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Updated Relief Pitcher Rankings - 2018 Fantasy Baseball


One final time before regular season baseball returns and our lives are, at last, complete, RotoBaller's staff writers are updating their 2018 fantasy baseball rankings. Today, we'll be taking a look at one of the shallower positions - relief pitcher.

As usual, there are a few elite options at the top, and it gets much dicier after that. There is so much volatility and turnover at the closer position, and even some of the "sure bets" don't last the entire season. You can find my analysis below, breaking down each tier of our staff's consensus relief pitcher rankings.

Don't forget to bookmark our famous Rankings Wizard where you can see all of our rankings for mixed leagues, points leagues, AL/NL only leagues, dynasty leagues, top 2018 prospects, dynasty prospects and more. You will also find our tiers, auction values, player news, stats, projections and more. You can easily download everything - oh, and it's all free! We hope you enjoy...

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

2018 Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings: Relief Pitcher (March)

Ranking Tier Player Position Auction $
1 1 Kenley Jansen RP 21
2 1 Craig Kimbrel RP 18
3 1 Aroldis Chapman RP 17
4 2 Corey Knebel RP 15
5 2 Roberto Osuna RP 14
6 2 Felipe Rivero RP 13
7 2 Cody Allen RP 12
8 2 Wade Davis RP 11
9 2 Edwin Diaz RP 11
10 2 Kenneth Giles RP 10
11 2 Raisel Iglesias RP 10
12 3 Brad Hand RP 8
13 3 Alexander Colome RP 8
14 3 Sean Doolittle RP 8
15 3 Mark Melancon RP 7
16 3 Jeurys Familia RP 7
17 3 Archie Bradley RP 7
18 3 Brad Brach RP 6
19 3 Andrew Miller RP 6
20 3 Hector Neris RP 6
21 3 Arodys Vizcaino RP 5
22 4 Kelvin Herrera RP 3
23 4 Alexander Reyes SP/RP 3
24 4 Greg Holland RP 3
25 4 Shane Greene RP 1
26 4 Dellin Betances RP 2
27 4 Brandon Morrow RP 2
28 4 Brad Peacock RP 2
29 4 Blake Treinen RP 2
30 4 Alex Claudio RP 1
31 5 Brad Boxberger RP 1
32 5 Fernando Rodney RP 1
33 5 Blake Parker RP 1
34 5 David Robertson RP 1
35 5 Luke Gregerson RP 1
36 6 Cameron Bedrosian RP 1
37 6 Adam Ottavino RP 1
38 6 A.J. Ramos RP 1
39 6 Addison Reed RP 1
40 6 Zach Britton RP 1
41 6 Juan Minaya RP 1
42 6 Seung-Hwan Oh RP 1
43 6 Chad Green RP 1
44 6 Jake Junis SP/RP 1
45 6 Chris Devenski SP/RP 1
46 6 Brad Ziegler RP 1
47 6 Kyle Barraclough RP 1
48 7 C.J. Edwards RP 1
49 7 Joakim Soria RP 1
50 7 Pat Neshek RP 1
51 7 Nate Jones RP 1
52 7 Jose Urena RP 1
53 7 Ryan Madson RP 1
54 7 Jeff Hoffman RP 1
55 7 Mike Montgomery SP/RP 1
56 7 Keone Kela RP 1
57 7 Jhoulys Chacin SP/RP 1
58 7 Sam Dyson RP 1
59 7 Tony Watson RP 1
60 7 Mike Minor SP/RP 1
61 7 Jim Johnson RP 1
62 7 Brandon Kintzler RP 1
63 7 Tyler Lyons RP 1
64 7 Matt Bush RP 1
65 7 Carter Capps RP 1
66 7 Joe Biagini SP/RP 1
67 7 Brandon Maurer RP 1
68 7 Darren O'Day RP 1
69 7 Steve Cishek RP 1
70 7 A.J. Minter RP 1
71 7 Francisco Rodriguez RP 1
72 7 Shawn Kelley RP 1
73 7 Will Harris RP 1
74 7 Dominic Leone RP 1
75 7 Bryan Shaw RP 1
76 7 A.J. Cole RP 1
77 7 Yoshihisa Hirano RP 1
78 7 Matt Strahm RP 1

 
 
Tier 1

Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman. The cream of the crop. They’re the only three relievers with at least 20 saves and an ERA below 3.50 in each of the last five years. They’re reliable, valuable options, and they sit in a class of their own.

Tier 2

Cody Allen is fourth on the aforementioned list with four seasons of 20 saves and a sub-3.50 ERA in the last five years. He may not dominate like the others, but he is one of the most stable options at an inherently unstable position.

Roberto Osuna’s 3.38 ERA isn’t overly impressive, but he finished in the top five in baseball in FIP, xFIP and SIERA. He had some bad batted ball luck, but he posted career-best strikeout and walk rates and locked up 39 more saves, giving him 95 for his career before his 23rd birthday. Osuna’s primed for a dominant 2018 campaign.

I think recency bias might cause owners (like Jeff) to avoid Ken Giles, who was actually removed from the closer role in the midst of a horrific postseason, but is also coming off a season with a 2.30 ERA, 83 K and 34 SV.

Tier 3

From looking at our rankings, it is clear that Jeff values relievers much more than the rest of us. This is most apparent when looking at Brad Hand, who is outside the top 140 for five of us, but sits at No. 71 for Jeff. Hand is a gifted thrower who struck out 33.4 percent of his batters faced last season, but his peripherals indicate a slight dip in ERA. He has value, but he lacks the experience and ??? to fit in with the tier 2 arms.

Andrew Miller, who is second in baseball in both ERA and K-BB% over the last three years, continues to be one of the more valuable relievers without amassing saves. Archie Bradley, who is in contention for the Diamondbacks’ closer job, could be similarly helpful in all formats if he were to remain in the setup role.

The rest of this group consists of veterans with an injury history (Sean Doolittle) or who are coming off an injury (Jeurys Familia, Mark Melancon), and less experienced guys with relatively secure jobs but underwhelming numbers (Brad Brach, Hector Neris, Arodys Vizcaino).

Tier 4

Tier 4 is headlined by Greg Holland, who has locked down 40 saves in three of his last four seasons but remains jobless just two weeks before Opening Day. After that, you have five projected closers, two starters with RP eligibility and a reliever who has both struck out and walked the most batters per nine innings of any pitcher over the last three years (min. 200 IP).

Among the closers, only Kelvin Herrera had spent any real time in the role prior to 2017. Blake Treinen was atrocious to start the year with the Nationals, but impressed to the tune of a 2.13 ERA over 38 frames with the Athletics. Sixteen of Brandon Morrow’s 18 career saves came before 2010, but he has been one of the more dominant relievers in the game over the last three seasons. Alex Claudio and Shane Greene also lack experience, but both racked up a decent chunk of saves late last year and boast strong enough stuff to get the job done.

Lastly, while Dellin Betances is something of a risk, if he can refine his command just a little bit (get his walk rate back under 12 percent), he will once again hold strong value in all leagues.

Tier 5

Fernando Rodney, despite locking down 213 saves over the last six seasons (third-most in MLB), will begin the season at 41 years old and owns a 4.12 ERA since the start of 2015.

Brad Boxberger and Luke Gregerson are saves candidates for the Diamondbacks and Cardinals, respectively, but neither has locked down the role. Both guys have struggled -- both on the field and with injuries -- over the last two seasons, but have previous closer experience. Blake Parker is in the same boat with the Angels, but while he posted better numbers than Boxberger and Gregerson in 2017, he has much less experience closing out games.

David Robertson may not have a ninth-inning role, but he is coming off the best year of his career and can be counted on to continue to provide fantasy owners with reliable production.

Tier 6

This tier is mostly made up of setup men, some of whom have better shots at the closer role than others. Cameron Bedrosian, Juan Minaya, Brad Ziegler and Kyle Barraclough are all fighting for jobs (the latter two with each other), but shouldn’t be very appealing in standard leagues.

Chris Devenski and Chad Green each posted a sub-3.00 ERA with strong strikeout and walk rates last year, and have the added bonus of racking up wins as a result of making at least 15 multi-inning appearances.

Then you have Zach Britton, who would likely call Tier 1 his home had he not suffered an achilles injury this offseason. He’s a risky draft day selection, but owners in deeper leagues may want to consider taking a flier on the 30-year-old in case he gets healthy and returns to form by midseason.

Tier 7

As with any position, the bottom of the barrel of relievers offers very little value. C.J. Edwards, Joakim Soria, Nate Jones, Keone Kela, Tyler Lyons, Ryan Madson, Jim Johnson and Yoshihisa Hirano all have an opportunity to capture the closer role at some point, but they’re certainly shouldn’t be on any mixed-league radars. In holds leagues, of course, it’s a different story. Pat Neshek, who walked just six batters in 62.1 innings last season, would lead the way there.

 

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