One of the many challenging aspects of managing a fantasy baseball team is that you never know which closer or late-inning, high-leverage reliever you’ll end up turning to in your never-ending quest to accumulate saves and holds. 

We’ve already had to pivot from our early season strategies a few times in this young season. Many of us thought that Adbert Alzolay would be the Chicago Cubs’ closer for the entire 2024 season. It only took a few blown saves for him to lose the job. 

Unfortunately, Alzolay was recently placed on the IL with a right forearm strain so it might be a while before we see him pitch again. Hector Neris has recorded six saves since replacing Alzolay as the Cubs’ closer in late April, but with seven walks and seven strikeouts in his last nine innings pitched, the Cubs are said to be in the market for high-leverage bullpen help. 

The Milwaukee Brewers finally seem to have settled on Trevor Megill as their closer after having Abner Uribe and Joel Payamps audition for the role earlier this season. Alex Lange opened the season as the expected Detroit Tigers’ closer, but Jason Foley has been manager A. J. Hinch’s go to guy in the ninth inning.




Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: MLB Closers 2024

Saves can be generated in the unlikeliest of places. For instance, this week’s co-leader in saves is part of a pitching staff that fantasy baseball managers typically run the other away from. The Oakland A’s’ bullpen has been another unlikely resource for fantasy baseball production. 

The A’s were supposed to be one of baseball’s worst teams, but they’re feisty and their bullpen features two high-powered arms. Overall, their bullpen has the second highest WAR in baseball. We’ll cover all of that and take a closer look at some bullpen situations that you should be aware of in this eighth week of the 2024 baseball season.  

*Unless otherwise noted, statistics quoted in this article are accurate as of the morning of May 15th, 2024.




Jalen Beeks Is The New Colorado Rockies Closer

As a team, the Colorado Rockies have eight saves this season, and three of them were recorded by Beeks over the past week. He has four on the season and has replaced Justin Lawrence as the Rockies’ closer. Lawrence has had a tough season, pitching to a 4.70 ERA and walking 6.5 batters per nine innings. 

Don’t fall in love with Beeks just yet. He has a sparkling 2.21 ERA on the season but has had control issues of his own. He’s walked 4.9 batters per nine innings and has only 6.2 K/9. Beeks is a prime example of a high-leverage reliever who could be traded to a team looking to bolster their bullpen. Beeks would almost certainly not be the closer on any team that he would likely get traded to. 

The Orioles Want To Upgrade Their Bullpen Via Trade

As we mentioned last week, Craig Kimbrel has been struggling lately. He has a 10.13 ERA and 1.150 OPS against in his last 5.1 IP across eight appearances and according to Bob Nightengale of the USA Today, the Orioles have their sights set on trading for a big-name reliever.

Yennier Cano has picked up two saves over his last five appearances, but he pitches to contact and is comfortable and effective as a set-up man. He had some issues once he took over closer duties from Felix Bautista last season, pitching to a 4.63 ERA. He’s great as a set-up man and a great resource if you play in a league that tracks holds, but Cano’s career contact rate seems too high (75.6) and he doesn’t strikeout enough batters (8.43 career strikeout rate) for him to be considered a long- term option as the Orioles’ closer. 

Jacob Webb, who has a 1.47 ERA and 0.927 WHIP, has recorded two saves and a hold in his last six appearances. He and Danny Coulombe should continue to be used in late-inning, high-leverage situations this season. Coulombe has one save and eight holds thus far.




Lucas Erceg & Mason Miller Are A Formidable One-Two Punch

We covered Miller and his ability to regularly hit triple-digits on the radar gun in a previous column. Miller has settled in as the Oakland A’s’ closer and has helped turn them from the laughingstock of baseball to a team that shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

With his checkered injury history, pitching in short relief in high-leverage situations seems best suited for his amazing skillset. Erceg is another A’s reliever who throws heat. He averages 99 MPH on his fastball and his slider has a 47.4 Whiff % against. Erceg has seven holds and two saves on the season. 

A.J. Puk Is Best Suited For Bullpen Work

Puk is back from the IL and back where he belongs; working out of the bullpen. Puk’s time as a starter was short but it was a disaster. He only pitched 13.2 innings across four starts and posted a 9.22 ERA and 2.634 WHIP. He hit the IL after his fourth start and once reinstated was back working in the bullpen, pitching in high-leverage situations. 

He picked up his first save of the season (in an extra inning game) on Tuesday and with 20 career saves seems like the favorite to replace Tanner Scott should the Marlins ever decide to remove him from the closer’s role or move him in a trade.




Fantasy Baseball Relievers Who Should Be On Your Radar

Randy Rodriguez, San Francisco Giants

The Giants have been using Rodriguez in long relief. He’s pitched 7.2 innings across three appearances and struck out 11 batters while walking only two. He has a 3.52 ERA across that time span but his xERA is an impressive 2.43.

Bryan Hudson, Milwaukee Brewers

Eight of Hudson’s 16 appearances have been multi-inning efforts. Hudson has a 0.74 ERA and 0.699 WHIP. In addition, he has five holds and two wins on the season. 

Bryan Abreu, Houston Astros

After getting off to a shaky start to the season Abreu has regained his old form and is once again a good resource for holds. Over his last eight appearances, Abreu is pitching to a 1.08 ERA and has five holds. He has a total of eight holds on the season.