2021 Dynasty Baseball Rankings

THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2021 TOP 200 DYNASTY LEAGUE RELIEF PITCHERS, #51-75

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Without further ado, it’s time to continue our 2021 consensus rankings by finishing up relief pitchers with 51-75 in dynasty leagues.

 

Y’all, it gets grim.

 

51. Jordan Romano, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 27 Previous Rank: NR)

Jordan Romano’s career changed once he moved to the bullpen in 2018. He went with his two best pitches (fastball and slider) but turned it up a notch in 2020. He moved towards a slider heavy profile, added four ticks to his velocity, and upped his SwStr% by seven percentage points. He moved into the closer role after Ken Giles landed on the injured list but only racked up two saves before joining Giles in the IL with a finger injury. Giles was a free-agent and Romano was on track to become the closer for the Blue Jays before the team signed Kirby Yates to a one-year deal. Yates has injury issues of his own and I wouldn’t be surprised if Romano has more saves by the end of the season. (Shelly Verougstraete)

52. Keone Kela, Free Agent (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 30)

Keone Kela only threw two innings for the Pirates before landing on the injured list with a forearm strain. He made his way to Pittsburgh in 2018, after spending most of the season as the Rangers closer. However, he has only picked up one save since the trade. The Pirates win again! He is now a man without a job and at 27, he should be able to find another job in a team’s bullpen but I am afraid the ship has sailed on his chances of getting saves.  (Shelly Verougstraete)

53. J.B. Wendelken, Oakland Athletics (Age: 27, Previous Rank: NR)

With Liam Hendriks heading to the Southside of Chicago, it leaves the closer’s job up in the air in Oakland. As of this post, they haven’t made a signing and the TDG crew thinks Wendelken has the best chance of picking up the gig. Wendelken is not your typical reliever has he has four pitches in his arsenal, albeit he relies on his fastball/slider combination most often. His fastball and slider have that perfect ten MPH separation and he keeps the ball in the park. The Athletics closer situation is fluid, especially if the 2018 version of Lou Trivino returns, but Wendelken should not hurt your team. (Shelly Verougstraete)

54. Daniel Bard, Colorado Rockies (Age: 35, Previous Rank: NR)

Daniel Bard came in from the top rope in 2020. He pitched extremely well, locked down the closer’s role in Colorado, and won the NL Comeback Player of the Year. As a Red Sox fan, I loved it. How can you not? Bard was once a top pitching prospect in Boston but lost command and hadn’t pitched in a major league game since 2013 before throwing 24 innings in 2020. While I don’t think it will end well, since he pitches in Coors and is 35, it was fun while it lasted. (Shelly Verougstraete)

55. Hansel Robles, Minnesota Twins (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 21)

We start Ranking SZN pretty early here at TDG and at the time Robles was a free agent. Robles burst onto the scene in 2019 after he landed the closer gig with the Angels and picked up 23 saves with a 2.48 ERA in 72 innings. His lack of command returned and Robles fell back to earth in 2020, which is not what fantasy managers were expecting. He was a free agent at the end of the season and signed with the Twins in January. There are many pitchers ahead of him on the depth chart so, uh, you can move on at this point. (Shelly Verougstraete)

56. Brandon Workman, Free Agent (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 22)

2020 did not Work for the Man. After picking up 17 saves for the Red Sox with a 1.88 ERA in 2019, Workman’s walk and homerun issues returned and he only picked up nine saves. He was traded to the Phillies at the Trade Deadline and, just like everything else in the Phillies bullpen, he failed. He is now a man without a job and could pick up a job with a team for 2021. He was rumored to be making his way back to Boston but just like Robles, his days as a closer is over, sadly. (Shelly Verougstraete)

57. Adam Ottavino, Boston Red Sox (Age: 35, Previous Rank: 43)

While Adam Ottavino has never been tagged by his team as The Closer, he has been a workhouse reliever. Outside of recovering from TJS between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, he has thrown more than sixty innings for five-plus years. He signed with the Yankees but in a cost-savings move was traded to the Red Sox. As of this post, it is still up in the air whether he or Matt Barnes will pick up more saves. He is should be a great late-round flyer in a re-draft and trade target if you are going for it all in your dynasty league. (Shelly Verougstraete)

58. Aaron Bummer, Chicago White Sox (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 52)

Aaron Bummer was looking like the next closer for the Chicago White Sox before signing a more proven closer in Liam Hendriks. Bummer of all of those speculative draft picks in October. That being said, Bummer can still be a valuable pitcher that will help your ratios. Bummer has the ability to get both groundballs and strikeouts and probably is more suited for an eighth-inning role. If (knock on wood) Hendriks is injured, he should be the next man up. (Shelly Verougstraete)

59. Bryan Abreu, Houston Astros (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)

Bryan Abreu brings an overwhelming fastball, wipeout slider, and knee-buckling curveball that should make him an elite reliever for the Astros for years to come. The keyword there is should. We all know that pitchers, and especially relievers, are some of the most volatile and risky players in our game. Keep an eye on this young righty as he could be a sneaky waiver wire pickup in the next few seasons. (Shelly Verougstraete)

60. Yimi García, Miami Marlins (Age: 30, Previous Rank: NR)

Yimi García has been a favorite reliever of mine since he debuted for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014. He was looking like one of the next great relievers before succumbing to TJS that caused him to miss time most of 2016 and all of 2017. He signed with the Marlins prior to the 2020 season and pitched extremely well. In 15 innings, he struck out 19 batters with 0.60 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. He should be in line to pick up saves in Miami unless newly acquired and previous teammate, Dylan Floro, picks up the gig. That being said, García is a great stash if you are in your competitive window. (Shelly Verougstraete)

61. Dellin Betances, New York Mets (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 45)

Dellin Betances has struggled through injury for the last two seasons, but he still has upside if he can just get back on the field. He’s capable of extraordinary strikeout rates and a candidate for holds opportunities as well, despite the signing of Trevor May (who, admittedly, I think will get first shot). It’s worth keeping an eye on Betances leading up to Spring Training, as you may be able to acquire him for next to nothing. (Taylor Case)

62. Josh James, Houston Astros (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 34)

It feels like Josh James has had tantalizing stuff for forever now, but it just hasn’t translated into fantasy production just yet. To that point, he just didn’t seem 100% in 2020, after showing up late to Summer Camp. Unfortunately, he had hip surgery late last year as well. An aggressive estimate would put him on track to return sometime in April, but don’t be surprised if he’s not back on the mound until the middle of the Summer. I reserve the right to withhold judgment until then, assuming he falls back into a concrete role in the pen. Either way, the upside is his sky-high strikeout, but to the detriment of your WHIP, as his 13.4% career walk-rate suggests. (Taylor Case)

63. Corey Knebel, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 35)

As someone who rostered Corey Knebel back in 2017, when he registered 39 saves and an absurd 40.2% strikeout rate, I’m hoping that he can recapture some of his fantasy glory in Los Angeles (except when he plays the Padres, of course). The only problem is the crowded bullpen, already home to Jansen, Graterol, and Treinen to name a few. It doesn’t help that all of those arms are either locked into closer roles or have pretty legit stuff as it is. For that reason, I’m most likely leaving Knebel on the wire in smaller leagues for the moment, but he may be worth a dart throw in deep leagues if you need to gamble on a few holds. (Taylor Case)

64. Reyes Moronta, San Francisco Giants (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 73)

There sure is a lot of injury risk in this section of the write-ups. With no 2020 stats to his name, a lot of our analysis for Reyes Moronta is either based on 2019, or, well, pure speculation. In 2019, he provided dynasty managers with 56.2 innings of 2.86 ERA, 11.12 K/9 baseball, making him a saves candidate and at the very least, a decent flyer in saves/holds leagues. (Taylor Case)

65. Jose Alvarado, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 49)

Jose Alvarado is a great pitcher when he’s healthy. Capable of GIF-worthy strikeouts and with devastating movement on his pitches, he seems poised to do well in a Phillies uniform. As I said, though, injuries have prevailed over the last two years, leading to 130 days off the roster due to shoulder and oblique issues. Keep an eye on him in spring training for anything regarding his role and health. If it all comes together, he could be a stud fantasy pickup. (Taylor Case)

66. Kyle Crick, Chicago Cubs (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 54)

A lot of pitchers in this range fall into the same mold and for good reason. Kyle Crick has the raw stuff to be a great setup man or even fall into a closer role in the future, but injuries limited his 2020 season. Still, there is reason to be excited if you look closely. In 2019, we saw solid fastball and sinker velocities with a 13+ mph difference to his nasty slider, a recipe he used to decent strikeout success and as a way to induce a lot of ground balls. If he can find that feel for his pitches in 2021, he could be on track once again for holds as well as the odd save. (Taylor Case)

67. Chad Green, New York Yankees (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 63)

Chad Green is one of the more fantasy-useful arms towards the back-end of our consensus relief pitcher rankings. Year in and year out, he pulls out a mid-3’s FIP, 11-12 K/9 season with some saves and holds here and there. I have no problem stashing him late in a deep redraft league or as a strikeouts booster on a dynasty league, as I expect more of the same in 2021 on a very good Yankees team. (Taylor Case)

68. Michael Lorenzen, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 46)

Michael Lorenzen is getting some serious hype in the fantasy baseball Twitterverse, and not for his enormous biceps. We have him ranked here in the Relief Pitcher category, but word on the street is that he may get a shot in the rotation this year. Either way, he goes into the 2021 season with an “RP” tag associated with his name, so any starts from him would be great for accruing strikeouts, and perhaps a few wins. It’s hard to predict his long-term role, but one would hope that 2021 would provide some clarity. Looking at his stat line, he limits hard contact well, is capable of about a strikeout per inning, and his career line suggests he should be able to improve on his 11.6% walk rate from 2020. (Taylor Case)

69. Will Harris, Washington Nationals (Age: 30, Previous Rank: NR)

Honestly, Will Harris had a rough year. His skills regressed across the board, he lost velocity on all of his pitches and threw 76.5% cutters without great success, which I’m sure contributed to his massively inflated 18.8% HR/FB rate. As usual, it’s hard to hang your hat on a few innings in a bizarre year, but his walk rate has also slowly crept up the last few years, causing me to wonder if he has much fantasy value left in the tank. (Taylor Case)

70. Jalen Beeks, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 27, Previous Rank: NR)

If a healthy red Baseball Savant page is what you’re after when it comes to late-round Relief Pitcher values, Jalen Beeks is your man. I’m not exactly sure if he’s a starter, an opener, or something in between, but regardless of when and how he stepped on the mound in 2020, he was an absolute stud. Okay, okay, it was only 19.1 innings, but at this point the rankings, I’m looking for any and all upside I can find. Maybe it was because of the short season and he knew he could go all out for a short amount of outings, but Beeks was also able to up his fastball velocity a tick. If he is used as a “bulk reliever” in 2021, he could be a cheap way to pad that wins category. (Taylor Case)

71. Joe Jiminez, Detroit Tigers (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 23)

It’s been about 4 years now we’ve been waiting on Joe Jimenez to be the closer of the future for the Tigers and it has yet to come to fruition. Jimenez followed up two mediocre seasons with a terrible display in 2020 posting an ERA of 7.15 and saw his K/9 drop significantly. Heading into 2021 Detroit isn’t going anywhere but Jimenez is no longer in the pole position for saves and that makes not very helpful in fantasy. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

72. Stefon Crichton, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age: 28, Previous Rank: NR)

In 2020, Stefon Crichton tallied 5 saves and performed well enough to be in the mix for saves in 2021 as well. The Diamondbacks also brought in veteran Joakim Soria who Crichton will have to compete with but he should be given the first crack, albeit with a short leash. He doesn’t blow you away with his stuff but he limits damage well enough and keeps the ball in the yard which is really all your looking for in a reliever. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

73. Nick Wittgren, Cleveland Baseball Team (Age: 29, Previous Rank: NR)

The backend of the CBT bullpen is really strong with James Karinchak, Emanual Clase, and others so it’s hard to see a path to saves for Nick Wittgren unless there are multiple injuries or team implodes and is a massive seller at the deadline. His stuff is good enough to keep him on the cusp of save chances though so if you’re looking for a handcuff, Wittgren makes a good option. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

74. Daniel Hudson, Washington Nationals (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 47)

Daniel Hudson began 2020 as the closer for the Nationals but 10 saves in 15 chances isn’t a great conversation and that lead the Nationals to bring in Brad Hand this offseason making Hudson a weak handcuff option. A positive for 2020 was although it was a small sample Hudson posted the best K/9 of his career showing he still has the stuff to be in the mix for saves if Hand struggles. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

75. Rafael Dolis, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 33, Previous Rank: NR)

Rafael Dolis pitched well enough in 2021 to breakthrough into the closer role for the Blue Jays. Unfortunately for him, the rising Jays brought in Kirby Yates to handle that role for 2021 leaving us with yet another handcuff down here at the bottom of the ranks. The difficult part here is just a few spots up these rankings is the man Dolis will be fighting for saves with should Kirby fail at meet expectations so it’s not even a given he’s next in line. He’s interesting but if your this low in the rankings looking for saves, you might just go ahead and punt on them. (Keaton O. DeRocher)

The Author

Shelly Verougstraete

Shelly Verougstraete

1 Comment

  1. BB
    February 18, 2021 at 4:42 am — Reply

    I was enjoying this series up until today, but … in the Wendelken item: “As of this post, (the A’s) haven’t made a (bullpen) signing.” This piece was posted on Wednesday the 17th, the Sergio Romo signing was first reported on Sunday the 14th. (In that same vein, Keone Kela’s signing with the Padres was reported on Monday the 15th). The Yimi item fails to mention Anthony Bass, who was signed on Jan. 28 and is the Marlins’ presumed closer based on the team’s statements so far. Kyle Crick is still with the Pirates, not the Cubs. And Jalen Beeks had Tommy John surgery last Sept. 2 and will miss all of this season.

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