2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Prep: Relief Pitcher Tiers 1.0
Relief pitcher is its own animal, valued mostly for its impact in one category. Scott White looks at the distribution of talent at the position.
Draft Prep Tiers:| | | | | | |
Let's make one thing clear off the bat: You draft relievers for saves.
Yes, there are exceptions, but in the context of a standard mixed leagues, they are few in number and reserved for the final stages of the draft. And the purpose those setup men and SPARPs (starting pitcher as relief pitcher) are filling is so different from the actual closers that I don't see the point in tiering them together.
So I've tiered just the closers here -- my projected one for each team. I say "projected" because many of these roles aren't final yet. The less-than-final ones are mostly confined to The Last Resorts precisely because they're less than final, and again because they're less than final, I need to acknowledge the other candidates for the role. And so I've created a special tier, The Next in Line, just for relief pitcher. If your draft is tomorrow -- and let's hope it's not -- you might actually draft someone from that tier just to be speculative. Shoot, I think I'd rather have Keone Kela than Alex Claudio.
As always, the line between tiers is thinner at this position since player value is mostly driven by save total and save total is largely random. That's not to say Craig Kimbrel isn't better than Alex Colome regardless of save total -- no need to mutate what I'm saying into its most exaggerated form -- but you're not paying as much for The Elite at relief pitcher as you are at any other position. There's not enough of an advantage to be gained.
The Elite: Kenley Jansen, Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman
The Near-Elite: Corey Knebel, Ken Giles, Roberto Osuna
The Next-Best Things: Felipe Rivero, Sean Doolittle, Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Raisel Iglesias, Edwin Diaz, Alex Colome, Cody Allen, Brad Hand
The Fallback Options: Mark Melancon, Brandon Morrow, Arodys Vizcaino, Hector Neris
The Last Resorts: Jeurys Familia, Shane Greene, Blake Treinen, Fernando Rodney, Kelvin Herrera, Blake Parker, Archie Bradley, Luke Gregerson, Brad Brach, Brad Ziegler, Alex Claudio, Joakim Soria
The Next in Line: Andrew Miller, Keone Kela, David Robertson, A.J. Minter, Brad Boxberger, Kyle Barraclough, Zach Britton, AJ Ramos, Addison Reed, Cam Bedrosian, Drew Steckenrider, Juan Minaya
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