We now get to the ugly step-sister of rankings and the waiver darling position that we all chase. The relief pitcher is by far the most debated position on who to draft, where, and when. For the most part, I agree with you (with whatever you think), but the guys you want…if you get them where they are being drafted, usually beat or exceed value. Injuries suck and do happen, you just can’t prevent them. You just have to be in a position of favor and hope that you land his replacement. Sucktitude, i.e see Joe Nathan last year, is just a roster burden and usually drags you down all season because he isn’t someone you can just drop, but he makes it awfully hard to roster. It’s a catch-22, to stat or not to stat. Last year saw an unforgivable 10 closer changes in the first six weeks. That is not something you can pad your roster with enough save-cuffs for. So let’s get to the first set of rankings of the year. I will get into draft strategies for them, and as always, cover holds in the countdown to the season.
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- This list is based on if the season were starting now and who would be closing for their team respectively. That’s why Jake McGee isn’t ranked higher (if healthy, he would rank 18th). For now, Brad Boxberger is the guy to me that will get all the early saves, and if your drafting for saves out of TB, you still want McGee, but you wanna cuff him with Boxberger or Ernesto Frieri.
- The same holds true with Oakland, as Sean Doolittle looks likely to miss the opening day. He would rank 14th if healthy. What’s good for you is that they have a better first chair sub in Tyler Clippard. Who, in most formats, should be drafted regardless if he is getting save chances as he has proven to be one of those reliable RP types that can survive on your roster all year.
- I am a little leery that Dellin Betances is the guy for certain in New York. I do think that him and Andrew Miller get save chances throughout the year, and if you draft one you really need to draft the other. The K’s are nice, but burning a mid-round pick on guys from the same team for the saves chase is something I don’t really recommend.
You know that restaurant your girlfriend/wife/what-have-you likes to go to that charges, like, $12 for a salad? Every time you go there, you have a thoroughly solid meal. No complaints, except you just paid $12 for a salad when you could’ve went to McDonald’s and stuffed you and your woman for ten schmools and had $2 in quarters left over to make the hotel bed vibrate. These closers are $12 salads.
Imagine you’re following a donkey, who’s wearing a wool cap, through a desert for 1700 miles. Why are you following a donkey? Because he promises you something wonderful and you just need to trust him. Does the donkey talk? Yes. Yes, he does talk. So when you and the donkey in the wool cap arrive at his destination, he removes the wool cap to reveal a horn. The donkey is a unicorn and his gift to you for your trust is saves. These closers are Donkeycorns.
11. Steve Cishek – (A.J. Ramos, Aaron Crow)
14. Koji Uehara – (Edward Mujica, Heath Hembree)
I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples, bananas and Carlos Marmol– Wait, he just gave up 12 earned runs and hit Castro in the head with a pick-off throw. Brain freeze! Make it stop! Use the following closers at your own risk.
24. LaTroy Hawkins – (Rafael Betancourt, Rex Brothers)
28. Jenrry Mejia – (Bobby Parnell, Vic Black)