Fantasy Baseball Closer Chart (last updated June 19)
The chart below breaks down all 30 major-league teams' bullpens in terms of relievers' proximity to the closer role, not their overall fantasy value. Teams are broken down by division.
"CLOSER" is either that team's officially designated closer, or the pitcher most likely to get the team's next save chance. "NEXT IN LINE" is the pitcher next-most likely to take over if something happens to the closer, or the one who might get any save chances on the closer's nights off. "NOTES" beneath each division's chart provide detail on teams' closer situations that might have an unusual wrinkle, like an injury to the typical closer requiring a short term fill-in, or a committee situation.
NOTES: Givens has received each of the Orioles' past two save chances (June 11 and 16), but he blew the most recent. He's still the leader of the team's closer-by-committee, though Castro, Shawn Armstrong, Richard Bleier and Paul Fry are all in the setup/fill-in mix.. ... These are the Red Sox's past four pitchers to work the ninth inning of either a tie game or save chance (three or fewer run lead), working backwards from June 18: Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Workman, Josh Smith. 'Nuff said. ... Jose Alvarado is currently on the restricted list due to a family issue, but he should rejoin the mix for Rays saves once he returns to the team. ... The Blue Jays have generated only one ninth-inning save chances in Ken Giles' (elbow, IL) absence, and projected fill-in Biagini blew it, with Hudson coming on in relief of him to close out that June 12 game. Giles is eligible to return on June 22, though, and manager Charlie Montoyo has said the reliever shouldn't require much longer than a minimum stint.
NOTES: Rogers has worked the ninth inning of each of the Twins' past three games either tied entering the ninth or with a ninth-inning save chance on the line (through June 18), converting both saves and pitching a scoreless inning in the tie game, with May pitching at least a portion of the eighth inning in each of those. May also had a save on June 11, signaling his working into manager Rocco Baldelli's closer-by-committee picture. Blake Parker and Mike Morin are also options in the mix.
NOTES: Robles has converted each of his past five save chances and Ty Buttrey has directly set him up in each of those (through June 18), though Bedrosian earled the save on Hansel Robles' night off on June 13. Could it be that Buttrey is merely the team's top setup man, but Bedrosian would be the pitcher called upon should Robles miss any time due to nights off/injury? Perhaps. ... Leclerc has a 5.19 ERA in June (through the 18th), but also 12 strikeouts compared to zero walks in 8 2/3 innings worked during that time span. While Rangers manager Chris Woodward has hinted Leclerc is "close" to recapturing his closer role, it doesn't necessarily seem that way from the results/recent usage.
NOTES: Romo was shelled on June 9, surrendering four runs in an inning's work, but rebounded with a clean save on June 15. The Marlins haven't given any hints that a change in closers is on the horizon, but they could consider Anderson or Tayron Guerrero in the coming weeks if Romo's struggles resurface. ... Neris appears the Phillies' go-to guy in the ninth inning, as he's 10-for-11 in save chances with a 3.21 ERA in his past 13 appearances (May 17-June 15). It's the setup corps behind him that is somewhat in question, due to injuries to David Robertson (elbow, IL) and Seranthony Dominguez (elbow, IL). Ramos, Pat Neshek, Juan Nicasio, Juan Alvarez, Edgar Garcia and Vince Velasquez could all factor into the mix.
NOTES: Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect inning for Triple-A Iowa on June 18, the first of what is expected to be 3-4 minor league appearances before he's ready to join the Cubs' bullpen. He's expected to take over as closer once activated. ... It's notable that Lorenzen has recorded consecutive saves for the Reds, on June 17-18, coming on in direct relief of Iglesias in both of those games. Iglesias' control has been shaky in June, as he has six walks in as many appearances (4 2/3 innings, through June 18), so this could be a temporary hand-off of the closer role. Iglesias is still the best bet for saves in the Cincinnati bullpen over the long haul, but this is a situation that bears close watching. ... Martinez has a pair of saves and a relief win in his four June appearances (through the 18th), but the Cardinals have hinted that they're ramping up his workload in anticipation of a possible move back into the rotation during the season's second half. He's still the team's most logical fill-in should anything happen to Hicks, but it seems pretty likely that Hicks is locked in as the team's finisher, with John Gant and Andrew Miller his primary setup men, over the long haul.
NOTES: Davis has been shelled since his return from the IL, allowing seven runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings over five appearances, blowing 2-of-3 save chances in the process. He's probably still the Rockies' closer, but it's worth noting that Oberg, his primary setup man and fill-in during Davis' absence, has a 1.64 ERA in his past 10 appearances (through June 18).