down their first saves of the season this past week and in some cases, it provided clarity as to who’ll be the primary closer in those bullpens that were in flux to start the season. However, the fantasy baseball closer position is known for its instability, and we’ve already seen one lose his job. 

There’s at least one other MLB closer who is on the brink of being on the unemployment line as well. Let’s take a closer look at some bullpen situations that you should be aware of in this third week of the 2024 baseball season. 

*Unless otherwise noted, statistics quoted in this article are accurate as of the morning of April 10, 2024.




Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: MLB Closers 2024

Jose Leclerc May Not Be The Texas Rangers’ Closer Much Longer

You have to wonder how long Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy, who’s known for having a quick hook when it comes to struggling closers, will keep using Leclerc in late-inning, high-leverage situations. On Tuesday night Bochy told reporters that it was too early in the season to panic about Leclerc’s early season woes. 

But in an interview on 105.3 The Fan on Wednesday he suggested that he wouldn’t be opposed to reducing Leclerc’s load and that he might avoid pitching him in high leverage situations until he “gets his good command back.” Heading into Wednesday’s action, Leclerc had given up at least one run in four of his five appearances. He’s saved a game, blown a save, lost two games and has a 14.40 ERA. 

With Josh Sborz on the IL David Robertson and Kirby Yates would probably be next in line for save opportunities. Both are veteran pitchers who’ve been pitching well this season, and both also have closer experience. 

Jacob Latz is another Rangers reliever who should be on your watch list. Entering Wednesday’s action, he hadn’t given up a run in 4.1 innings pitched. The Rangers have used him late in games and Latz saved seven games for the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate last season.

Just Like That, James McArthur Is The Royals’ Closer

In a previous fantasy baseball closer column, we were speculating as to who would eventually emerge as the Kansas City Royals’ closer. Well, it looks like McArthur has wrestled the job away from Will Smith

Since our last column, McArthur has pitched 3.2 scoreless innings, and he’s won a game while saving two others. During the same time period, Smith seems to have settled into a setup role. He’s made two appearances and picked up two holds. 

John Schreiber has also been used in late-inning, high-leverage situations and has nine career saves on his resume. He could be called upon to close out games for the Royals if McArthur and Smith are unavailable. Chris Stratton is another Royals reliever with closer experience (13 career saves). He saved a game for the Royals on Saturday.




In Case You Were Wondering, Kevin Ginkel Is The Diamondbacks’ Closer

Most of us already knew it but Ginkel picked up his, and the Arizona Diamondbacks’, first two saves of the season on consecutive days. He recorded one on Tuesday and another on Wednesday. 

With Scott McGough being used in the middle innings of late and Miguel Castro slumping recently, Joe Mantiply and Kyle Nelson might be the Diamondbacks’ relievers called upon to pitch in late-inning, high-leverage situations should Ginkel be unavailable.

Griffin Jax Has Twice As Many Holds (2) Than Saves (1)

The Minnesota Twins have been taking advantage of best matchups and often platooning their position players this season and that seems to have carried over to the way they use their relievers as well. Jax was brought in to face the heart of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ batting order (their 4, 5 and 6 hitters - is there really a weak part of their batting order?) on Wednesday in the eighth inning. 

He pitched well and recorded a hold. Southpaw reliever Steven Okert pitched the ninth, facing two left-handed batters. He picked up the save. It was the Twins’ second team save on the season. Jax has the other. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli doesn’t care about your fantasy team. He just wants to put the players on the field who give his team the best chance to win at all times.

Both Of Michael Kopech’s Saves Have Been Multi-Inning Efforts

For what it’s worth, Kopech appears to be the Chicago White Sox’s closer. He’s made five relief appearances so far this season and three of them have gone for multiple innings. The former starter has pitched well, posting a 2.45 ERA.   

Mason Miller Appears To Be The Oakland Athletics’ Closer

The Oakland A’s probably won’t win too many games but it looks like if the A’s have a late-inning lead that needs saving, Miller will be the reliever that manager Mark Kotsay will call upon to do so.




David Bednar’s Early Season Struggles Are Likely Linked To Rust

As we mentioned in last week’s column, Bednar spent much of the spring recovering from a lat injury and that hindered his ability to prep for the regular season. The Pirates claim that Bednar’s health issues are behind him, and with the velocity on his pitches close to his career norms, they appear to be telling the truth. 

Bednar himself knows that his struggles are related to his control and that he needs to get "back to throwing strikes in the zone". He’s given up six runs and six hits in just 4.1 innings pitched so far this season. Should the Pirates decide to temporarily remove him from the closer’s role, Aroldis Chapman would likely be the next man up to close out games for the Bucs. Chapman hasn’t given up a run in 4.1 innings pitched so far this season and has 322 career saves. 

In a past column, we’ve suggested that you put Hunter Stratton on your watch list. He’s been used in late-inning, high-leverage situations and has a save on the season. Jose Hernandez is another little known Pirates reliever to familiarize yourself with. The 26-year-old southpaw hasn’t given up a run in three appearances (3.1 innings pitched) and has been used in late-inning situations. He has a save on the season and has nine career minor league saves.