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Fantasy Baseball Closers and Saves Waiver Wire Report for Week 16

James McArthur- Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

We all know we're a couple of weeks past the official start of summer, but nothing feels more "hey it's summer" than Fourth of July. There's a lot of important baseball coming up until a much needed All-Star break soon, with teams on the cusp of contention needing to figure out what to do at the trade deadline and other teams that have been out of it for a while doing their best to build up the value of their trade pieces.

This week, a veteran closer put his struggles far in the rearview mirror, an injured closer got another dose of bad news, and a team is still waiting for its first save since early June. We'll cover all that and more in this one, so stick around and read on!

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 2024 baseball season. 

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

Sunday Quick Hit Closer Updates

-Victor Vodnik earned his first career save and makes the Rockies bullpen even harder to figure out now.

-David Bednar threw all of his pitches in a rehab appearance and made it through without any setbacks.

-Clay Holmes hasn't earned a save since June 9 and is in quite a slump, allowing at least one run in five of his last seven outings. It's been some bad pitching but a lot of bad luck, as his recent 10.80 ERA doesn't really match his 1.97 SIERA in that same period.

Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Pickups for Saves

Chad Green, Toronto Blue Jays (Rostered in 27% of leagues)

The Blue Jays got several bits of news this week: bad news about Jordan Romano, good news about Yimi Garcia, and bad news about their hopes for 2024. Romano has been on the injured list for a few weeks but was nearing a return before suffering another setback. He underwent surgery on his elbow and will not throw for at least six weeks, putting his season in jeopardy. It's unclear if he'll return this season, but even if he does, it won't be a for a while. Romano can be cut in most formats.

Meanwhile, Yimi Garcia is progressing much better in his rehab. He threw a side session with no issues and will go to Buffalo for a rehab assignment with the Blue Jays' Triple-A team. He could be back right before the All-Star break. The issue there, though: Yimi is a free agent after this season and the Blue Jays have fallen to 8.5 games out of the Wild Card race. They're looking like sellers at the deadline, and Yimi is sure to go.

That leaves Chad Green, who has been closing since Romano and Garcia got hurt, likely to close in Toronto for the rest of the season. He's signed through 2025, so while it's not impossible that he could be traded as well, it's less likely. He's available in almost three-quarters of fantasy leagues right now and has a clear path to be a closer for the rest of the season, so he should be rostered in most formats.

James McArthur, Kansas City Royals (Rostered in 55% of leagues)

"The General" has had some ups and downs this season, but he's been more impressive than not, posting 15 saves, four wins, and a 4.08 ERA/3.81 FIP. He doesn't have the huge strikeout numbers of an elite closer (just 28 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings but also only seven walks), but he's still a solid reliever and seems to be locked into the ninth inning for Kansas City.

That gives him solid fantasy value and definitely makes him someone who should be rostered in way more than just over half of fantasy leagues right now. He's also a guy who can get more than three outs, as after adding one this week, he now has four saves of five outs or more in the past two seasons. He should be rostered as a solid and reliable RP2 in most formats.

David Bednar, Pittsburgh Pirates (Rostered in 86% of leagues)
Aroldis Chapman, Pittsburgh Pirates (Rostered in 43% of leagues)

The Pirates had a guy with over 300 saves ready to go as soon as their closer got injured, which must be nice. David Bednar landed on the injured list a few weeks ago with an oblique injury, but he's already throwing again and should be throwing off a mound soon as long as flat ground goes well.

In the meantime, Aroldis Chapman and his 324 saves have been taking care of Pittsburgh's ninth innings. Assuming no setbacks, Bednar is expected back sometime soon after the All-Star break, which should give Chapman a few more saves.

Right now, Chapman is available in more than half of fantasy leagues, and Bednar is out there in 14%. Both are worth rostering, of course, for different purposes. Chapman will provide solid strikeout numbers and presumably a few saves for the next couple of weeks. Bednar is worth picking up if available for fantasy managers with an open IL spot, as he'll almost certainly have his job back once he's healthy.

 

More Bullpen and Closer News

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles bullpen has been an interesting watch this season. Closer Craig Kimbrel started off the season by allowing a run in his first outing but then not allowing another earned run until 25 days and 11 outings later. A rough patch followed, rough enough that it led to Kimbrel temporarily losing his job as closer. Since being reinstated in his role, he's been excellent again.

This week, he moved into fourth place in baseball history with 438 saves, passing Francisco Rodriguez. Only Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, and Lee Smith have more saves. He's also riding a five-game scoreless streak, in which he's recorded a save in all five games. For the year, he has 21 saves and a 2.23 ERA/2.66 FIP. The Orioles will almost certainly add to their bullpen before the trade deadline, but Kimbrel's job should be safe.

 

Short Relief - Other Bullpen News

-The Rockies bullpen has a team ERA of 8.44 in the ninth inning this season. That's the highest ninth-inning ERA since team ERA-per-inning started being recorded. So, at least as far as we know: they are the worst of all time.

-Aroldis Chapman set the record for most strikeouts in baseball history by a left-handed reliever. He has 1,200 and counting, each strikeout he records just adds to his record.

-Robert Suarez threw six changeups while earning a save against the Rangers this week. That's significant because it's the most non-fastballs he's thrown in an outing this year. He's been excellent (1.02 ERA/2.62 FIP) while throwing 77.4% fastballs, but a less predictable mix might make him even better.

-Raisel Iglesias isn't getting a ton of work, but he's pitching really well when he is. He's put up 10 scoreless outings in his last 11 appearances, earning seven saves with 12 strikeouts and just two walks.

-Porter Hodge has been impressive in his first 12 big league innings (1.50 ERA/1.99 FIP) and could start seeing more leverage opportunities, especially after the Cubs sell off some bullpen pieces at the deadline.

-Edwin Diaz is eligible to return from his "sticky stuff" suspension on Saturday, and should return right to his role as closer for the suddenly playoff-hopeful Mets.

-Jose Alvarado and Jeff Hoffman both earned saves this week. It looks like the Phillies will continue with this committee at least until they add someone else at the deadline.

-Mason Miller has proven himself human, but the concerns about his "decline" are thoroughly overblown. The dude still has a 2.39 ERA/1.81 FIP and 66 strikeouts in 37 2/3 innings.

-Leader board update: it's Ryan Helsley extending his lead in saves with 31. He's followed by Emmanuel Clase with 25 and Kyle Finnegan with 23. Raisel Iglesias, Robert Suarez, and Craig Kimbrel each have 21.

-Our holds leaderboard has JoJo Romero on top with 26, followed by his teammate Andrew Kittredge with 24. Hunter Harvey also has 24, and Yennier Cano has 21.

-After many weeks of a tie atop the blown-save leaderboard, we have a standout: Jalen Beeks has six. The second-place tie features seven different pitchers with five blown saves apiece.

 



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