No position in all of fantasy sports is the subject of more hand-wringing, more contemplation, more pre-emptive pickups or more frustration than the relief pitcher. It’s simple math: 30 closer spots (some by committee), and 10-to-15 teams vying to get as many of those limited players onto their fantasy baseball rosters as possible. 2017 already has several blowups from relievers, meaning that their owners are already getting itchy about potential replacements. Here are three fantasy baseball relief pitchers that should be on your radars. For the purpose of this exercise, the threshold is 50% (or lower) ownership in Yahoo! leagues. Here are three guys who might end up with saves some time in the near future.
Santiago Casilla, Oakland (48% owned)
There’s a four-headed monster at closer in Oakland but so far, Casilla is the only guy who has successfully pulled off a save. Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson have locked down holds, and Ryan Dull blew a save in spectacular fashion. Casilla converted his sole save opportunity this year and had a perfect inning in his other appearance. Madson will likely end up being used when needed (think Andrew Miller), and Casilla will end up getting the call in the ninth.
Hector Neris, Philadelphia (41% owned)
Neris is better than current closer Jeanmar Gomez in pretty much every way. There’s not a lot to say about how much better Neris is than Gomez, so I’ll just let their career numbers do the talking:
Gomez does a better job of keeping it in the park than Neris does. That’s it. He’s incredibly worse at everything else. It’s only a matter of time before Neris steals the job from Gomez, and you should be ahead of the curve to reap the benefits. Scoop him up now, worst case scenario you benefit from good ratios until he usurps Gomez.
Matt Bush, Texas (31% owned)
Current Rangers’ closer Sam Dyson has been physically incapable of not blowing a save this year, and Bush looms. In two appearances this season, Dyson has 1.0 IP, eight earned runs, two losses and nary a strikeout. He’s in a tailspin, and Jeff Banister gave him the dreaded vote of confidence. Bush is the closer-in-waiting, and he will run with the opportunity.