Fantasy MLB

MLB 2011 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Relief Pitching

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Other Positions: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP

It's fitting that this edition of FSC's baseball rankings comes just days after the most dominant closer of the last few seasons agreed to a new contract. It's good though, because I think a not-so-civil war might erupt in New England if Mariano Rivera were to close games out for the Sox. My mind was slowly melting just contemplating it. Thank goodness that's over though. Let's stop looking in the past and gaze into the fantasy future:

  1. Mariano Rivera, Yankees- He's old by baseball standards, but he's damn good by all standards.
  2. Brian Wilson, Giants- Not only does he put up incredible stats, but he actually has a good team behind him unlike these next two guys.
  3. Joakim Soria, Royals- His stats are out of this world, but with Greinke perhaps on his way out, the number of wins for KC doesn't look so good.
  4. Heath Bell, Padres- Take Soria's bit and substitute Greinke with Adrian Gonzalez. If he gets dealt instead, his future is up in the air.
  5. Neftali Feliz, Rangers- It's hard to decide if he would have more value as a closer or as a starter with RP eligibility. Either way he's a talented young stud.
  6. Rafael Soriano, Rays- If Soriano's WHIP (0.80) was money in his pocket, he wouldn't even be able to buy a pack of Tic-Tacs.
  7. Jonathan Papelbon/Daniel Bard, Red Sox- This might seem like a cop out, but with the Red Sox bullpen up in the air, I'm going to put these two guys together. If Papelbon leaves town, both stay in the top 10. If the two share the bullpen, whoever ends up as closer gets the No. 6 slot and whoever is set up slips.
  8. Carlos Marmol, Cubs- His strikeout numbers are out of this world by closer standards. If you lack Ks with your starters, Marmol should be a major target.
  9. Andrew Bailey, Athletics- Another guy with great stats on a terrible team. But imagining what he can do over a full season makes me a little giddy.
  10. Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers- He wouldn't be the first closer to come off of a terrible season and respond with a lights out performance. He can still bring the heat.
  11. Chris Perez, Indians- He's got the goods. However, the Indians are flat out terrible.
  12. Joe Nathan, Twins- A lot of question marks following missing all of 2010, but if he comes back at even 90% he could be a steal.
  13. Huston Street, Rockies- It's tough to gamble on a Coors Field pitcher, but Street has shown he can handle the thin air.
  14. Jose Valverde, Tigers- Has an ERA that leaves things to be desired, but things look up in Detroit.
  15. Francisco Rodriguez, Mets- It doesn't appear that K-Rod will spend any time behind bars, but there doesn't seem to be much confidence in him in New York. If that changes, he moves up to 11 or 12.
  16. Brad Lidge, Phillies- The definition of inconsistency, but can be as dominant as anyone on this list when he's on.
  17. Francisco Cordero, Reds- If you desperately need saves, Cordero can bring you them in abundance. Of course, it will be at the expense of your ERA and WHIP.
  18. Ryan Franklin, Cardinals- Not a tremendous talent, but is the man on a competitive team, and that means a lot.
  19. Whoever replaces Billy Wagner, Braves- People are really hyping Johnny Venters. But whoever takes over the helm in Atlanta should have plenty of opportunities to rack up saves.
  20. John Axford, Brewers- Axford was solid last year, I don't see why everyone is ready to give his closer slot away.
  21. David Aardsma, Mariners-Very vanilla. A solid contributor across the board. But at this point, thats a very welcomed idea over guys who might not even be setup men by June.
  22. Drew Storen, Nationals- I don't see why most people are so high on this guy. Washington can never seem to stick with a single closer.
  23. Fernando Rodney, Angels- Great power pitcher. If the Angels pick up a big bat (say, Carl Crawford) it could be a big year for Rodney.
  24. Kevin Gregg, Blue Jays- It looks like Gregg could stay in Toronto. If he doesn't, there aren't many places he can go and remain fantasy relevant.
  25. Leo Nunez, Marlins- At this point, it will just be whoever looks like they have a slight chance at closing games. At least Nunez appears to have a job.

Well thank you for sticking with me throughout these early rankings. If you have keeper questions, trade ideas or anything else you'd like a second opinion on, make sure to e-mail me at [email protected].

Otherwise, make sure you check back! There are big things in store for the 2011 baseball season here at FSC.