2021 Fantasy Baseball Closer Rankings For Week 17

Last Updated: Jul 28, 2021

Welcome to The Game Day’s Fantasy Baseball Closer Rankings, Depth Charts, Bullpen Report, & Sleepers For Saves. When you’re working the fantasy baseball waiver wire and trying to find the best sleepers for saves, you have to know each Major League Baseball team’s relief pitchers. Who has a path to 2021 fantasy baseball saves? Who’s going to focus on holds and setup appearances?

Kev Mahserejian ranks each fantasy baseball bullpen from strongest (1) to weakest (30) while giving security ratings for each club’s relief corps.

See which fantasy baseball closers are secure, questionable, or on shaky ground in their job security so you can plan ahead and remain in the race for your fantasy baseball league title. Identify the fantasy baseball league pickups you should make soon so you can have control over erratic 2021 fantasy baseball saves pictures.

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Week 17 Fantasy Baseball Closers: Depth Chart News, Saves Tips & Bullpen Report

Detroit Tigers

  • Closer: Gregory Soto
  • Backups: Jose Cisnero, Michael Fulmer (IL)

With Fulmer (neck) back on the injured list, Soto has seemingly re-established himself as Detroit’s closer this season. Soto was just selected to the All-Star team and is under team control through 2025, which makes him unlikely to be traded at the deadline.

Fulmer — a possible trade candidate — just began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Toledo and is set to return from the IL soon. If he makes it back before the deadline, it’s possible that he’ll be re-inserted into the closer role to spike interest among contending teams. Regardless of whether he’s traded or not, Fulmer is a mediocre closing option and will likely shift to a setup role either way.

If Soto does lose his ninth-inning job when Fulmer returns, it will likely only be temporary. Hang onto him until the deadline passes, then re-evaluate whether he’s worth retaining for the rest of the season.

Chicago Cubs

  • Closer: Craig Kimbrel
  • Backups: Ryan Tepera, Rex Brothers, Andrew Chafin, Rowan Wick (IL)

This has nothing to do with Kimbrel’s performance, but rather the Cubs as a whole. They are gearing up for a rebuild and trading Joc Pederson was the first domino to fall. Kimbrel is likely next in line given how often high-end relievers are dealt at the deadline. The price tag will be hefty, but some team is bound to pony up given his track record.

Kimbrel’s fantasy value should not be affected by a trade, but his backups are the targets here. Tepera — the presumed next man up — is also a trade candidate given how inexpensive he is salary-wise. He’s been incredible since last season and has closed several times in the past, so he is absolutely worth considering as a pickup.

Chafin is another trade candidate, but if he stays in Chicago there is a chance he sees closing opportunities until Wick is activated from the IL. Wick has not pitched in the bigs at all this season, but he’s working his way back from an oblique injury and is currently on a rehab assignment. With six career saves under his belt, he’s worth a speculative add in deeper leagues where saves are at a premium.

Fantasy Baseball Closer Rankings, Depth Charts, Bullpen Report, & Sleepers For Saves


RkTeamCloserNext In LineWatchJob SecurityNotes
1MetsEdwin DiazDavid RobertsonAdam OttavinoGREATDiaz has 205 career saves, coming off an elite season with an insane 50.2 K%.
2GuardiansEmmanuel ClaseJames KarinchakTrevor StephanGREATClase put up a sub-1.50 ERA in the last two years, including 42 saves last season.
3Blue JaysJordan RomanoErik SwansonYimi GarciaGREATRomano has combined for 59 saves in the past two seasons, totaling 36 last year.
4PadresJosh HaderRobert SuarezLuis GarciaGREATHader got off to a rocky start with the Padres, but found his groove with a 0.87 ERA in Sept/Oct.
5BrewersDevin WilliamsMatt BushPeter StrzeleckiGREATWilliams gave us a preview of what's to come in 2023, posting 15 saves with a 40.0 K% in 2022.
6OriolesFelix BautistaDillon TateMychal GivensGREATBautista became one of the best closers in baseball following the Jorge Lopez trade.
7BravesRaisel IglesiasA.J. MinterJoe JiménezGREATIglesias has a strong track record, so he should be a high-end closer following Kenley Jansen's departure.
8AstrosRyan PresslyRafael MonteroHéctor NerisGREATPressly has combined for 59 saves with strong ratios in his last two seasons.
9CardinalsRyan HelsleyGiovanny GallegosJordan HicksGREATHelsley had a 1.25 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, and 39.3 K% with 19 saves last year.
10GiantsCamilo DovalTaylor RogersJohn BrebbiaGREATDoval racked up 27 saves last season, but the 10.5 BB% is an issue.
11Red SoxKenley JansenChris MartinJohn SchreiberGREATJansen has 391 career saves, including 41 last year, giving him a long leash.
12YankeesClay HolmesJonathan LoáisigaTommy KahnleGREATHolmes will look to build off a strong season that saw him rack up 20 saves with strong ratios.
13PiratesDavid BednarRobert StephensonWil CroweGREATBednar had an elite 25.2 K-BB%, but he plays for one of the worst teams in baseball.
14TwinsJhoan DuranJorge LopezEmilio PagánSOLIDDuran is the better pitcher, but Lopez has more experience -- I'd take the risk with Duran's superior upside.
15RockiesDaniel BardPierce JohnsonDinelson LametGREATBard has been great for the Rockies, but the 10.2 BB% is concerning.
16RoyalsScott BarlowDylan ColemanAmir GarrettGREATBarlow racked up 24 saves with a 19.0 K-BB%, but the Royals are a bad team, meaning fewer opportunities.
17RedsAlexis DiazLucas SimsTejay AntoneSOLIDDiaz really emerged down the stretch, posting six saves in Sept. The issue is the walk rate (12.9%).
18White SoxKENDALL GRAVEMANAaron BummerJoe KellySOLIDGraveman is expected to take over as closer. We send out our prayers to Liam Hendriks as he battles cancer.
19RangersJose LeclercJonathan HernándezJoe BarlowSOLIDLeclerc posted a 1.85 ERA in the 2nd half last season, ready to take over as closer for an improved team.
20AthleticsTREVOR MAYZach JacksonDany JiménezSOLIDThe A's signed May to a one-year deal worth $7 million, so he should be the closer this year.
21MarinersPaul SewaldAndrés MuñozDiego CastilloCOMMITTEESewald was great last year, but so was Muñoz, so there's risk of a committee.
22TigersALEX LANGEJason FoleyJose CisneroSOLIDLange takes over as Tigers' closer following the Gregory Soto trade.
23AngelsCARLOS ESTEVEZJimmy HergetRyan TeperaSOLIDEstevez was brought in as a free agent, expect him to be the closer for the Angels.
24MarlinsDylan FloroTanner ScottJT ChargoisSOLIDFloro finished off the year strong, racking up six saves in Sept.
25RaysPete FairbanksJason AdamJalen BeeksCOMMITTEEFairbanks was great down the stretch, but the Rays always like to use a committee.
26NationalsKyle FinneganCarl Edwards Jr.Hunter HarveySOLIDFinnegan had a respectable 3.51 ERA with 11 saves for the Nationals after taking over as closer.
27DodgersEvan PhillipsDaniel HudsonAlex VesiaCOMMITTEEExpect a committee between Phillips and Hudson for the Dodgers this year.
28CubsBrandon HughesBrad BoxbergerManuel RodriguezSHAKYHughes is first in line, but don't sleep on free agent addition Boxberger (two 30+ save seasons)
29PhilliesSeranthony DominguezCraig KimbrelGregory SotoCOMMITTEEThis is a full-blown committee between Dominguez, Kimbrel, and Soto.
30DiamondbacksMark MelanconKevin GinkelJoe MantiplySHAKYShakiest situation in MLB, deferring to the veteran Melancon here.


Kev Mahserejian

Kev Mahserejian is an NFL/NBA/MLB analyst at The Game Day, residing in Los Angeles, CA. He graduated from the University of Southern California in 2017 and began creating sports content soon after. Kev currently writes fantasy and betting pieces while also hosting his podcast The Operating Room with various guests from the sports industry to discuss topics primarily regarding fantasy. He also writes for RotoBaller and is quite active on his Twitter @RotoSurgeon.

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