To save or not to save? That's been the question on many fantasy baseball managers' minds when they've been on the clock in their drafts, looking to fill their relief pitcher lineup spots. The days of the lockdown, automatic ninth-inning standalone pitcher have been coming to an end in the past few MLB seasons. More and more teams are opting against the traditional closer.
Instead, teams have been implementing a closer-by-committee approach, or even the dreaded "high-leverage situation" reliever (AKA, a different pitcher for a different ninth-inning situation. Just look at the Tampa Bay Rays, who have been at the forefront of having multiple relievers; they split up their 44 saves in 2022 between ELEVEN pitchers.
That's a big headache for fantasy managers to manage. That's why many have opted to punt the saves category entirely or avoid drafting a traditional closer and instead fill out their pitching staff with elite relievers who will deliver clean ratios and the occasional save here and there.
That's not to say the traditional closer is completely gone from MLB — there still remain some seriously top-tier options who can act as a cheat code in fantasy lineups. Guys like Emmanuel Clase, Josh Hader and Ryan Pressly are just some of the elite closers who still maintain a stranglehold on their teams' ninth-inning role.
Which route will you take in 2023 fantasy baseball drafts? Are you seeking a Clase to lock down a closer spot in your lineup? Or would you rather have a true bullpen of multiple pitchers who might combine to equate (or come close to) the value of one of those big-name, costly closers?
Whatever decision you go with in your drafts, our position rankings can help:
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