It’s fantasy baseball season, which means yet another year of attempting to figure out which relievers are set to pick up the all-important save in games. Granted, there are those who sit among the top of the food chain. But, there are also teams that do have a lack of clarity, with regards to whom will receive most of the save opportunities. Let’s try to help with that, as we take a look at MLB closer projections for 2023.
MLB Projected Closers for Fantasy
Let’s start off with the projected closers in the American League:
|Team||Closer||Next Man Up|
|Baltimore Orioles||Yennier Cano||Shintaro Fujinami|
|Boston Red Sox||Kenley Jansen||Chris Martin|
|Chicago White Sox||Gregory Santos||Bryan Shaw|
|Cleveland Guardians||Emmanuel Clase||Eli Morgan|
|Detroit Tigers||Alex Lange||Jason Foley|
|Houston Astros||Ryan Pressly||Bryan Abreu|
|Kansas City Royals||Carlos Hernandez||Taylor Clarke|
|Los Angeles Angels||Carlos Estevez||Jose Soriano|
|Minnesota Twins||Jhoan Duran||Emilio Pagan|
|New York Yankees||Clay Holmes||Wandy Peralta|
|Oakland Athletics||Trevor May||Lucas Erceg|
|Seattle Mariners||Andrés Muñoz||Matt Brash|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Pete Fairbanks||Colin Poche|
|Texas Rangers||Will Smith||Aroldis Chapman|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Jordan Romano||Jordan Hicks|
Well, we now know that 2023 AL All-Star Félix Bautista suffered a partial tear of his UCL. However, the flamethrower has not been ruled out for the remainder of the regular season. Owners of Bautista should on to him for now.
Now, a look at the NL closers:
|Team||Closer||Next Man Up|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Paul Sewald||Kevin Ginkel|
|Atlanta Braves||Raisel Iglesias||Kirby Yates|
|Chicago Cubs||Mark Leiter Jr.||Julian Merryweather|
|Cincinnati Reds||Alexis Díaz||Ian Gibaut|
|Colorado Rockies||Tyler Kinley||Justin Lawrence|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Evan Phillips||Brusdar Graterol|
|Miami Marlins||Tanner Scott||David Robertson|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Devin Williams||Joel Payamps|
|New York Mets||Adam Ottavino||Brooks Raley|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Craig Kimbrel||José Alvarado|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||David Bednar||Colin Holderman|
|San Diego Padres||Josh Hader||Luis Garcia|
|San Francisco Giants||Camilo Doval||Tyler Rogers|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Ryan Helsley||Giovanny Gallegos|
|Washington Nationals||Kyle Finnegan||Hunter Harvey|
Cubs reliever Adbert Alzolay has been electric for Chicago this season, but the righty hit the IL on September 11 with a right forearm strain. Now, the Cubs will need Mark Leiter Jr. and Julian Merryweather to pick up the slack.
Meanwhile in St. Louis, JoJo Romero is on the IL and Ryan Helsley notched a save on September 9. He’s pitched in the ninth in three of the Cardinals’ win in September, and he appears to be back in the closer’s role.
A couple of things to keep in mind with these lists. While this list does consider the individual most likely to get a save as the “closer, ” managers in recent years have opted to use relievers usually reserved for the closer role a bit differently. Rather than save the team’s top reliever for the ninth inning, there have been many situations in which that individual comes in for either the seventh or eighth inning to face the middle of the lineup and the opposing team’s best hitters.
In this day of age, keep that in mind with pitchers that carry the “closer” role.
We should note that this chart is subject to change, due to injuries, role changes, etc. This chart will be updated throughout the year, to reflect changes.