It looks like Clay Holmes' ineffectiveness and injury may force the New York Yankees to utilize a new closer for their save situations. However, their new closer is likely to be their old closer who, ironically, also lost his job due to ineffectiveness and injury. Could Aroldis Chapman became relevent in your fantasy baseball lineups again? We’ll explain it all for you and, as we often do in this column, we’ll identify a couple of under-the-radar MLB relievers to consider as fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups. Sometimes these lesser-known relief pitchers may provide better weekly fantasy baseball production than some ordinary starting pitchers. Don’t forget to utilize our MLB Closer Grid throughout the week. It’s a great resource for identifying closers, setup men, saves handcuffs, and fantasy baseball sleepers in MLB bullpens. Be sure to check out the August fantasy baseball rankings and rest-of-season MLB projections as well. Also, stay on top of the latest MLB injury report as closers and relievers across the league may crop up there. Now let's dive into the latest Fantasy Baseball Closer Report.

(NOTE: The statistics in this article are accurate as of the morning of 8.16.2022)


Fantasy Baseball Weekly MLB Saves Leaders

Liam Hendriks, Chicago White Sox – 4

Hendriks is back to being a reliable workhorse closer who can occasionally pitch on consecutive days. In his last nine appearances, he’s pitched nine total innings while striking out 12 batters and walking just three. The White Sox closer has a 2.00 ERA, one win, and eight saves during that time span. Kendall Graveman saved three games in eight appearances while Hendriks was on the Injured List and is his direct handcuff. With Aaron Bummer on the IL since early June, Joe Kelly has typically pitched the seventh and eighth innings for the White Sox and also notched a save while Hendriks was sidelined. Kelly has recorded 12 holds since his May 9th season debut.

Seranthony Domínguez, Philadelphia Phillies – 3

Dominguez is clearly Phillies manager Rob Thomson’s go-to option when the game is on the line. Thomson went to him four times last week and Dominguez responded with four shutout innings, three saves, and one win. David Robertson picked up an extra-inning save and two holds last week as Dominguez’s setup man. Brad Hand, meanwhile, hasn’t recorded a save since July 8th and his last hold came on July 15th. Hand has frequently been used in the seventh and eighth innings of games and has very minimal (if any) fantasy value at this point of the season. 

Emmanuel Clase, Cleveland Guardians – 3

Clase has been one of the most consistent closers on the planet! Dating back to April 27th, he’s only given up three earned runs in his last 46 appearances. Clase is tied for the third-most saves games in baseball this season (27), along with Edwin Díaz and Kenley Jansen. Should Clase become unavailable at all, James Karinchak and Trevor Stephan are likely next in line to close out games for the Guardians. We’ll give Karinchak the slight nod for now since he recorded 11 saves for the Guardians last season.

Kenley Jansen, Atlanta Braves – 3

Jansen is the anchor of the Braves’ bullpen. However, Atlanta have a lot of depth in its bullpen with the newly-acquired Raisel Iglesias (34 saves in 2021) filling the role of setup man and A.J. Minter (who has five saves on the season) ready to pitch the ninth inning should Jansen be unavailable. Minter’s 20 holds are tied for the fourth-most in baseball. Milwaukee Brewers reliever Brad Boxberger and Chicago White Sox setup man Kendall Graveman also have 20 holds on the season.


Fantasy Baseball Weekly MLB Holds Leaders

Trevor Stephan, Cleveland Guardians – 4

As we mentioned earlier, the Guardians regularly use Stephan in high-leverage late-inning situations. He has a 1.61 ERA in 27 games since June 7th and has registered eight holds during that time span. 

Steven Okert, Miami Marlins – 3

Okert is tied for having the eighth-most holds (16) in baseball. The Marlins reliever gives up more walks than we’d like to see (3.92 K/9), but he does a good job of missing bats as well with an 11.76 K/9. It will be interesting to see if Okert’s usage will change now that Cole Sulser has been reinstated from the IL.

Dylan Coleman, Kansas City Royals – 3

Coleman is another pitcher with control issues (5.9 BB/9 overall). However, the Royals reliever has 11 holds in his last 29 appearances dating back to June 5th. Coleman has pitched to a 2.03 ERA during that time span and owns 2.87 ERA overall this season. 

MLB Bullpens To Take Note Of

New York Yankees

The Yankees have been in a terrible slump of late and so has Clay Holmes. Holmes, who took over as New York's closer when Aroldis Chapman hit the IL, has three blown saves in his last five appearances. He’s given up six hits and four walks in four innings pitched during that time span. Chapman, on the other hand, hasn’t given up a run in his last nine appearances. He’s struck out 10 batters, issued just one walk and he picked up a hold during that time span. 

Holmes, who hasn’t pitched since Friday night, admitted that he’s been dealing with back stiffness and that he may be placed on the IL. If that were the case, Chapman might end up closing out games for the Yanks while Holmes is unavailable. Newly-acquired Scott Effross picked up a save for New York on Saturday night and, except for one hiccup against the Cardinals (three earned runs in one inning), he has pitched well for the Bronx Bombers. Effross could be an option for the Yankees in the ninth inning moving forward as well. It’s a situation that needs monitoring.

Middle Relievers Who Should Be On Your Radar in Deep Leagues

With starting pitchers averaging 5.2 innings per start so far this season, in some instances you might get similar, or even better production by using a top middle relief pitcher instead of a mediocre starting pitcher in a given week. The following are examples of two middle relievers who often make multi-inning relief appearances and might have deep league fantasy value based on their recent performance.

Ryan Yarbrough, Tampa Bay Rays

Yarbrough, who has been being used as a long reliever following an opener, pitched 7.1 innings this week. While he gave up three runs, he struck out a whopping 11 batters and walked just one. 

Jarlín García, San Francisco Giants

Garcia appeared in four games last week, pitching 5.2 scoreless innings. He struck out eight batters and did not issue a walk. 



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