Completing my 23 player/12 team/$260 mixed league auction values with the relievers. As a reminder, my “values” are what I think you should “pay” in an auction and not what may be calculated as what the player is expected to “earn” in dollars based upon his projections. If you add up my “prices” for the 276 players I’ve posted, it will be $3120, the total amount available in your redraft auction. Every auction is unique, and your prep based upon your league settings, keepers, tendencies, etc, is the most valuable tool you can bring to the table.
There are 36 relievers here. Some leagues may have 40-45 bid upon. I chose 6 starters and 3 relievers as an average per team to use as my baseline. If a name isn’t on the list but he gets called out, the most I would pay for him is $2 unless something drastic changes between now and your draft.
Will anyone on this list save 40 games this year? I had this discussion with Alex Fast of Pitchers List and we hashed out that maybe Edwin Diaz has the best chance only because the Mets traded for him to put him in the closer role. Closer by committee is becoming more popular, and we have seen that in the middle of a season many have stepped into the closer’s role and succeeded. Managers this off-season have even gone out of their way to say that they aren’t going to name a closer or that they will use their best reliever in any high leverage situation no matter what the inning is as the Reds did with Iglesias.
There are very few auction leagues with an overall prize offered so in this format, punting saves is an option. Do I recommend it? Sort of. First of all I don’t think any closer, especially in a mixed format, is worth $20. It’s one category. Yes, certain relievers can help you a little in K’s, ERA and WHIP, but there are only a handful of relievers that are acquired with that purpose in mind. Josh Hader, Dellin Betances, and Jeremy Jeffress offered great value last year as they helped give a boost to those categories. Jeffress, despite having the closer role for a small part of the season, was a top 5 reliever with his 15 saves and 8 wins. Of course he’s having some shoulder issues this spring so keep an eye out for any updates on his status.
If you are going to anchor your staff with a top closer, Diaz, Treinen, and Hand are your safest options. Chapman and Jansen will get the majority of save opportunities with their teams, but health issues push them into the 2nd tier for me. These relievers will all cost you roughly 13-19 units. If you are willing to pay those prices to get a solid reliever, you will be looking for bargains at the other end of the list to balance it out.
Because so many players become available during the season who will get 10-15 saves it is not imperative to spend up. Targeting the likes of Allen, Vizcaino, and Robertson in the mid tier may produce enough saves that, together with some very cheap options, keep you from the bottom of the category. Knowing when to use your waiver priority or FAAB on a potential closer is key. Identifying these types of players before every one else sees them gaining that role will help keep their prices down.
If you draft Alvin Kamara, should you handcuff him with Latavius Murray? Oh wait… wrong sport, but you get the picture. It really depends on how deep the league and your bench is. If you can keep a closer in waiting on your bench, then you may want to consider backing up one of these top guys with the next option during the reserve round or with a $1 bid at the end of the auction. Take Jeurys Familia if you have Diaz or Pedro Baez if you have Jansen so that you don’t have to get into a FAAB war to keep the saves from that team. These may be the first guys you drop if you have to fill a need elsewhere.
Another strategy with relievers is to take two non-save guys with high K and low ERA/WHIP potential. Tag teaming a pair may do better than having a low-end starter. Obviously Josh Hader is the one to own for this strategy. Together with the likes of Diego Castillo can produce a line of 8 W, 18 S, 194 K, 3.02 ERA, 1.10 WHIP based on Steamer projections. Can you get those numbers for an 11 dollar starter?
Head into your auction with a plan for your relievers. If the top guys are going for more than you’re willing to spend, it’s an easy pivot to getting a couple of the cheaper guys or to just punt the category if there is no overall prize. Adjusting to the ever-changing reliever landscape is becoming routine.
|E. Diaz||NYM||19||J. Alvarado||TB||7|
|B. Treinen||OAK||18||A Vizcaino||ATL||7|
|B. Hand||CLE||14||D. Robertson||PHI||6|
|K. Jansen||LAD||13||A. Colome||CWS||5|
|R. Osuna||HOU||13||D. Betances||NYY||5|
|F. Vazquez||PIT||13||W. Smith||SF||4|
|R. Iglesias||CIN||11||M. Givens||BAL||4|
|S. Doolittle||WSH||11||P. Strop||CHC||3|
|C. Knebel||MIL||10||S. Dominguez||PHI||3|
|J. Hader||MIL||10||A. Miller||STL||3|
|J. Leclerc||TEX||9||J. Jeffress||MIL||2|
|K. Yates||SD||9||M. Barnes||BOS||2|
|K. Giles||TOR||8||H. Strickland||SEA||2|
|W. Davis||COL||8||T. May||MIN||2|
|C. Allen||LAA||7||S. Greene||DET||1|
|C. Kimbrel||FA||7||D. Steckenrider||FLA||1|
|J. Hicks||STL||7||D. Castillo||TB||1|