Fantasy Baseball Closers and Saves: Week 1 Updates

RotoBaller's Josh Bixler brings you all the updates for MLB closers and saves and setup men for Week 1 of Fantasy Baseball.

Josh Bixler - RotoBaller

MLB Closers & Saves: Week 1 Updates

Before the season gets into full swing on Monday, I’d like to briefly examine the updated closer news or perhaps give you a closer recap around the league.  There has been a decent amount of news, injuries and updates that need to be mentioned before the season gets underway.  It’s kind of like of while your at work, daydreaming about beer as a stress relief, but not actually knowing how many beers you have stashed.

The question becomes which pitcher I draft without knowing the full details.  Should I stop for a sixer after work, splurge and buy a case or simply go home in case the wifey is in a bad mood and you have to listen to that, naaaaannnaannnnaannnnnannnnannnannnnaaaaaaaaaaaaaa bull crap.  One quick hit before I get to it:

Source: Bluejaysplus.blogspot.comI wish I was little bit taller
I wish I was a RotoBaller
I wish I had a girl who looked good
I would call her
I wish I had a Trout in a hat with a bat
And a six four curve balla


Yeoman’s Work

I wish I was a little bit taller but at least I’m already a RotoBaller.  Here is a quick “closing” trip around the league.  My objective is to list the closer, setup guyer and sleeper with possibly some quick notes if warranted.  You can always reference RotoBaller's awesome MLB Closer and Saves Depth Charts for up-to-date closer statuses.


AL East Closers & Saves

Baltimore Orioles:

CloserTommy Hunter.  I am a little worried because he had a terrible spring, and he can't get lefties out, but hopefully he was just working on some pitches.

Setup Guyer:  Darren O’Day

iSleeperEvan Meek.  If Hunter cannot get the job done, many will think that O’Day or Ryan Webb gets a shot.  O’Day is not a closer, Webb is a ground ball pitcher, so Meek might be their best option.  He once was dubbed the “future closer” when he was in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.


Boston Red Sox:

Koji Uehara Boston Red Sox MLB NewsCloserKoji Uehara

Setup GuyerEdward Mujica

iSleeperJunichi Tazawa.  Edward Mujica is owned in roughly 46% of the leagues with Tazawa only owned in 10% of the leagues.  Most people would think that Mujica would be the logical choice to replace Uehara if he were to falter or get injured.  I personally would take a gamble with Tazawa.


New York Yankees:

CloserDavid Robertson

Setup GuyerShawn Kelley

iSleeper:  My first choice here would be Preston Claiborne but since he got sent to the minors, my iSleeper pick is Andrew Bailey.  Bailey is only contracted through this season so I’m sure he will do everything in his power to stay healthy in order to get paid like a baller.


Tampa Bay Rays:

CloserGrant Balfour

Setup GuyerHeath Bell

iSleeperJake McGee.  McGee has had a great spring with 8 Ks in 7.2 innings.  Yeah I know that we are not supposed to pay attention to player’s spring numbers but I do when it comes to closers because they live in small sample sizes.


Toronto Blue Jays:

Closer:  Sergio Santos. What I had previously written about Casey Jansen: "Really how long can his shoulder hold up, something has to give?  For his sake I hope he stays healthy but I’m not sure how he will with continued shoulder soreness". And BAM! Predicting the future, all day errr day.

Setup Guyer:  Steve Delabar

iSleeper:  Steve Delabar would be the fallback option if Santos also gets injured.


AL Central Closers & Saves

Chicago White Sox:

CloserMatt Lindstrom - update as of 3/31

Setup Guyer:  Nate Jones

iSleeperDaniel Webb.  As of right now manager Robin Ventura has not named a closer but with my luck Daniel Webb wins this job outright (I dropped him a week ago).


Cleveland Indians:

Closer:  John Axford

Setup Guyer:  Cody Allen

iSleeper:  Cody Allen.  He is not a sleeper anymore but I have to list somebody.  I guess if the aforementioned pitchers do not get the job done then Vinnie Pestano or Bryan Shaw could fill in.


rotoballer-fantasy-baseball-advice-nathan-263x221Detroit Tigers:

CloserJoe Nathan

Setup GuyerJoba Chamberlain

iSleeperAl Alburquerque.  Two reasons:  the made-up name and his ability to strike out batters in bunches.


Kansas City Royals:

CloserGreg Holland

Setup GuyerAaron Crow

iSleeperKelvin Herrera.  I wish I could throw the ball much harder.  Oh wait he does, yeah okay, so that is why he's the sleeper here, next question.


Minnesota “Basil” Twins:

CloserGlen Perkins

Setup GuyerJared Burton, dope Splangeup.  This pitcher is nailz, check it out on

iSleeperCasey Fien is probably the obvious choice here but my selection is:  Michael Tonkin, possible future closer.


AL West Closers & Saves

Oakland Athletics:

CloserJim Johnson.  Meh!Jim Johnson Baltimore Orioles MLB News

Setup GuyerLuke Gregerson

iSleeperSean Doolittle, he is far from little and I doubt that he wishes he was a bit taller.


Seattle Mariners:

CloserFernando Rodney, another complete Meh!

Setup GuyerDanny Farquhar

iSleeper:  Tom (I use to be a bartender but now I’m a good at baseball) Wilhelmsen.  Danny Farquhar is my choice but Wilhelmsen’s curve ball is still nailz so we shall see.


Texas Rangers:

CloserJoakim Soria

Setup GuyerAlexi Ogando

iSleeperNeftali Feliz.  Soria has not looked sharp at all this spring and he hasn’t even looked close to his former self.  I know that Feliz is in the minors but I really do believe he is the guy to own long term (which means a month in closer-land).


Los Angeles Angels:

CloserErnesto Frieri

Setup GuyerJoe Smith

iSleeperFernando Salas


Houston Astros:

Closer:  Whoever it is (Chad Qualls or Josh Fields most likely), wishes he was a baller.

Setup Guyer:  This pitcher wishes he was a bit taller.

iSleeperJosh Zeid or Chia-Jen Lo but both are in the minors.  Either way not even close to being a rotoballer.


NL East Closers & Saves

Washington Nationals:

CloserRafael Soriano

Setup GuyerTyler Clippard

iSleeperDrew Storen.  Here is another case of the dubbed “future closer” once upon a time.  Clippard will most likely get the first shot at closing out games once Soriano fails but Storen is the guy to watch.


Philadelphia Phillies:

By james_in_to on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsCloserJonathan Papelbon

Setup Guyer:  Antonio Bastardo

iSleeper:  I still believe in and wish that Phillippe Aumont was the top baller, maybe someday but still hoping.  At this point the only reason that Papelbon is closing out games is because of his salary which makes no sense to me because he would get paid regardless.  I wonder where Ugueth Urbina is at these days.


Atlanta Braves:

CloserCraig Kimbrel, nuff said, no reason to go any further.


Miami Marlins:

CloserSteve Cishek

Setup GuyerA.J. Ramos

iSleeperArquimedes Caminero


New York Mets:

CloserJose ValverdeBobby Parnell (injured) - update as of 4/1

Setup Guyer:  Germen Gonzalez

iSleeperJeurys Familia.  This dude might be the closer by the end of the season.  He is nasty and throws the ball hard and could put up a nice k/9 ratio, which is what we like to see in a closer.  My first choice would have been Vic Black but he is in the minors and was very erratic during the spring.


NL Central Closers & Saves

Chicago Cubs:

CloserJose Veras

Setup GuyerPedro Strop

iSleeperArodys Vizcaino.  Jose Veras probably gets moved to another team by the trade deadline and Pedro Strop has similar stuff with some control issues.  Don’t be surprised if Vizcaino or Kyuji Fujikawa is closing by seasons end.


Cincinnati Reds:

Closer:  Many Fantasy Experts think that J.J. Hoover is the closer, but I disagree.

Setup GuyerSam LeCure/Manny Parra

iSleeper:  Manny Parra.  This situation reminds me of the same situation that the St. Louis Cardinals went through last year.  Edward Mujica came out of nowhere and saved 37 games for the Red Birds.  Now I am not saying that Manny Parra will save that many games, but I think he could be an option before Aroldis Chapman comes back within five weeks.


Pittsburgh Pirates:

CloserJason Grilli

Setup GuyerMark Melancon

iSleeperDuke Welker


By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Trevor Rosenthal) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsSt. Louis Cardinals:

CloserTrevor Rosenthal

Setup GuyerCarlos Martinez

iSleeperJason Motte.  I think that Carlos Martinez could join the starting rotation at some point leaving Jason Motte as the main handcuff if healthy.


Milwaukee Brewers:

Closer:  Francisco Rodriguezupdate as of 3/31

Setup GuyerJim Henderson

iSleeper:  Most fantasy experts are touting Brandon Kintzler as the sleeper in this pen.  I’m leaning a different direction in either Rob Wooten or Will Smith.


NL West Closers & Saves

Los Angeles Dodgers:

CloserKenley Jansen = Nailz

Setup Guyer:  Brian Wilson = The guy who brought beards back?  Really?  I’m sorry but not a fan at all.  Before he started this was he like, I wish my beard was a bit longer, I wish I was a baller but he is definitely not a rotoballer.

iSleeper:  Jose Dominquez


San Diego Padres:  Ron Burgundy: “It's actually pronounced Sahn Dee-aaahh-go.”

CloserHuston Street, uhm!!??

Setup GuyerJoaquin Benoit

iSleeperNick Vincent, if the old guys cannot get it done.


San Francisco Giants:

CloserSergio Romo, not a fan this season.

Setup GuyerSantiago Casilla

iSleeperHeath Hembree or Derek Law.  I would not be surprised if either one of these pitchers were closing for the Giants by the end of the season.


Colorado Rockies:

Closer:  LaTroy Hawkins (Am I reading this correctly?)

Setup GuyerRex Brothers (The real closer but not yet because of money)

iSleeperChad Bettis


Arizona Diamondbacks:

CloserAddison Reed

Setup GuyerJ.J. Putz/Brad Ziegler

iSleeper:  Longshot – Jake Barrett



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