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Staff Post: Relievers to Avoid in 2019

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The Fake Teams writers tell you which relievers to skip over in 2019.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Relief Pitcher Week is now complete, which means we’ve now covered every position here at Fake Teams. Be sure to circle the wagons back around next week for our second annual fantasy baseball draft guide (which is FREE like everything else around here). I mean, you can’t get anything for free nowadays...right? Might as well come back and see what we’ve been up to these days.

For now, here are a few guys you may want to consider avoiding, for one reason or another.

Diaz said goodbye to Seattle and is now a Met.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Edwin Diaz, Mets (Punk is Dead)

NFBC ADP: 50.09

Edwin Diaz is currently going in the top -50 on NFBC drafts. That’s around the same range as Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa, and just ahead of starters like Stephen Strasburg, Jameson Taillon, and James Paxton, among others. Look, Diaz is my top-ranked closer, but he is due for some regression after an amazing 2018. He is not 20 to 30 picks better than the rest of the top five at RP like Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman.

MLB: Houston Astros at Detroit Tigers
Should Osuna falter, Ryan Pressly and Hector Rondon are waiting in the wings.
Eric Bronson-USA TODAY Sports

Roberto Osuna, Astros (Zack Waxman)

NFBC ADP: 81.99

I’ll be frank. Ryan Pressly is really good. And I’m worried about a video surfacing related to last year’s incident involving Osuna. I’ve learned my lesson from fantasy football. I’ll just draft someone else because I’m not paying full freight for Roberto Osuna. He will have to fall well beyond the latest I’ve seen him drafted for me to consider him.

MLB: Spring Training-St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Doolittle, Nationals (Heath Capps)

NFBC ADP: 99.85

Doolittle’s career numbers are stellar. 17 wins, 82 saves, a 2.83 ERA, and a 0.89 WHIP. He has a career 30.9% strikeout rate and an above-average 4.8 walk rate. Last year, his K-rate spiked to 36.8%, a new career-high. The issue I have is durability. Doolittle has never topped more than 69 innings, and that was way back in 2013. Recurring shoulder issues for a pitcher are a big concern. Here are Doolittle’s innings pitched since 2015: 13 2/3, 39, 51 1/3, and 45. Throughout that time, he’s never posted an ERA above 3.95 or a WHIP above 1.24. When he’s healthy, he’ll be useful. But Trevor Rosenthal is four years younger, and anxiously waiting in the wings with his 100 mph heater. I’m passing on Doolittle for safer options. Jose Leclerc and Kirby Yates can generally be had later, for instance.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Shane Greene, Tigers (Mark Abell)

NFBC ADP: 266.53

Greene’s ERA over the last four years: 6.88, 5.82, 2.66 and 5.12. Given that history, I’m inclined to believe he is a high-ERA player. Despite the 5.12 ERA and 1.37 WHIP a year ago, he still managed 32 saves with the Detroit Tigers. His 32 saves were quite impressive, but around August he struggled and went just shy of a 7.00 ERA (6.94) over his last 25 appearances. Over that time, he also posted a 1.58 WHIP. Some combination of fatigue and batters figuring him out struck. He’s working hard this spring to throw less and be in better condition, but I’m not buying it.