As a part of our 2015 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit, we examine the elite options at each position. Let’s take a look at our top fantasy relief pitchers for 2015, and compare our rankings to their current Average Draft Position (ADP) in mock drafts. As always, if your thoughts differ from these, please comment below or make use of our Fantasy Baseball Forum to share.
1. Craig Kimbrel
Kimbrel’s ERA as a closer has never been over 2.10. He’s never struck out less than 13.16 K/9. His minimum number of saved games is 42. There aren’t really any more superlatives I can pile on top of that to make the case for him as a top two closer. He just is. His price is high, but for the price you get both quality and quantity.
2. Greg Holland
46 saves, 1.44 ERA, 12.99 K/9. Simply flat-out dominant numbers, which he’s duplicated for two straight years. Maybe you don’t think the Royals will be as good this year, and if you think that, feel free to project him at 40 or so saves. He’s still a manly pick at closer, and easily a top 3 choice.
3. Aroldis Chapman
Aroldis routinely brings 100+ MPH, which he supplements with a nasty changeup and slider. Can you imagine gearing up to hit a 100 MPH fastball, only to find the pitch coming in is 20 MPH slower? The massive difference between his pitches makes Chapman nearly unhittable, as his 17.67 K/9 rate for 2014 shows. His ERA was 2.00 but his FIP was .89, showing definite room for improvement. He also missed time last year on the DL. Chapman blew only 2 saves last year. With the Reds looking much healthier in 2015 than 2014, his potential save opportunities should skyrocket. 40+ saves is a lock, and 50+ is definitely not crazy to predict.
4. Cody Allen
Despite not even starting 2014 as the Indian’s closer, Allen finished it with a vengeance. He posted 26 saves, 9 holds, a 2.07 ERA, and 11.76 K/9. He won the job because he was basically unhittable and looks to be the closer that Cleveland has needed since the ouster of Chris Perez. We love Allen for 2015, and his bargain price (ADP 116) makes him even more attractive. Book him for 35+ saves with upside.
5. Dellin Betances
The Yankees maintain that Betances will compete for the closer job with Andrew Miller, but we’re not buying it. Our ranking assumes he rightfully wins the job, grabbing the opportunity to really put on a 9th inning show in the Bronx. Betances is just downright nasty, with 100 MPH gas and good control to go with it. In 2014, he registered a 1.40 ERA with 13.50 K/9 (wow) over 90 innings pitched. He routinely pitched more than one inning, so while his total strikeouts will probably decline in 2015, his K/9 will probably rise even higher. He’s got the tools and the opportunity to turn in #1 overall closer type numbers.
Mark Melancon, Koji Uehara, Drew Storen, Trevor Rosenthal, and David Robertson round out our top 10 at the position. A lot can change during spring training, so be sure to check out our most up-to-date relief pitcher rankings.