Fantasy Baseball Closer Chart (last updated January 21)
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: Harvey's 1.42 ERA and 11 K's in seven late-2019 appearances make him an interesting upside candidate for the Orioles' closer role, though he'll probably begin spring training challenging Richard Bleier, Miguel Castro and Shawn Armstrong for primary setup duties behind Givens.
NOTES: Hand's 11-of-15 save conversions, 5.40 ERA and dropping average fastball velocity and swinging-strike rate during the second half of 2019 have cast some doubt upon the health of his arm, but the Indians' offseason moves haven't given any indication they're concerned about his closer status.
NOTES: The Mariners' bullpen is an open competition heading into spring training, but Magill, who was 5-of-7 converting saves with a 3.21 ERA in his final 15 appearances of 2019, is the presumed favorite to close. Tuivailala, Carl Edwards Jr. and Dan Altavilla are other strong possibilities. ... Leclerc might face spring training competition for the closer role from Montero or Jesse Chavez.
NOTES: The Braves indicated shortly after signing Smith on Nov. 14 that Melancon would remain their primary closer to begin the 2020 season, despite the fact that Smith had more saves and strikeouts and the better ERA and WHIP last season (and by considerable amounts in each category). We'll see whether that sticks. ... The Marlins will likely have a competition for the closer role during spring training, but Urena, who was 3-of-5 converting saves albeit with a 9.00 ERA in a September relief role, has to be considered the favorite over Garcia, Ryne Stanek and Adam Conley. ... Dominguez avoided Tommy John surgery on his injured UCL, and is expected to have a normal offseason. If all goes well for him on the health front, he'll probably begin 2020 as the Phillies' primary setup man. ... The Nationals will probably have a spring competition to decide their setup roles, with Harris joining Daniel Hudson, Wander Suero, Hunter Strickland and Roenis Elias as candidates for the primary spot behind Doolittle.
NOTES: The Brewers' mix-and-match pitching staff approach leaves their "next in line" option fluid, but Corey Knebel, who had Tommy John surgery on April 3, 2019, might be ready to return by May and could quickly emerge in that role. ... Felipe Vazquez is on MLB administrative leave, so the Pirates will probably begin spring training with a three-man battle for closer duties between Kela, Crick and Richard Rodriguez, with a committee approach a possible resolution.
NOTES: The Dodgers' $10 million signing of Blake Treinen signals that they're confident he could eventually move into the eighth-inning role and, possibly, replace Jansen if one is needed. At the onset of spring training, Baez and Joe Kelly will probably battle for primary setup duties. ... After signing Pomeranz to a four-year, $34 million contract on Nov. 27, Padres general manager A.J. Preller called the left-hander "a guy that can pitch at the back end and pair with [closer Kirby] Yates to give us a really top-notch combination, right- and left-handed." Andres Munoz, Craig Stammen and Jose Castillo are also late-inning options, and would probably begin 2020 third, fourth and fifth in the closer pecking order. ... Will Smith's free-agent departure left the Giants' closer role up for grabs, with Anderson, Smith's late-season fill-in, the favorite entering spring training.