Monday, February 25, 2013

Fantasy Focus: Relief Pitcher Rankings

Now that we have discussed general RP fantasy baseball strategy, let's look at specific RP's and how they should be ranked.  For the purposes of this discussion, I will leave out RP's who will likely function as SP's in 2013.  I will add in Yahoo's ADP by round and average auction cost for each reliever.

Tier 1:

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves.

Managers are willing to pay the premium price because Kimbrel gives you close to SP K's plus helps your rate stats in addition to the Saves.  In addition, there does not appear to be any threat to his role and he gives no hints of impending injury.

Tier 2:

2. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies:
3. Jason Motte, Cardinals

These guys have a high reliability factor and give you 90% of what Kimbrel gives you at considerably lower cost. If you want to closer early, these are better targets than Kimbrel.  Let someone else overpay for him!

Tier 3(The Peleton)

4. Fernando Rodney, Rays:  Stellar numbers last year, but has had an up and down career.

5. Rafael Soriano, Nationals:  Did a good job filling in for Mo Rivera last year, but has also had his ups and downs.

6. Joe Nathan, Rangers:  Seems to be all the way back from TJ, but he's starting to get a bit long in the tooth.

7. JJ Putz, D'Backs:  Looks secure for now, but has Heath Bell and David Hernandez lurking.

8. Greg Holland, Royals: Former closer-in-waiting who took over last year and did well.

9. Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners:  Terrific season last year.  Can he maintain?

10.  Addison Reed, White Sox:  See Wilhemsen above.

11.  Huston Street, Padres:  Nobody seems to have much faith in this guy which may let you pick him up as an undervalue.

12:  Joel Hanrahan, Red Sox:  Moves to a new team in a much less pitcher-friendly environment.

13.  Mariano Rivera, Yankees:  Coming off a pretty bad knee injury.  At least it wasn't his arm.

14.  Sergio Romo, Giants:  Interesting situation here.  I expect Romo to get most of the Save opps with the Giants, but look for Bochy to try to limit his innings by bringing him in as late as possible.  Look for a lot of 1 and 2 out Save opps.  Boch could use his LOOGYs in the 9'th if the opposing team is stacked in LH batters.  I don't expect Romo to appear 3 games in a row and will be watched closely in back-to-back appearances.

15.  Chris Perez, Indians:  Everyone keeps predicting he will lose his job to Vinnie Pestano, but he keeps hanging in there.

16.  John Axford, Brewers:  Another guy who seems on the verge of losing his job, but I wouldn't count on it.

17.  Rafael Betancourt, Rockies:  Seems fairly safe, but how safe is any pitcher in Coors?

18.  Glen Perkins, Twins:  Very undervalued closer who seems pretty well entrenched, and pitched well last year.  Nice undervalued target.  LH closers are always suspect, but I think he's a good bet to remain closer all season.

19:  Steve Cishek, Marlins:  The Closer in Miami for now, but could be trade bait.

20.  Casey Janssen, Blue Jays:  The closer for now, but Sergio Santos is a small threat to take it back.  LH closers are always suspect.

21:  Jim Johnson, Orioles:  Not sure what to make of this guy.  Bushels of Saves last year, but his peripherals are less than stellar.

Tier 4(Risky)

22.  Jason Grilli, Pirates:  Promoted setup guy.  They don't always work out.

23.  Grant Balfour, A's: Was on a yo-yo all last year.  No reason to expect anything different this year.

24.  Brandon League, Dodgers:  Everybody expects him to lose the gig to Kenley Jansen, but I'm not so sure.  Could be undervalued because of that.

25.  Jonathan Broxton, Reds:  Nobody knows what is going to happen with Aroldis Chapman, but Broxton is the closer for now.

26.  Ernesto Freiri, Angels:  Everybody expects Ryan Madson to take over if and when he is healthy.

27.  Carlos Marmol, Cubs:  A meltdown waiting to happen, but I would not be shocked if he made a big comeback in 2013.

28:  Frank Francisco, Mets:  Definition of a high risk Closer.  Bobby Parnell might be a better guy to draft.

29:  Jose Veras, Astros:  Not sure who would replace him, but the walk rates are ugly.

30:  Bruce Rondon, Tigers:  Throws 100 MPH, but has command issues and has never pitched in the majors.  Not a lock to win the job out of Spring Training.

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