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Fantasy Baseball RP Rankings – Top Relief Pitchers for 2020 Drafts

| May 26, 2020 6:23 am PDT
Fantasy Baseball RP Rankings – Top Relief Pitchers for 2020 Drafts

Above all, two specific things stand out when it comes to ranking the best fantasy baseball relief pitchers in 2020.

  • Opportunity for Saves
  • Strikeout Potential

Your best shot at accumulating points from the relief pitcher slot(s) is by plugging in a closer from a winning team. Preferably ones with high strikeout rates.

The majority of MLB fantasy leagues prevent you from being able to insert starters with RP eligibility in the slots designated for relief pitchers, thus closing any loopholes from gaining extra starts. In turn, it’s important to latch onto trustworthy closers who have long leashes in their current situations.

2020 Fantasy Rankings – Top 10 Relief Pitchers to Target

Relief pitcher is an unpredictable position as managers easily lose trust in their closers and shift their bullpen around. With that being said, there are a handful of guys who are cemented in their role and can be relied on to deliver.

Let’s find out who those individuals are in this edition of the top 10 fantasy baseball RP rankings.

1 – Josh Hader, MIL

Last year’s top-scoring fantasy relief pitcher is locked and loaded for another massive year in 2020. Craig Counsell isn’t afraid to employ some unique strategies, but one thing for sure is that Josh Hader is the guy he wants finishing games. The hard-throwing lefty racked up a whopping 138 strikeouts in 75.2 innings in 2019.

2 – Kirby Yates, SD

Not only did Kirby Yates lead the Majors with 41 saves a season ago, but he sported a filthy 15.0 K/9 (strikeouts per 9 innings) and a blistering 1.19 ERA. The fact that San Diego isn’t a great team is the only reason Kirby doesn’t top this list. Nevertheless, consider Hader “1A” and Yates “1B.”

3 – Liam Hendriks, OAK

The 31-year-old Aussie nicknamed “Slydah” unseated Blake Treinen in Oakland simply due to becoming a force to be reckoned with on the mound. Liam’s 3.5 WAR (wins above replacement) led all relief pitchers in 2019, and his slider produced a ridiculous .149 xWOBA (expected weighted on-base average). Hendriks has major upside.

4 – Aroldis Chapman, NYY

The Yankees closer finished 2019 with 37 saves and is positioned in arguably the best situation of any relief pitcher in the game. His declining velocity in his fastball has been apparent, but you can’t throw 100+ mph forever. Chapman’s path toward having ample opportunities to record saves makes him an elite fantasy option. 

5 – Taylor Rogers, MIN

We know how powerful the Twins lineup is. However, one of the main reasons the best MLB betting sites installed the Twins as a genuine favorite to win their division is thanks to the dependability at the back end of this bullpen. In 2019, Taylor Rogers registered 10 holds and 30 saves en route to posting a sturdy 90:11 K:BB ratio.

6 – Nick Anderson, TB

You can argue that Nick Anderson is the best strikeout pitcher in baseball. His 41 Ks in 21.1 innings with the Rays last year might be a small sample size, but don’t forget he struck out 69 batters in 43.2 innings with the Marlins as well. With an ADP of 139.8, Anderson is one of the true fantasy baseball sleepers in 2020.

7 – Kenley Jansen, LAD

Being the established closer on the Dodgers automatically qualifies you as one of the best fantasy baseball relief pitchers, even if you are coming off of a “down year.” Kenley Jansen’s strikeout rate might be waning, but an average of 40 saves per season since 2014 has to count for something.

8 – Edwin Diaz, NYM

There’s a closer in the Big Apple who’s a big-time strikeout pitcher, and I’m not talking about Aroldis Chapman. Aroldis notched 85 Ks in 57 innings, while Edwin Diaz tallied 99 Ks in 58 innings for the Mets. Edwin is susceptible to giving up the longball. Otherwise, he’d be a top-5 fantasy closer.

9 – Craig Kimbrell, CHC

The truth is Craig Kimbrell wasn’t very good once he joined the Cubs’ bullpen at the end of June. However, his pedigree and past performances tell me the last few months of 2019 were just a blip on the radar. If he stays healthy, Kimbrell has the potential to be the best relief pitcher in fantasy baseball in 2020.

10 – Raisel Iglesias, CIN

I picked the Reds to win in my NL Central prediction and wouldn’t be shocked to see Raisel Iglesias lead the league in saves. A bloated ERA in 2019 is the only reason Cincy’s 30-year-old Cuban hurler isn’t slotted higher in my 2020 fantasy baseball RP rankings.

Relief Pitcher Fantasy Rankings – The Rest of the Best

The world isn’t over if you miss out on the 10 relievers in the segment above. Fortunately, there are some relief pitchers you’ll find on the list below who are more than capable of collecting a solid chunk of saves in 2020.

Peruse through the following RP rankings and keep it handy when your fantasy baseball draft arrives. For a couple of RP sleepers to keep tabs on, don’t lose sight of Hector Neris and Giovanny Gallegos. I could see either man wind up as a top 10 closer in fantasy baseball.

  • 11. Brad Hand, CLE
  • 12. Jose Leclerc, TEX
  • 13. Brandon Workman, BOS
  • 14. Roberto Osuna, HOU
  • 15. Archie Bradley, ARI
  • 16. Sean Doolittle, WAS
  • 17. Alex Colome, CWS
  • 18. Hector Neris, PHI
  • 19. Ken Giles, TOR
  • 20. Giovanny Gallegos, STL
  • 21. Wade Davis, COL
  • 22. Hansel Robles, LAA
  • 23. Daniel Hudson, WAS
  • 24. Ian Kennedy, KC
  • 25. Mark Melancon, ATL
  • 26. Keone Kela, PIT
  • 27. Andrew Miller, STL
  • 28. Brandon Kintzler, MIA
  • 29. Mychal Givens, BAL
  • 30. Joe Jimenez, DET

More Fantasy Baseball Rankings for 2020

I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to be organized before and during your MLB fantasy draft. I’m not just talking about knowing who the best fantasy baseball relief pitchers are; I’m referring to the “whole enchilada.”

Having credible position rankings by your side when you’re drafting sets you up for success.

That sounds a whole lot better than being flooded with headaches and stress.

Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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