Top 5 Relief Pitcher (RP) Keepers: 2014 Dynasty Leagues

Kyle Braver's fantasy baseball analysis of relief pitcher (RP) keepers for 2014 dynasty leagues and beyond. These 5 pitchers are keeper studs for fantasy baseball.

Kyle Braver - RotoBaller

There's no position in baseball subject to more volatility from year to year than the closer role. It's rare for players not named Mariano Rivera to remain dominant in that position for more than a year or two. In fact, it's not uncommon at all for a top closer to lose his job just a year later, either due to ineffectiveness or injury. This volatility makes selecting any closer as a keeper a very risky proposition and in most situations I'm indeed inclined to select almost any other player. In order to mitigate the risk of choosing a closer among your keepers, in my opinion it's necessary that they come both cheaply (i.e. very late round) and at a great value (i.e. large change in ADP). This is why you won't see Aroldis Chapman or Craig Kimbrel on this list. While dominant closers, they're just too expensive to roll the dice on.

Note: As in my previous articles, I'll be assuming a standard 10-team league for this discussion, in which the cost of keeping a player is surrendering your pick in the round he was drafted in the previous year.


Top 5 Relief Pitcher (RP) Keepers: Dynasty Leagues

1) Koji Uehara

2013 ESPN ADP: Undrafted

2013 Stat-line: 1.09 ERA, 0.565 WHIP, 101 K, 21 S

2014 (Expected) ADP: 94-99 (10th round)

Koji Uehara Boston Red Sox MLB News

Let's start out by stating the obvious: Uehara isn't going to repeat his miraculous 2013 season in 2014. That's not to say that he'll be bad of course, but he's not going to be the same pitcher who now holds the MLB record for lowest single season WHIP after pitching at least 50 innings. There's no reason to think he can't still be dominant next year however, and after his amazing 2013 he's got a stranglehold on the closer job for arguably the best team in baseball. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him get you 40-50 saves next season with around 100 strikeouts and an above average ERA and WHIP, all at the cost of a 25th round pick.


2) Kenley Jansen

2013 ESPN ADP: 199 (20th round)

2013 Stat-line: 1.88 ERA, 0.861 WHIP, 111 K, 28 S

2014 (Expected) ADP: 54-60 (6th round)

After securing his role as the Dodgers closer, Jansen was an absolute beast for fantasy owners last year, posting elite strikeout numbers and plenty of saves to go along with them. Similar to the Red Sox, the Dodgers are going to win a lot of games next season, which means a lot of save scenarios for Jansen. While the Dodgers did resign Brian Wilson during the offseason, I don't see him as a threat to Jansen's job unless he struggles to start the season. At the cost of a 20th round pick, he's a great option to fill out your pitching staff with.


3) Greg Holland

2013 ESPN ADP: 148 (15th round)

2013 Stat-line: 1.21 ERA, 0.866 WHIP, 103 K, 47 S

2014 (Expected) ADP: 68-73 (late 7th to early 8th round)

By Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsAfter a shaky start to the 2013 season in which he posted a 4.00 ERA in April/May, Holland settled down to become one of the most dominant closers in the majors. His numbers become even more impressive when you think about how bad he was to start the season. His ERA in the second half of the season was 0.56. He'll rack up plenty of saves with the Royals next year and even if his overall numbers are due for some regression, I think he'll still be an outstanding contributor in all 4 categories. At the cost of a 15th round pick there's a lot to like in Greg Holland.


4) Glen Perkins

2013 ESPN ADP: 214 (22nd round)

2013 Stat-line: 2.30 ERA, 0.926 WHIP, 77 K, 36 S

2014 (Expected) ADP: 96-100 (10th round)

I see Perkins giving you a good season next year with an ERA around 2.50 and a WHIP just around 1.000. While he's not an elite strikeout guy by any means, he provides enough there to still help you. Bottom line is that he's a good pitcher and good pitchers get saves when called on. The biggest knock against Perkins is really more about his team and the limited opportunities they'll provide him with, but as Jose Veras taught us all last year even a closer on a terrible team can provide a lot of value. At 22nd round cost I'd love to have Perkins as a closer on my team.


5) Trevor Rosenthal

2013 ESPN ADP: Undrafted

2013 Stat-line: 2.63 ERA, 1.102 WHIP, 108 K, 3 S

2014 (Expected) ADP: 96-100 (10th round)

Rosenthal was only moved up to the closing job late in the season last year, but once there he excelled. Now with Edward Mujica a Red Sox and Jason Motte coming off Tommy John surgery there's no one standing between Rosethal and all the save opportunities the Cardinals can give him. He's got elite strikeout potential as his numbers last year testify, and he's only 23 years old. Rosenthal also has an outside shot at being moved into the Cardinals rotation next season should injuries or ineffectiveness derail any of their current starters' seasons. This is nice because it provides a possible fallback option for Rosenthal owners should the Cardinals decide at some point to test Motte in the closer role again. At the cost of a 25th round pick, he's got more than enough upside for me to be happy including him on this list.