Is there a more troublesome page on a Fantasy Baseball website this year than the 2013 Fantasy Baseball Reliever Rankings. I didn’t think so. (Or maybe the page that says Send Us Money! Those are troublesome, too.) But here we are – checking out who we think are the best Fantasy Relievers, which usually indicate the players we think will be closing the most games out for their teams this season.
No other position in Fantasy Baseball has this much turnover. It’s ridiculous. Look at last season, for instance.
You had players like Heath Bell, Javy Guerra, Sergio Santos, Jose Valverde, Jordan Walden and Brian Wilson, all ranking in the top 20 or so of Fantasy relievers.
And here we are now, in 2013, and whether it was because of poor performance or injury, none of those players are in my top 30 Fantasy relievers. Mariano Rivera is in my top 30, but even he had a season-ending knee injury last year.
If you take just one piece of information into your Draft Day, take this: About one third of all regular season saves come from pitchers that don’t get drafted in mixed leagues. ONE THIRD!!!
There are always a bunch of pitchers that become hot pickups just a week or two into the regular season, that end up being big Fantasy helpers in the saves category. Last year, nearly every week of the regular season, relievers were the costliest free agents in FAAB and waiver wires. Sergio Romo and Kenley Jansen were in-season pickups that paid off in spades.
That’s not even mentioning Fernando Rodney, who was supposed to hand back the closer’s job to the injured Kyle Farnsworth by June. Only Baltimore’s Jim Johnson, another surprise relief stud, had more saves (51) than Rodney (48) in 2013.
There are a few changes you’ll want to track, like:
- A handful of pitchers are eligible as relief pitchers, but will be starting for their respective teams, giving them added value in Head-to-Head leagues: Aroldis Chapman, Wade Davis, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kris Medlen and Alexi Ogando.
- Joel Hanrahan moves to Boston to close games out, with Andrew Bailey expected to pitch as his setup man.
- The Nationals turn the ninth inning over to Rafael Soriano, who saved 42 games for the Yankees last season, in relief of Rivera. That means Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard will work middle relief – until the closer pendulum swings back the other way.
- Ryan Madson had Tommy John surgery before last season, and he was rewarded for that by being handed the closer’s job in Anaheim. Proceed with caution – and an eye on Ernesto Frieri in the late rounds.
This is like handing a sharp knife to a kid, so he can cut his own steak. Just be careful. If you do things right, oh, how tasty! But if you slip up, you’ll wish you only had nine-and-a-half fingers compared to the bullpen your team is sporting. Hopefully, these 2013 Fantasy Baseball Reliever Rankings will help you stay sharp!