It’s hard to believe we are at the end of our fantasy baseball seasons. We have been grinding all year to get to this moment, where a title is within our grasps. Many of you probably finish today, but for those of you with one more week, let’s answer some mailbag questions and look at our closer rankings for this last week. Next week I will do brief recap of things we learned this year, and also pick five guys to watch for next year to potentially rise in the closer ranks.

Mailbag Questions

If you had to pick any starters that you think would do better in in the bullpen rather than the rotation, who would they be? Dave Funnell @sportz_nutt51

There have been moves in recent years of failed or ineffective starters becoming significant weapons with a switch to the bullpen. The most recent example I recall is Drew Pomeranz. I had long thought that Reynaldo Lopez was better served in a relief role, and that happened this season. One guy I would love to see in a relief role would be Kenta Maeda, and I wonder if that could happen with after he returns from his Tommy John surgery. Caleb Smith is another current starter who really intrigues me as a reliever. Two other guys I think of in that role are Chris Paddack and Tony Gonsolin. One thing for sure: it is always interesting to watch these bullpen situations play out every year, and we know there will be surprises.

Should Garrett Whitlock be the Boston closer in 2022? David Mendelson @DMendy02

Hey David, at this point, I would say it would be a serious consideration. However, keep in mind that Boston signed their de facto closer, Matt Barnes, to a two-year contract extension in July that nets him $18.75 million.  Are they going to pay him over $7 million a year to NOT close? Well they could if they determine that Whitlock could be that guy. It’s important to note that the Red Sox could also have three potential rotation spots open as well. How they use these resources will be telling. Barnes just came off the IL this past week and was given the eighth inning with a six-run lead.  Stay tuned.

What are your offseason plans? Ellis C @EllisCan2

Hi Ellis! Getting my weekend mornings back will allow me to get some much-needed exercise, biking and walking, and lots of coffee on the porch as long as the fall weather allows me. Spending more time with my kids and trying to stay centered during what is proving to be a difficult school year thus far. I hope you and yours are well, and thank you for your constant support and kindness.

Rainey in 2022? WanderFrancophile @ccsawruthgibson

I do believe Rainey will get first crack at the job as long as Washington does not go outside the organization to get relief help. Kyle Finnegan seems better suited for a setup role in my opinion. Andres Machado could also be a sleeper in D.C.

Top five non-closer relievers to play for ratios in the final week? Less Than Dave @RunDMcD

Hey Dave, it’s a privilege to be asked this question by you, one of the best players in our game. Here are some guys that I would target this week for ratio controls:

  • Collin McHugh (this feels like cheating but he is still low-rostered in many leagues)
  • Drew Steckenrider/Paul Sewald/Diego Castillo: the Mariners are still in the fight and whoever is not getting the save opp that day could help with ratios and holds.
  • Genesis Cabrera: the surging Cardinals have won 15 straight and he’s been magnificent in a setup role. Also T.J. McFarland has six holds in the last two weeks.
  • Dominic Leone continues to get a high leverage role in San Francisco and despite a rough outing over the weekend, has been very good of late with a 1.38 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in September.
  • Corey Knebel has quietly put together a nice second half for the Dodgers. In September he has a 1.13 ERA and .75 WHIP with ten punch-outs in eight innings. Could provide you some help this last week.

Hope any of these names help!

Closer Ranks

Current Closers

  1. Josh Hader:
  2. Mark Melancon: The Padres have struggled mightily lately to their 78-77 record, but it has not been the fault of Melancon. He still leads MLB with 38 saves and is still the preferred option in San Diego.
  3. Raisel Iglesias: Iglesias has been a bright spot in an otherwise long and mediocre year in Anaheim. He’s got 33 saves and 100 strikeouts in 67 innings. Based on opportunity we thought he could be a top five closer, and that faith has paid off for those of you who believed in the talent.
  4. Liam Hendriks/Craig Kimbrel: Still Hendriks getting the ninth, and Kimbrel getting the eighth.
  5. Kenley Jansen: Oh the demise of Kenley. Five saves and one run surrendered in September. Ho hum. And up to 35 saves on the season.
  6. Edwin Diaz
  7. St. Louis Cardinals: Giovanny Gallegos waited patiently all year for his chance and seized it when he got it. He has 10 saves in September and other than one outing where he surrendered four earned runs, has been excellent for the Cardinals in their late-season run to the playoffs.
  8. Ian Kennedy
  9. Ryan Pressly
  10. San Francisco: Jake McGee had been excellent, but now hits the IL with an oblique strain. While management is saying they “hope” he returns before the end of the season, his absence creates a hole, and an opportunity for others in San Francisco.  My best guess: this goes committee with Tyler Rogers, Dominic Leone and Tony Watson for now.  I would take a flyer on Leone, who got the save last night.
  11. Emmanuel Clase: Another example of how season meander and flow. At the beginning of the season it was going to be a time share at best for Clase with James Karinchak. But Karinchak was sent to AAA last month, and Clase has quietly been third in MLB with five saves this month.
  12. Jordan Romano
  13. Aroldis Chapman
  14. Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes returned from the IL this week and was thrust into an eighth inning situation. Looks to be a committee headed by Adam Ottavino right now with help from Hansel Robles and at times Garrett Richards. Whitlock remains on the IL.
  15. Seattle Mariners: This appears to be a full-on committee again. Paul Sewald and Drew Steckenrider each have four saves this month. Diego Castillo lurks here as well. Steckenrider has been a revelation this year and is proving to be valuable to both Seattle and maybe your team.
  16. Dylan Floro: After much hand-wringing in South Florida, Floro has taken the job this month and ran with it. He’s got 12 saves on the year, five this month, and has solved the role for now in Miami.Isn’t it simply amazing how bullpens twist and turn each year? Who saw this coming?
  17. Gregory Soto
  18. Tampa Bay Rays: Another week, another Tampa Bay closer. With Andrew Kittredge on the shelf, it’s a committee for sure again. Dietrich Enns has two wins and two saves in September, and Pete Fairbanks, David Robertson and Nick Anderson lurk here as well. The Rays have 13 different guys with saves this year, with the since-traded Diego Castillo earning the most saves (14). It’s insane how Tampa just keeps getting it done.
  19. Oakland A’s: Continues to be a committee but leaning more heavily towards Andrew Chafin than Sergio Romo these days.
  20. Carlos Estevez: He is a bit of a high wire act, but Estevez has six saves in September. He should not be on the waiver wire in most leagues, and you should snatch him up if you have a spot for him.
  21. Alex Colome: Lost in the Twins’ horrid season has been the resurgence of Colome in the second half: 2-0, 2.97 ERA and 14 saves. Those are very usable stats.
  22. Scott Barlow
  23. Tyler Wells/Dillon Tate/Cole Sulser/Tanner Scott: Wells hit the IL this week so look for a full committee this week in Baltimore.
  24. Mychal Givens: You have to hand it to Givens. Despite peripherals that give you a headache to look at them, he gets saves. He has four in September. If you can stomach the ratio hits, he can give you some saves down the stretch.
  25. Kyle Finnegan
  26. Chris Stratton: With David Bednar going down to injury, Stratton has elevated to the driver’s seat in Pittsburgh. He’s earned two saves and a win in his last three appearances and has six wins and six saves this year. He’s a sneaky pick if you are trying to get every last drop out of your bullpens.
  27. Joe Barlow: Barlow has been getting the chances (few and far between) in Texas but has done well with the opportunity, relying more on guile and deception than velocity. Spencer Patton has been used in middle inning situations.
  28. Arizona Diamondbacks: Committee for now even with the return of Tyler Clippard. Look for J.B. Bukauskas to get chances here when they are available.
  29. Rowan Wick: Manager David Ross said this week that the team’s two best options right now are Wick and Codi Heuer. I would lean Wick if forced to choose.

Below find an updated Data Monster from my good friend Paul Mammino. Basics: green is better and these stats can show you whether guys are legitimate or not. It’s no surprise to see guys like Josh Hader and Liam Hendriks at the top in In_Whiff and Stuff ERA. But look at other guys like Andrew Kittredge (now injured) and Giovanny Gallegos and see how consistently good they have been.

I truly believe in the Data Monster as I get more experience using it, and feel like it can really help you differentiate between guys you may be thinking about adding. Go to RotoFanatic and check it out for more details and how to use this great tool.


Closer Workbook
All Data According To Data Monster
Player Name In_Whiff Command Stuff ERA
Josh Hader 7.5 0.23 1.70
Liam Hendriks 6.1 0.44 2.66
Aroldis Chapman 5.0 -1.67 3.20
Chad Green 3.3 -0.18 3.38
Craig Kimbrel 4.2 3.71 2.15
Andrew Chafin 1.1 -1.44 2.89
Matt Barnes 2.2 3.07 3.32
Adam Ottavino -0.2 -0.77 3.32
Edwin Diaz 3.8 -0.20 2.98
Mark Melancon -1.4 1.87 3.59
Alex Reyes 2.5 0.71 2.56
Kenley Jansen 4.1 -3.41 2.11
Ian Kennedy 2.3 -2.53 4.23
Emmanuel Clase 5.2 1.05 1.94
Ryan Pressly 0.5 4.56 3.16
Raisel Iglesias 6.0 5.29 2.44
Diego Castillo 2.6 3.78 2.93
Will Smith 2.8 2.70 3.27
Jordan Romano 2.5 -2.14 3.34
Lou Trivino 0.9 -1.55 3.25
Gregory Soto 2.1 -1.95 2.99
Scott Barlow 1.0 5.47 2.89
Jake McGee 0.7 -6.31 3.83
Paul Sewald 4.4 -2.33 3.09
Spencer Patton 0.5 -0.97 3.77
David Bednar 2.3 0.27 2.83
Codi Heuer 2.0 1.84 3.10
Tyler Clippard 0.2 -2.13 4.10
Dillon Tate -0.6 -0.34 3.37
Kyle Finnegan -0.4 -0.72 3.94
Michael Lorenzen 1.4 3.23 3.15
Dylan Floro -1.6 0.31 3.55
Alex Colome 4.6 -2.04 3.52
Carlos Estevez 0.7 -2.71 4.45
Giovanny Gallegos 3.1 2.08 2.45
Drew Steckenrider -2.4 0.34 3.76
Andrew Kittredge 3.0 2.42 2.35
Mychal Givens 0.0 1.52 3.85
Collin McHugh 1.1 1.48 3.05
Emilio Pagan 4.9 -3.05 3.61
Garrett Whitlock 2.0 -0.76 3.31
Michael Kopech 1.7 0.21 3.86
Blake Treinen 2.1 0.41 2.26
Devin Williams 4.4 4.14 2.67
Chris Stratton 0.2 3.09 3.52