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Fantasy Baseball Closer Report (April 5): Who’s Locked In, and Who’s On Shaky Ground?

Fantasy Baseball Closer Report (April 5): Who’s Locked In, and Who’s On Shaky Ground? article feature image

Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: Raisel Iglesias

Welcome to the first edition of the Closer Report.

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. Who’s job is steady? Who’s 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.

Let’s dig in!

Locked In

  • Liam Hendriks – Chicago White Sox
  • Ryan Pressly – Houston Astros
  • Greg Holland – Kansas City Royals

It is early (this is an evergreen phrase), but Greg Holland was shaky in his first appearance, which was a non-save situation that he turned into one that Wade Davis finished off. Holland will have to keep his wildness at bay if he wants to stay in this category.

  • Raisel Iglesias – Los Angeles Angels

Iglesias entered the 2021 season as one of the more secure closers, and it would take a flaming garbage truck of a week to change his status with the Angels.

  • Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees

Chapman returned from his two-game suspension April 4.

  • Rafael Montero – Seattle Mariners
  • Diego Castillo – Tampa Bay Rays

The righty is 2-for-2 in 2021, but this is Tampa we are talking about. I have personally loved his stuff for a few years and am happy to see him dominate early.

  • Ian Kennedy – Texas Rangers

Finding save situations in Texas is going to be difficult, but saves are saves.

  • Will Smith – Atlanta Braves
  • Craig Kimbrel – Chicago Cubs

The longtime closer struck out five of the first six batters he faced this season.

  • Daniel Bard – Colorado Rockies

Bard will be the first to get put on shaky ground. His first save opportunity on Opening Day caused me to break into a sweat.

  • Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Anthony Bass – Miami Marlins
  • Josh Hader – Milwaukee Brewers
  • Edwin Díaz – New York Mets
  • Héctor Neris – Philadelphia Phillies

The 31-year old notched his first save Sunday as the Phillies swept Atlanta. He is one of the closers to keep a close eye on if he falters.

  • Jake McGee – San Francisco Giants

Getting Save Opportunities, But No Lock

  • César Valdez – Baltimore Orioles

He is 36-years-old and earned his first save as an Oriole last season. He is getting the job done but is a risk as an unproven pitcher who does not have swing-and-miss stuff.

  • Matt Barnes – Boston Red Sox

He is erratic and there has been no talk of an extension to keep him in Boston.

  • Gregory Soto – Detroit Tigers

Heckuva adventure as he logged his first save Opening Day. Soto has electric stuff but is not quite in command of his powerful arm.

  • Alex Colomé – Minnesota Twins

Colomé was brought in to compete with Taylor Rogers after Rogers was shaky in the closer role last season. Colomé promptly blew his first save opportunity with Rogers threw a clean seventh inning in the same game.

  • Jake Diekman – Oakland Athletics

Lefty closers are a rare breed. Diekman can miss bats with the best relievers in the game, but few southpaws can dominate both sides of the plate.

  • Julian Merryweather – Toronto Blue Jays

Impressive start considering there was little digital ink spilled over Merryweather landing save opportunities prior to the season.

  • Richard Rodríguez – Pittsburgh Pirates

He is perfect to start the season, but he is still the closer on arguably the worst team in baseball and is far from locked in.

  • Mark Melancon – San Diego Padres

Soft-tosser with a solid history as a closer, but the Padres have options and plan on using them.

  • Brad Hand – Washington Nationals

Tough to gauge the trust in Hand with COVID-19 preventing the team from playing a game this season.

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Closers Be Committee

  • Emmanuel Clase, James Karinchak, and Nick Wittgren – Cleveland Indians
  • Amir Garrett and Lucas Sims – Cincinnati Reds
  • Alex Reyes, Giovanny Gallegos, and Jordan Hicks – St. Louis Cardinals

Reyes assumes the role that he ended 2020 with, but the goal appears to be to stretch him out with 2021 in mind. Gallegos has been good in the role and allows Hicks to ease back into high-leverage situations.

Injury Opportunities

  • Chris Devenski and Kevin Ginkel – Arizona Diamondbacks

Joakim Soria left Sunday’s game after an apparent injury sustained while trying to cover first base. Devenski earned the save, but Ginkel has traction.

Next Guys Up

  • Tanner Scott – Baltimore Orioles
  • Adam Ottavino – Boston Red Sox
  • Bryan Garcia – Detroit Tigers

Do not prioritize Garcia, but he would be next in line if Soto falters.

  • Taylor Rogers – Minnesota Twins
  • Sergio Romo or Lou Trivino – Oakland Athletics
  • Matt Bush – Texas Rangers
  • Jordan Romano – Toronto Blue Jays

If someone in your league impulse drops him, run to the waiver wire.

  • Kyle Crick – Pittsburgh Pirates

Bad situation, but Crick’s slider is one of the best in baseball.

  • Drew Pomeranz or Emilio Pagán – San Diego Padres

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