Relief pitchers have the highest turnover rate in fantasy baseball and account for a large percentage of waiver wire activity during the season. Last year only 12 teams had the same closer the entire year, and for this reason many fantasy owners will pay a high price for an elite “low-risk” closer.
Drafting a top-tier closer certainly has its merits, although some fantasy owners question paying such a high price for a one-category position. If you decide to take the “safe” route, Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Broxton, Jonathan Papelbon, and Heath Bell bring very little risk to the table. Remember to look at more than just the saves category when picking a closer. Brian Fuentes was the league-leader with 48 saves last season, but did not help owners in any other categories posting a 3.93 ERA, 1.4 WHIP, and only 46 strikeouts.
Draft-Day Advice: Saves are an unpredictable stat, while talent is more consistent. Look for relief pitchers with a high strikeout rate and low WHIP. In the later rounds, you may actually get better value by selecting top-tier setup men, rather than lower-tier closers.