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Fantasy Baseball 2014: Ranking the Top 45 Relief Pitchers

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Fantasy Baseball 2014: Ranking the Top 45 Relief Pitchers
John Bazemore/Associated Press
Would you want to tell Craig Kimbrel he's not the No. 1 fantasy closer? Didn't think so.

With the top-150 fantasy baseball players all re-ordered and re-ranked on the latest Big Board, it's time to wrap up the rolling out of individual position rankings.

After providing some sequencing to the starting pitchers last time out, the final position on the docket is relief pitchers, which is one of the more top-heavy positions, capped by a quintet of absolute fantasy freaks, including Craig Kimbrel (pictured) and Aroldis Chapman.

Following that top tier of talent, things start to quickly thin out, to the point where everyone outside of the top eight on this list starts to feel bunched together. Many from the second tier have some flaw or question mark, like advancing age (Jonathan Papelbon), injury issues (Jason Grilli) or even inexperience in the ninth inning (David Robertson).

Draft strategy for relievers calls for either locking up one of the elites early on or waiting a while and trying to make up ground by snatching a couple in the middle rounds. Also, it always helps to take on a third, if you can, or at least aim for a top-notch setup man who could take over the role by midseason.

Heck, take two; as you'll find out, this just might be the golden age of relievers.

All of the above are covered—and then some—in this ranking of the top-45 fantasy relief pitchers.

 

These rankings consider three factors:

First, everything is based on 10- or 12-team mixed leagues with standard five-by-five rotisserie scoring (BA, R, HR, RBI, SB for hitters; W, ERA, WHIP, K, SV for pitchers).

Second, lineup construction accounts for 22 active roster positions consisting of: one each for catcher, first base, second base, third base, shortstop, corner infield, middle infield and utility; along with five outfielders and nine pitchers.

And third, to be eligible at a particular position, players either must have played at least 20 games there in 2013 or be in line to start there in 2014. Additionally, players are listed in the rankings at the position where their fantasy utility would be most useful.

 

Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.

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