After what was a relatively quiet start to the preseason when it came to our fantasy baseball closers, the inevitable injuries that go hand in hand with closers, and pitching in general, started to pile up and we were reminded just how volatile the position can be. 

By the end of fantasy baseball’s draft season many fantasy baseball managers found themselves chasing saves and driving up closer ADPs. Luckily, some bullpen situations are falling into place, which is what we plan on outlining today.




Opening Day Fantasy Baseball Closer Report: MLB Closers 2024

According to Texas Rangers beat writer Evan Grant’s March 17th post on X, Jose Leclerc will open the season as the team’s closer. 

Will Smith will open the season as the Kansas City Royals' closer but don’t sleep on James McArthur. He’s struck out 12 batters and walked just one this spring. If Smith falters McCarthur will be closing out games for the Royals. 

Justin Lawrence appears to be the Rockies' closer to start the season. He saved 11 games for the team last season and with wins expected to be hard to come by in Colorado, save opportunities will likely be limited as well.

Unfortunately, there are still a few bullpens that are in flux. The Milwaukee Brewers have several options who can close out games for them while their closer Devin Williams recovers from his back fractures. Joel Payamps had been his presumed handcuff, but Abner Uribe has a live arm and Trevor Megill and Hoby Milner might all be in line for save chances and might be used as part of a committee.

There are still some major question marks as to who’ll be closing out games for the Chicago White Sox and the Oakland A’s. 

Based on White Sox manager Pedro Grifol’s recent comments, we still don’t know who his closer will be. On a recent appearance on the Foul Territory podcast, GM Chris Getz mentioned that the White Sox closer was “to be determined” and that Michael Kopech, who recently transitioned to the bullpen, could be in line “to get some significant outs at the end of a game.” He also talked up Jordan Leasure who Getz said has a chance to be in the closer’s role and that he “wouldn’t be surprised if he evolved into our closer.”

The Oakland A’s haven’t officially named their closer but Mason Miller has been lighting it up this spring and many presume that he’ll get the majority of save chances for the team. 

Whoever fills the closer’s role for the win challenged White Sox and A’s shouldn’t be considered anything more than your fantasy baseball team’s second closer, and in most cases should be treated as bullpen depth on your fantasy roster.




Here’s a few other bullpen situations that should be monitored to start the season:

Minnesota Twins

Twins closer Jhoan Duran will open the season on the IL and is expected to miss at least the first month of the regular season as he recovers from what is being called a moderate oblique strain. Griffin Jax, who saved four games as Duran’s handcuff last season, is likely first in line for save opportunities to start this season. He had a great spring, striking out 12 batters without issuing a walk in 7.2 IP. 

Brock Stewart, who missed the 2020 through 2022 seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery, will be Jax’s handcuff. Stewart is throwing the ball harder than ever before, gaining almost 6 MPH on his fastball after his surgery. He pitched to a 0.65 ERA in 28 games last season and has five saves in his professional career. 

Steven Okert is another Twins reliever who could be used in late inning high leverage situations. He had a 12/0 strikeout to walk ratio this spring and has 43 minor league career saves.




Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays will be without their closer Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson, his handcuff, on Opening Day as both will start the season on the IL. Romano is dealing with elbow soreness and Swanson is sidelined with forearm inflammation. The Jays expect both to be active within the first month of the season. 

Yimi Garcia will likely open the season as the team’s closer. Garcia has had a strong spring, striking out nine batters while walking just two in nine IP and he has 21 career saves. Left hander Genesis Cabrera and righty Chad Green will likely be the primary options to back up Garcia should he be unavailable. Cabrera has a 10/3 strikeout to walk ratio in 7.2 IP this spring and has been equally effective against both righty and lefty bats. 

Green had the makings of a closer prior to his 2022 Tommy John surgery, recording 11 career saves prior to his injury. He only pitched 12 innings last season and while his curveball was much more hittable than before his surgery (.316 BAA) he was still able to miss bats (12 K/9) at an above average rate. 




Arizona Diamondbacks

The news that Paul Sewald would open the season on the IL due to a Grade 2 oblique strain took everyone by surprise and drove up Kevin Ginkel’s late preseason ADP. Many expect Ginkel, who has eight career saves in his five-year career with the Diamondbacks, will likely get the bulk of save opportunities with Sewald expected to miss up to six weeks of the 2024 season and he probably will. 

However, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has been known to use a committee approach to managing his bullpen in the past.  Scott McGough is another late inning high leverage option that Lovullo can use. He recorded 80 career saves while pitching in the Japan Central league and McGough saved nine games for the Diamondbacks last season. He’s extremely tough against left-handed batters (.197 BAA). 

Miguel Castro saved seven games for the D’backs last season and has been equally effective against both right-handed and left-handed batters. Lovullo mostly used Ryan Thompson in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings of games after he was acquired from the Rays last season. He has five career saves and could also be asked to work in late inning high leverage situations again this season. 




San Diego Padres

Padres manager Mike Shildt kept us fantasy baseball managers hanging as he waited until just before the start of the Padres’ season to name Robert Suarez as his closer. Suarez wasn’t perfect but he picked up the team’s first save of the season by recording the last four outs of the Padres’ win against the Dodgers. 

Shildt did confirm that depending on game situations Yuki Matsui, who had 236 career saves while pitching in Japan, and Wandy Peralta, who has 13 career saves, could also be in line for save opportunities. Woo-Suk Go, who had 139 career saves while pitching in the Korean Baseball Organization, will start the season in the minor leagues after a tough spring. He could also be asked to pitch in late inning high leverage situations at some point this season.




Philadelphia Phillies

With nine different relievers recording at least one save for the Phillies last season, manager Rob Thomson is well known for being flexible in the way he manages his bullpens. 

Jose Alvarado appears to be the best bet for opening the season as the Phillies’ primary closer, but Thomson has not named his closer heading into Opening Day. Alvarado has been equally effective against right-handed and left-handed batters but because he’s a left-handed pitcher, Thomson may opt to use right-handed reliever Jeff Hoffman in the ninth inning depending on the game situation. 

Gregory Soto has had a rough spring but with 53 career saves on his resume he could be used late in games as well. Seranthony Dominguez has made his presence felt this spring with an 8/2 strikeout to walk ratio. The right-hander has 27 career saves under his belt and could also see high leverage late game action as well.




Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates were given quite a scare when David Bednar, who was tied with Camilo Doval with the second most saves in baseball (39) last season, had to be shut down earlier this spring due to lat soreness, but he’ll be ready for Opening Day. 

The Pirates might ease Bednar back into action and avoid using him on back-to-back days early in the season and with Aroldis Chapman as Bednar’s handcuff, they have the luxury to do so. Hunter Stratton is another Pirates reliever to keep on your watch list. He has 16 minor league career saves, including six for the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate last season.