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2022 Fantasy Baseball: Early Saves Candidates

Which pitchers would be the leading candidates to get save opportunities on each MLB team today?

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is just getting started, but we kind of miss fantasy baseball. In fact, we miss it a lot, so we are already looking ahead to the 2022 campaign, even if we don’t know for sure if it will be played at all, or when will it start.

This time, we will start looking at relievers. Lots of teams have to look for a closer via free agency or the trade market because their internal options aren’t very good, while others are already set for the ninth inning.

It’s going to be a long winter for some organizations, because there aren’t many reliable ninth-inning options available besides Raisel Iglesias. Teams may need to get a bit creative, or fill the closer position internally.

Let’s see where each club is at when it comes to the closer position. If the season started tomorrow, these are each team’s most likely options for the ninth inning:

Free agent late-inning relievers

  • Raisel Iglesias
  • Kenley Jansen
  • Ryan Tepera
  • Collin McHugh
  • Aaron Loup
  • Andrew Chafin
  • Mark Melancon
  • Kendall Graveman
  • Héctor Neris
  • Yimi García
  • Evan Marshall
  • Jimmy Nelson
  • Chris Martin
  • Archie Bradley
  • Tony Watson
  • Trevor Rosenthal
  • Brad Boxberger
  • Adam Ottavino
  • Alex Colomé
  • Michael Lorenzen
  • Joakim Soria
  • Daniel Hudson
  • Corey Knebel
  • Kirby Yates
  • Ian Kennedy

There aren’t too many surefire, shutdown closers available in free agency. Iglesias is the clear prize, especially if we consider the likelihood of Kenley Jansen re-signing with the Dodgers and Mark Melancon returning to San Diego are high.

However, there are several good relievers with little to no closer experience that could work in the role. For example, Aaron Loup is coming off a dominant season, as is Collin McHugh. Corey Knebel is nasty when healthy, and the same can be said about Kirby Yates.

Relievers potentially available via trade:

  • Aroldis Chapman
  • Craig Kimbrel
  • Cole Sulser
  • Richard Bleier
  • Josh Staumont
  • Tyler Wells
  • Chris Stratton
  • Lucas Sims
  • Richard Rodriguez

Of course, more relievers could join this section as we go deeper into the offseason. It’s highly unlikely that someone entertains the thought of acquiring Chapman, but the Yankees surely would listen. Sims is very good when health is on his side, and Staumont has some closer experience.