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Closers and Saves Waiver Wire Report for Fantasy Baseball - Week 7

Evan Phillips - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Closers and Saves

Sometimes bullpens feel like a daily frenzy of activity where everything is made up and the points don't matter. Other times, things go as planned and your seventh-inning guy gets the game to the eighth-inning guy, who then gets the game to the closer. The closer earns a save and everyone goes home. This week was somewhere in between those extremes.

It was a fairly quiet week in most bullpens, with most relievers going about their business as usual, although a few significant developments did take place. One of the surprisingly best fantasy relievers landed on the injured list, leaving a committee in his wake. Two committees elsewhere worked their way into new leaders as well.

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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Philadelphia Phillies - Bullpen and Closer News

Jose Alvarado was off to an outstanding start this season, pitching 14 1/3 innings while allowing just three runs, striking out 24, and not walking a batter. He'd worked his way into being the leader of the Phillies' closing committee. Alvarado has always had great swing-and-miss stuff, but walks have been an issue throughout his career. He's clearly figured something out this season though, but he's now on the injured list due to inflammation in his elbow.

While that's certainly a scary diagnosis for any pitcher, initial tests came back clean and Alvarado isn't expected to miss extended time. He should be right back on top of the Philadelphia bullpen when he returns. For now, Craig Kimbrel and Gregory Soto are expected to share save situations. Either one can be added by fantasy managers looking for a save or two, but neither guy is a must-add in any format right now, especially if Alvarado can come back this month.

Risers: Craig Kimbrel, Gregory Soto
Fallers: Jose Alvarado


Chicago Cubs - Bullpen and Closer News

The Cubs bullpen has been a committee since the season started. While it seemed to be split between Michael Fulmer and Brad Boxberger, it's looking like someone else may be taking the lead in the bullpen at Wrigley Field. Fulmer (5.51 ERA, 3.80 FIP) and Boxberger (3.86 ERA, 6.10 FIP) haven't been all that impressive, but Mark Leiter Jr. (1.13 ERA, 2.69 FIP) has been.

Leiter has been easily the most effective member of the Cubs bullpen, and that should lead to him seeing a few save chances going forward. He's not a must-roster in saves-only leagues yet, but he should be on a team in any leagues that count holds.

Risers: Mark Leiter Jr.
Fallers: Michael Fulmer, Brad Boxberger


New York Yankees - Bullpen and Closer News

The Yankees bullpen wasn't really supposed to be a committee this year. It was supposed to be Clay Holmes in the ninth inning taking care of business and wrapping up games. Manager Aaron Boone even gave Holmes a vote of confidence recently, but it seems like things are already changing in the Bronx Bullpen.

Michael King seems to have taken the role as head of the committee for the Yankees. In a recent tie game, Holmes was used in the seventh, Wandy Peralta in the eighth, and then King in the ninth. While this situation is likely to remain fluid, especially because the team wants to limit how often King pitches, it's a definite boost in value for King and a dip for Holmes.

Risers: Michael King
Fallers: Clay Holmes


Short Relief - Other Bullpen News

-Evan Phillips looks like he's strengthening his grasp on the Dodgers' closer role, leaving Brusdar Graterol as the key eighth-inning guy.

-Zach Jackson seems to be the closer in Oakland, but that won't mean too much in fantasy if the A's don't have leads for him to save.

-Daniel Bard has allowed only one run since returning from the IL, but his strikeouts are down and his walks are up. Pierce Johnson will continue as the closer in Colorado at least for now.

-Congrats to Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen for becoming just the seventh player in history to record 400 saves. Craig Kimbrel needs three more to join the list.

-Kendall Graveman looks like "the guy" for the White Sox until Liam Hendriks returns, which should be soon. Reynaldo Lopez and his 8.04 ERA should have pitched their way out of the role at this point. Hendriks didn't get great results in a recent rehab appearance (he allowed four runs and only got two outs) but he seemed healthy, which is the most important thing right now.

-Justin Topa earned a save this week on a day Paul Sewald was unavailable. Andres Munoz still needs more time before returning, so Topa is a good add in holds leagues and should be widely available.

-Raisel Iglesias was activated from the IL and has already picked up his first save of the season. A.J. Minter will slide back into a setup role for the Braves.

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