José Leclerc has been one of the best relievers in baseball since the All-Star break, which shouldn’t come as a big surprise as we’ve seen him dominate in the past. Over his past 31 IP, Leclerc has a 1.74 ERA, .94 WHIP, 39 K’s and a 19.5% SwStr rate. Leclerc has changed up his pitch mix this season, throwing his changeup more and his fastball less, but all three can be super effective at times with his 96+ mph fastball having a 2635 spin rate and his slider/changeup both having Whiff rates over 44%. Now back in the closer role again, he has four saves over the past two weeks and should get some chances this week against a struggling Mariners team and the Angels. I’d imagine the bounce back season will lead to the Rangers picking up his $6 million option this winter, and barring any significant bullpen additions in Texas, Leclerc could be a great late round sleeper for saves in 2023.
- Domingo Acevedo continues to thrive as the Athletics closer, earning saves in his last four outings while allowing just two hits and zero walks. The rebuilding A’s will have a ton of questions to answer this offseason, one of them being who will open 2023 as their closer as the bullpen has actually been the strength of this team this season.
- Kyle Finnegan looks to finish the season strong as the Nationals closer, and doing so should put him in prime position to open up next year in the role. Finnegan allows some loud contact but has some strikeout upside and as of now is likely the Nationals best option to close out games in 2023.
- David Bednar returned to the Pirates bullpen last week and despite the team not having a save chance, Bednar has strictly been used in a middle relief role so far, working the 6th inning both games. He may not be reliable the rest of this season for fantasy purposes, but barring a trade out of Pittsburgh, Bednar should return as the teams closer for 2023.
- The Yankees have moved to a “committee approach” when it comes to closing out games, so once again, Clay Holmes is out as the teams sole closer. Looking ahead to next season, it will be interesting to see if the Yankees spend on a reliever (could be hard to spend if they re-sign Judge) or feel confident in one of Holmes, Scott Effross, or Jonathan Loáisiga to close out games.
Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)