Lists and rankings are always great draft tools but knowing who you want to target going in is key in drafting a team you can feel confident in. Usually for RP’s, I will start by finding players who I feel are worth more than their ADP insists. So that being said, here are my 10 relievers to target this season.
Note: Players are listed by their Fantasy Pros ADP
1. Edwin Diaz (ADP #91, Seattle Mariners)
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise if you read my closer rankings from last week. He was a top 4 RP in baseball over the last half of the season and not only do I think he can sustain that success, I think he will be even better. I’m more than happy with Diaz as my #1 RP, and will gladly wait to draft him a few rounds after Jansen or Chapman.
Once/If Giles figures it all out, he may very well be the best closer in baseball. No one really even came close to his K/9 and SwStr% over the second half of last season. No team wants to settle into a closer by committee situation, so that doesn’t concern me despite the suggestion the Astros could turn to it. The job is Giles as long as he is steady, and I finally believe this is the year.
Herrera finally gets the chance to be a full-time closer this season, and I don’t see any reason to believe he won’t excel in the role. His control and ability to limit hard contact make him an appealing mid round option in drafts. He should keep his ERA and WHIP low and while his K numbers aren’t earth shattering, they are still above average.
Now we get into the risk/reward options. Sorry Greg Holland, but Ottavino should be given every chance to keep the closers role this season. All of his splits prove he has the stuff/ability to be productive in the role and his GB% is a major plus pitching at Coors. His injury history doesn’t concern me as much as Holland’s, so I’m drafting him with confidence where I can.
With every passing day, it seems more and more likely Kelley will officially open the season as the Nats closer. Statistically speaking, he has earned it. His numbers match up well with any closer who finished in the top 10 in fantasy over the last 2 seasons. He was solid in a short stint as the teams closers last season as well. The health concerns will always linger, but as long as he can stay off the DL, he should do just fine in the closers seat.
Feliz’s last season numbers don’t blow you away, but it was a significant step in his return to form process. It looks like he got his stuff back to where it was in his Rangers day for the most part, and he finished the season without requiring a DL stint. His numbers may not get better, but even if they are average like last year, he should still provide nice value at his current ADP. He also has no real completion unless Corey Knebel all of a sudden figures it out.
Capps filthy arsenal and unconventional delivery make him a great closing option. His elbow however does not. If he can finally put together a full season, he should easily overtake Brandon Maurer in the 9th inning role and that added on to his insanely high K rates and low ERA/WHIP could make him a top 12 RP by the end of the year.
Another high K guy, Barraclough’s flaw isn’t health, but his BB numbers. If he can refine his control and cut down on BB’s this season he can rival Dellin Bettances’ value. I wouldn’t rule out an opportunity to close as well, the Marlins clearly aren’t confident in A.J. Ramos as the guy going forward after offering Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen contracts this offseason.
Doolittle was really good in the second half last season and seemed to finally get his stuff back (his FB was even at a career high MPH wise). Ryan Madson won’t be the closer all season and Doolittle has the experience and stuff to be fairly solid in the role.
Rondon is a deep sleeper favorite of mine, as not only is he a great Holds league option, he has a reasonable path to saves as well. Francisco Rodriguez is getting up there in age and could fall off the map completely at any moment. Joe Jimenez is the expected closer of the future, but if anything happened to K-Rod this season, Rondon is definitely the first in line for saves.