Fantasy Baseball Closer Chart (last updated October 30)
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.
FREE AGENTS: Anthony Bass, Steve Cishek, Tyler Clippard, Alex Colome, Sean Doolittle, Ken Giles, Shane Greene, Liam Hendriks, Yoshihisa Hirano, Greg Holland, Jeremy Jeffress, Keone Kela, Trevor May, Mark Melancon, Trevor Rosenthal, Joakim Soria, Blake Treinen, Tony Watson, Brandon Workman, Kirby Yates.
NOTES: Cesar Valdez recorded each of the Orioles' three September saves, but as a 35-year-old changeup artist, he doesn't seem to fit the "closer" profile. He might begin spring training the de facto finisher, but Harvey and Tate are considered more of the future from this bullpen, and Shawn Armstrong could factor into the late-inning mix. (10/27) ... If the Red Sox decide to remain in-house to fill the 2021 closer role, Barnes and Hernandez seem the most logical choices. This team might rank among the most likely to seek relief help via free agency. (10/27) ... The Rays utilized a closer-by-committee for the entirety of the 2020 season, though Castillo seemed to earn the ninth more often than Anderson during the postseason. Expect a similar approach in 2021, with Pete Fairbanks also involved. (10/27) ... Ken Giles' free agency leaves the Blue Jays faced with a decision: Turn the closer role over to Romano, bring Giles back or seek another free agent? Romano had two saves, three holds and a 1.69 ERA in 11 appearances before getting hurt, so he's the most logical choice. (10/27)
NOTES: The White Sox might look to re-sign 2020 closer Alex Colome, but if they can't, Bummer is capable of filling in from among in-house choices. Evan Marshall, Jace Fry and Matt Foster could also compete for saves.. Crochet, the No. 11 overall pick of the 2020 MLB draft who struck out 10 of the 24 batters he faced without allowing a run between the regular season and postseason, is a dark horse candidate. (10/27) ... With the news that the Indians placed Brad Hand on outright waivers, a signal that they intend to decline his $10 million option for 2021, Karinchak appears the favorite to take over as the team's closer in 2021. (10/30) ... Garcia excelled late last season, notching four saves with four holds and a 0.84 ERA in his final 14 appearances, putting him the front of a potential spring training competition. Farmer could face competition from Jose Cisnero or Gregory Soto for the setup duties, and Joe Jimenez will be in the hunt for a late-inning role during the spring. (10/27) ... Greg Holland is a free agent, so Barlow, Hahn and Josh Staumont might enter spring training in competition for the Royals' closer role. (10/27) ... The Twins declined Sergio Romo's $5 million option, and while he might ultimately re-sign with the team at a lower rate to again serve in a closer partnership with Rogers, Duffey could factor as a potential replacement if the team decides to fill the spot from within. (10/30)
NOTES: Osuna is eligible arbitration and might be a non-tender candidate, but after missing most of 2020 with an elbow issue, he had resumed throwing at the beginning of the postseason and is reportedly expected to be ready for spring training. Pressly should be back as either closer, primary setup man or committee member, depending upon the Astros' winter moves. Enoli Paredes and Blake Taylor could also factor into the late innings. (10/27) ... Mayers' strong finish to the 2020 season could put him at the head of a spring training competition, though the Angels will probably add competition via free agency. (10/27) ... Liam Hendriks is the top closer on the 2020-21 free agent market and setup man Joakim Soria is a free agent as well, leaving Diekman the top choice to close if the Athletics don't make an offseason move. Weems and Lou Trivino could also be spring training candidates, and a closer-by-committee is a possibility. (10/27) ... The Mariners might have the thinnest bullpen in the majors, with Ramirez, Gerber and Anthony Misiewicz their three most logical spring training closer competitors as things currently stand. (10/27) ... Leclerc, who missed most of the 2020 season with a shoulder injury, is expected to be back in the late-inning mix during spring training. He might press Montero for the closer role, or could contend with Jonathan Hernandez and Joely Rodriguez for the primary setup role. (10/27)
NOTES: Mark Melancon and Shane Greene are free agents, so the Braves' most experienced closer candidate is ex-Giants closer Smith. Martin and A.J. Minter, who had a 2.60 ERA and 31.5% strikeout rate in 27 appearances combined between the regular season and postseason, could also compete for the job if the team doesn't bring in free agent help. (10/27) ... Brandon Workman is a free agent, and with the Phillies unlikely to add payroll this winter, Neris seems destined to begin 2021 as the team's closer. If the team goes in the committee direction, Hembree, David Phelps and Adam Morgan could also be involved. (10/27) ... Hudson, who finished the year in the closer role, seems likely to begin 2021 there. Rainey, however, could push for those duties if he proves fully healthy during spring training, having posted a 3.08 ERA and 38.9% strikeout rate in 51 appearances since the 2019 All-Star break. (10/27)
NOTES: Kimbrel is signed through 2021 for $16 million and, after a poor start to the 2020 season, finished with eight scoreless appearances of 13 strikeouts compared to zero walks in September. He's the most logical choice to close on the current roster with Jeremy Jeffress a free agent. (10/27) ... The Reds should begin 2021 with the same late-inning bullpen arrangement that concluded 2020, but Lucas Sims is a potential dark horse to work his way into the picture in-season. (10/27) ... Rodriguez, who had 10 scoreless appearances in September and was 4-of-5 converting saves for the season, should begin 2021 in the closer role, now that Keona Kela is a free agent. Prospects Blake Cederlind and Nick Mears could represent future closers. (10/27) ... Just as they did to begin 2020, the Cardinals should have an open competition for their closer role during spring training. Reyes concluded the season in the role, but the team could also try Jordan Hicks, who opted out in 2020, Gallegos, Ryan Helsley and perhaps even Carlos Martinez. (10/27)
NOTES: Crichton was a perfect 5-of-5 converting saves with seven scoreless appearances to conclude the season, and while the team could pursue a closer via free agency, it seems likely he'll begin spring training in the lead for the role. (10/27) ... Oberg missed the entire 2020 with a back issue and blood clots in his right arm, but he's expected to be ready for spring training and should be the favorite to close for the team. Bard and Tyler Kinley are two other intriguing candidates, should Oberg be unable to go. (10/27) ... Dodgers manager Dave Roberts avoided Jansen in Games 5 and 6 of the World Series, signaling declining trust in the right-hander's dropping velocity and a shift towards a closer-by-committee. We'll see how 2021 plays out, but with Blake Treinen a free agent, Graterol seems like the most logical next-in-line on the current roster. (10/27) ... Trevor Rosenthal and Kirby Yates are free agents, so the Padres' closer role currently appears set for a Pomeranz-Pagan-Austin Adams spring training battle. The team might bring back Rosenthal, however, and it's possible that they could utilize a committee otherwise. (10/27) ... Giants manager Gabe Kapler prefers a closer-by-committee, but if Moronta, who missed the 2020 season following shoulder surgery, is healthy in time for spring training, he could emerge as the go-to option in the ninth. Rogers, Sam Coonrod, Shaun Anderson and Jarlin Garcia should all be involved in any competition. (10/27)