Other than Edwin Diaz receiving a 10-game suspension for using sticky stuff, it’s been a relatively quiet week for fantasy baseball closers and high-leverage, late-inning relievers. Just when the New York Mets thought it was safe to use Diaz to protect a lead in the ninth inning, they find themselves back to using a committee approach to closing out their games. Reed Garrett leads the way and Adam OttavinoDedniel Nunez and Jake Diekman can all potentially see save opportunities over the next several days.




Over in the Bronx, the New York Yankees’ bullpen, which has been one of their strengths this season, hasn’t recorded a save since June 10th, and collectively, Yankees relievers have pitched to a 4.96 ERA since that date. Clay Holmes, who has been one of baseball's best closers, has been in a funk of late. He’s given up six runs (five of them were earned) in his last four appearances spanning 3.2 IP. Michael Tonkin, who we covered in a previous column, Tommy Kahnle and Luke Weaver have pitched well lately but they’ve only recorded one hold between them over the Yankees’ last 12 games. Caleb Ferguson, who has had an up-and-down season, is the only other Yankee reliever with a hold during that time frame.

We’ve received updates on a couple of injured relievers over the past week. Toronto Blue Jays reliever Jordan Romano, who was shut down from baseball activities after experiencing elbow discomfort while throwing long toss on Friday, got in a light game of catch on Monday as per Kaitlyn McGrath of the Athletic. McGrath also reported that Yimi Garcia has begun to get in some long tossing from 120 feet this week. Chad Green will be the Blue Jays’ closer while both Romano and Garcia recover. 

Boston Red Sox reliever Liam Hendriks threw off a mound for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last August. He is hoping to be able to join the team during the last month of the season but realistically, that happening would be a long shot.

The following are a few other relief pitchers who should be on your radar.




Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: MLB Closers 2024

Beau Brieske, Detroit Tigers

Over the past two weeks, Brieske has made four scoreless multiple inning relief appearances totaling 7.1 IP. Brieske struck out eight batters while walking none and he also recorded a hold during that time frame. Brieske has seven total saves in his professional career including three for the Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate this season. 

Sean Hjelle, San Francisco Giants

Hjelle made three two-inning middle relief appearances for the Giants last week. He struck out nine batters and walked none. Hjelle has made several multiple inning relief appearances for the Giants this season and has pitched to an overall 2.39 ERA. He has struck out 37 batters while walking just five in 37.2 total IP. Hjelle has three holds on the season.




Trent Thornton, Seattle Mariners

Thornton has been one of the Mariners’ most reliable relievers this season. He has nine holds and he’s been used in various situations including middle inning and late-inning, high-leverage situations. Over the past week he appeared in three games, pitching 3.2 innings. He struck out eight batters and walked none. Overall, he has a 3.31 ERA and a 0.962 WHIP and has struck out 39 batters in 35 IP. 

Cade Smith, Cleveland Guardians

The Guardians have been one of the best teams in baseball this season and one of their biggest strengths has been their bullpen. Their bullpen leads all other big-league bullpens in ERA, saves and holds. Cade Smith has been flying under the radar this season and with him pitching in the same bullpen as Emmanuel Clase, that’s not surprising. However, Smith, who is a rookie, has been one of the Guardians’ best relievers all season long. Smith has recorded 13 holds, and he has pitched to a 1.96 ERA. He has struck out 48 batters in 36.2 IP and Smith has a 0.927 WHIP on the season.

*Unless otherwise noted, the statistics quoted in this article are accurate as of the morning of June 26th, 2024.