It’s best to look at our 2017 Fantasy Relief Pitcher Rankings with just one eye open, or looking through one of those makeshift periscopes kids use to look at a solar eclipse. For looking directly at these rankings, you’re bound to find beautiful players that can both save your season – along with players that can set your team on fire.
Closers are often called “firemen” because they are brought in to put out fires late in a game. (In reality, they should be called “fire marshals” because they usually enter to start the ninth inning, meant to prevent any fires from actually starting. But I digress …)
In Fantasy Baseball, however, you should tread carefully when drafting relief pitchers. But why do most Fantasy Baseball writers suggest waiting on closers?
They are often the most exasperating players because they are affected mentally by more things than any other position, and outside forces have much more effect on their play than other players. That means they can lose their job faster than other players. They are more dependent on other players on their team than most of the other positions.
While closers can affect all five pitching categories, they really only affect one positively: saves. Sure, they’re the only position that will affect that stat category, but that shouldn’t be enough to convince you to take a reliever higher than the fifth or sixth rounds in 12-team Rotisserie drafts.
Ron Shandler once introduced a crazy stat to readers a few years ago, pointing out that about one-third of all the saves recorded in a major-league season come from pitchers not drafted in most mixed league drafts.
What does that mean to you?
It means if you wait on closers, you can still likely pick up a lot of saves among free agents as the season wears on. You’ll need them because you’ll probably draft a closer that gets injured or replaced. Wouldn’t you rather be forced to replace a player you drafted in the middle rounds than one drafted in the middle rounds?
An experts draft on Fantasy411.MLBlogs.com, shows the first closer drafted at the end of Round 5, with three more in Round 6, three more in Round 7, then five more in the next four rounds. That means there were 12 relief pitchers drafted in the first 10 rounds.
If those around you start drafting relievers early – YIPPEE! Stock up elsewhere and take mediocre closers later. This is a great thing for your Fantasy ballclub. Don’t panic!
2017 Fantasy Relief Pitcher Rankings
We’re all done with the position rankings! All that’s left now is to post the top 250 Fantasy players, which we’ll do soon!
With our 2017 Fantasy Relief Pitcher Rankings complete, along with rankings for catchers, first basemen, second basemen, shortstops, third basemen, outfielders, and starting pitchers, we’re all set! We’ll be updating these throughout the spring, so return soon!
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