2017 Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings: Relief Pitchers (February)

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I don't care whether you've got snow on your lawn or not. All clubs have reported to Spring Training, which means it's springtime for all. We’ve been bringing you our February rankings updates over the past couple of weeks, and today we wrap up the series with our 2017 relief pitcher fantasy baseball rankings.

This round of rankings features picks from Kyle Bishop, Nick Mariano, Bill Dubiel, Brad Johnson, Harris Yudin and Jeff Kahntroff. Today Nick will examine relievers, which is always an intriguing exercise with where people feel comfortable taking the elite closers and how strong ratio non-closers are viewed.

Editor's note: Be sure to also check out our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It's already loaded up with tons of great rankings articles and draft analysis. Aside from our tiered staff rankings for every position, we also go deep on MLB prospect rankings, impact rookies for 2017, and dynasty/keeper rankings as well. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.

 

2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Relief Pitchers (February)

 

Ranking Tier Player Position Brad Kyle Nick Bill Harris Y Jeff Auction $
1 1 Aroldis Chapman RP 58 67 57 56 66 65 20
2 1 Kenley Jansen RP 61 65 62 61 65 64 20
3 1 Zach Britton RP 66 69 63 62 60 67 19
4 2 Craig Kimbrel RP 90 104 110 112 84 93 15
5 2 Edwin Diaz RP 113 98 101 100 95 94 15
6 2 Seung-Hwan Oh RP 131 93 97 96 94 92 15
7 2 Roberto Osuna RP 104 99 122 123 121 96 13
8 2 Mark Melancon RP 138 108 123 125 83 97 12
9 2 Kelvin Herrera RP 98 109 127 127 123 109 12
10 2 Wade Davis RP 182 133 170 109 76 112 10
11 3 Kenneth Giles RP 170 132 159 160 96 95 10
12 3 Alexander Colome RP 144 121 168 169 122 111 9
13 3 Andrew Miller RP 129 122 176 176 108 133 8
14 3 Cody Allen RP 130 129 166 167 143 110 8
15 3 Dellin Betances RP 150 130 177 177 132 169 7
16 4 Jeurys Familia RP 190 167 172 172 144 132 7
17 4 David Robertson RP 163 145 209 209 179 130 6
18 4 A.J. Ramos RP 205 193 181 181 178 131 6
19 4 Francisco Rodriguez RP 180 165 226 226 177 126 5
20 5 Tony Watson RP 216 257 250 250 180 177 3
21 5 Sam Dyson RP 230 199 276 276 215 176 3
22 5 Cameron Bedrosian RP 249 190 282 282 216 175 2
23 5 Neftali Feliz RP 228 228 298 2
24 5 Raisel Iglesias SP/RP 221 203 348 348 276 170 2
25 5 Shawn Kelley RP 236 250 292 292 296 213 2
26 5 Addison Reed RP 184 220 337 337 332 215 2
27 6 Adam Ottavino RP 225 281 288 288 333 214 2
28 6 Brandon Maurer RP 261 217 294 294 407 212 2
29 6 Joaquin Benoit RP 280 233 363 363 236 2
30 6 Jim Johnson RP 276 265 331 331 396 237 2
31 6 Fernando Rodney RP 281 323 323 323 394 216 2
32 6 Glen Perkins RP 316 266 347 347 395 239 2
33 6 Arodys Vizcaino RP 356 350 339 339 334 238 2
34 6 Nate Jones RP 301 279 341 341 433 284 1
35 6 Ryan Madson RP 343 285 344 344 297 453 1
36 6 Sean Doolittle RP 335 254 350 350 465 355 1
37 6 Felipe Rivero RP 255 451 1
38 6 Matt Strahm RP 354 354 352 1
39 7 Hector Neris RP 346 379 343 343 372 356 1
40 7 Brandon Kintzler RP 347 366 332 332 408 357 1
41 7 Carter Capps RP 330 312 357 357 436 358 1
42 7 Chris Devenski SP/RP 422 292 364 364 348 478 1
43 7 Kyle Barraclough RP 364 288 381 379 435 454 1
44 7 Hector Rondon RP 375 340 369 368 492 359 1
45 7 Ryan Dull RP 348 358 358 446 432 1
46 7 Jeff Hoffman RP 404 1
47 7 Jeanmar Gomez RP 380 418 415 448 360 1
48 7 Cody Reed RP 406 1
49 7 Andrew Bailey RP 349 378 446 445 364 456 1
50 7 Chad Green RP 413 401 1
51 7 Corey Knebel RP 336 434 452 1
52 7 Keone Kela RP 385 459 1
53 7 Matt Bush RP 396 358 431 428 466 455 1
54 7 Ty Blach RP 497 362 362 472 1
55 7 Darren O'Day RP 424 1
56 7 Tyler Thornburg RP 386 400 397 491 458 1
57 7 Grant Dayton RP 427 1
58 7 Jhoulys Chacin RP 471 471 382 398 1
59 7 Hyun-Jin Ryu RP 440 428 1
60 7 Huston Street RP 390 402 499 496 447 372 1
61 7 Luke Gregerson RP 403 479 1
62 7 Santiago Casilla RP 468 431 1
63 7 Daniel Hudson RP 464 1
64 7 Will Harris RP 472 467 461 1
65 7 Trevor Rosenthal RP 453 482 1
66 7 Steven Brault RP 469 1
67 7 Derek Law RP 470 1
68 7 C.J. Edwards RP 474 1
69 7 Andrew Cashner RP 478 1
70 7 Michael Lorenzen RP 485 477 480 1
71 7 Zach Eflin RP 496 494 1
72 7 Brad Ziegler RP 500 497 1

 
Reliever Rankings Analysis: The Tiers

Tier 1

There’s little that needs to be said about these three, as Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Zach Britton have all established themselves as dominant stoppers that are longshots to let you down. One shouldn’t be banking on an ERA below one out of Britton, but he’s delivered totals under two each of the last three seasons. With more than a strikeout per inning and a hilarious 80% groundball rate in tow, he belongs with the elite.

Tier 2 

This tier houses players that anyone should feel comfortable owning as their RP1, but each is just a tick behind the first class due to small, but not ignorable, reasons.

Craig Kimbrel saw his control falter, but we might write a bunch of that off to his knee injury. Edwin Diaz and Seung-Hwan Oh both looked amazing, but it was their first season. Roberto Osuna just turned 22 despite having two strong years under his belt, but just doesn’t offer that extra strikeout flair that Diaz and Oh bring. Mark Melancon certainly doesn’t have that, but he’s a consistent force and now gets to close in pitcher-friendly AT&T Park.

The biggest piece here is that now Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis will both get to close with Davis’ trade to the Cubs. I likely have Herrera too low, but at least we all have him in the top 10. The skills are there, especially after he improved his K% from 22.4% to 30.4% while chopping his walk rate from 9.1% to 4.2%. Even if he gives back a little of that, this is a great arm who finally has the opportunity. Meanwhile, drafting Davis just comes down to a matter of trust in his elbow. I’m letting others take it, but there’s severe upside there.

Tier 3

The third tier bequeaths our first non-closers into the rankings, though Andrew Miller may still mix-and-match into the ninth inning to chip in some saves alongside his dominant ratios and Ks. Dellin Betances probably won’t have that chance, but is pretty damn good in his own right—especially if Joe Girardi continues to trot him out there for around 80 innings.

Alexander Colome stepped up for Tampa Bay after Brad Boxberger went down, but few predicted a 1.91 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with a wild 31.4% strikeout rate (11.28 K/9). While it can be tough to trust a guy after only one year--especially on a team that doesn't like driving value up--Colome's skill set should allow him to remain a solid closer even as his 93% strand rate regresses a bit from last season.

Tier 4

Jeurys Familia has been fantastic on the mound, but there’s no ignoring the potential suspension looming. Baking a possible 30-game suspension into your rankings seems wise, but if he ends up not missing any time then the profits will be there.

David Robertson presents an interesting case due to the trade rumors and his slip in command last season (12% walk rate, blah), but this is a guy who does have a strong track record and would likely close wherever he went. This is what has really pushed Nate Jones (Tier 6) into draft consideration.

Tier 5

The fifth tier is for the speculators and sharps, as it’s led by two arms that don’t profile as closers. Tony Watson and Sam Dyson have been firefighters for a while now, but neither have overpowering stuff. Instead, they’ve relied on inducing weak contact and a heavy diet of grounders, respectively. They aren’t bad choices and may get overlooked for more exciting, traditional closing options.

There aren’t many of those left at this point, of course, but banking on Cam Bedrosian or Raisel Iglesias potentially winning their jobs would nab people a talented closer who could produce more than a strikeout per inning instead.

Tier 6

Adam Ottavino deserves love, even with Greg Holland in the picture. Colorado’s own Agent Zero was sharp in his return from Tommy John surgery last season, and it seems unlikely he’ll be ousted by a new guy who missed all of ’16.

Brandon Maurer, Jim Johnson and Fernando Rodney should all open 2016 as closers, with my trust in them holding down the job for at least the first half of the season reflected in that order. Joaquin Benoit could step into the job for Philadelphia should Jeanmar Gomez (Tier 7, whomp) falter. Did I type “should”? I meant when.



2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings