Fantasy Baseball 2020: RP - Consistency Preview

Wes Easley shares the most consistent relief pitchers of 2019 and his rankings for 2020. Follow him @loafinit on Twitter.

Long gone are the days of every team having that one arm that comes out of the bullpen to close out every game.  Now we have bullpens by committees, relievers that start games, and teams that have pitch and inning limits that affect every arm on a pitching staff. Oh, and do not forget teams tanking which takes away opportunities for saves or holds. Last season we only had one player total over 500 fantasy points and only four players that finished with more than 400 points. I think that will change this year with the new relief rule where, after the 6th inning, a pitcher must face three batters or end an inning. This is not only going to speed up the game, but we will see new coaching strategies which I believe will result in higher point totals, not only for elite relievers and set up men, but for everyone in the bullpen.  Hey, when it comes to fantasy sports, one of my mottos is “more points, more better.”

Speaking of mottos, do you remember, “There’s no crying in baseball?” Well, having sorted through the consistency data and factoring in potential playing time, I will share with you which relief pitchers I believe will produce quality fantasy results. Having paid special attention to the reliever position, and not just hoping to find one at the end of the draft, neither one of us will be crying come playoff time.

To determine consistency, we used the following scoring system:

WIN

2.0

QUALITY START

5.0

SAVE

5.0

STRIKEOUT

1.0

EARNED RUN

 0.5


If you want to see who are the most consistent players in your league, go here and enter in your own scoring methods: https://www.bigguyfantasysports.com/phpcalcs/mlb/index.php

Below are the totals from the 2019 season and my prediction for the 2020 season. First, let’s look at projected closers.

TIER ONE

Player Name

Total Pts

Pts Rank

Total CW

Total WP

CR

xCon

2020 Tier

2020 Rank

Josh Hader

502.00

1

18

24

75%

15.69

RP1A

1

Liam Hendriks

426.50

3

18

24

75%

13.33

RP1A

2


The Brewers love to bring Hader to the mound in the 8th inning to finish out the rest of the game which provides him a steady floor that is equal to a majority of relief pitchers’ ceilings. Hader has been in a class of his own over the last couple of years, but I see him having some company this year. 

Hendricks, in my opinion, will take the leap into the Hader tier this season. His CR and xCon data show the potential to do so and the opportunity is there from the onset of spring training. He did not get his first save until the middle of June last season, but with Blake Treinen out of the picture, Hendricks will have the stronghold on the Athletics’ closer role. I apologize to Liam in advance for jinxing his season with that prediction.

TIER TWO

Player Name

Total Pts

Pts Rank

Total CW

Total WP

CR

xCon

2020 Tier

2020 Rank

Aroldis Chapman

411.70

5

17

24

71%

12.15

RP1B

3

Kirby Yates

461.80

2

15

24

63%

12.03

RP1B

4

Brad Hand

392.40

7

14

23

61%

10.38

RP1B

5


My gut tells me that Chapman takes a step backward this year although he has recorded twenty or more saves each year for seven consecutive seasons. That is a ton of pitches thrown. I know when I had him as a player last year, I would strap myself into my seat and get ready for the ride when he came into the game. I do not know how he had such a good year with his control problems, but it is hard for me to argue with the numbers of his consistency data in conjunction with the opportunities he will have continuing to pitch for the Yankees.

TIER THREE

Player Name

Total Pts

Pts Rank

Total CW

Total WP

CR

xCon

2020 Tier

2020 Rank

Raisel Iglesias

399.00

6

17

24

71%

11.78

RP1C

6

Hector Neris

368.80

11

16

24

67%

10.24

RP1C

7

Sean Doolittle

315.70

19

15

23

65%

8.95

RP1C

8

Edwin Diaz

353.80

14

14

23

61%

9.36

RP1C

9


I was so tempted to combine this group with the RP1B group, but I just couldn’t do it. Here’s why.

Last year Cincinnati bounced Iglesis around instead of designating him as their closer and he voiced his displeasure in that coaching strategy. He overcame that obstacle, however, and almost joined the 400-point club. Maybe he can reach it this year.

Doolittle was the most surprising player in this group. Combining his consistency data with being named the Nationals’ closer for this year should result in boosting Doolittle’s fantasy point total.  That being said, my policy is never to trust a Nationals closer to take it to the next level.

If you had Diaz on your team last year, then you might have thought he had a terrible season. He flirted with a 5.59 ERA, had seven blown saves, and had seven losses, but consider this. He is one of only nine with a clutch rating above sixty percent. That being said, I wouldn’t take him in many drafts unless the price is right since I don’t think the Mets will be as patient with him this year watching him blow saves again. See Seth Lugo notes at the bottom tier.

TIER FOUR

Player Name

Total Pts

Pts Rank

Total CW

Total WP

CR

xCon

2020 Tier

2020 Rank

Roberto Osuna

380.70

8

13

23

57%

9.36

RP1D

10

Kenley Jansen

356.20

13

14

24

58%

8.66

RP1D

11

Ian Kennedy

344.00

16

14

24

58%

8.36

RP1D

12

Craig Kimbrel

136.30

139

5

9

56%

8.41

RP1D

13

Taylor Rogers

370.00

10

13

24

54%

8.35

RP1D

14

Carlos Martinez

251.20

32

8

18

44%

6.20

RP1D

15

Hansel Robles

321.00

18

12

24

50%

6.69

RP1D

16

Alex Colome

306.30

21

14

24

58%

7.44

RP1D

17

Brandon Workman

351.80

15

13

24

54%

7.94

RP1D

18


I can hear you yelling at me for putting Osuna and Jansen in this tier.

Reader yelling: You put Doolittle above them?! His name is Doo-little!

Me: You’re lucky I didn’t drop Jansen into a lower tier.

Look, I know their names and their reputations for being elite closers, but they couldn’t even make the sixty percent clutch rate.  Plus, baseball may be out to make right the wrongs of the Astros and Jansen may have seen his better days. I for one would rather wait for Ian Kennedy in the later rounds of the draft than to hope that Osuna and Jansen will out-perform the data from last year. Every time one of my opponents takes them in the draft, I am going to yell, “I AM CLUTCH RATE!!!” I suggest you do the same, especially if you are in a room full of people.

Kimbrel is one of those players that could find elite status again, but I don’t have much confidence in him making it out of this tier after the way he pitched last season.

I am putting Martinez in here for now even though the rumor is he wants to be a starter. Whether the closer will be Martinez or Jordan Hicks, you can put them in this tier.

Rogers’ situation may allow him to break into elite status this year. [On the day I typed that last sentence, Maeda was traded to the Twins in the Betts deal. Once again, that should throw another arm into the mix in Minnesota possibly dropping Rogers down a tier. I just thought it was funny how quickly closer predictions can change.]

TIER FIVE

Player Name

Total Pts

Pts Rank

Total CW

Total WP

CR

xCon

2020 Tier

2020 Rank

Emilio Pagan

340.90

17

11

22

50%

7.75

RP2A

19

Ken Giles

310.10

20

13

23

57%

7.62

RP2A

20

Archie Bradley

302.70

23

11

24

46%

5.78

RP2A

21

Mark Melancon

251.20

32

8

24

33%

3.49

RP2A

22


Bradley is the guy who could surprise me out of this group, but I try to make it a habit not to depend on Arizona closers.

Giles has all the factors (opportunity, experience, up-and-coming team) to end up right at the cusp of the 400 club. My biggest concern is durability in his case.

Melancon has been given the closer role for the Braves heading into spring training.  If you look at the consistency data, his numbers are not impressive.  I believe Will Smith will be named the closer by June since he was the fourth-ranked reliever to end last season.

TIER SIX

Player Name

Total Pts

Pts Rank

Total CW

Total WP

CR

xCon

2020 Tier

2020 Rank

Jose Leclerc

304.30

22

10

24

42%

5.28

RP2B

23

Joe Jimenez

247.10

36

8

24

33%

3.43

RP2B

24

Mychal Givens

262.80

30

9

24

38%

4.11

RP2B

25


As I write this article, right before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, these players are their respective teams’ closers.

Leclerc is someone to keep an eye on if he can settle in at the closer roll, but looked more comfortable over the last couple of seasons as a set-up man.

This next batch of relievers are non-closers for now who will still be able to tally 200-300 total fantasy points.

TIER SEVEN

Player Name

Total Pts

Pts Rank

Total CW

Total WP

CR

xCon

2020 Tier

2020 Rank

Wade Davis

179.20

86

4

22

18%

1.48

RP3A

26

Seth Lugo

299.80

24

11

23

48%

6.23

RP3A

27

Matt Barnes

282.90

26

9

24

38%

6.23

RP3A

28

Nick Anderson

275.20

27

9

24

38%

4.30

RP3A

29

Shane Greene

290.10

25

9

24

38%

4.53

RP3A

30

Jordan Hicks

157.10

115

6

12

50%

6.55

RP3A

31

Will Smith

415.00

4

16

24

67%

11.53

RP3A

32

Josh James

252.00

31

8

18

18%

6.22

RP3A

33

Blake Treinen

247.30

35

6

21

29%

3.36

RP3A

34

Zach Britton

175.70

93

4

24

17%

1.22

RP3A

35

Adam Ottavino

242.40

38

6

24

25%

2.53

RP3A

36

Jalen Beeks

266.80

28

9

23

39%

4.54

RP3A

37

Sergio Romo

264.70

29

10

24

42%

4.60

RP3A

38

Giovanny Gallegos

247.50

34

6

23

26%

2.81

RP3A

39

Scott Oberg

197.00

64

5

19

26%

2.73

RP3A

40

Luke Jackson

356.60

12

15

24

63%

9.28

RP3A

41


Wade Davis or Scott Oberg will settle into the closer role for Colorado, but I do not plan to get many shares of either of them on draft day.

Until Will Smith gets the closer role from an underperforming Melacon, I will rank Smith right here. Nevertheless, be forewarned, someone named Will Smith will be the closer for Atlanta before the year is over.

Seth Lugo would be great to own if you have the roster spot available. Lugo has been used in a Josh Hader role for the Mets in the past and if he is named the closer, that will boost his points even more. I will remind you, the Mets will not be as patient with Diaz if he runs into problems again this season.

I will finish my list with Luke Jackson, who I put on here to remind you and me that closers can come and go. He finished with the twelfth highest point total for relievers. If you were lucky enough, you picked him off the waiver tree early in the season while everyone else was saying, “Who is Luke Jackson?” Always keep your eye on the waiver wire and the box scores to find the next Luke Jackson.

Here is the scatterplot of the most consistent relief pitchers in 2019:

If I left your favorite closer off the list, tell me who it is and why he should make my list @loafinit on Twitter.

BGFS Daily Fantasy Blast

Sign up for a free Daily Fantasy Blast from the experts at Big Guy Fantasy Sports! Don't miss out on the best analysis in the business! Where Fantasy gets REAL!

captcha 

Site Login

Expert Leagues

replica rolex watches uk