Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2012: 3 Breakout Relievers to Target on Draft Day

Madison GuernseyContributor IIIMarch 21, 2012

ATLANTA - JULY 02:  Pitcher Kris Medlen #54 of the Atlanta Braves against the Florida Marlins at Turner Field on July 2, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Baseball season in finally almost here, which means it's time to do all your research and adjust your pre-draft rankings 30 times until the very last minute before the fantasy baseball draft.

Relief pitcher is a position often overlooked when it comes to fantasy baseball, but saves—and blown saves, for that matter—can make or break a season. 

Here are some breakout relievers to keep a close eye on as draft day draws nearer.


Addison Reed, Chicago White Sox

Although he's only appeared in six big-league ballgames, Reed has a good shot at being the full-time starter for Chicago by season's end.

He's been tearing up the minors with an ERA of 1.41 and a 0.74 WHIP over the last two seasons, while averaging 12.88 strikeouts per nine innings.

Matt Thornton will likely be the closer for the Sox to start the year, but look for Reed to get back to the majors and eventually earn the closer role.

He's probably not a guy you'll want to draft, but keep an eye on him as the season goes on and grab him from the free agent pool.


Kris Medlen, Atlanta Braves

Medlen made just two appearances in 2011, coming off his 2010 Tommy John surgery. He had decent success as a spot starter in 2009 and '10 for the Braves, and in all likelihood  will be cemented into a relief role in 2012.

DETROIT - SEPTEMBER 04: Addison Reed #43 of the Chicago White Sox pitches in the fourth inning during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on September 4, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Atlanta is set at closer and set-up man with Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters, respectively, but Medlen could be a valuable seventh inning guy.

He has great command (51 walks in 177.2 career innings pitched) and his numbers aren't flashy, but they're respectable and get the job done.


Josh Lindblom, Los Angeles Dodgers

In 27 games in 2011, the big right-hander from Purdue struck out nearly a batter per inning (28 K, 29.2 IP) and had a solid 2.73 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP.

With no clear-cut closer on the Dodgers' roster, Lindblom will definitely sneak some saves and has a chance to settle into the setup role.

He's only 24 and his 27 appearances last season are the only ones for his career, so expect Lindblom to be bounced around in the bullpen and possibly the rotation as well, making him a flexible free-agent pickup.