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Each year fantasy baseball owners look for that diamond in the rough out of the bullpen that picks up saves, but doesn't cost them an early-round pick. Last season, closers like Blake Treinen, Felipe Vazquez and Seranthony Dominguez all helped owners get a leg up on the competition in the saves category.
The closer's role is a volatile spot for many teams each and every baseball season, and with one of the best closers still available in free agency, let's take a look at who fantasy owners should target later on in drafts.
5. Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves
Arodys Vizcaino has had recurring shoulder issues during his career, but there's no doubt about the talent this kid has. In each of the last four seasons, Vizcaino has averaged more than a strikeout per inning and his WHIP was under 1.20 in three of those. The NL East is going to be super competitive this season, with Atlanta expected to be right near the top, meaning there should be a lot of close games and save opportunities available for Vizcaino.
4. Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs
Brandon Morrow is expected to miss the first month of the season as he recovers from elbow surgery, which should keep the door open for Pedro Strop. The Dominican hurler handled most of the save duties for the Chicago Cubs last season after Morrow went down in July, and it looks like that'll be the case once again in 2019. In fact, given Morrow's injury history, Strop could take the closer role and never look back. Post All-Star break last season, Strop was 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 11 saves in 13 opportunities. His current ADP is in flux, being drafted as early as pick 133 and as late as pick 318, as fantasy owners don't seem to know what to do with him. If you're a savvy owner, you'll queue him up as a late-round flier that could help win you the saves category at little to no cost.
3. Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals
Jordan Hicks is one of the most talented up-and-coming arms in MLB, and just wait until he gets some more experience under his belt (prior to 2018, Hicks had never pitched above Single-A ball). His fastball topped out at 105 mph this past season – something that could catapult him into the closer's role for the St. Louis Cardinals. Sure, the 22-year-old flamethrower had 45 walks and a 1.34 WHIP in 77 2/3 innings last season, but his arm-talent is too much to ignore. Hicks will likely have some competition from Andrew Miller for the closer's role, but Miller has been used a more of mid-game stopper out of the bullpen in recent seasons. Hicks' skillset plays much better in the closer's role, and he can be had between pick 150 and 200 in fantasy baseball drafts.
2. Alex Colome, Chicago White Sox
The change of scenery did Alex Colome some good in 2018, going from the Tampa Bay Rays' closer to being the setup man for Edwin Diaz and the Seattle Mariners. After starting out the year with Tampa Bay, posting a career-worst 4.15 ERA and 1.48 WHIP, Colome headed out west to Seattle and notched a 2.53 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 30 holds in 46.1 innings. Now with the White Sox, Colome basically has the closer job all to himself with Kelvin Herrera and Nate Jones as his likely competition. In 2016 and 2017, Colome notched 84 saves for the Rays, so he's proven he can lock it down in the ninth inning when given the chance.
1. Sean Doolittle, Washington Nationals
Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin at the top of the Nationals starting rotation should be enough to assure that Washington's closer, Sean Doolittle, gets lots of save chances in 2019. An injury derailed most of his 2018 campaign, but the left-hander still had 25 saves in 26 opportunities along with 60 strikeouts over 45 innings. He could have the most value of any closer with job security, being drafted outside the top-10 relief pitchers and top 100 overall.
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Al Walsh is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Al Walsh also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username 14AdotWalsh. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.