2014 Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitcher Rankings For Points Leagues

Relief Pitcher is the most variable position in fantasy baseball.  Typically there are a few elite closers who can be valuable due to high K/9 and better than average pitching relative to normal relief pitchers - these guys are the only closers who are worth a high pick and even then it is risky.  The position is also typically very Saves dependent as well, with SPs with RP eligibility often pushing Holds relievers onto the waiver wire.  It is important to note that you should be careful when using high draft picks or spending auction budget on relief pitching.  Not only is it relatively easy to find production off the waiver wire, but the position has a very high "bust rate" given injuries and normal performance variation from season to season.  These are actually two sides of the same coin, so it is often a good strategy to find pitchers who could be dominant closers who can still be had on the cheap because they have not yet emerged or are bouncing back from injury or a down season.  2013 featured Ernesto Frieri and Kenley Jansen in some cases as cheaper options that ended up producing very good numbers.  K/9 is of increasing performance the more your league rewards strikeouts, but strikeouts should be a good source of points for the elite closers at the top of the list.  A handful of closers will K over 100 batters and all of the top 10 have the potential to do so.

2014 RP Rankings For Points Leagues:

  1. Craig Kimbrell (Right there with Chapman for the best K/9 in baseball.  Better team may mean more opportunities.  Better ballpark)
  2. Aroldis Chapman (Highest K/9 potential in majors. Should be elite.)
  3. Kenley Jansen (Excellent team and the 3rd best K/9 pitcher in baseball)
  4. Trevor Rosenthall (Never sleep on the St. Louis Closer, especially when he could K 12 batters per 9)
  5. Ernseto Frieri (Should K as many as Holland and should be on a better team.)
  6. Greg Holland (Another K machine, should but up good numbers if situation improves in 2014.  Good ballpark)
  7. Koji Uehara (Bad ballpark but great K/9 and good team)
  8. David Robertson (Should take the NYY role and run with it, excellent strikeout pitcher)
  9. Jason Grilli (Shaky at times last year but good defense and good park and good team should yield opportunity.  Also should K 11 batters per 9)
  10. Glen Perkins (Should K 10 per 9 and can hold down the role long term)
  11. Joe Nathan (Some risk here, but upside is still high if he can maintain form)
  12. Addison Reed (Good team, bad ballpark and competition for the role)
  13. Grant Balfour (Should be in a good situation and has potential to K 10 batters per 9)
  14. Sergio Romo (Very good team and ballpark with good K/9 numbers but injury risk may be higher)
  15. Jim Johnson (Good situation in Oakland)
  16. Tony Cingrani (If eligible)
  17. Fernando Rodney (Could lose the role, but so could any closer)
  18. Jonathan Papelbon (Medium risk high reward - bad ballpark and PHI could struggle)
  19. Rafael Soriano
  20. Bobby Parnell (Great stuff when he puts it together)
  21. Casey Janssen
  22. Michael Wacca (If eligible)
  23. Andrew Cashner (If eligible)
  24. John Axford (May have been tipping pitches with Brewers, could bounce back)
  25. Neftali Feliz (Needs to win the role from Scheppers and Soria)
  26. Huston Street (has injury concerns and competition behind him)
  27. Jim Henderson
  28. Tommy Hunter
  29. Jose Veras (Will probably be passed at some point)
  30. Joakim Soria (Could emerge as a cheap option if Feliz falters at all)
  31. Steve Cishek
  32. Rex Brothers (Could be had cheap and should take the role from Hawkins)
  33. Nate Jones (Not his role yet)
  34. Latroy Hawkins (Lower upside than Brothers, should yield the role eventually)
  35. Jesse Crain (Still in the running for the Astros job)
  36. Chad Qualls (Another possibility for HOU)
  37. Alex Wood (If he gets a rotation spot)
  38. Sergio Santos (High upside if Janssen falters)
  39. Danny Farquhar (Could take the TB role if Rodney pitches poorly for a stretch)
  40. Santiago Casilla (Has upside if Romo gets injured)
  41. Pedro Strop (Cubs next in line)
  42. Brian Wilson (Jansen handcuff)
  43. Tyler Clippard (Another high upside Holds pitcher who could get Saves)
  44. Tyson Ross (If eligible)
  45. Josh Fields (May be in running for SD job)
  46. Jake McGee (Closer prospect of yesterday could still emerge)
  47. Tanner Scheppers (Still in the TEX mix)
  48. Matt Lindstrom (CWS is not settled, but Lindstrom is not high upside)
  49. Kevin Siegrist (STL next in line)
  50. Francisco Rodriguez (Would take over in Milwaukee if Henderson falters)

photo credit: Keith Allison via photopin cc

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