22 Feb 2017 Fantasy Baseball RP Rankings (30-16)
By: Shane Thompson
There are two things that grind my gears when watching sports. First off, seeing a wide receiver in football that’s fast that can’t catch. The second is having a very good starting pitching staff that does not have a reliable guy to close out a game. With that being said, here are the 30th-16th ranked relievers going into the 2017 season.
30) Fernando Rodney (ARI): He had recorded 25 saves before stepping into an 8th inning role with Miami. He does turn 40 in March, but his K’s/9 are still at 10.4 and is expected to be the primary closer for a sleeper Arizona Diamondbacks ballclub.
29) Nate Jones (CWS): High strikeouts, very little walks which is evident by his whip at 0.89, this guy can rack up solid stats. With Chicago clearly in rebuild mode, don’t expect David Robertson to be around much longer. Jones could take over the closers role at any time.
28) Will Harris (HOU): Going into last season, all eyes were on the acquisition of Ken Giles and the veteran Luke Gregerson. Harris was as solid as it gets and was a borderline savior to the bullpen. He posted a 2.25 ERA and only gave up 3 home runs in 64 innings in a hitter friendly home ballpark.
27) Raisel Iglesias (HOU): With the uncertainty of the Reds having an identity for a closer, this might be the right guy for the job. They did sign Drew Storen to add some experience but he had a rough season last year with both Toronto and Seattle. Iglesias has more upside and he did save 6 games with a 9.5 K/9 rate. He is worthy a very late round pick with upside.
26) Cam Bedrosian (LAA): From the looks of it, Huston Street’s window is closing (no pun intended). Bedrosian finished the season in beast mode style mainly in a setup role but is looking to have multiple opportunities to earn the closer gig. He is a sleeper in many leagues and may even go undrafted if Street wins the job out of Spring Training.
25) Adam Ottavino (COL): The perception going into this year for Colorado is that newly signed Greg Holland will be the closer. Not so fast. Ottavino has been money, even after recovering from Tommy John Surgery. The Rockies team is in a very competitive NL West division and is somewhat of a sleeper heading into the 2017 campaign.
24) Francisco Rodriguez (DET): At age 34, he had 38 saves with a whip of 1.13. I’d say that’s pretty solid for any closer regardless of their age. The Detroit Tigers play in a very weak division which could mean the same numbers in 2017. The problem for “K-Rod” is that the Tigers lack quality arms to pitch in front of him in their bullpen.
23) Ryan Madson (OAK): The Oakland Athletics are known to wheel and deal veterans for prospects by the trade deadline. This means that if Madson gets off to a strong start, he will provide value for Oakland and could therefore be traded to a playoff contending team. He was one of the bright spots for a last place team in 2016 and it helps his cause for save opportunities considering that they have Doolittle and Cassilla to bridge the gap.
22) Hector Neris (PHI): In just under 80 innings in 2016, he struck 102 batters which is flat out nuts. He only recorded 2 saves but that was because fellow RP Jeanmar Gomez had a very good first half and earned himself the nod for the rest of the season. The knock on Gomez is that he is known to be pitch to contact, a recipe for disaster when you’re trying to close out games. I expect Neris to get this job and run away with it.
21) Sam Dyson (TEX): He converted 38/43 save opportunities along with only giving up 5 home runs in 70 innings in Texas. That doesn’t happen much in that ballpark. They have rejuvenated their team and should be in the playoff hunt once again this upcoming season. Dyson should see plenty of save chances as Rangers closer.
20) Tony Watson (PIT): The Pirates are a team that could be buyers or sellers down the stretch. With Chicago being as loaded as ever and St. Louis expected to be back in the playoff hunt, where does that leave the Pirates? Watson is as good as it gets especially against lefties, he’s expected to compete with Daniel Hudson for the closer role but could be dealt in the summer to a team who would use him as a lefty specialist rather than a closer which would kill his fantasy value.
19) Shawn Kelley (WSH): On paper, when this team is fully healthy, they are as good as it gets. With last years closer Melancon signing with the Giants and upper management striking out with bringing in an alternate option, the door is now wide open for Kelley. It’s worth noting that Kelley struck out 80 batters in just 59 innings.
18) A.J. Ramos (MIA): Its crazy to think that a closer that converted 40 of 43 save opportunities is ranked this low. He’s been as solid as it gets but could be lacking the numbers in 2017 with a shaky Marlins starting rotation and the tragic death of Jose Fernandez. RIP JF16.
17) Alex Colome (TB): He’s another closer that was very reliable in 2016 but happens to play for a mediocre at best team. He’s been involved in trade talks since the end of last year and could still very well be moved. He is expected to be a second tier closer in most leagues with some upside.
16) Ken Giles (HOU): Giles was acquired for solid prospects from Philly to seal up the back end in Houston. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out initially in 2016 but he showed his power fastball and wipe out slider in the second half. The Astros are a much improved ball club and could be one of baseballs best teams in 2017. Expect Giles to be a top 10 closer by seasons end.