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Fantasy Baseball Reliever Report: Emmanuel Clase, Kirby Yates, & Clay Holmes Dominate Early

Cam takes a look at the top three relievers in fantasy baseball performance so far in 2024.

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 29: Emmanuel Clase #48 of the Cleveland Guardians reacts after the Guardians beat the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Coliseum on March 29, 2024 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The baseball season is six months long. If you haven’t heard the cliche, it is a marathon, not a sprint. And within that 26-week marathon, when you write a weekly article focusing on one category, it can be tough to keep things fresh. It’s not always easy to find different and compelling topics.

Sometimes, it’s just necessary to point out who is the best. With Memorial Day only a couple of weeks away, we are entering the time of year when fantasy baseball teams in Categories leagues are beginning to separate themselves in counting stats, and it’s getting more difficult to gain ground in ratios.

Players performing well at this point in the season are beyond the “hot start” category. It’s safe to think that these players will continue to have solid seasons. There are three closers who are lights out so far this season. If you own them, congratulations. If you don’t, try to acquire them … but they won’t come cheap.

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Emmanuel Clase, Cleveland Guardians

To begin the season, Clase was established as one of those closers who faced no competition or closing committee. He has been the dedicated ninth-inning pitcher for a while now for the Guardians. But even with that being known coming in, his numbers this season are scary good compared to last year.

In 75 appearances last year, he was 3-9 with an ERA over 3.00. He did accumulate 44 saves, but the nine losses we definitely a drag on the team. He’s already made 20 appearances this season, and he is 2-1 with 11 saves, and he has a microscopic 0.47 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP. The only concern going forward is just how heavily the team relies on him, but otherwise he is arguably the best relief options available for fantasy players.

Kirby Yates, Texas Rangers

Unlike Clase, Yates wasn’t the first choice of manager Bruce Bochy. The Rangers’ closer to begin the season was Jose LeClerq. He ended the year winning the World Series as the team’s closer, and that was the plan this season. As insurance, the Rangers picked up David Robertson.

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But LeClerq couldn’t hold the job, and Robertson didn’t get it. Yates got his chance, and he’s not letting it go. In 14 appearances, he’s 3-0 with seven saves. His ERA and WHIP are eerily similar to Clase’s. He has a 0.56 ERA and a 0.69 WHIP.

Clay Holmes, New York Yankees

Holmes started the year strong, and he hasn’t let up. In 16 appearances he’s 1-0 with 11 saves. He’s striking out 10.06 batters per nine innings, and his WHIP is below 1.00 at 0.92. And, in 16.1 innings, he still has a zero ERA … that’s right, he has not given up an earned run yet.

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In the most volatile category and position in baseball, it is wonderful to see steady and dominant performances. Hopefully, these three studs won’t get hit with the injury bug and can keep it up. At some point, Holmes will surely give up an earned run, but like a hitting streak for a hitter, there’s something special about a scoreless streak for a pitcher.