Fantasy Baseball Closer Report (May 31): Kimbrel Shines; These Teams Have Uncertain Ninth-Inning Roles

Fantasy Baseball Closer Report (May 31): Kimbrel Shines; These Teams Have Uncertain Ninth-Inning Roles article feature image

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images. Pictured: Craig Kimbrel.

Fantasy baseball players are always on the hunt for saves, so every other week during the Major League Baseball season, we’ll be checking in on the backends of those bullpens.

Whose job is steady? Whose is uncertain? Who is waiting in the wings and ready to poach some saves?

We’ll break it all down below in different categories, ranging from those who have their job locked down to speculative adds worth keeping your eye on.

Locked In

Liam Hendriks – Chicago White Sox

Three saves in 24 hours May 29-30 is why Hendriks got a big payday in the offseason.

Ryan Pressly – Houston Astros

Raisel Iglesias – Los Angeles Angels

Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees

Ian Kennedy – Texas Rangers

Will Smith – Atlanta Braves

Craig Kimbrel – Chicago Cubs

It was less than one year ago that Kimbrel appeared washed up. Now, he leads one of the better bullpens in baseball.

Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers

Josh Hader – Milwaukee Brewers

Edwin Diaz – New York Mets

Hector Neris – Philadelphia Phillies

Matt Barnes – Boston Red Sox

Brad Hand – Washington Nationals

Mark Melancon – San Diego Padres

Boring and effective. My kind of closer.

Yimi Garcia – Miami Marlins

Richard Rodriguez – Pittsburgh Pirates

On Sunday, Rodriguez blew his first save since Aug. 29, 2020. Not too much has gone right for the Pirates, but Rodriguez is a notch in the ‘good’ column.

Alex Reyes – St. Louis Cardinals

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Getting Save Opportunities, But No Lock

Daniel Bard – Colorado Rockies

Gregory Soto – Detroit Tigers

Michael Fulmer is knocking on the door and has been nails in inning-plus outings.

Joakim Soria – Arizona Diamondbacks

Cesar Valdez – Baltimore Orioles

Zero surprise if Valdez does not see another save opportunity for a few weeks. He has allowed six earned runs in his last two-thirds of an innings pitched.

Closer Committees

Keynan Middleton and Rafael Montero – Seattle Mariners

Jordan Romano and Rafael Dolis – Toronto Blue Jays

Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone – Cincinnati Reds

Hansel Robles and Taylor Rogers – Minnesota Twins

Tyler Roger and Jake McGee – San Francisco Giants

The duo takes turns disappointing. One needs to step up before the Giants remove both by adding from outside the organization as the National League West race intensifies.

Lou Trivino and Jake Diekman – Oakland Athletics

Diego Castillo and J.P. Feyereisen – Tampa Bay Rays

Did not think Feyereisen would take opportunities from Castillo this quickly, but it is Tampa Bay we’re talking about.

Greg Holland, Scott Barlow, and Kyle Zimmer – Kansas City Royals

James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase – Cleveland Indians

Karinchak has been the do-it-all reliever in Cleveland. Clase continues to have control issues. Both have lights-out stuff.

Injury Opportunities

Another clean sheet. The streak continues.

Next Man Up Adds

Daniel Hudson (WSH)

Paul Fry (BAL)

Cole Sulser (BAL)

Fry and Sulser are in line for saves if Baltimore can ever win.

Michael Fulmer (DET)

Tyler Chatwood (TOR)

Michael Kopech (CHW)

Kopech has the best stuff in Chicago’s bullpen. Hendriks is locked in but injuries still happen.

Peter Fairbanks (TB)

Ryne Stanek (HOU)

Kyle Crick (PIT)

If Rodriguez can bring a decent return in a trade, Crick would get first crack. He is a long-play addition.

Taylor Clarke (ARI)

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