2024 Dynasty Baseball Rankings

TDG’S 2024 RISERS AND FALLERS: RELIEF PITCHERS

Every year, we at the TDG office identify Risers and Fallers from our consensus rankings. But how did we get here!? And what’s real and what’s noise? Well, the Gurus are here to help. In each “Risers and Fallers” article, the Gurus will take you on an explanatory journey as to why these players have seen a fortunate rise or an unfortunate turn toward their demise. Thanks for reading!

RISING: Adbert Alzolay, CHICAGO CUBS (AGE: 28, CURRENT RANK: 24, PREVIOUS RANK: 52)

Alzolay made his big-league debut back in 2019 after signing way back in 2012. It has been a long, strange trip for Alzolay, but eventually, last season, he emerged as the Cubs closer. Never a big K guy, he has actually improved his K/9 at the big-league level while maintaining the low walk rates that were a hallmark of his minor-league career.

Alzolay provided a lot of Fantasy value in 2023 with 22 saves to go along with six holds. He had a WHIP of 1.02 and an ERA of 2.67, though that was nearly a run lower than his xERA (3.58) and lower than his FIP (3.02). The Cubs did sign ex-Houston reliever Héctor Neris to a $9 million contract, so he might be in the mix for saves with a better K rate, but also a much higher walk rate. Regardless of league type, Alzolay will be plenty valuable.

RISING: Orion Kerkering, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES (AGE: 22, CURRENT RANK: 43, PREVIOUS RANK: UNRANKED)

The righty from the University of South Florida put up ho-hum numbers in 129.2 collegiate innings; an 11.59 K/9 and respectable 2.93 K/BB were bellied by a 4.79 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. In 2022 the Phillies drafted him in the fifth round (152 overall). Kerkering started the 2023 season at Single-A and ended it in Philadelphia, stopping off at every minor league level along the way.

The Phillies have quantity in their bullpen but not as much quality (if I was doing an avoid post it would be headlined by José Alvarado) so while I wouldn’t bet on Kerkering getting many save chances in 2024. Come September, if Kerkering was the closer, I wouldn’t be surprised either. A great reliever to get in on now and watch him pay dividends in future seasons.

FALLING: Carlos Estévez, LOS ANGELES ANGELS (AGE: 31, CURRENT RANK: 36, PREVIOUS RANK: 31)

The Angels closer (though the signing of Robert Stephenson may muddle the waters a bit), Estévez finished the 2023 season with 31 saves with a 3.90 ERA albeit with an ugly 1.49 WHIP. He finished with the highest K/9 (11.26) of his career (good) and the almost highest BB/9 (4.48) too (bad). In saves leagues he obviously gets a bump, and he probably should’ve risen a bit now that he’s out of Colorado, performed well enough, and has a closer job.

FALLING: Kenley Jansen, Boston Red Sox (AGE: 36, CURRENT RANK: 32, PREVIOUS RANK: 15)

The 6’5” veteran right-hander enters his 14th big league season coming off his worst season ever; but put that in perspective. In 2023 he had 29 saves in 44.2 innings with a 3.63 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 10.48 K/9, still good numbers for an RP. He dealt with injuries in 2023 and has some “general lat soreness” as of this week and hasn’t thrown in Spring training (as of this writing). Boston is also shopping him so he may not be closer on his next team. There’s enough risk with Jansen (age, health, team, role) that it is understandable he dropped in our rankings.

The Author

Phil Barrington

Phil Barrington

Fantasy player since 1999, specializing in OPS leagues. Accountant by day, fantasy writer by night. Spreadsheets are life.

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