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Top fantasy baseball relief pitcher waiver pickups for Week 18

Chris Landers goes over their top fantasy baseball reliever waiver wire targets going into the week of Sunday, July 23, including Kyle Finnegan and Andrew Chafin.

Washington Nationals pitcher Kyle Finnegan pitches in relief during the first game of a MLB doubleheader between the Washington Nationals and the St. Louis Cardinals on July 15, 2023, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The second half is in full swing, which means it’s long past time to hold on to any illusions that you’re going to win your league with all of your brilliant draft picks intact. It’s time to throw out what you thought you knew around draft time and make adjustments. Time to decide whether you’re in it to win it this year, and what you might need to make that happen. Time to check narrative and sentiment at the door.

This is especially true for bullpens around, the league where injuries and ineffectiveness have laid waste to seemingly scores of top arms. That’s why we’re here to help, with four targets likely available in your league showing signs that they’re in for a big year.

Fantasy baseball relief pitcher waiver wire: Week 18

Kyle Finnegan, RP, Washington Nationals

Roster percentage: 8.4%

Hunter Harvey was placed on the IL with an elbow injury this week, meaning Finnegan is once again the closer in D.C. — and possibly for good. The righty got off to a disastrous start in 2023, but he’s been quietly very effective for a while now, pitching to a 1.59 ERA since May 13 with 21 scoreless appearances in 24 chances. The Nats won’t give him a ton of save opportunities, but Washington is competitive enough, and Finnegan could be in this job for the rest of the year if the rebuilding Nationals deal Harvey at the trade deadline.

Andrew Chafin, RP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Roster percentage: 7.7%

Chafin continues to be rock-solid for Arizona, with a 1.83 ERA, 10 holds, three saves and just four earned runs allowed in 24 appearances since May 12. The D-backs have never believed in naming any one pitcher as The Closer, but Chafin lost the majority of ninth-inning opportunities to Scott McGough last month. McGough has come crashing back to Earth of late, though, with eight runs allowed and four straight appearances with at least one run allowed this month. Miguel Castro hasn’t been much better, coughing up a late lead in a loss to the Braves earlier this week — Chafin could find himself the 1A here before long by process of elimination.

Tanner Scott, RP, Miami Marlins

Roster percentage: 7.8%

Scott has been great in a set-up role for the Marlins: Since May 12, he has a 1.52 ERA and 14 holds with 49 strikeouts in just 29.2 innings. Miami has ridden fellow lefty A.J. Puk in the ninth all year, but after several rough outings this month, it was Puk — not Scott — who pitched the eighth inning in a tie game against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday. Manager Skip Schumaker has publicly backed Puk, but he’s done so with less and less confidence after each blown save, and it shouldn’t be long before Scott gets a shot in the ninth.

Gregory Santos, RP, Chicago White Sox

Roster percentage: 0.2%

The trade deadline inevitably means closer’s roles coming open, as relievers on mediocre teams get shipped to contenders — and free up the ninth inning on their old squads in the process. Chicago is almost certain to be one of the season’s biggest sellers, and just about all of their bullpen veterans — from Kendall Graveman to Joe Kelly to Keynan Middleton — will be on the block. When the dust settles, Santos stands a very good chance to emerge as the new closer on the South Side: the hard-throwing righty has found himself in plenty of high-leverage spots of late, with a 2.08 ERA, a save and three holds in eight appearances so far this month. Snatch him up now before it’s too late.