Saturday, September 5, 2015

2014 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Relief Pitchers

Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. (David Swanson/Staff Photographer)
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. (David Swanson/Staff Photographer)

After delineation, deliberation, and anticipation, here are your 2014 Fantasy Baseball rankings.

For the last few weeks, we've been breaking down your best options at each position.

Here's what we've covered so far:

C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF

Today, relief pitching:

1. Craig Kimbrel, Braves

2013: 67 IP, 1.21 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 50 SV, 98 K, 20 BB

Kimbrel is the cream of the crop as he rarely blows saves or walks anyone. Kimbrel boasts one of the best K/9 for any reliever in history. Although his strikeout numbers dipped last year, the totals were still impressive. I typically don’t like to draft closers too high because there’s always one or two that jump out of nowhere, but you can make that concession for Kimbrel.


2. Greg Holland, Royals

2013: 67 IP, 1.21 ERA, .87 WHIP, 47 SV, 103 K, 18 BB

Holland posted similar numbers to Kimbrel and he'll will be leaned on a lot this season again as the Royals hope to take another step forward. Expect much of the same with awesome strikeout totals and very few walks. He’s a fine backup plan if you can’t get Craigy.


3. Kenley Jansen, Dodgers

2013: 76.2 IP, 1.88 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 28 SV, 111 K, 18 BB

Another flamethrower, Jansen is in the same league as Kimbrel and Holland. Now, he’ll get the opportunity to give you 40-plus saves, which he should do with a Dodgers team that will win lots of games.


4. Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals

2013: 75.1 IP, 2.63 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 3 SV, 108 K, 20 BB

An excitable high-90’s fastball and a wicked changeup make Rosenthal one of the top closers in baseball. And he’ll also get plenty of opportunities playing on a solid Cardinals team, something he did not get last year pitching mostly out of the 8th inning. The closers job is his as Jason Motte is out of the way.


5. David Robertson, Yankees

2013: 66.1 IP, 2.04 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 3 SV, 77 K, 18 BB

I like Robertson, but only as the best of the next tier of closers. Weird that it’s not Mariano Rivera shutting down in the ninth inning for the Yankees, however, Robertson can more than hold his own. Expect the Yankees to win a lot as well, meaning Robertson will get his chances.


6. Koji Uehara, Red Sox

2013: 74.1 IP, 1.09 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 21 SV, 101 K, 9 BB

Just look at those ridiculous numbers. Tough to get anywhere near those again, but you can bet that Uehara won’t walk guys and still put up nice strikeout figures. That WHIP was the lowest of all-time, by the way.


7. Joe Nathan, Tigers

2013: 64.2 IP, 1.39 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 43 SV, 73 K, 22 BB

Still doing it after all these years. But tread lightly, Nathan is 39 years old coming off a career year. Expect a bit of a decline in K’s and a spike in ERA and WHIP. It’s only natural at that age.


8. Glen Perkins, Twins

2013: 62.2 IP, 2.30 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 36 SV, 77 K, 15 BB

Perkins is solid, but plays on a bad team, so his save number will be hurt by that. He’s not a sexy name, either, playing in the anonymity of Minnesota. Don’t let that fool you.


9. Jim Johnson, A’s

2013: 70.1 IP, 2.94 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 50 SV, 56 K, 18 BB

Very low K/9 rate can be a killer. The A’s should once again should win a lot of games, which will help the monster save total. Johnson has saved 101 games the last two years, and while he won’t save 50 again, 40+ is a nice place to start.


10. Aroldis Chapman, Reds

2013: 63.2 IP, 2.54 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 38 SV 112 K, 29 K

Chapman is probably the second best closer in baseball. But he’ll miss more than a month after taking a line drive to the face during Spring Training. That tosses him down the list quite a few notches. If you grab him a little later than you would ordinarily, you could score a steal for the second half. But he’s too risky to draft early.


11. Sergio Romo, Giants

12. Grant Balfour, Rays

13. Jason Grilli, Pirates

14. Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies

2013: 61.2 IP, 2.92 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 29 SV, 57 K, 11 BB

If Papelbon was worried about pitching with juice last year, he could be in for a real treat. And if spring is any indicator of what this Phillies squad will be during the regular year, then Pap won’t be in a pennant chase that he so desires. And if his ability hinges on that energy, then that’s a problem, and he isn’t one of the best closers in the game. He’s also lost some mojo on the fastball and with a team that appears to be in line to win less than 80-games, then numbers like last season look to be just right.

15. Addison Reed, D’Backs

16. Ernesto Frieri, Angels

17. Steve Cishek, Marlins

18. Fernando Rodney, Mariners

19. Bobby Parnell, Mets

20. Rafael Soriano, Nationals

Now check out the rest of our rankings:

Catcher | First base | Second base | Third base | Shortstop | Outfield

Contact Pat on Twitter: @PatGallen_975

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