Fantasy Baseball Late Round Sleepers: Saves
Justin Mason takes a look at some of the late-round, under-the-radar saves targets you're going to want to look for in your 2018 fantasy baseball drafts.
Each week, I will give you late round sleepers broken up by league size tiers aimed at helping you address needs late in your drafts. No matter the depth of your league, it is important to review all these names as they could become relevant for you at some point.
This week we will look at late round save options. Saves can be tricky and while the old Matthew Berry moniker of “don’t pay for saves” is still prevalent in the industry, typically, I like to get a couple of more established guys while still wading in the lower end pools. Here are my late-round targets, according to NFBC ADP, for saves help.
10-Team Mixed Options:
Alex Reyes (ADP: 256)- Obviously, Alex Reyes is going to be a starter long term and a pretty good one at that. However, the Cardinals are going to start him in the bullpen as he returns from Tommy John Surgery and there is no clear closer in St. Louis. If he shows a return to form, they could opt to let him close in the same way they did with Carlos Martinez before returning him to a being a starter.
Addison Reed (ADP: 268.07)- Reed was great once again for the Mets and inherited the closer’s job before being dealt at the deadline. He once again proved that he has the makeup to be a very good closer in the league. After signing a free agent deal in Minnesota, he will likely start the season as the setup man to Francisco Rodney, but Rodney is old and won’t be able to shoot those arrows straight forever. I would expect Reed to take over pretty early in the season or even possibly break camp with the job.
Zach Britton (ADP: 283.05)- Britton struggled with injury last season which completely derailed his season. He will begin the year on the 60-Day DL after tearing his achilles, but could regain the role after he returns in June. He is entering the last year of his deal and will likely get moved and the best way for the Orioles to recoup value is by giving him a shot at closing when he returns.
12-Team Mixed Options:
Brad Boxberger (ADP: 323.12)- After a down year in 2016, Boxberger rebounded to put together a very nice year with a 12.27 k/9 and a 3.38 ERA. Now that he is been traded to Arizona, he could get a shot at saves if the Diamondbacks decide to move Archie Bradley back into the rotation or want to hold down his arbitration numbers by not giving his save opportunities. He is best used in leagues in which you want to handcuff your closers that may lose their jobs.
Cam Bedrosian (ADP: 331.06)- Blake Parker will likely start with the role, but the Angels know that if Bedrosian can ever stay healthy that he is best suited for the role. The problem is that he never is healthy. In shallower formats he could be worth the gamble as the Angels are making a push to win this season and he would definitely make the end of the bullpen stronger. He is best to draft in shallower formats where he can be dropped if and when he gets hurt again.
A.J. Ramos (ADP: 355.36)- The Mets have stated they may go with a closer by committee approach, but considering Familia’s health issues last season, it is better to invest in the cheaper Ramos. The Mets went out and acquired him last year in spite of the fact they were not competing. That tells us that he is expected to play a big role this season. It won’t be surprising if he snatches the role away completely.
Keone Kela (ADP: 367.65)-Kela easily has the best stuff in the Rangers bullpen, but they don’t appear to want to give him the role. They signed Seung-hwan Oh, though he had the contract voided due to medicals, and Tim Lincecum to come in and compete for the job with him and Alex Claudio. It feels like it is a matter of time before Kela gets it, but the Rangers obviously prefer to have a lot of options after a troubling season in 2017 where the back end of the bullpen failed them many times.
15-Team Mixed Options:
Ryan Madson (ADP: 412.40)- Madson is likely the first man up in the Washington bullpen if Doolittle struggles or gets injured which has been an issue in his career. The righty was absolutely fantastic last season with the A’s and the Nationals and has shown the ability to close in the past.
Tyler Lyons (ADP: 420.52)- The Cardinals situation is very unsettled and Lyons could get a crack at the closing job if Luke Gregerson falters. There are a number of different options in this bullpen that are interesting however, but Lyons figures to be the #2 guy in line for saves.
A.J. Minter (ADP: 420.62)- Most people don’t know who AJ Minter is, but you should. He pairs a 96 mph heater with a great slider and is likely the future closer of the Braves. Arodys Vizcaino will likely start with the job, but Minter should replace him at some point. Minter is worth speculating on in almost every format because he gives a lot of value with strikeouts and ratio help even when he is not closing.
Matt Bush (ADP: 467.10)- Matt Bush is transitioning over to the rotation, but if that does not work out, then he could be put back into the bullpen where he thrived in 2016. Last year’s struggles can largely be chalked up to health issues and I don’t expect the move to starting to work out well. If the other options in the bullpen don’t pan out, Bush could regain the closer role for Texas.
Brandon Kintzler (ADP: 479.52)- Kintzler doesn’t have the typical closer’s skill set, but he was effective in the role for the Twins before being shipped to Washington at the deadline. He resigned with the Nationals and likely is just a setup man for now, but with Doolittle’s history of injuries and Madson’s age and lack of a “closer’s mentality,” he could get a shot at the gig. He is best served in deeper formats where rostering handcuffs are common because he doesn’t do much to help you if he is not getting saves.
AL Only Options:
Jose DeLeon (ADP: 517.75)- DeLeon is returning from injury and while the Rays would eventually like to make him a starter, his future may be at the end of a bullpen. If throwing fewer innings can help him stay healthy, it may be prudent for the Rays to keep him there. His stuff plays up in the pen and he could be an electric closer long term. The Rays have been selling off expensive pieces, so they could easily move Alex Colome if the market picks up in season.
Jose Leclerc (ADP: 600.10)- LeClerc has amazing stuff, but just can’t seem to control it. If he can find a way to improve his control, he could take control of the ninth inning in Texas. Even without saves, he offers fantastic strikeout upside, but needs to improve his control before he can take another step forward.
Tim Lincecum (ADP: 669.31)- Lincecum signed with the Rangers and reportedly will be given a chance to win the closer’s job in Texas. Injuries have taken away his ability to start, but if the stuff returns in shorter stints out of the pen, then he could be something. Likelihood is small, but he was once the best pitcher in the game, so you can’t give up completely.
NL Only Options:
Pat Neshek (ADP: 500.77)- Neshek is coming off of a career year. He signed a two year deal with the Phillies to set up for Hector Neris, but Neris is by no means a stable commodity. While the Phillies could also turn to Tommy Hunter if Neris fails, I am going to bet on the skills that Neshek showed last year and know that I am getting good strikeouts and ratio help while I hope to luck into saves.
Sam Dyson (ADP: 505.91)- Dyson was fantastic after being DFA’d by the Rangers and then scooped up by the Giants. The great park helps, but the skills returned to his 2016 form. With Melancon being a big question because of his health, Dyson is a savvy buy in deeper formats as he will be the first man up to replace Melancon if he gets hurt.
Dominic Leone (ADP: 509.37)- As I have said a number of times, the Cardinals closing job is up for grabs and Leone could be a big player in that at some point. He was fantastic for the Blue Jays last year with a 14.5% swinging strike rate and two, maybe three, plus pitches. If you are betting on straight skills, Leone is the guy out of the Cardinals pen, but he will likely be third or fourth in line to start the season.
Koda Glover (ADP: 629.12)- Glover was all the rage in draft season last year as the potential closer of the future for the Nationals. Now he is completely forgotten about. The skills that everyone raved about are still there and he could breakout with less pressure on him now.