Week 13 of the fantasy baseball season has been an extremely active one for closers and other relievers who toil in late-inning, high-leverage situations. As we head towards the end of June, the closer situation in the north side of Chicago is getting murkier by the day, and who’ll get the next save opportunity for the Cubbies is anybody’s guess. 




Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: MLB Closers 2024

There was some good news recently though. Boston Red Sox reliever Chris Martin is back from the IL. We also received an update on injured Milwaukee Brewers closer Devin Williams this week. He is expected to get back on a pitching mound soon and remains on track for a post All-Star Break return. It looks like Tampa Bay Rays closer Pete Fairbanks avoided a major injury. He got hit by a comebacker off the bat of Carlos Correa on Tuesday and suffered a right thumb contusion, but he’ll likely avoid a trip to the IL. 

However, there have been a couple of new MLB injuries to high-leverage relievers that have gotten our attention that we’ll talk about, and it looks like a couple of high-end closers are back in business. We’ll provide more details about all of that and introduce you to a couple of relievers who should be on your watch list in this week’s report on MLB closers

*Unless otherwise noted, statistics quoted in this article are accurate as of the morning of June 20th, 2024.




Chad Green Will Likely Be Closing Out Games For The Toronto Blue Jays In The Future

With Yimi Garcia hitting the IL this week with right elbow ulnar neuritis, the Jays are using their third closer of the season in Chad Green and by the looks of things, they may need to rely on him for a while. Jordan Romano (elbow inflammation) has made some progress on the road to recovery but there has been no timeline given for his return. Romano has already been on the IL twice this season and when he’s been active, he hasn’t been all that effective (6.59 ERA and 1.463 WHIP). 

Although an MRI on Garcia’s elbow didn’t reveal any structural damage, he hasn’t yet begun throwing, and he might be out for a while as well. Green spent about a month and a half on the IL himself but he has a fine 1.72 ERA to go along with six holds and two saves. Some have some concerns about Green’s long-term outlook as a reliable reliever in high-leverage, late-inning situations. 

His strikeout rate (7.47 K/9) is well below his career average (11.44) and his 16.7 HR/FB is his highest since the 2020 season and, although his 3.38 xERA is still better than the league average, some other ERA estimators like xFIP and FIP (3.89 and 4.75) are not as bullish about his 2024 performance. Keep an eye on Nate Pearson who has enjoyed success in his role as a reliever for the Jays. He has pitched to a 2.03 ERA with five holds and a save in his last 12 appearances and may see more save chances with both Romano and Garcia sidelined. 




Hector Neris’ Days As The Chicago Cubs Closer Appear To Be Numbered

Despite blowing his fourth save of the season on Monday, Cubs manager Craig Counsell isn't outwardly criticizing Neris for his poor performance of late, but actions speak louder than words. Colten Brewer, a veteran reliever who had 24 minor league saves, picked up his first major league save on Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants

On Tuesday, it was Keegan Thompson picking up the save for the Cubbies against the Giants. It was Thompson’s first save of the season and fourth of his big-league career. Thompson has a .125 BAA right-handed batters, but left-handed batters have been much more successful against him (.292 BAA). Counsell is saying all the right things about Neris’ future, but with him having given up seven earned runs in his last 2.2 IP across three appearances, there’s no doubt that his role as a closer is in jeopardy. 

The Cubs have been rumored to have been in the market for a high-end reliever for a while now, but until they pull off a trade, look for Counsell to continue to tinker with his bullpen. Tyson Miller might be one of the relievers that Counsell calls on to get some important outs late in games. Eight of his 12 appearances have been multi-inning efforts, but Miller has a 0.63 ERA since he was acquired by the Cubs from the Seattle Mariners

Edwin Diaz Is Back

Maybe Diaz ought to change his intro song from Narco to Ba Da Buh Buh. Whether you want to credit McDonaldlands’ own milkshake-drinking Grimace, or maybe it’s because of a quick stay on the IL, Diaz is back where he belongs, and that is closing games for the New York Mets. It’s only been three appearances, but he hasn’t given up a run in three innings pitched and he has a win and two saves in those appearances.




Andres Munoz Looks Like He’s Back Too, But His Save Opportunities Could Be Limited

Munoz, who has been dealing with back issues over the past couple of weeks, has been able to avoid the IL thus far. Things are looking up for Munoz and he appeared in three games over the past week. Two of his appearances were in back-to-back games. Munoz’s last two appearances came in the eighth inning. On Friday, he faced the top of the Texas Rangers’ batting order and struck out three and walked one and recorded a hold. Ryne Stanek picked up the save in the ninth inning in that game. 

On Tuesday, Munoz picked up a five out save against the Guardians. Munoz hasn’t given up a run in his last four appearances spanning 4.2 IP. Fantasy baseball managers rostering Munoz have two things to worry about: Munoz’s back issue resurfacing and manager Scott Servais’ periodic matchups-based approach to using him. Servais’ bullpen usage strategy may limit Munoz’s save chances moving forward. 

Ian Hamilton Could Miss Up To Two Months Of The Season

Hamilton, who has nine holds for the New York Yankees this season, suffered a right lat strain and was placed on the IL on Tuesday. He isn’t expected to be allowed to begin throwing for at least three to four weeks. 

The Yankees bullpen has been one of baseball’s best this season, however, closer Clay Holmes has given up five earned runs in his last 2.2 IP across his last three appearances, including Wednesday evening. Luke Weaver, Tommy Kahnle and southpaw Caleb Ferguson would likely be in line for save opportunities should Holmes be unavailable.




MLB Relievers To Keep An Eye On

Zack Kelly, Boston Red Sox

In his last seven appearances spanning 8.2 IP, Kelly has 13 strikeouts and just three walks. Kelly has a 1.04 ERA during that time span and he has also recorded a win and two holds. The 29-year-old is pitching in just his third big league season and. Kelly has 12 minor league saves under his belt.

Dedniel Nunez, New York Mets

Nunez has been a big contributor to the Amazins recent success. In Nunez’s last seven games, he’s pitched 11.1 innings and has struck out 16 batters while walking just one. He has a 0.79 ERA and four holds during that time span. Nunez has eight career minor league saves.