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Fantasy baseball sleepers: Players to target at closers, relief pitchers for 2023 MLB season

We go over the top sleepers for the 2023 fantasy baseball season among closers and relief pitchers.

Toronto Blue Jays v Texas Rangers
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 10: Adam Cimber #90 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Texas Rangers during the eighth inning at Globe Life Field on September 10, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.
Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

We may be in the midst of March Madness, but as we inch closer to April, it is certainly not too early to begin scouting for your 2023 fantasy baseball squad. Even better, this year’s MLB season comes on the heels of the World Baseball Classic, which gives us an earlier competitive look—better than spring training, in my opinion.

Whether playing Roto or head-to-head, your fantasy team will need to be bolstered by a strong bullpen if your championship hopes are respectable (much like real-life baseball). Naturally, superstars like Liam Hendricks and Josh Hader will be in high demand for any fantasy manager (for good reason). On top of that, Edwin Diaz will likely miss the entire 2023 MLB season after injuring his right knee in celebration after notching a save over the Dominican Republic in the WBC: That all means fewer relievers to go around. Regardless, having dependable bullpen arms is a requirement for any sort of baseball success.

From us to you, here are four “sleeper” MLB relievers to consider for your fantasy teams:

Fantasy baseball sleepers: Bullpen

RHP Adam Cimber, Toronto Blue Jays

ADP: 506

Through five years in the Bigs, Adam Cimber has mostly had an up-and-down career, having logged innings for four different teams in that timespan. Still, since coming over to Toronto in 2021, Cimber has buckled down on the mound, outputting ERAs of 1.69 and 2.80 in his two seasons playing north of the border. 2022 also was Cimber’s highest usage rate, logging a career-best 77 innings (allowing only a total of 22 earned runs); The sidearmer also managed to collect 10 wins last season, which is high for a reliever. Expect Cimber to be available late in most drafts.

LHP Brandon Hughes, Chicago Cubs

ADP: 373

Fresh off a productive rookie year in 2022, lefty Brandon Hughes did well to hold a respectable 3.12 ERA over 57 appearances (notching 60 strikeouts along the way). Hughes was also stellar in college at Michigan State, but unless you’re in a fantasy baseball league flooded with Cubbies fans, you’ll have ample time through your draft to take Hughes at a favorable time. And considering the many offensive upgrades Chicago made in the offseason, their bullpen may be operating with more comfort.

RHP Camilo Doval, San Francisco Giants

ADP: 103

A little less “sleepy” of a pick compared to the prior two relievers, Camilo Doval is still mostly unknown compared to more established bullpen arms around the league. At only 25 years old, Doval managed to collect 27 saves for the Giants in 2022 while frequently putting up three digits on the radar gun: To say he has a live arm would be an understatement. Also, if you caught any of the Dominican Republic’s WBC games prior to being eliminated, you’ll know that Doval dazzled on the mound in brief work, giving up just one hit with three Ks over 2.1 IP in the international tournament. San Francisco has high hopes for the young Doval—I’m sure he enjoys throwing at pitcher-friendly Oracle Park, as well.

LHP Alex Vesia, Los Angeles Dodgers

ADP: No. 470

Despite coming out of DII Cal State East Bay (fmr. Hayward), southpaw Alex Vesia has been extremely efficient since entering the Majors. Now in his third MLB season, Vesia has become a mainstay of the Dodgers’ bullpen, serving as Dave Roberts' best weapon against opposing left-handed hitters. In the two seasons that Vesia has played for L.A., he has produced masterful ERAs of 2.25 (40 IP) and 2.15 (54.1 IP), respectively. Considering his surrounding lineup, their solid starting staff and tough nighttime hitting conditions at Dodger Stadium, Vesia is a more-than-reliable lefty arm to get your fantasy team through the dog days of Summer.