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2018 Relief Pitchers - Dynasty Tiered Rankings

As we move closer to the 2018 baseball season, at RotoBaller we have released our Dynasty Rankings. We have been dissecting the tiers of each position, showing fantasy owners where to find value in their draft. We have a total of 54 relief pitchers ranked in the first six tiers.

When looking at dynasty leagues, one needs to consider future market value as well as the near-term impact of a player. While there are veterans that rank highly on our RP rankings, you will see more emphasis put on players that are 25 and younger, even ranking players that are unlikely to play an MLB game in 2018 within the top 200. Of course, the top names on this list are similar to the top names in a standard league (speaking to the young talent in the game today), but there are other veterans that slip a bit on this list as compared to those in redraft leagues.

I don’t draft relief pitchers early, and my own rankings reflect that. My fellow Rotoballer writers have many relief pitchers much higher than me. When it comes to relief pitchers, I look for the most value, especially in a dynasty league. You don’t need me to tell you why Kenley Jansen or Craig Kimbrel should be on your team. Now, let’s break down the relief pitchers that can give you the best bang for your buck.

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2018 Fantasy Baseball Dynasty League Rankings: Relief Pitcher

Ranking Tier Player Name Pos
1 1 Kenley Jansen RP
2 1 Aroldis Chapman RP
3 1 Alexander Reyes SP/RP
4 2 Craig Kimbrel RP
5 2 Raisel Iglesias RP
6 2 Wade Davis RP
7 2 Edwin Diaz RP
8 2 Roberto Osuna RP
9 2 Kenneth Giles RP
10 2 Corey Knebel RP
11 3 Brad Hand RP
12 3 Felipe Rivero RP
13 3 Alexander Colome RP
14 3 Hector Neris RP
15 3 Zach Britton RP
16 3 Cody Allen RP
17 4 Greg Holland RP
18 4 Archie Bradley RP
19 4 Arodys Vizcaino RP
20 4 Andrew Miller RP
20 4 Kelvin Herrera RP
21 4 Jeff Hoffman RP
22 5 Mike Montgomery SP/RP
23 5 Jeurys Familia RP
24 5 Dellin Betances RP
25 5 Jake Junis SP/RP
26 5 Sean Doolittle RP
27 5 Brad Brach RP
28 5 Mark Melancon RP
29 6 Blake Treinen RP
31 6 C.J. Edwards RP
32 6 Brad Peacock RP
33 6 David Robertson RP
34 6 Brandon Morrow RP
35 6 Chris Devenski SP/RP
36 6 AJ Ramos RP
37 6 Yoshihisa Hirano RP
38 6 Addison Reed RP
39 6 Tony Cingrani RP
40 6 Shane Greene RP
41 6 Cameron Bedrosian RP
42 6 Drew Hutchison SP/RP
43 6 Seung-Hwan Oh RP
44 6 Jhoulys Chacin SP/RP
45 6 Tony Watson RP
46 6 Matt Bush RP
47 6 Adam Ottavino RP
48 6 Glen Perkins RP
49 6 Brandon Kintzler RP
50 6 Trevor Rosenthal RP
51 6 Luis Cessa RP
52 6 Francisco Rodriguez RP
53 6 Sam Dyson RP
54 6 Shawn Kelley RP

Tier One

Kenley Jansen, Aroldis Chapman, Alexander Reyes

Alex Reyes missed the entire 2017 season with Tommy John surgery, but he is an elite talent. If you decide to invest in Reyes this year, you will probably need to wait till May or even longer before using him. He will probably see an extended rehab and could be in the bullpen all year. If that happens, you will have a great source of strikeouts and possibly saves if the Cardinals don’t do anything to improve their bullpen before he makes it back.

Looking past 2018, Reyes will move back to the rotation at some point. Invest in a late-round relief pitcher this year, and get a top of the rotation starter for later. When Reyes made his debut in 2016, he began his stint in the bullpen, but was able to get five starts under his belt as well. Reyes posted a 2.48 ERA during those starts to go with 29 strikeouts in 28.2 innings. Don’t jump too early to add Reyes, but if you move at the right time, you have invested wisely.


 Tier Two

Craig Kimbrel, Raisel Iglesias, Wade Davis, Edwin Diaz, Roberto Osuna, Kenneth Giles, Corey Knebel

Corey Knebel came out of nowhere in 2017 to post one of the best seasons by a relief pitcher last year. Taking over as closer, Knebel racked up 39 saves for the Brewers, who made a run at the NL Central but came up short. Knebel lead the league by appearing in 76 games last season, 28 more appearances then his highest previous total.

During his first season in Milwalkee, Knebel had a respectable 3.22 ERA in 50.1 innings. The main key from last season though? Knebel struck out 40% of batters faced, compared to 27% in 2015 and 26% in 2016. Knebel can thank the uptick in strikeouts for his 1.78 ERA. One thing Knebel will want to keep an eye on is his walks per nine innings. His 4.7 walks per nine innings in 2017 was actually higher than the 4.4 mark he posted the year prior. As long as he continues to strikeout batters, he could sustain the success he has seen so far.


Tier Three

Brad Hand, Felipe Rivero, Alexander Colome, Hector Neris, Zach Britton, Cody Allen

Tier three presents problems for three relievers that could affect owners who draft them this season. Brad Hand, Alexander Colome and Zach Britton could all be on different teams by the time July 31st passes.

Hand will have first shot to save games for the Padres, who suddenly appear to be in win-now mode after signing Eric Hosmer. Hand should get a handful of saves (see what I did there) but could be traded if the Padres can’t break through in the NL West. If Hand is traded, he could lose all value right away and become a lefty specialist for whichever team lands him. If this happens, there is no telling when Hand will have another save opportunity.

Alexander Colome will have less value right away, but it could increase later if traded. The Rays have moved towards a full-on rebuild and will not be competitive in the strong AL East. Save chances will be difficult to come by. If the Rays are able to trade Colome later in the season, he could end up on a team as a closer (stock up) or could just end up as a back end piece (stock down.) If he isn’t getting save opportunities, he won’t be worth the roster spot.

Zach Britton will continue to work his way back from surgery and will hand the closers role over to Brad Brach for the time being. Britton will likely take the role back when he is healthy and ready to return. The Orioles will hover around .500 this season, which means trades will happen in July. If Britton can get back by then, and prove he is healthy and effective, he will likely be one of the first out the door. As with the first two though, what role will he fall into with his new team?


Tier Four

Greg Holland, Archie Bradley, Arodys Vizcaino, Andrew Miller, Kelvin Herrera, Jeff Hoffman

Andrew Miller is a great value pick in this round for individuals who don’t like chasing closers and instead load up on relievers who will give them the most innings. 17 times last season, Miller came into a game and pitched more than one inning. If you miss out on the guys who will offer saves and you are looking for quantity and quality when it comes to everything else, then Miller is a great pickup this late. If Cody Allen were to have any issues as well, then Miller would be the next in line for saves.

Archie Bradley is my favorite relief pitcher to add this year. I was hoping he would make things work as a starter, but he just could not control his stuff. Someday a move back to the rotation would be nice, but for now, he has a chance to become one of the most dominant relief pitchers in the game. Last season, Bradley didn’t give up an earned run until his fifth appearance and didn’t give up multiple earned runs in a game until his 34th appearance. I don’t see anyone beating him out of the closer role in Arizona. If you can get him this late in a draft, you have earned some solid value.


Tier Five

Mike Montgomery, Jeurys Familia, Dellin Betances, Jake Junis, Sean Doolittle, Brad Bach, Mark Melancon

Here is another excellent chance to add a player who offers the versatility of being labeled as a RP but offering you more innings. Jake Junis will be in the rotation to start 2018 for the rebuilding Royals. A strategy I will typically deploy is waiting to pick relief pitchers last or getting them off the waiver wire when injuries hit. Until I am able to secure relief pitchers that way, I will draft pitchers with RP eligibility that are starters. This will help me with some more quantity stats and let me figure out quality until the season is in full swing. Junis will give you exactly that this season. If you do not have an innings limit or starts limit in your league, take notice.


Tier Six

This tier offers up 25 different pitchers, so I won’t list all of them. This is also the tier where I love to make my fantasy money when drafting relief pitchers. There are some very cheap saves in this tier to be had. This season, it includes Blake Treinen (Athletics) and Brandon Morrow (Cubs) who both move to new teams but will get the first crack at saving games.

Shane Greene also falls into this category and could offer around 20 saves this season. The Tigers will not be good (and that hurts to say as a Tigers fan) but the rest of the bullpen isn’t great and probably will not get him a ton of leads to close out. Greene is a guy you can add off the waiver wire.

Cameron Bedrosian will be given another shot to close out games after an injury cost him a majority of 2017. He has the stuff to be dominant ninth inning guy, but he needs to stay healthy and beat out the competition. The Angles will be much better next season, giving someone in that bullpen an opportunity for more saves.


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