This post is the 13th and final post in a series of rankings catered specifically to fantasy baseball head-to-head points leagues and the second of two focused on relief pitchers.
All pitchers in this post and future points league rankings are based on these scoring values:
(W x 7) + (SV x 7) + (IP x 3) + (K x 0.5) - (ER x 2) - (H x 1) - (BB x 1) = Total
For strategy and thoughts on drafting relief pitchers in a points league, read here.
2012 Fantasy Baseball H2H Points League Relief Pitcher Rankings: 26-50
26) Matt Capps, MIN
2011 Points Scored: 171
With Nathan down in Texas. Matt Capps will inherit the closer role in Minnesota. It’s worrisome that both his velocity and K/9 dropped in 2011, but with little competition for the 9th inning and with minimal expectations for the Twins this season, he should have every chance to earn 15-20 more saves in 2012.
27) Grant Balfour, OAK
2011 Points Scored: 156
Despite Oakland not being the best of baseball teams and Andrew Bailey being oft injured, he was still able to save 75 games for the A’s between 2009-2011. Now Grant Balfour inherits the role, and while his BABIP and FIP from ’11 show a bit of luck, he should have little trouble adding another 20-25 saves to his total from last season.
28) Matt Thornton, CWS
2011 Points Scored: 95
Outside of April, Matt Thornton had a very solid season for the White Sox and according to Robin Ventura, he will once again be the man in the 9th inning. He posted a 9.5 K/9 and a minimal 0.45 HR/9 and should be in line for a better ERA as last season it was 0.70 worse than his FIP. Thornton will need to impress because the young Addison Reed is chomping at the bit.
29) Chris Perez, CLE
2011 Points Scored: 329
Chris Perez had a significant dropoff in K/9 last year accompanied by an increase in his HR/9/ Were it not for an unsustainable .234 BABIP and ERA nearly a run above his FIP, things could’ve looked even worse for the free-falling closer. If you draft Perez, it would be wise to select Vinnie Pestano shortly after.
30) Mark Melancon, BOS
2011 Points Scored: 295
Does anyone think Andrew Bailey will remain healthy for the entire season?
31) Frank Francisco, NYM
2011 Points Scored: 177
All indications are that Frank Francisco will start 2012 as the Mets closer, but his signing occurred the same day as Jon Rauch’s and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a similar closer carousel in Citi-Field as the one that occurred in 2011 after Francisco Rodriguez’s departure.
32) Mike Adams, TEX
2011 Points Scored: 205
If Nathan is able to repeat his second half from 2011 and return his 1.41 HR/9 back to his career norm, than Mike Adams will be nothing more than one of the more reliable setup men in the league. But, if Nathan suffers any health issues or struggles often, Ron Washington will make the switch fairly quick I’d assume as Texas as every intention of returning to the World Series for a third straight year.
33) Jim Johnson, BAL
2011 Points Scored: 227
Jim Johnson got a few opportunities to close late in the season and could earn the role early on in 2012 if Kevin Gregg gets off to a slow start in Baltimore. In fact, I’d almost count on it. However, there was some talk of Johnson entering the rotation this year, which you’d want to monitor prior to draft day.
34) David Hernandez, ARZ
2011 Points Scored: 212
JJ Putz is entirely unable to pitch in more than 60 games in a season it would seem, therefore, one has to expect that David Hernandez will get the call in the 9th from time to time as he did in 2011 when he earned 11 saves with a 10.0 K/9.
35) Fernando Salas, STL
2011 Points Scored: 326
Were Jason Motte to stumble out of the gates for the defending World Champions, Fernando Salas proved last year that he is a more-than-capable option as he saved 24 games with a 9.0 K/9 and 2.28 ERA.
36) Sean Marshall, CHC
2011 Points Scored: 192
Sean Marshall should pitch the 8th inning for the Reds assuming Aroldis Chapman moves to the bullpen and could see save opportunities as Ryan Madson hasn’t pitched in 61 or more innings since 2009.
37) David Robertson, NYY
2011 Points Scored: 194
It was David Robertson, and not Rafael Soriano, that emerged as the Yankees’ premiere setup man with a 13.5 K/9, 0.14 HR/9 and only 8 ER. His 4.73 BB/9 could stand to improve quite a bit, and he doesn’t figure to see many save opportunities with Rivera anchoring the bullpen, but Robertson showed last season that he can make the most of 60-70 IP with a solid point total.
38) Kevin Gregg, BAL
2011 Points Scored: 188
As mentioned above, Kevin Gregg will likely be the Orioles’ closer to start 2012 but he’ll need to improve on his 6.03 BB/9 and 1.06 HR/9 almost immediately, otherwise there’s a good chance he’s removed from the 9th inning and will have almost no potential to accumulate points.
39) Tyler Clippard, WAS
2011 Points Scored: 228
Despite not recording a single save all season, Tyler Clippard was able to score 228 points last season thanks to 88.3 IP and a 10.6 K/9. Although, it would be wise not to expect similar results in 2012 as he had an astounding .197 BABIP and 1.83 ERA as compared to a 3.17 FIP.
40) Greg Holland, KC
2011 Points Scored: 195
While he’ll likely be playing second fiddle to Joakim Soria throughout most of the season, Greg Holland offers an exceptional 11.09 K/9 and 0.93 WHIP. If Soria were to be injured or traded, Holland could prove to be an amazing source of points.
41) Brandon Lyon/Wilton Lopez/David Carpenter, HOU
2011 Points Scored: 11/91/37
Right now the Astros are being entirely vague about their closer situation entering spring training. Your guess is as good as mine and I’d guess that Brandon Lyon will have the job to start the season, but the leash will be extremely short. Wilton Lopez could find himself in the 9th from time to time but probably offers the least upside of the three while David Carpenter impressed in his brief time in 2012 and could be the answer midway through the season.
42) Vinnie Pestano, CLE
2011 Points Scored: 142
Simply put, Vinnie Pestano was far better than Perez throughout 2011 and could find himself closing games shortly into the season if that trend continues into 2012.
43) Francisco Rodriguez, MIL
2011 Points Scored: 312
K-Rod doesn’t figure to see many save opportunities in Milwaukee considering how consistent Axford was last season which could cut anywhere from 140-150 points off his total from 2011. His best hope for points will be if the Brewers are sellers at the deadline and move him to a contender in need of a closer.
44) Francisco Cordero, TOR
2011 Points Scored: 397
No one dropped further in closer rankings this season than Francisco Cordero as he leaves the closer role in Cincinnati to set up Sergio Santos north of the border. If Santos can’t repeat his 2011 performance than Cordero could slide into his customary role, although, it’s a somewhat scary concept in the AL East considering his declining K/9 and extremely lucky 2.19 BABIP.
45) Jon Rauch, NYM
2011 Points Scored: 140
As mentioned above, Francisco will start the season as the Metropolitans’ closer, but, don’t be surprised if it’s déjà vu all over again as he and Jon Rauch had a similar song and dance in 2011 in Toronto. Neither can be depended on long term and it might be best to avoid the situation entirely.
46) Sergio Romo, SF
2011 Points Scored: 152
"Historic" is about the only way to describe Sergio Romo’s 14.0 K/BB, but his path to saves is blocked by The Bearded One. If Wilson’s elbow problems persist, then Romo could inherit one of the more enviable closer roles in baseball, although he too had elbow issues in 2011 that limited him to 48 IP.
47) Antonio Bastardo, PHI
2011 Points Scored: 214
Antonio Bastardo only blew one save last season and offers owners a K/9 over 10. Unfortunately for him, the Phillies brought in Papelbon who doesn’t have the injury history of previous Philadelphia closers Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge, which means it could be hard for Bastardo to reach 8 saves again in 2012.
48) Joel Peralta, TB
2011 Points Scored: 171
As might’ve been expected, Joel Peralta’s ERA rose in his transition from the NL to the AL East, but all in all he put up similar stats to his 2010 and might see a handful of saves once again, especially if Farnsworth’s numbers regress.
49) Jeff Samardzija, CHC
2011 Points Scored: 172
If and when Carlos Marmol implodes and if and when Epstein and Sveum tire of it, it’s my guess they’ll see what they have in Jeff Samardzija and whether he could be the closer of the future as Kerry Wood doesn’t figure to be around past 2012.
50) Whoever is Getting Saves at the Moment
2011 Points Scored: NA
Only 16 relief pitchers that started the season as closers last season will start the season as closers this year. You can guarantee that plenty of teams will try plenty of pitchers in the 9th inning as a result of injury or poor performance from their intended closer. Pay close attention to Fake Teams closer coverage and make sure to know your waiver wire well as anyone capable of providing the 7 point multiplier a save provides is a player you likely want on your team.
Is there a relief pitcher that didn't make the Top 50 that you're excited about? Feel free to comment below on these rankings or post any head-to-head points league or fantasy baseball questions you might have.