Fantasy Baseball 2021: Best options for saves from each MLB team

Andy Behrens
·3-min read

Closers are just the worst.

Back in the day, at least they used to offer entertainment and/or aesthetic value...

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...but in the current era, they're really just an annoyance.

Chasing saves is probably the least satisfying aspect of fantasy baseball. Most of the effort we put into this game — and a huge percentage of our FAB resources — are spent on just one of the ten standard stats. It's kinda brutal.

This is why many of us encourage you to embrace saves-plus-holds as an alternative scoring option. Some of my esteemed colleagues reject holds, but my feeling is that bundling them with saves allows us to simply prioritize the very best relief pitchers, regardless of their roles. It also helps recognize an element of bullpen usage that's otherwise absent from fantasy.

While not every team will reserve its most effective reliever for the ninth inning, they're all gonna use someone. Thus, for those of you in save-chasing leagues, today we bring you a look at the likeliest current closers on every MLB squad, annotated where it's absolutely necessary.

If you're looking for ranks, you came to the wrong place. You can find our relief pitcher rankings right here. All you're getting below is a ninth inning best-guess (plus the next-men-up).

Arizona Diamondbacks - Joakim Soria (Stefan Crichton)

Atlanta Braves - Will Smith (Chris Martin)

Baltimore Orioles - Tanner Scott (Hunter Harvey was the favorite, but he's hit the 60-day IL)

Boston Red Sox - Matt Barnes (Adam Ottavino is in the mix with Barnes)

Chicago Cubs - Craig Kimbrel (<— cannot be trusted, so keep Brandon Workman in your plans)

Chicago White Sox - Liam Hendriks (Aaron Bummer)

Cincinnati Reds - Amir Garrett (Lucas Sims, getting healthy at the right time)

Cleveland Indians - James Karinchak (Nick Wittgren isn't out of the closing conversation)

Colorado Rockies - Daniel Bard (Mychal Givens)

Detroit Tigers - Bryan Garcia (Gregory Soto)

Houston Astros - Ryan Pressly (Enoli Paredes)

Kansas City Royals - Greg Holland (Josh Staumont)

Los Angeles Angels - Raisel Iglesias (Mike Mayers)

Los Angeles Dodgers - Kenley Jansen (Blake Treinen or Corey Knebel are on standby)

Miami Marlins - Anthony Bass (Yimi Garcia)

Milwaukee Brewers - Josh Hader (Devin Williams was dinged, but he's improving)

Minnesota Twins - Taylor Rodgers (Alex Colome is thisclose, likely to also claim saves)

New York Mets - Edwin Diaz (Trevor May)

New York Yankees - Aroldis Chapman (Chad Green)

Oakland Athletics - Trevor Rosenthal (Jake Diekman)

Philadelphia Phillies - Hector Neris (Archie Bradley leads a parade of ex-closers here)

Pittsburgh Pirates - Richard Rodriguez (Kyle Crick)

San Diego Padres - Mark Melancon (Drew Pomeranz is probably the best arm in a loaded bullpen)

San Francisco Giants - Jake McGee (Tyler Rogers)

Seattle Mariners - Rafael Montero (Yohan Ramirez)

St. Louis Cardinals - Giovanny Gallegos (Jordan Hicks is throwing hard, but hasn't had a clean spring)

Tampa Bay Rays - Nick Anderson (Diego Castillo)

Texas Rangers - Jose Leclerc (Joely Rodriguez)

Toronto Blue Jays - Kirby Yates (Jordan Romano)

Washington Nationals - Brad Hand (Daniel Hudson)

Again, we're simply giving you semi-educated guesses with several of these bullpens. There are many viable plans for addressing saves in fantasy (including punting this dreadful category entirely); just make sure you have an approach in mind before you launch your draft.