The 2022 baseball season is almost upon us with Opening Day on April 7. As the regular season nears, now is the perfect time to start drafting your fantasy baseball teams. There was a lot of movement this offseason and spring training is a great time to do your research for your lineups. With that in mind, here are some closing pitchers to avoid in your drafts as they are bust candidates for fantasy baseball leagues in 2022.
Fantasy baseball 2022 busts: Closers
Will Smith, Atlanta Braves
Smith is coming off of a World Series-winning season with the Atlanta Braves and finished fourth in the majors with 37 saves. So why is he going to be a bust? Well, the Braves acquired both Kenley Jansen and Kirby Yates through free agency ahead of the 2022 season. Jansen had 38 saves last year with the Los Angeles Dodgers and is expected to be the Braves' closer. Don’t be surprised if save situations are based on the handedness of the 9th inning hitters. Yates is hurt to start the year, but when he is healthy the back end of the Braves bullpen is nasty but very tough to predict for fantasy baseball.
Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox
Barnes was an All-Star for the Boston Red Sox in 2021 but then wasn’t included in the roster when they played in the ALCS. He totaled 24 saves for the Red Sox last season, but was benched in August and didn’t register another save opportunity the rest of the season. Barnes lost control of his pitches and saw his walk and home run rate drastically increase. He has had an offseason to get right, but if he has already been pulled from the closer role before, you have to assume his leash is fairly short heading into the 2022 season.
Joe Barlow, Texas Rangers
The Rangers had a rotating door at closer in 2021. Between injuries, trades and lackluster performances, they tried out nearly every pitcher on their roster in the role. Barlow emerged as a consistent performer at the back end of the 2021 season. Barlow’s problem over the long-term is that he has a high walk rate and gives up a lot of fly balls. That’s not necessarily the best equation for success when you are going for saves. The Rangers don’t seem set on one closer so if Barlow gets knocked around and blows a few save attempts, he likely will be relegated out of the role.