The list of MLB closers who recorded the most saves over the past week has many familiar names on it, including Andres Munoz, Paul Sewald, David Bednar, Emmanuel Clase and Camilo Doval

They were all expected to be among the major league leaders in saves and while some of them have had their ups and downs this season, they’re all pitching up to their expected potential.  One recognizable name that’s missing from the previously mentioned group is Edwin Diaz




Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: MLB Closers 2024

We’ll dive into Diaz’s rough week and what that means for the New York Mets’ bullpen later in this article. We’ll also identify a few of the 35 different MLB relief pitchers who recorded at least one save over the past week that you should be familiar with. 

We’ll cover all of that and take a closer look at some bullpen situations that you should be aware of in this ninth week of the 2024 fantasy baseball season.  

*Unless otherwise noted, statistics quoted in this article are accurate as of the morning of May 22nd, 2024.




Edwin Diaz Taking A Break From Closing Out Games For The Mets

In Diaz’s last eight appearances, he’s pitched to a 10.80 ERA and blown three saves. Opposing batters have hit four home runs against him during that span. After initially insisting that Diaz would remain the Mets’ closer after Diaz was lit up for four runs in 0.1 IP on Saturday, manager Carlos Mendoza later confirmed that the closer’s role would be fluid. 

Diaz’s average velocity on his fastball is down almost two mph compared to the 2022 season. Diaz has admitted that he’s lost his confidence, but if you’re looking for a reason to be optimistic about his future, his xERA is 2.85, much lower than his traditional overall 5.50 ERA. 

So far, Reed Garrett has the Mets’ only save since Diaz was removed from the closer’s role. He has a 0.72 ERA and has several multi-inning relief appearances this season. Look for Adam Ottavino to have his opportunity to close out games for the Mets as well. He has 46 career saves and has pitched to a 2.95 ERA this season. 

Jorge Lopez is another veteran reliever with some closer experience (29 big league saves) who’ll likely get more save opportunities with Diaz trying to figure things out. Lopez has two saves and six holds on the season and has pitched to a 2.25 ERA.

Craig Kimbrel’s Break From Closing Appears To Be Over

As per Steve Melewski, who covers the Orioles for MASN Sports, Kimbrel is back as the team’s closer. After going through a rough patch earlier this season, Kimbrel has four straight scoreless appearances in which he has six strikeouts and no walks in his last four IP. Kimbrel has won a game, saved a game and recorded two holds during that time frame.

Evan Phillips Could Be Back In Action Within The Next Week Or So

Los Angeles Dodgers closer Evan Phillips, who is on the IL due to a hamstring strain, is expected to start a two to three game minor league rehab assignment on Sunday and should rejoin the team shortly thereafter. Daniel Hudson has two saves and J.P. Feyereisen (extra inning save) and Alex Vesia each have one save since Phillips has been on the IL.




Cade Smith Should Be On Your Watchlist

The Cleveland Guardians have one of the best bullpens in baseball, leading the league in ERA (2.58), WAR (3.0) and they’re second with 17 total saves. Emmanuel Clase is having another outstanding season (15 saves, 0.36 ERA) and Scott Barlow (57 career saves) would likely fill in for Clase if he was unavailable for a prolonged period. 

However, when both Clase and Barlow were unavailable on Wednesday, the Guardians called on Cade Smith to close out their win against the Mets. Smith lowered his season-long ERA to 2.01 on his way to securing his first career big-league save. It will likely not be his last. 

Smith had 33 saves in his three-year minor-league career, so he’s used to pitching in high-leverage, late-inning situations. For now, Smith will be a good resource for holds (he has five) and provide fantasy managers with excellent ratios.

The Padres Are Starting To Use Jeremiah Estrada More

Estrada picked up his first career big league save last Thursday and like the aforementioned Smith, he has minor league closing experience (13 career minor league saves). Four of Estrada’s last five appearances came in the eighth inning or later of close games. Estrada has picked up two holds, has a 0.77 ERA, and an 11.6 K/9 this season.

Other MLB Relievers Who Should Be On Your Radar:

Ben Brown, Chicago Cubs

Brown was previously in the Cubs’ starting rotation but now has been pitching in long relief. Over the past week, Brown made two appearances and pitched four total innings. He struck out six batters and walked just one while pitching to a 2.45 ERA during that time span. 

Cam Booser, Boston Red Sox

In his last seven appearances, Booser has pitched 7.1 innings, and he has struck out nine batters and walked none. He has a 2.45 ERA and two holds during that time frame. 

Bryan Hudson, Milwaukee Brewers

Hudson has been virtually flawless this season. He’s made 18 appearances, pitching to a 0.68 ERA and recording seven holds. Hudson could be in line for save opportunities if Trevor Megill is unavailable.