Closer updates and news for 2021 – AL East

The Fantasy Baseball draft season is upon us and it is time to study the closer situation for all MLB teams. If you can get a closer or two in the later rounds, you will have a significant advantage over some teams when the season starts.

AL East

Baltimore Orioles – Hunter Harvey

Baltimore Orioles closer situation is not yet set, but the best guess is that Hunter Harvey will take the job if he can stay healthy. He has the tools to succeed, but his has battled various injuries the last couple of seasons. The 26-year-old Harvey only pitched 8.2 innings last season, and 6.1 the year before. Dillon Tate could be another candidate if Harvey doesn’t get healthy enough to stay consistent in the bullpen.

Boston Red Sox – Matt Barnes

After last season Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he will start the 2021 season with Matt Barnes as the closer. Since then, the Red Sox have added Adam Ottavino and Hirokazu Sawamura, who both could challenge for some late inning work. However, Matt Barnes probably earned a chance to start the season in the 9th inning.

New York Yankees – Aroldis Chapman

Aroldis Chapman will start the season with a suspension but will soon be back, and he will immediately step in as the closer. He has seen a decline in his fastball velocity the last year, but he showed us last season he can still get outs. In 2016 his average fastball velocity was 101 mph, but last season he only managed 98 mph. Not many closers in the league will have the job security Chapman has. Zack Britton is the best bet for saves if Chapman gets hurt.

Tampa Bay Rays – Diego Castillo

Should we even talk about a closer in Tampa Bay? Probably not as the team tends to mix and match, and for that reason you shouldn’t draft a Rays RP as your closer. You could get saves, but the RP needs to add more than saves. Diego Castillo could see some save opportunities, but Nick Anderson will probably be the team’s best reliever.

Toronto Blue Jays – Kirby Yates

Kirby Yates is probably one of the most intriguing closers for the 2021 season. He has a very high ceiling, but is he really healthy to pitch an entire season? He was a dominant force for the Padres in 2019, and if he gets close to that he will be one of the best in the league. The early reports from Toronto are he will be ready for Opening day. The 33-year-old Yates only managed 4.1 IP in 2020. His stats in 2019 was dominate, as he put up 14.98 K9 and xFIP 2.25.  Jordan Romano is an interesting backup for the Blue Jays, and could be drafted in deep leagues as a potential source for saves.

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