Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Relief Pitchers
Time depending, this will be the penultimate edition of Nate’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper’s series. After making our way all the way around the diamond, outfield and starting pitchers, we’ll cover the guys out of the bullpen. In this edition, Nate will bring you five relief pitchers that he likes at their respective average draft positions. Again, if time allows, Nate will bring a designated hitter/utility version of this series for those who’s league includes such positions. But for how, let’s get into the relief pitching positions. Before we do that, you can find the previous editions of this series below.
Sleepers are players with low average-draft-positions who can be drafted late but will have productive seasons to help their respective fantasy managers. In this series, we will be giving you three sleepers for every position (C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, OF, SP & RP.)
Here we go, my typical position importance speech. As saves are hard to come by, it’s crucial that you invest in at least one top-end closing pitcher early in your draft. The players in our range in terms of sleepers are mainly in committees or aren’t their respective team’s closer. Anyhow, I don’t suggest fielding a ton of relief pitchers as starting pitchers will get you the points and categories easier, but leagues do require relief pitching spots.
Below you will find five relief pitchers with an average draft position of at the most, 225th and 30th among eligible relief pitchers. Each of these suggestions below offer value, upside and consistency. Without further ado, let’s get into this!
Also please note, the 2021 predictions found below are generated by Nate himself. Let’s get into this!
Greg Holland (Kansas City Royals)
Position Rank: 30th
2020 Stats: 3-0, 6 SV, 1.91 ERA, 0.953 WHIP, 28.1 IP, 20 H, 6 ER, 1 HR, 31 SO & 7 BB
2021 Predictions: 5-2, 16 SV, 3.16 ERA, 1.198 WHIP, 75 IP, 54 H, 28 ER, 6 HR, 74 SO & 27 BB
Greg Holland is a former all-star closer during his first stint with the Royals and his stay in Colorado. Last season he converted each of his six save opportunities in route to a fantastic 2020 season. The 35 year-old closer really returned to form last season after saving 17 games for the Diamondbacks in 2019. As he’s set to close games for the Royals, I can’t help but include him here. A primary closer for any team is a must get at 30th in the position.
Amir Garrett (Cincinnati Reds)
Position Rank: 31st
2020 Stats: 1-0, 1 SV, 2.45 ERA, 0.927 WHIP, 18.1 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 4 HR, 26 SO & 7 BB
2021 Predictions: 4-3, 3 SV, 3.43 ERA, 1.209 WHIP, 58 IP, 47 H, 23 ER, 11 HR, 70 SO & 19 BB
Amir Garrett isn’t being drafted as the Reds’ closer because David Bell has not officially named him as the closer yet. All signs point towards him being the closer. As I can’t be certain that he will close games no matter how much it’s leaning that way, my predictions don’t lean that way. Anyhow, if or when he is named the closer, he, like Holland, is a primary closer being drafted around the 240th pick of the draft.
Archie Bradley (Philadelphia Phillies)
Position Rank: 34th
2020 Stats: 2-0, 6 SV, 2.95 ERA, 1.091 WHIP, 18.1 IP, 17 H, 6 ER, 1 HR, 18 SO & 3 BB
2021 Predictions: 5-3, 16 SV, 3.45 ERA, 1.223 WHIP, 57 IP, 46 H, 19 ER, 5 HR, 59 SO & 19 BB
Someone has to close games in Philly and they struggled last year to find that person. They brought in Bradley this off-season as one of their key acquisitions. Although former closer Hector Neris and other possibility, José Alvarado, remain on the team, Bradley could emerge as the team’s top choice to at least start the season. We’ll likely see each of the three at some point this season attempt to save games but I’m leaning towards Bradley being the go-to guy to at least start the season so that’s where I find his value here for this series.
Chris Martin (Atlanta Braves)
Position Rank: 51st
2020 Stats: 1-1, 1 SV, 1 ERA, 0.611 WHIP, 18 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 HR, 20 SO & 3 BB
2021 Predictions: 2-2, 3 SV, 2.83 ERA, 1.155 WHIP, 58 IP, 52 H, 25 ER, 9 HR, 54 SO & 16 BB
We’re moving on from saves with this suggestion and will talk about one of the most consistent middle-relievers in the game. I mean, this man had a 1.00 ERA and an impressive 0.611 WHIP for the Braves as season ago. Now, there is a chance he’ll get some saves for the Braves but it won’t be many. His main attribute to your fantasy team will be not allowing runs or hits in your relief pitcher positions. Sometimes, that’s all you need out of the position, especially in category leagues.
Pete Fairbanks (Tampa Bay Rays)
Position Rank: 54th
2020 Stats: 6-3, 0 SV, 2.7 ERA, 1.388 WHIP, 26.2 IP. 23 H, 8 ER, 2 HR, 39 SO & 14 BB
2021 Predictions: 5-4, 2 SV, 4.09 ERA, 1.269 WHIP, 71 IP, 62 H, 28 ER, 6 HR, 85 SO & 28 BB
The Rays’ bullpen played a major role in the team reaching the World Series in 2020. One of the most consistent and important parts of that bullpen was Fairbanks. Fairbanks throws his fastball at 99 MPHs and then comes back with a 90 MPH slider that has hitters scratching their heads. Like Martin, he may grab a save or two along the way, but that’s not his role. His role is to eat up innings without allowing runs and hits. Again, this is crucial for category leagues. However, Fairbanks also offers a good number of strikeouts which will help in points leagues as well.