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Closers and Saves Waiver Wire Report for Fantasy Baseball - Week 6

liam hendriks fantasy baseball closers saves relief pitchers draft sleepers

April's all done, and the second month of the baseball season is off to an interesting start. All 162 games in a team's season count the same, so holds and saves remain some of the most important stats in the sport. There are few things in sports more deflating than a starting pitcher doing well, an offense scoring runs, and then a reliever blowing the game at the last possible chance.

With the new, less division-heavy schedule, teams need to be even more sure that they can turn leads into wins. This week, some teams made widespread bullpen changes, others solidified roles, and some made minor tweaks. We'll take a look at all of that and more, coming right up!

Be sure to also keep an eye on our Fantasy Baseball Closer Depth Charts for saves, holds, and bullpens. They will be updated daily or sometimes even more often throughout the 2023 baseball season. 

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Oakland Athletics - Bullpen and Closer News

The A's have played 32 games. They have won just six of them. Not a single A's starting pitcher has won a game yet. It's rough out there in Oakland. This week, the team sent relievers Jeurys Familia and Domingo Acevedo packing, designating both veteran relievers for assignment. Familia was seemingly operating as the head of the bullpen committee, but that obviously will no longer be the case.

Zach Jackson, who has two of the six Oakland wins, seems likely to take the majority of save chances going forward. He has a solid 2.57 ERA and a strong 27.9% K%. He needs to show some more control (13.1% BB%) but could end up being a decent "real life" closer. With the A's unlikely to have too many leads for him to save though, he won't be much of an asset in most fantasy leagues.

Risers: Zach Jackson
Fallers: Jeurys Familia, Domingo Acevedo


Chicago White Sox - Bullpen and Closer News

The White Sox bullpen (actually, their entire season so far) has been a disaster this year. There's a bright, bright light at the end of the tunnel, though. Closer Liam Hendriks is on a rehab assignment and could be ready to join the big league club after four or five minor league appearances. Until he's back, though? More messy Chicago bullpen things.

Reynaldo Lopez, who had been operating as the team's closer despite an 8.76 ERA, is now dealing with a biceps injury. Keynan Middleton earned a save this week and has pitched to a 2.89 ERA with a 42.5% K%. He might be the favorite for saves until Hendriks returns, but Kendall Graveman could mix in as well.

Risers: Keynan Middleton (short-term), Liam Hendriks (soon)
Fallers: Reynaldo Lopez


Tampa Bay Rays - Bullpen and Closer News

The Rays bullpen is always a source of excitement and plenty of fantasy baseball questions and conversations. That's even more true this season, as Tampa Bay is off to a ridiculous 26-6 start to the year. Unfortunately, usual Rays committee leader Pete Fairbanks was placed on the injured list this week due to right forearm inflammation. It's unclear how much time he'll miss, but we all know forearm things can sometimes be really bad news.

While Fairbanks is out, Jason Adam figures to be the new head of the committee. As they always do, the Rays are sure to mix things up. Colin Poche and Kevin Kelly will likely see some ninth innings. In very much Rays fashion though, a 35-year-old with almost 1000 innings of big league experience got the first save of his career this week. Chase Anderson will likely operate more as a middle reliever, but it was certainly fun to see him close out a game.

Risers: Jason Adam
Fallers: Pete Fairbanks


Texas Rangers - Bullpen and Closer News

The Rangers had been splitting save chances between a lefty and a righty, using William Smith and Jose Leclerc in close ninth-inning situations. Leclerc was getting results (0.93 ERA) but was getting really lucky, as he was having a hard time throwing strikes (seven walks, nine strikeouts).

This week, the team announced that Leclerc would begin working earlier innings in lower leverage situations while Smith would be taking over the closer's role and get "the majority of save chances" going forward. Smith needs to be rostered in all formats at this point. While Jonathan Hernandez and Leclerc may find themselves in some ninth innings, it will be Smith more often than not for what is a somewhat unexpectedly good Texas team.

Risers: William Smith
Fallers: Jose Leclerc


Short Relief - Other Bullpen News

-Clay Holmes has been a mix of struggling and unlucky, but he got a vote of confidence from his manager. Michael King would be next up, but for now, the Yankees' closer job still belongs to Holmes.

-Kenley Jansen was unavailable for a couple of games this week due to a back injury, but he was "fully available" on Thursday and should be good to go for the weekend.

-Aroldis Chapman, who had been looking like vintage Aroldis Chapman to start the season, looked more like recent Aroldis Chapman in an outing this week in which he allowed three walks, a balk, four stolen bases, and a go-ahead two-run single.

-The Angels bullpen was being looked at as a committee for most of the season so far, but Carlos Estevez seems like he's fully taken over the ninth inning and is pitching really well.

-Kyle Finnegan on the Nationals has also seemingly taken over completely and eliminated the committee approach in Washington.

-Tanner Scott earned a save for the Marlins this week, but it was on a day when both A.J. Puk and Dylan Floro were unavailable due to recent workloads. Scott remains third in line at best in Miami.

-Nick Martinez started the season in the starting rotation for the Padres but was moved back into the bullpen recently. He's quickly worked his way up to being one of the primary setup men ahead of closer Josh Hader.

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