MLB Closer Depth Chart 2019

Team Closer Next Up Next Up (2) Analysis
Arizona Diamondbacks
Greg Holland (R)

Archie Bradley (R)

Yoshihisa Hirano (R)
Many were looking for Archie Bradley to be the closer in Arizona. His late season collapse may have ultimately been why he didn’t get the job, or Arizona just felt comfortable keeping him in the setup role. They signed Greg Holland, and awarded him the closing role for now. They also had Yoshihisa Hirano in the mix. If Holland struggles, it will be interesting to see who comes next in line. After losing the job, we can’t just award Bradley the closing role. This is not an attractive situation, and we will likely need to take a wait and see approach.
Atlanta Braves
Sean Newcomb (L)

Luke Jackson (R)

Jonny Venters (L)
Arodys Vizcaino is going to get a shot to start closing games early in the season, as A.J. Minter remains on the IL. Minter had 15 saves last season, and a double-digit K/9. This is a good situation for fantasy, as the Braves were a team that racked up saves last season. They were just split up. In the meantime, treat Vizcaino as a full-time closer, and we will deal with this scenario once Minter comes back. Vizcaino has shown he can handle this job, and will early in the year.
Baltimore Orioles
Mychal Givens (R)

Richard Bleier (L)

Miguel Castro (R)
The Orioles are likely going going to have a ton of save chances, projected to win 50 games, but Mychal Givens has the best upside and stuff of this group. He pitched the eighth inning and closed out a game in the opening series against the Yankees. Paul Fry and Richard Bleier are going to be backing him up. Givens is the only name to have right now, given his talent levels are far above the rest of the group. Even if they use him sporadically in different scenarios, he offers the best fantasy upside.
Boston Red Sox
Matt Barnes (R)

Ryan Brasier (R)

Brandon Workman (R)
With Boston opting to not resign Craig Kimbrel, it left a major question mark in the back half of the bullpen. Alex Cora came out in the beginning of the season not naming a closer, but Matt Barnes was first in use for a save chance in Seattle. He completed it, and looked excellent doing so. Barnes is the front runner for us, as Ryan Brasier should sneak into get a few chances. Barnes struggled a bit in high leverage times last season, and Braiser came on late in the playoffs. This is definitely a situation to pay close attention too.
Chicago Cubs Craig Kimbrel (R) Pedro Strop (R) Steve Cishek (R) Brandon Morrow is going to begin the season on the IL, leaving behind Steve Cishek and Pedro Strop to pick up saves. Joe Maddon should rely on Morrow once he is healthy, and will likely rotate names in the meantime. Strop has the better chance of racking up saves in his absence. Strop did have 13 saves last season, but also had an xFIP over four. This situation is a little more rockier than the Cubs or fantasy owners may like right now. It needs to be sorted out quickly.
Chicago White Sox
Alex Colome (R)

Kelvin Herrera (R)

Nate Jones (R)
Chicago bolstered their bullpen over the offseason, adding Alex Colome and Kelvin Herrera. This is an excellent end of the game duo, and toss in Nate Jones for another setup man too. Colome will have the closer role, and while Chicago won’t win many games, having a full-time closer is getting rarer and rarer. If Colome has an injury troubles or struggles, Herrera will be up next in line. At the moment, this is a sound situation and you should feel comfortable using Colome in fantasy.
Cincinnati Reds
Raisel Iglesias (R)

Jared Hughes (R)

David Hernandez (R)
Raisel Iglesias is the talented backend reliever who will get most of the Reds save chances this season. There also should be a number of them from prior years. He had 30 saves last season, and had one of the better K/9 numbers of closers. The Reds might use him in some high leverage spots, but he is a sound tier two closer behind just a few other names. There isn’t much backing him up, as we have Jared Hughes and David Hernandez backing him up.
Cleveland Indians Brad Hand (L) Nick Wittgren(R) Adam Cimber (R) The days of having Andrew Miller and Cody Allen closing games in Cleveland is over. They now have neither, but they addressed the situation in the offseason by adding Brad Hand. The lefty had 32 saves last season and a 13.2 K/9. He was excellent and is one of the elite closers in the game. Adam Cimber and Jon Edwards will set him up, and possibly get some save chances if Hand has been used heavily or is more matchup dependent.
Colorado Rockies Wade Davis (R) Scott Oberg (R) Seung Hwan Oh (R) Wade Davis had the occasional blowup and blown save last season, but finished second in the league in saves. It unfortunately came with over a four ERA. He still missed bats, but was a bit wild. Davis will have the same closers role in 2019, and will hope to duplicate the 40+ saves with less blowups. He is an older name, and Colorado backs him up with Seunghwan Oh and Scott Oberg. Neither are terribly exciting names, but would get save chances if he goes down.
Detroit Tigers Shane Greene (R)
Joe Jimenez (R)
Buck Farmer (R) It wasn’t pretty at times, but Shane Greene notched 32 saves. It came with a 5.12 ERA though. The Tigers are a bottom of the league team, and notching saves won’t come a plenty like some of the other teams. Detroit doesn’t exactly have a stout name coming up to take the role from him, so that leaves things pretty up in the air if he starts to struggle again. They stuck with him last year, but it is unclear if they will do the same. Joe Jimenez and Drew VerHagen are next in line. Neither are attractive arms, which is why they might ride it out with Greene.
Houston Astros Roberto Osuna (R) Hector Rondon (R) Ryan Pressly (R) Houston has been rotating their bullpen around quite a bit the last few seasons, but after landing Roberto Osuna, the closer role is very stable. Leading up to it is likely going to be Ryan Pressly and Hector Rondon. Osuna has been an above average closer dating back to his time in Toronto. He will be presented a ton of save situations, and should be able to capitalize on them. Use him with confidence as he should end up being one of the top fantasy closers come the end of the season.
Kansas City Royals Brad Boxberger (R) Wily Peralta (R) Ian Kennedy (R) The Royals used to have one of the best bullpens in baseball, and Ned Yost would use them in traditional roles. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Wily Peralta is listed as a closer, but is going to used in different scenarios. Brad Boxberger now on the roster is contributing to this strategy. Another rebuilding AL Central team isn’t going to offer a ton of save chances, and with a possible committee approach, it makes this situation an uneasy one for fantasy.
Los Angeles Angels Ty Buttrey (R) Hansel Robles (R) Cody Allen (R) It has been a while for Los Angeles having a stable closer at the backend of their bullpen. Cody Allen was a bit rocky at times last season, but has been a mostly reliable closer in Cleveland the last few seasons. It is just a one-year deal, so he has a lot to prove. Allen finished with 27 saves, but a 4.70 ERA and 4.55 xFIP. Ty Buttrey and Justin Anderson would be next in line if Allen starts to struggle.
Los Angeles Dodgers Kenley Jansen (R)
Joe Kelly (R)
Pedro Baez (R) Los Angeles has one of the elite closers in baseball, but heart conditions caused him to miss time and they took a cautious approach with him during Coors series. This is a serious situation where baseball comes second. If healthy, Jensen is a top end closer who has major potential. There were a few red flags with his velocity and movement last season, but at the moment everything checks out. The Dodgers signed Joe Kelly in the offseason, adding him into a setup role with Pedro Baez.
Miami Marlins Sergio Romo (R) Drew Steckenrider (R) Adam Conley (L) At the moment Drew Steckenrider is getting the closer role, who isn’t going to have a ton of chances, but presents some deep value for the category. Adam Conley is the lefty setup man, who was a failed starter from the last few seasons. Sergio Romo also continues to float around the league, leaving this bullpen to fall in line with the state of the rest of their team. You have to be pretty desperate to be diving into this team for saves, but Steckenrider will have the early chance.
Milwaukee Brewers Josh Hader (L) Jacob Barnes (R) Junior Guerra (R) The bullpen took a bit of a blow with Corey Knebel being done for the year with Tommy John surgery. Jeremy Jeffress has also had some injury troubles in the year, leaving Jacob Barnes as a setup man. Milwaukee has Josh Hader, who is going to likely see more save chances due to the injuries. He is the elite arm bringing you a ton of strikeouts on a weekly basis. Knebel, Jeffress, and Hader all had over ten saves last season, but under 20. The bullpen took a hit, but it might hold more fantasy value with traditional roles. We will have to see how this plays out.
Minnesota Twins Taylor Rogers (L) Blake Parker (R) Trevor May (R) On Opening day, it was Taylor Rogers who got the save. This was a bit surprising given many had the battle between Blake Parker and Trevor May. With Rogers getting the save on Opening Day, we will need to re-evaluate and mix Rogers into what looks like a true committee approach. Parker pitched with the Angels last season, struggling when he got the chance. He had 14 saves, but a 1.63 HR/9. May had more swing and miss stuff, and was the name many thought would break away.
New York Yankees
Aroldis Chapman (L)

Zach Britton (R)

Adam Ottavino (R)
The trade with the Seattle Mariners has given the Mets an elite closer. Edwin Diaz led the league in saves last season, and it wasn’t even close at 57 saves. He had a sub two ERA and a 15.2 K/9. After trading Jeurys Familia last season, he found his way back to the Mets in the offseason, and will be the setup man in the meantime. This is an excellent duo to finish out games with. Diaz is an elite closer in the game, and we will treat him as such.
New York Mets Edwin Diaz (R) Jeurys Familia (R) Robert Gsellman (R) The Yankees have one of the elite closers in the game, Aroldis Chapman. He will continue to anchor a very good bullpen, which the Yankees added to this offseason. Dellin Betances will jump into the setup role once he returns from the IL, and Zach Britton is the above average lefty. Chapman will garnish most of the save chances, while a few will get some mixed in. Chapman finished with 32 saves, and had made a few trips to the IL. Each year it seems he misses more time, so we might prep for that.
Oakland Athletics Blake Treinen (R) Joakim Soria (R) Fernando Rodney (R) Blake Treinen is one of the best closers out there, and he has some of the nastiest stuff going right now. He finished with a 0.78 ERA last season, tallying 38 saves and a whopping nine wins. With his pitch movement, there is no doubt he can keep up this type of production and has a two run leeway to add to his ERA from last season. Oakland should be in some tight games where they won’t mind using him at will again. After Treinen there is a big drop off, so if anything happens, Joakim Soria and Lou Trivino will get some looks.
Philadelphia Phillies Hector Neris (R) Juan Nicasio (R) Seranthony Dominguez (R) There were some rumors of Philadelphia trying to land Craig Kimbrel, but that will likely not be the case. The Phillies used Seranthony Dominguez late in games, who had 16 saves last season. He also had a 2.95 ERA and 3.04 xFIP. He was excellent in the role. Over the offseason, the Phillies ended up signing David Robertson, who will get some chances, but will be the setup man in the meantime. If either struggle, you could bump up Hector Neris an extra spot. He has flashed potential as a late innings guy.
Pittsburgh Pirates Felipe Vazquez (L) Keone Kela (R) Richard Rodriguez (R) Felipe Vazquez brings a big fastball to the table, followed by some nasty off-speed stuff. He had an 11.4 K/9 last season to go with a 2.70 ERA and 37 saves. Vazquez is in that upper tier of closers, and will be as long as he is healthy. Keone Kela seems like a work in progress right now, as his control can get a bit wild. Richard Rodriguez is a stable backend guy, so the stuff is there for Pittsburgh to close out games. As for fantasy, Vazquez was an early drafted closer with no worries of others stealing saves.
San Diego Padres Kirby Yates (R) Craig Stammen (R) Trey Wingenter (R) San Diego traded Brad Hand last season, and Kirby Yates jumped into the closing role. That will be the case again this season, and this time we get a full year of Yates. He has above average strikeout stuff, and sits just outside of that top tier of arms. Craig Stammen and Phil Maton are the other setup names, who would get cracks at some saves if Yates was to go down. With San Diego looking more competitive this season, they should feature a few more save chances throughout the season.
San Francisco Giants Will Smith (L) Reyes Moronta(R) Sam Dyson (R) It was a year or two ago when San Francisco landed Mark Melancon to be their closer. That has fizzled out, moving him to a setup role with lefty specialist, Tony Watson. The Giants bullpen will be needed to cover for their bad staff, but wins are going to be lackluster this year. Will Smith is the name ahead of the rest in terms of getting save chances, but how many will there be? Smith looked good last year with a 12.1 K/9 and 2.76 xFIP. He should have no issues keeping this job.
Seattle Mariners Roenis Elias(L) Cory Gearrin(R) Brandon Brennan (R) With Hunter Strickland heading to the IL for a few months, we are going to get a committee approach for now. Cory Gearrin came in late during the Red Sox series, and with Anthony Swarzark on the IL as well, Seattle is fairly limited. Zac Rosscup and Nick Rumbelow will be names to keep an eye on for saves. For fantasy purposes, nothing is set in stone right now, and regardless of the injuries it was unlikely Strickland was holding down the job for the season anyway.
St. Louis Cardinals Jordan Hicks (R) Andrew Miller (L) Carlos Martinez (R) In terms of real life value, the Cardinals are sitting pretty with Jordan Hicks, the flame-throwing right-hander, and Andrew Miller, the crafty veteran left-hander. The save scenarios are going to be matchup dependent, which isn’t great for fantasy. However, they are still going to give your team strikeouts and lower your surrounding stats. If anything happens to either one of them, the other would get an enormous bump in value as a stand alone closer. While this may be labeled as an uncertain situation, we know who the two names at the end of games will be.
Tampa Bay Rays Jose Alvarado (L) Diego Castillo (R) Emilio Pagan (R) The Rays bullpen is always a fun one to project and predict what is going to happen. Jose Alvarado seems to be the traditional closer, although we wouldn’t be surprised to see them use a few other names at times. Alvarado has already notched a few saves to begin the year, which gives us some hope he stays the guy moving forward. He certainly has the stuff too. It was Sergio Romo last season who had 25 saves in Tampa, so there are plenty up for grabs. Diego Castillo would be the guy next in line, who also has logged a save already.
Texas Rangers Shawn Kelley (R) Jose Leclerc (R) Jesse Chavez (R) Chris Woodward has backed Jose Leclerc to be the closer in Texas, leaving Shawn Kelley and Jesse Chavez as setup guys. Leclerc was a little wild last season, sitting with a 3.9 BB/9, but had a 13.2 K/9 to go with it. He had a sub two ERA, but ERA estimators were a bit higher. He has the stuff to make a strong closer, and we will need to see a full season before we evaluate. Leclerc is the bright spot in a very bad bullpen.
Toronto Blue Jays Ken Giles (R)
Joe Biagini (R)
Daniel Hudson (R) There was no surprise with Ken Giles being named Toronto’s closer. He is coming over from Houston, where he was in the midst of a strong bullpen. He will try and hold some consistency in Toronto for 2019. Tim Mayza and Ryan Tepera will be setup man, and Mayza should have the first crack at getting saves if Giles falters or goes down with an injury. Toronto isn’t an appealing fantasy closer spot, but for where he went in drafts he has potential to hit 30 and be a big value.
Washington Nationals Sean Doolittle (L) Trevor Rosenthal (R) Kyle Barraclough (R) Sean Doolittle was a name the Washington Nationals wanted, and they got him. He is going to lead their bullpen as the closer, with Trevor Rosenthal and Justin Miller setting him up. He had 25 saves last season, sporting a 12 K/9 and 1.60 ERA. He has 49 saves over the last two seasons, and has this role locked down. If we are preparing for a backup, Washington would likely use Rosenthal who is a former closer, but could take a committee approach too.
  
Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.

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