Fantasy Baseball Relief Pitchers 2014: Tiers, Not Fears

Chap’ a Hoe
Photo Credit: Keith Allison


In the final installment of “Tiers, Not Fears,” we have landed at relief pitching. A lot of fantasy owners hate having to deal with closers, but not me. While you read a lot of “don’t pay for saves” idioms being thrown out there, the fact is, if you play in a league that uses closers, you HAVE to pay for saves. Me? I cast a wide net and try to come away with at least four closers to ensure I have some insurance.


Sure there is a ton of turnover at the position, and you will probably watch at least one of your draft/auction day closers shit the bed or get hurt at some point. That’s even more of a reason to pick up a bunch of ninth inning options in your drafts and auctions. Trying to scour the waiver wire for saves is a frustrating endeavor in competitive leagues, as all the best handcuffs are usually rostered. You become a slave to fantasy news information sites, looking for every edge you can get. Then you end up picking up, like, eight relievers with the hope that you can scrape up enough saves to stay in the race. Don’t be that guy. Suck it up, pay for saves, and win your goddamn league.


More after the jump:


The “K” Kommitee

1. Kenley Jansen

2. Craig Kimbrel

3. Greg Holland

4. Aroldis Chapman

This elite tier is made up guys who will clear double-digit K/9 marks with no issue. They also have the kind of job security that allows you to avoid handcuffing them to any of their set-up men. Chapman got the edge over everyone else because he should lead all RPs with strikeouts.


The “Able To Rise” Renegades

5. Koji Uehara

6. Trevor Rosenthal

7. Joe Nathan

8. Glen Perkins

9. David Robertson

This tier is made up of arms who are talented enough to play on a first tier level in 2014, even if their value entering draft day isn’t that high. Some might argue that Uehara belongs in the first tier after his ridiculous 2013 season, but his age (39 in April) and track record prior to last season portend a great, but not quite crop-creamy, 2014 season.


The “I’ll Fucks Wit ‘Em” Federation

10. Sergio Romo

11. Jonathan Papelbon

12. Jason Grilli

13. Ernesto Frieri

14. Steve Cishek

15. Addison Reed

Though not as safe as the options above, I see no reason to avoid any of the players in this tier. They have good job security and should close all season barring injury or a complete meltdown (both of which are absolutely possible because, after all, they are closers).


The “Dicey, Yet Acceptable” Association

16. Grant Balfour

17. Jim Henderson

18. Jim Johnson

19. Neftali Feliz

20. John Axford

21. Rafael Soriano

22. Nate Jones

There is certainly upside and the potential for quality closer numbers sitting in this tier. Of course, a variety of factors (injury-risk, being prone to blow-ups, capable set-up men) can knock any (or all) of these dudes off the fantasy radar.


The “At Least They’re Closers” Congregation

23. Fernando Rodney

24. Huston Street

25. Jesse Crain

26. Casey Janssen

27. Jose Veras

28. LaTroy Hawkins

29. Bobby Parnell

30. Tommy Hunter

These dudes are coming into the season as the favorites for saves on their respective teams. It doesn’t mean it will stay that way, as a couple of these RPs are already banged up (Crain and Janssen) and the others have stiff competition for saves if they falter. Still, they all deserve to be owned in leagues that use saves because there are only so many guys in baseball closing games.


The “Handcuff” Hooligans

31. Steve Delabar

32. Joaquin Benoit

33. Mark Melancon

34. Rex Brothers

35. Sean Doolittle

36. Chad Qualls

37. Cody Allen

38. Joakim Soria

39. J.J. Hoover

40. Danny Farquhar

41. Tyler Clippard

42. J.J. Putz

43. Pedro Strop

44. Kevin Siegrist

45. Josh Fields

46. Heath Bell

47. Bruce Rondon

48. Ryan Cook

49. Francisco Rodriguez

50. Sergio Santos

As the tier name suggests, these are the best non-closers to own. Chances are, at least a few of these guys will be closers at some point this season. At the very least, these names should all be in your memory this season in case you need to go save-scrounging at some point.


*Last updated 3/20/14.


About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.