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Relief Pitchers Deeper Dive - Week 18

Today and every Tuesday moving forward throughout the 2018 MLB season, we will take a deep dive into some of the lesser-owned relief pitchers on the market that are worth keeping tabs on.

This can be a good tool for those in deeper holds leagues, although any pitcher in a position to make a move on their respective team's closer job will get priority.

Below are my relief pitchers to target for Week 18 of the fantasy baseball season, based on today's trade deadline. Let's get to it.

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Under-the-Radar Relievers to Watch - Week 18

Jose Leclerc, Texas Rangers - 4% owned

With all the talk of a potential Keone Kela deal, perhaps my favorite deadline speculative stash right now is Jose Leclerc in Texas who is having a phenomenal season in a setup role. What Leclerc brings that others don't is an ability to miss bats at a near elite level (15.7 SwStr% last two seasons). Control has always been the issue with Leclerc, but so far this year he has been able to keep his BB% under five, which is actually a big positive for him, but more specifically we have seen in-season improvement with him holding a BB% of two in the month of July over 9 innings. He's not guaranteed t0 be used in the closer's role right away if Kela indeed is moved, but the upside here is too juicy for the Rangers, and fantasy owners, to pass on.

Joe Jimenez, Detroit Tigers - 19% owned

While Shane Greene is far from a sure thing to be traded, I still like Joe Jimenez as one of the top available stashes ahead of today's trade deadline. Outside of last Friday's meltdown, Jimenez has pitched fairly well in July after a shaky end to the month of June. Outside of a bad three walk outings, it's nice to see him keeping the walks in check this season, while still being able to miss bats at a high rate (16.2 SwStr% over the last 30 days).

Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals - 20% owned

It's hard not to get excited about Hicks when you see his fastball/slider combo at work, but it is fair to wonder why he gets so few swings and misses with them. He's still pitched well enough this season and that Cardinals bullpen is bad enough that Hicks should get the first chance to close when/if Bud Norris is traded, but just don't expect a ton of strikeouts or ratio help. Hicks is still a bit of a project, one with immense Edwin Diaz-esque upside, and is realistically a more interesting target in keeper/dynasty leagues for next season.

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