Top 20 Relief Pitchers (2019): SOLD Formats: Who Rises & Who Falls?

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With teams moving to closer by committees and the general instability of the closers role, more and more fantasy leagues have started migrating from the traditional Saves category to SOLDS (Saves + Holds).  Who sees the biggest boost in value under that scenario?  Who are the relievers to own?  Here is our Top 20 (and for an expanded list make sure to check out our 2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, which you can purchase by clicking here):

  1. Edwin Diaz – New York Mets
  2. Craig Kimbrel – Free Agent
  3. Josh Hader – Milwaukee Brewers
  4. Blake Treinen – Oakland A’s
  5. Felipe Vazquez – Pittsburgh Pirates
  6. Roberto Osuna – Houston Astros
  7. Corey Knebel – Milwaukee Brewers
  8. Delin Betances – New York Yankees
  9. Kenley Jansen – Los Angeles Dodgers
  10. Andrew Miller – St. Louis Cardinals
  11. David Robertson – Philadelphia Phillies
  12. Brad Hand – Cleveland Indians
  13. Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees
  14. Kirby Yates – San Diego Padres
  15. Diego Castillo – Tampa Bay Rays
  16. Seranthony Dominguez – Philadelphia Phillies
  17. Raisel Iglesias – Cincinnati Reds
  18. Will Smith – San Francisco Giants
  19. Sean Doolittle – Washington Nationals
  20. Pedro Strop – Chicago Cubs

Thoughts:

  • The Milwaukee Brewers could use a committee for ninth inning duties, though the injury to Jeremy Jeffress gives a little bit more clarity to open the season.  Regardless, there is no question that when we move to SOLDS that Josh Hader becomes one of the elite in the game.  Considering that Craig Kimbrel is still sitting on the free agent market, it could easily be argued that Hader deserves the #2 spot currently.
  • Speaking of Milwaukee relievers, Corey Knebel is often seen as a questionable option given last year’s struggles and the questions about his role.  Given the team’s desire for flexibility with Hader as well as Knebel’s strong showing in September (16.1 shutout innings) his usage as a late inning weapon shouldn’t be questioned.  The injury to Jeffress is going to mean even more save opportunities, and that is going to send his value soaring even in “traditional” formats.  In SOLDs there never should’ve been a question.
  • Surprised to see Delin Betances rise into the Top 10?  While there were struggles last season it was unexpected issues with home runs, particularly against left-handed hitters, that plagued him.  That had never been a problem before, and with his 15.53 K/9 and 3.51 BB/9 there is no question that he has the potential to be among the best in baseball.  While some may question his role, given the presence of Zach Britton and Adam Ottavino, Betances should be the best of the trio and operate as the primary setup man ahead of Aroldis Chapman (meaning ample HLD).
  • Will Andrew Miller close?  Will it be Seranthony Dominguez?  In this type of format it’s irrelevant, and there’s no question that both should be among the better options.
  • Pedro Strop remains on the list, as it appears that he’ll be healthy ahead of Spring Training and should operate as the closer (and be the primary setup man, at worst, when Brandon Morrow returns).  That said if the hamstring injury proves to be more severe and he opens the season on the DL, he obviously will drop outside of the Top 20.
  • Sean Doolittle is among the better relievers in the game, but when you start valuing HLD his value is going to drop.  That’s more due to the questions about his health and ability to stay on the mound for 162 games.  If he can do that he should be a Top 10 option, but it’s hard to project him for anything more than 50 innings given his history.

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