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Fantasy baseball: Closer depth chart, relief pitcher rankings for Week 8

We’ve got everything to know about which relievers are rising and falling to help you target saves in your fantasy baseball leagues.

Dylan Floro of the Miami Marlins celebrates with Nick Fortes after winning the game against the Cincinnati Reds at loanDepot park on May 14, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Photo by Sam Navarro/Getty Images

The past week wasn’t quite as chaotic for closer depth charts as we’ve grown accustomed to during the 2023 MLB season. There was plenty of consolidation, as shaky options reaffirmed their place in the ninth inning: Alex Lange for the Detroit Tigers, Scott Barlow for the Kansas City Royals and Will Smith for the Texas Rangers have all separated themselves with several strong performances in a row.

Still, this is 2023 we’re talking about, so plenty is in flux. From injuries to ineffectiveness, the closer’s role has changed hands for several teams recently — offering fantasy managers the chance to pounce. Looking for saves in your league? Want to stay ahead of the curve on who’ll be the next hot add off the waiver wire? Our reliever recap and closer depth chart for fantasy baseball has you covered.

Relief pitcher notes: Week 7

  • Just as lefty A.J. Puk appeared to have the job nailed down with the Miami Marlins, he went on the IL with nerve irritation in his throwing elbow. This is a notoriously irregular condition, and Puk has already resumed throwing from sixty feet without discomfort, but in the meantime Dylan Floro picked up a save against the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. It’s obviously far too early to let Puk go — the job will almost certainly be his again when he returns — but Floro has been solid and is worth an add if only as a streaming consideration.
  • It may be team to raise the red flag about Raisel Iglesias. The Atlanta Braves stopper suffered consecutive meltdowns against the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays last week, and his fastball velocity was noticeably down. There’s been no talk of another IL stint yet, but considering that Iglesias just came back from a shoulder injury, it has to be considered a possibility right now. A.J. Minter should be a priority hold in just about all leagues, with Nick Anderson as another option in the ninth.
  • The Chicago Cubs have played ninth-inning roulette for much of this year, and this week the wheel stopped on Mark Leiter Jr. With Michael Fulmer getting DFA’d due to ineffectiveness and Brad Boxberger on the shelf with a forearm strain — often a precursor to long-term injury — Leiter notched his first save of the year against the Miami Marlins (and was first up in the ninth in a one-run game against the Minnesota Twins before a late Chicago rally ruined the save opportunity). Adbert Alzolay will also figure into the mix here, but Leiter’s splitter is a legit out pitch and could take this job and run with it.
  • Jose Alvarado looks to be headed toward a return from elbow inflammation in the coming days, but Craig Kimbrel is the choice until then — the righty nabbed a win after pitching the ninth in a tie game against the Blue Jays, then nailed down a save two days later against the Colorado Rockies. Seranthony Dominguez is also worth a hold for now given Kimbrel’s penchant for implosions, especially in holds leagues, but hopefully Alvarado will be back soon and render this moot.
  • Speaking of impending returns, Pete Fairbanks is already back from his trip to the IL. I still wouldn’t drop Jason Adam just yet, though — he was very good in Fairbanks’ stead, converting five of six save opportunities this month with just one run allowed and 10 Ks in 6.2 innings, and Fairbanks’ injury history and Kevin Cash’s desire to play matchups should leave plenty of chances.
  • Kyle Finnegan notched a save for the Washington Nationals over the weekend, but he was very shaky in doing so, and if this job isn’t Hunter Harvey’s to lose yet it will be soon. The former top prospect has been the vastly superior pitcher, with a 1.96 ERA so far this year, and the next Finnegan blow-up will likely be his last. He’s a recommended add in 12-team and deeper leagues for a Nats team that’s been peskier than you’d think.
  • Liam Hendriks is set to return from his cancer diagnosis any day now, but until then — and in case the Aussie understandably struggles out of the gate — Kendall Graveman appears to be slowly settling into the Chicago White Sox closing job after a rough start to the season. The righty is unscored upon this month and notched two saves last week as the South Siders attempt to put the Reynaldo Lopez experience behind them for good.

Closer depth chart, week 8

AL East
AL East
AL Central
AL West
NL East
NL Central
NL West