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2022 Closer Situations: Team Analysis
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CWS
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Arizona Diamondbacks
Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
Total Saves: 33
Closer: Committee
(11/13) Arizona was a bottom-ranked unit in 2022 with only 33 total saves. However, only five D'Backs relief pitchers combined for those saves, which was tied for fewest in the league. Veterans Mark Melancon (18 saves) and Ian Kennedy (10) tallied the majority, but towards the end of the season, Reyes Moronta and Kevin Ginkel were given opportunities. Melancon, Ginkel and Moronta could be in the mix for closing duties in 2023, but Arizona declined their mutual option on Kennedy, who is now a free-agent. Lefty Joe Mantiply should remain in a setup role after posting the second-best walk rate in the league among qualified relievers last year. Newly acquired Cole Sulser has experience in the ninth inning, but unless he emerges in spring training, he's likely to pitch middle relief or in a setup capacity.
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Atlanta Braves
Team: Atlanta Braves
Total Saves: 55
Next in Line: A.J. Minter , Kirby Yates Out
(11/4) The Braves led the majors with 55 saves in 2022, with Kenley Jansen pacing the club with 41 of those and 74.5% team save share. The veteran now has a whopping 391 career saves, which ranks second among active pitchers and only a few behind leader Craig Kimbrel. Behind Jansen, A.J. Minter and Will Smith (prior to his trade to Houston) each tallied a handful of saves, while Raisel Iglesias added one after the Braves acquired him. While Atlanta has not announced their late-innings plans for next season, we assume they traded for Iglesias to be their closer for 2023 and beyond. However, a reunion with Jansen, who is a free-agent in 2023, is possible. In that scenario, Iglesias would likely continue the setup role he assumed upon arriving in Atlanta.
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Team Notes
  1. 6/29:A.J. Minter, who logged his first save of the season Tuesday at Philadelphia, has appeared in 3 games in 4 days. This makes Will Smith the likeliest candidate for a save chance if one were to arise Wednesday.
Baltimore Orioles
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Total Saves: 46
(11/9) Manager Brandon Hyde finally had a strong relief corps, as Baltimore finished 9th in bullpen ERA (3.49) and 8th with 46 saves. Jorge Lopez tallied 19 of those before he was traded to Minnesota, then Felix Bautista took over closing duties for the rest of the season to finish with 15. Bautista is one of the hardest throwing relievers in the league, but is slightly risky for 2023 saves due to his history of control problems. His upside far outweighs those risks, however, and he should be among the top 10 closers off the board. Dillon Tate is currently the next man up after chipping in a handful of saves last season.
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Boston Red Sox
Team: Boston Red Sox
Total Saves: 39
Closer: Committee
(11/13) No Red Sox pitcher recorded more than 8 saves in 2022. Among the bullpen arms returning for 2023, breakout reliever John Schreiber and Matt Barnes are the current favorites for saves. Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck have been told to build up as starters. Between the two, Houck seems more likely to return to the bullpen at some point, especially after he had a successful month closing last year before he got hurt. Boston should be players in the pitching market this offseason, so don't count out the possibility of them signing a closer, or bullpen depth options that have experience closing in the past.
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Team Notes
  1. 6/27:Tanner Houck was placed on the restricted list Monday prior to Boston's three-game series at Toronto. Matt Strahm and John Schreiber are the likeliest candidates for save opportunities should any arise during the series.
  2. 10/11:Hansel Robles exited Game 3 of the ALDS on Sunday due to a stomach illness after allowing two runs in two-thirds of an inning. He should be considered day-to-day due to his illness. Assuming he tests negative for COVID-19, it wouldn't be surprising to see the right-hander available for Game 4 on Monday. It was the first earned run he's allowed since August 29.
  3. 10/5:Entering tonight's AL Wild Card game against the Yankees, Hansel Robles has not allowed an earned run in 15 consecutive outings. Both he and Adam Ottavino enter tonight's contest with two-days rest, while Garrett Richards and Garrett Whitlock have had one day of rest after both pitched on Sunday.
Chicago Cubs
Team: Chicago Cubs
Total Saves: 44
Closer: Committee
(11/13) The Cubs have established a trend in recent years of using a veteran, free-agent-to-be as closer, then trading that pitcher at the deadline. That's what they did in 2021 with Craig Kimbrel and last season with David Robertson. In both years, Chicago shifted to a closer committee after the trade, with Brandon Hughes, Rowan Wick and Mark Leiter emerging from an otherwise uninspiring relief corps. There is some hope for the future in rookie right-hander Jeremiah Estrada and Codi Heuer (elbow), the latter of whom should return at some point in 2023 from Tommy John surgery. Take a shot on those guys super late in drafts rather than Hughes, Wick or Leiter.
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Cincinnati Reds
Team: Cincinnati Reds
Total Saves: 31
Closer: Committee
(11/8) 10 different Reds relievers combined for 31 saves, which was the third fewest by team in 2022. Alexis Diaz was the only Cincinnati pitcher to record double-digit saves (10), as many others struggled when given opportunities to close games. Tony Santillan (back) and Art Warren were the early favorites for saves, but Santillan got hurt and Warren was ineffective. Lucas Sims (back) was limited to just 6.2 innings in 2022, so the Reds were lacking much needed experience in the ninth inning. Journeyman Hunter Strickland was second on the team with seven saves, but is now a free agent. Fortunately, Cincinnati has the returns of Santillan, Sims and Tejay Antone (elbow) to look forward to in 2023, so at least there's some upside here in addition to Diaz.
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Cleveland Guardians
Team: Cleveland Guardians
Total Saves: 51
(11/9) Aside from Emmanuel Clase, the Guardians bullpen was a huge question mark entering 2022. Surprisingly, the unit posted the fifth best ERA (3.05) in the league. Clase was the star of the show, leading the majors with 42 saves while making his first All Star team and earning Reliever of the Month honors three times. James Karinchak rebounded from a disastrous second half in 2021, while several others emerged in high leverage, including Trevor Stephan, Sam Hentges and Eli Morgan, who were huge contributors in the late innings.
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Team Notes
  1. 7/1:Emmanuel Clase has appeared in each of the last 3 games. It's likely that Eli Morgan or Trevor Stephan would receive a save chance if one were to arise tonight against the Yankees.
Colorado Rockies
Team: Colorado Rockies
Total Saves: 43
Closer: Daniel Bard
Next in Line: Dinelson Lamet , Tyler Kinley Out
(11/4) Rockies manager Bud Black typically sticks with one primary closer and Daniel Bard was his preferred option for ninth inning duties throughout 2022. Bard had 34 of the Rockies' 43 saves and his 79.1% team save share was the second highest among closers. He had a career year at age 37, thus earning him a 2-year extension with the Rockies. As long as Bard keeps performing, he's the favorite to close for Colorado again next season. Tyler Kinley and Dinelson Lamet are the top names to watch behind Bard. Kinley was the Rockies' best reliever before he got hurt last season. Both pitchers should be locks for high-leverage roles in 2023, especially with Alex Colome and Carlos Estevez hitting free agency. Jake Bird (nearly 12.0 K/9 in minors) is also a closer in waiting candidate, but now that Bard is signed through 2024, he likely won't come across many save opportunities.
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Chicago White Sox
Team: Chicago White Sox
Total Saves: 48
(11/13) Based on Hendriks' lofty 2022 draft cost - he was one of the top two closers off the board, often within the first few rounds - one might suggest that he had a down year. While he did not produce at the level of his 2019-2021 seasons, the veteran was still outstanding. Hendriks was third in the league with 37 saves, marking the third consecutive year he finished top 3 or better in the category. The Aussie also carried a 98th percentile strikeout rate (36.2%) and elite 18.4% swinging strike percentage. His command was worse, but still above average overall and his 29.4% K-BB% ranked sixth among qualified relievers. Hendriks missed 3 weeks last summer with a forearm strain, which is mildly concerning as he enters his age-34 season. Some additional red flags include a below average hard hit rate and recent trend of being a slow starter. However, the positives outweigh the negatives and Hendriks remains a top 5 closer for 2023. Veterans Kendall Graveman, Aaron Bummer and Joe Kelly are still around in support of Hendriks, while there is upside with Reynaldo Lopez and Garrett Crochet (elbow), who should return at some point in 2023.
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Detroit Tigers
Team: Detroit Tigers
Total Saves: 38
Next in Line: Joe Jimenez Out, Alex Lange
(11/13) Gregory Soto set a career best mark in 2022 with 30 saves. The left-hander's ratios were comparable to 2021, but his strikeout rate dipped significantly and still managed to walk over 5 batters per nine innings. That said, he only allowed 2 homers all season and figures to be in the mix for saves again in 2023, if not the primary closer again. The emergence of Joe Jimenez and Alex Lange, who had the best seasons of their careers last season, puts Soto on much thinner ice should he struggle out of the gate. Between the two, prioritize Jimenez as a late stash for potential saves since he far more experience in the ninth inning.
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Houston Astros
Team: Houston Astros
Total Saves: 53
(11/13) Ryan Pressly made his appearances count last year, tallying a career high 33 saves in only 50 regular season appearances (48.1 innings). The veteran did miss some time with knee and neck injuries, but was ultra-reliable when healthy. In fact, he was dominant to close out the 2022 season with 11 scoreless frames throughout the playoffs. Pressly will be 34 in 2023, but should still be drafted among the top 5 or 6 closers. Rafael Montero re-emerged in 2022, earning a high leverage role and recording a career high 14 saves. He recently re-signed with Houston on a 3-year pact and should remain in the mix for saves when Pressly is unavailable. Hector Neris, Ryne Stanek and Bryan Abreu, the latter of whom had a breakout season in 2022, should continue to form a strong bridge to Pressly in 2023.
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Team Notes
  1. 7/1:Ryan Pressly has recorded a Save in each of the past 2 days. He has yet to work 3 games in a row this season, so it's likely a save chance would go to Rafael Montero on Friday.
  2. 9/29:Ryan Pressly is currently managing a knee issue and hasn't pitched since Saturday. Kendall Graveman was placed on the paternity list Tuesday. Look for Ryne Stanek or Yimi Garcia as the favorites to pitch in potential save opportunities for the next couple days if Pressley remains unavailable.
Kansas City Royals
Team: Kansas City Royals
Total Saves: 33
Next in Line: Dylan Coleman , Josh Staumont Out
(11/14) Matt Quatraro replaces Mike Matheny as Kansas City's manager in 2023. Quatraro comes to the Royals from Tampa Bay, which is known for its different approach to bullpen management, particularly when it coms to save chances. Should Quatraro mirror this approach, it will be interesting to see how the various relievers perform in high leverage scenarios, as the collective unit is not as talented as the one in Tampa Bay. The Royals ranked 27th with a 4.66 bullpen ERA in 2022, with 24 of the team's 33 saves (73%) going to Scott Barlow, who is clearly their most talented reliever. Barlow was a workhorse for the Royals last season, finishing with 74.1 innings that tied a career high and was most among closers. The 30-year-old was effective in those innings, posting career best marks in multiple categories with a 2.18 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, seven wins and 24 saves. While it's possible he maintains the primary closer role in 2023, the risk of a committee is obvious and drafting Barlow as your primary saves source is risky, at least until we hear more from Quatraro this offseason as to how he intends to manage the ninth inning. Dylan Coleman, Josh Staumont and Taylor Clarke offer the most upside aside from Barlow, while Amir Garrett has past experience as a closer from his time with the Reds.
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Los Angeles Angels
Team: Los Angeles Angels
Total Saves: 38
Closer: Committee
(11/14) One of the biggest surprises at the trade deadline last season was the Angels shipping Raisel Iglesias to Atlanta a mere nine months after signing him to a 4-year deal. The trade left a huge void in the ninth inning, so (then interim) manager Phil Nevin deployed a closer committee for the remainder of the season. With Nevin retained for 2023, the most likely scenario at this point of the offseason is he continues using Jimmy Herget and veteran Ryan Tepera as co-closers. Herget was the Angels best reliever in 2022 and led the team with nine saves after Iglesias was traded. Tepera has been a trusted high leverage option for the past six years and complemented Herget with five saves over the final two months. However, there's a possibility Los Angeles signs or trades for a more established closer this offseason, which would relegate both back to setup roles. When drafting for saves in early 2023 drafts, try to avoid the Angels bullpen, at least until we get deeper into free agency and closer to spring training.
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Los Angeles Dodgers
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Total Saves: 43
Closer: Committee
(11/14) A league high 12 Dodgers relievers combined for 43 saves in 2022, with 2023 free agent Craig Kimbrel leading the team with 22. Despite Kimbrel's struggles and lengthy injuries to two veteran relief pitchers - Blake Treinen and Daniel Hudson - Los Angeles still managed a 2.87 bullpen ERA that was second-best in the league. Evan Phillips (1.14 ERA) was a big reason for the Dodgers success in the late innings, while Brusdar Graterol pitched a career high 49.2 innings despite dealing with a few injuries himself. Los Angeles picked up Hudson's team option for 2023, though Treinen (shoulder) is likely to miss 2023 after recently undergoing surgery. With several capable options to close games, a committee is possible, but don't discount the possibility of Los Angeles signing or trading for a more established option this offseason.
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Team Notes
  1. 10/14:Corey Knebel will serve as the opener for Thursday's NLDS Game 5 matchup against the Giants. Knebel filled the opener role four times during the regular season, allowing one run in a combined 5.2 innings of work. Julio Urias is expected to follow him in bulk relief.
  2. 10/6:The Dodgers' highest-leverage relievers are well rested, as Jansen, Treinen and Vesia enter Wednesday's NL Wild Card game against the Cardinals on 4 days rest.
Miami Marlins
Team: Miami Marlins
Total Saves: 41
Closer: Dylan Floro
Next in Line: Steven Okert Out, Tanner Scott
(11/14) Skip Schumaker takes over for Don Mattingly as the Marlins manager in 2023. Miami's 2022 bullpen ERA (4.15) was 22nd in the majors, though the team was involved in plenty of close games, recording a save (41 total) in nearly 60% of the team's wins (69). Anthony Bender (elbow) opened last season as the Marlins closer, but underwent Tommy John surgery and is likely to miss all of 2023. Tanner Scott was one of the best waiver wire additions for saves, but has a perennially high WHIP and may not be the best option for Schumaker. Dylan Floro finished last season in the closer role and is the favorite to close games early in 2023. He'll be a free-agent in 2024, so it's possible the rebuilding Marlins build up his trade value, then move him. Steven Okert is a solid late-round dart if you're speculating on saves in super deep leagues.
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Milwaukee Brewers
Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Total Saves: 52
Next in Line: Matt Bush Out, Jake Cousins
(11/14) Milwaukee curiously moved on from Josh Hader last season, trading him to San Diego at the deadline. Ultimately, the trade may have cost them a Wild Card spot in the playoffs. Many assumed Devin Williams would immediately step into Hader's role as the Brewers primary closer, but the team used a committee for a bit before finally giving Williams the reigns over the final weeks. Williams finished with a career high 15 saves, including seven of Milwaukee's last nine. Momentum is certainly on his side as we forecast closers for 2023 and the market agrees, as Williams has an ADP of 62.5 as the 7th closer off the board through mid-November. Since there's no discount in drafts, you need to be supremely confident that Williams will close in order to justify his cost. For me, his stability isn't as high as other closers with his type of potential, as he's entering his arbitration window and will only get more costly the more he closes. He will get save chances, but 15-20 saves is just as likely as 30-plus. Either way, the All-Star has top 3 closer upside and showcased his massive potential with close to 100 strikeouts and a 30-game scoreless streak last year. As the roster currently stands, Matt Bush and Jake Cousins are next in line for saves, while Peter Strzelecki closed 2022 with nine straight scoreless outings.
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Minnesota Twins
Team: Minnesota Twins
Total Saves: 28
Closer: Committee
(11/14) Minnesota finished with a league-low 28 saves in 2022. Emilio Pagan led the team with 9, but struggled to hold leads and was removed from closing duties after a few months. Dominant rookie Jhoan Duran flourished in a relief role with 8 saves and led the league with 392 pitches thrown 100 mph or greater. He has the upside of a top 5 closer with full-time duties, but there's a greater chance the Twins are more flexible with his role. Jorge Lopez added 4 saves after the Twins acquired him at the deadline, but he struggled in his first two months with Minnesota and is no lock to close in 2023. We'll label this a committee for now between Duran and Lopez. Griffin Jax and Jovani Moran emerged as high upside relief arms in 2022, while Jorge Alcala (elbow) should be back next season.
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New York Mets
Team: New York Mets
Total Saves: 41
Closer: Edwin Diaz
Next in Line: Drew Smith , John Curtiss Out
(11/14) Shortly after the World Series, the Mets made it a priority to re-sign closer Edwin Diaz to the largest contract for a relief pitcher in history at five years and $102 million. No reliever in 2022 came close to Diaz's 50.2% strikeout rate, 25.2% SwStr%, 17.1 K/9 or 42.6% K-BB%, while his 1.31 ERA was a career best and ranked fourth among qualified relievers. Re-signing Diaz was an important step towards revamping a bullpen that saw Seth Lugo, Adam Ottavino, Mychal Givens and Trevor May depart via free agency. At this point of the offseason, Drew Smith would slot into a setup role, while John Curtiss returns in 2023 after missing all of last season due to Tommy John surgery. Expect the Mets to be very active on the relief pitcher market via both free agency and trades in the coming months to shore up their bullpen depth.
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New York Yankees
Team: New York Yankees
Total Saves: 47
Closer: Clay Holmes
(11/8) Bullpen roles in the Bronx are currently in flux after Clay Holmes regressed in the second half of 2022 after dealing with back and shoulder injuries. Former A's closer Lou Trivino is capable of closing games, while Wandy Peralta played an important high leverage role down the stretch. Jonathan Loaisiga appeared to regain his 2021 form towards the end of last season, so while Holmes is the favorite to close, there are options that Aaron Boone can turn to instead. One longtime Yankee that likely won't be in the picture for New York is Aroldis Chapman, who ended 2022 on poor terms with the club and enters 2023 as a free agent.
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Team Notes
  1. 7/1:Aroldis Chapman was activated from the 15-day IL. Clay Holmes has worked 3 games in the last 5 days, but did not pitch yesterday. Don't be surprised if the Yankees elect to give Holmes another day of rest with Chapman back. It's possible Chapman gets the call tonight if a save opportunity were to arise.
  2. 6/29:Aroldis Chapman is likely to return Friday.
  3. 10/5:Entering tonight's AL Wild Card game, Aroldis Chapman has a career 6.43 ERA and 2.07 WHIP in 14 innings at Fenway Park. However, he logged a 2.70 ERA against Boston this season with a 8:4 K:BB in 6.2 innings, albeit with two home runs allowed.
  4. 9/29:Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder) will likely be activated Wednesday.
Oakland Athletics
Team: Oakland Athletics
Total Saves: 34
Closer: Committee
(11/14) After being a logical candidate to see save chances throughout 2022, Domingo Acevedo finally saw ninth-inning duties over the final weeks, recording Oakland's last four saves of the season. However, injuries to Dany Jimenez (shoulder) and Zach Jackson (shoulder) essentially forced Mark Kotsay's hand, as Acevedo became his most trusted reliever by default. A.J. Puk had a solid year, tallying four saves for the A's, but doesn't appear to be Oakland's closer of the future. Should Jimenez be ready to go for spring training, he seems most likely to close for the A's at the outset of 2023, with Acevedo supplementing him when not available. Jackson could enter the mix for saves as well after posting an AL-leading 27 holds, but will need to bring down his walk rate (16.3%). It's best to avoid this bullpen in early 2023 drafts until we hear more on the status of Jimenez and Jackson closer to spring training.
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Philadelphia Phillies
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Total Saves: 42
(11/14) Phillies manager Rob Thomson spread out save chances once he took over for Joe Girardi last season. 11 Philadelphia relievers combined for 42 saves, with Corey Knebel (12), Seranthony Dominguez (9), David Robertson (6) and Brad Hand (5) all recording a handful or more. However, Dominguez was the Phillies best reliever in 2022 and may have led the team in the category if not for a triceps injury late in the season. He's the only returning reliever from the aforementioned group and represents the likeliest option to close as the roster currently stands. Jose Alvarado is a high upside dart in super deep drafts after posting a career-best strikeout rate and improving his walk rate. Andrew Bellatti had similar K and BB rates and added two saves, while Connor Brogdon continues to be solid as part of the bridge to the ninth inning. After reaching the World Series, expect the Phillies to invest in their bullpen this offseason, which means there's a possibility Dominguez's role may change over the coming months.
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Pittsburgh Pirates
Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Total Saves: 33
(11/14) Pittsburgh is loaded with pre-arbitration relief pitchers, including closer David Bednar, who will be arbitration eligible for the first time in 2024. It will be interesting to see whether the typically cost-conscious Pirates elect to trade Bednar in 2023, or build their bullpen around him. This impacts his stability a bit and even more so after Bednar missed nearly two months last season with a back injury. However, when healthy, Bednar is one of the most secure closers in the league. When Bednar was injured last season, five different Pittsburgh relief pitchers combined for six total saves. The lack of saves overall is likely to continue into 2023 with the Pirates not expected to significantly improve.
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San Diego Padres
Team: San Diego Padres
Total Saves: 48
Closer: Josh Hader
(11/14) San Diego finished near the top of the league with 48 saves in 2022. The majority came from Taylor Rogers (28) before the Padres shipped him off in the deal to acquire Josh Hader. Hader struggled with his new team at first, but was able to rebound over the final month and change. His security as the Padres closer for 2023 remains high due to his strong 2022 finish, but remember he's set to become a free agent in 2024. If the Padres aren't performing to expectations near midseason 2023, Hader could be on the move. In that scenario, Robert Suarez is the next man up for saves after signing a 5-year deal to return to San Diego. Suarez was a former closer in Japan and had a fantastic rookie MLB season in 2022.
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Seattle Mariners
Team: Seattle Mariners
Total Saves: 40
Closer: Committee
(11/14) Paul Sewald tallied half (20) of Seattle's 40 saves in 2022, but Andres Munoz finally stayed healthy and broke out with a huge season to enter the mix for saves moving forward. Since Munoz is signed to a long-term, team-friendly contract, the Mariners have no financial limitations to consider in limiting his save chances. Meanwhile, both Sewald and Diego Castillo remain arbitration eligible through 2024, so Seattle may scale back their save opportunities in 2023, or ultimately trade one or both of them. Matt Brash, Penn Murfee and Matt Festa return in 2023 to complete the leverage ladder to Sewald and Munoz. Brash has the most upside of the three.
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San Francisco Giants
Team: San Francisco Giants
Total Saves: 39
(11/7) The Giants led the league with a 2.99 bullpen ERA in 2021, but plummeted to 20th in the category (4.08) last year. Camilo Doval and John Brebbia were the lone bright spots from a unit that otherwise struggled. Doval, in particular, tallied 27 of the Giants' 39 saves for a 69.2% share that ranked 9th among closers. The 25-year-old also introduced a new sinker last July with promising results. Doval's slider is still nasty as ever, but it will be interesting to see how he adjusts the usage of his secondary pitches with the sinker being far more successful than his cutter. Brebbia, Tyler Rogers and Jarlin Garcia all return in 2023 as setup men.
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Team Notes
  1. 10/4:The Giants bullpen gets a much-needed break after winning the NL West. Camilo Doval, in particular, pitched 4 times in 5 days during the final week.
  2. 10/1:Doval, Rogers and Leone have worked 2 out of the past 3 games, with Rogers throwing 47 pitches over that span. Strong possibility Rogers gets the night off against San Diego.
  3. 9/30:Doval earned his 2nd big-league save on Wednesday and may be the new closer in San Francisco.
  4. 9/29:The plans for Jake McGee (oblique) beyond Wednesday aren't entirely clear, but so long as he gets through mound work without any setbacks, a return to the Giants' bullpen for the final regular-season series against the Padres might not be out of the question.
St. Louis Cardinals
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Total Saves: 37
Closer: Ryan Helsley Out
(11/14) Manager Oliver Marmol's 'closer by calculation' strategy benefited Ryan Helsley with the majority share of Cardinals save chances since late May 2022. Helsley was one of the most dominant relievers in baseball last season, tossing the third-most pitches at 100 mph or greater while going nearly two months without giving up an earned run. Giovanny Gallegos also tallied double-digit saves for the second straight year and is likely to make it three in 2023 after inking a 2-year extension with the Cardinals as the clear backup to Helsley. Don't forget about Jordan Hicks and Alex Reyes (shoulder), who have showcased their potential before in recent seasons with St. Louis.
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Team Notes
  1. 10/6:The Cardinals' highest-leverage relievers are well rested, as Gallegos, Cabrera and Reyes enter Wednesday's NL Wild Card game against the Dodgers on 4 days rest, while Garcia is on 3 days rest.
  2. 10/1:Garcia earned his 2nd save of the season Thursday night as the Cardinals give Gallegos some much deserved rest before the playoffs. Gallegos has logged a new career-high 79.1 innings this season.
Tampa Bay Rays
Team: Tampa Bay Rays
Total Saves: 44
Closer: Committee
(11/15) We've come to expect varied late-inning usage from manager Kevin Cash and 2022 was no different with 11 different relievers combining for 44. Pete Fairbanks and Jason Adam led the Rays with eight saves apiece, while Colin Poche (7), Brooks Raley (6) and Andrew Kittredge (5) each had a handful or more. Kittredge (elbow) underwent Tommy John surgery last summer, but could return late in 2023 and this bullpen otherwise remains in tact for next season. Fairbanks (finger) experienced numbness on his pitching hand during a playoff appearances, but as long as that issue is not serious, he appears likely to lead this closer committee after tallying 4 of the Rays final 7 saves to close out 2022. One name who could emerge next season in the mix for saves is Garrett Cleavinger, a lefty who posted a 35% strikeout rate over 23 innings last year. Ultimately, this unit is one to avoid if you're seeking primary save options.
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Team Notes
  1. 10/11:Collin McHugh will serve as the Rays' opening pitcher Monday against the Red Sox as part of a bullpen day in Game 4 of the ALDS, Manager Kevin Cash hasn't appointed a primary pitcher to work behind McHugh, as the Rays will instead likely turn to a cadre of arms to fill innings out of the bullpen. Josh Fleming, JT Chargois, Pete Fairbanks, J.P. Feyereisen, Andrew Kittredge and Matt Wisler tossed 20 pitches or fewer in Sunday's 13-inning loss, so the Tampa Bay bullpen should be relatively fresh for Monday's contest.
Texas Rangers
Team: Texas Rangers
Total Saves: 37
(11/15) 10 Texas relievers combined for 37 saves in 2022, with Joe Barlow the only one in double-digits with 13. Barlow dealt with persistent blister issues last season and recently underwent wrist surgery to separate a pair of fused tendons in order to help prevent the blisters moving forward. Skills wise, he's not the best option for saves and lost the closer role last July before the blisters became an issue. Jose Leclerc finished second on the team with 7 saves and the Rangers picked up his $6 million option for 2023 after he successfully returned from Tommy John surgery. He served as the Rangers closer over the final month-and-a-half and is the current favorite to close in 2023, though this bullpen remains under construction and roles could fluctuate. New manager Bruce Bochy is a 3-time World Series champion and has used both a primary closer and a committee throughout his managing career. It's worth noting he deployed a primary option during his last season in San Francisco in 2019. His lean in Texas will depend on how this bullpen comes together over the coming months.
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Toronto Blue Jays
Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Total Saves: 46
(11/16) Jordan Romano recorded 36 of Toronto's 46 saves in 2022 and his 78.3% team save percentage was 4th-highest among closers. His strikeout rate was down compared to 2021, but his ratios were comparable and he only allowed 4 home runs all year. His role as the Blue Jays' closer is extremely secure considering Adam Cimber (4 saves) and Tim Mayza (2) were the only other Toronto relievers to record more than one save. Erik Swanson, Anthony Bass and Yimi Garcia also have closing experience, but appear destined for the 6th through 8th innings in 2023 as part of the bridge to Romano.
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Washington Nationals
Team: Washington Nationals
Total Saves: 28
Next in Line: Carl Edwards , Victor Arano Out
(11/14) Washington posted a league low 55 wins in 2022, while tying for a league low with only 28 saves. At least the Nationals closer role was pretty clear. Tanner Rainey (elbow) opened last season as the closer before undergoing Tommy John surgery in late-August. He'll miss most, if not all, of the 2023 season. When Rainey got hurt, Kyle Finnegan took over closing duties for the rest of the season, with Carl Edwards Jr. adding a few saves of his own. Finnegan is the likeliest bet to return as closer to start 2023, but keep an eye on Hunter Harvey, Mason Thompson and Victor Arano during spring training, as all could potentially receive a shot in the ninth inning. As a rebuilding club, Washington isn't likely to win many games in 2023, so try to speculate on saves elsewhere if possible, especially since Finnegan is no sure thing to close.
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Team Notes
  1. 9/23:Tanner Rainey earned the save for the Nationals last night and has worked 3 out of the last 4 games. Expect Kyle Finnegan, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 19, to get the save chance if one presents itself against the Cardinals tonight.