The final week of the fantasy season is coming up and making up ground in saves and holds at this point is likely a tall task in most season-long formats. Gaining an advantage in head-to-head formats is certainly still possible. Teams who are out of the race may try and put some of their secondary relievers in bigger spots to audition them for future high leverage roles, and there could be some opportunity to take advantage of this shuffling. Here are the relievers I’d pick up for sneaky value to close out the season.
Rainey came into the season as a speculative closer option behind Brad Hand. A spring training injury disrupted the rhythm of Rainey’s season and diminished both his velocity and the quality of his slider. A trip to the minors appears to have helped him fix his issues. He’s yet to allow a run in his four appearances in September and has already picked up two holds and a save. Kyle Finnegan’s implosion to end the season could give Washington reason to give Rainey a look in the ninth inning. The Nationals are also playing well enough to make it a worthwhile gamble to end the season.
Lange was another reliever who was up early in the season who struggled badly. Despite impressive stuff, Lange posted a 7.31 ERA prior to the all-star break and earned a trip back to the minor leagues. Since returning to the majors in August, Lange has twelve scoreless appearances among his thirteen trips to the plate. Injuries to Jose Cisnero and Gregory Soto paired with Lange’s emergence as a reliable reliever has pushed Lange up the ladder into a setup role. With this new role, Lange was able to snag his first career save this week. While Lange likely won’t push Michael Fulmer out of his role as the primary closer, he appears to be second in line for saves and has the trust of his manager. He should see a few opportunities for holds particularly with the Tigers playing well to close out the season.
While the two younger Luis Garcias likely get more of the headlines, the Cardinals’ setup man has enjoyed a tremendous season out of nowhere in 2021. His emergence as a high-end reliever has helped the Cardinals fortify a bullpen spearheading one of the more surprising late-season runs in baseball right now. St. Louis isn’t likely to win out through the end of the season, but they’ve won a lot of tightly contested games and have given their relievers ample opportunity to pick up holds and saves. This level of team volume combined with Luis Garcia’s 2.73 ERA and 0.98 WHIP make him a solid candidate to provide value during the last week of the season.