10 Under-the-Radar Relievers You Need to Target
When the big-name closers come off the board there are still relievers that can be useful for fantasy teams.
Maybe they have an outside shot of taking over the closer position. Maybe they are a starter with relief-pitcher eligibility. Maybe they can bolster your strikeout count.
Either way you should try to nab them in your fantasy draft to round out your pitching staff.
Tony Cingrani, Cincinnati Reds
Tony Cingrani is in the Cincinnati Reds' starting rotation, but he has relief-pitcher eligibility. Last year, Cingrani went 7-4 with a 2.92 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and 120 strikeouts in 104.2 innings.
If you decided to punt the saves category you can load up on starting pitchers that have RP eligibility, particularly if you don’t have an innings cap.
Neftali Feliz, Texas Rangers
Both Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria have had past success and injuries to overcome. Feliz has a career ERA of 2.61 and a WHIP of 1.01. He had 72 saves in 2010 and 2011 combined.
If he wins the Texas Rangers' closer gig or not, he’s worth owning.
Joakim Soria, Texas Rangers
Joakim Soria is also in the running for the Rangers' closer gig. He has a 2.51 career ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. From 2007 to 2011, Soria had 160 saves.
Like Feliz, he should be owned regardless of whether he wins the closer job.
Joaquin Benoit, San Diego Padres
Joaquin Benoit is a nice option to target. He had been a dominant middle reliever for years before holding down the closer gig for a time last season, racking up 24 saves, a 2.01 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.
Over the past seven seasons he has 510 strikeouts in 466 innings. Petco Park should help his numbers, and he also has an injury-prone closer (Huston Street) in front of him.
Jason Motte, St. Louis Cardinals
Jason Motte lost his closer job to Trevor Rosenthal following Tommy John surgery. When we last saw Motte in 2012 he had 42 saves. In 260 career innings Motte has 273 strikeouts, a 2.87 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.
He can provide solid strikeout numbers and quality peripherals. If he reclaims the closer gig, he’s more than capable of succeeding.
Al Alburquerque, Detroit Tigers
Al Alburquerque struck out 70 batters in 49 innings last year. That’s a staggering 12.9 K/9 ratio. He has warts in the form of a 4.59 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP, but he can certainly bolster your strikeout total.
Danny Farquhar, Seattle Mariners
Danny Farquhar collected 16 saves last year while striking out 79 batters in 55.2 innings. He posted a 4.20 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. If Fernando Rodney stumbles, Farquhar would get another crack at being a closer.
Shawn Kelley, New York Yankees
David Robertson is the new Yankees closer, but that is an infinitely tougher gig than Mariano Rivera made it out to be. If Robertson struggles replacing a legend, Shawn Kelley could get a crack.
He struck out 71 batters in 53.1 innings last year.
Drew Smyly, Detroit Tigers
Drew Smyly returns to the starting rotation, which will help fantasy owners looking for large win and strikeout totals from the RP slot. In two seasons, including 18 starts, Smyly is 10-3 with a 3.29 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP and 175 strikeouts in 175.1 innings.
Tyler Clippard, Washington Nationals
Tyler Clippard struck out 73 in 71 innings while posting a 2.41 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. Over the past five seasons he has 440 strikeouts in 383.1 innings while posting a 2.72 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.
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