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Staff Post: Relievers to avoid in 2020

The Fake Teams writers tell you which closers to avoid in 2020.

Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Earlier this morning we gave you our men to target at the position. Now it’s time to drop the avoids on ya. And be sure to roll back around later today for our totally FREE and awesome fantasy baseball draft guide for 2020. It will house every piece of relevant content that we’ve produced leading up to the season.

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Kirby Yates, San Diego Padres (Jonathan Butler)

NFBC ADP: 76.37

It isn’t a lack of talent that worries me with Kirby, because we all know he is talented. My concern is his team context, since Yates is a free agent at the end of this season and the Padres may move him during the season. If the Padres deal him to a contender, the save chances could go out the window and tank his value in saves-only leagues. If I’m going to take a player at 76 where Yates is currently going, I’d rather know his role is secure all season—like Ramon Laureano or Nelson Cruz.

Josh Hader and Kirby Yates (Heath Capps)

You won’t find yours truly paying up for any relievers...ever. Maybe that’s a lazy analysis, but I don’t really view it as such. It’s a personal preference/philosophy. It’s just not how I build my teams, and not how I want to spend my early draft capital. I can have Josh Hader or take a shot on upside like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or Eloy Jimenez? To me, that’s not even a debate. And if I weren’t going hitter, that’s also prime SP2 territory, with guys like Charlie Morton, Yu Darvish, and plenty of other quality arms in the vicinity. Hard pass on any reliever inside the top 100 for me, from now until the end of time.

Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Liam Hendricks, Oakland Athletics (Garrett Atkins)

NFBC ADP: 102.07

You know the last time the Athletics had back-to-back saves leaders? Grant Balfour in 2012 and 2013. Liam Hendricks could break this trend, but I’m leaning towards no. Prior to 2019, Hendricks had a career 4.72 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. He relies heavily on his four-seam fastball. While it is a great pitch, it also results in a ton of hard contact when hitters make contact. He has an average exit velocity allowed of 88.9 MPH and his hard hit percentage is at 39.6%. As a closer, this seems like a recipe for disaster. I’m fading Hendricks in drafts this season.

Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers (Mark Abell)

NFBC ADP: 117.69

It’s weird to say avoid the most consistent reliever out there, the one who has 25+ saves for eight seasons and 30+ saves for the last six seasons. The issue is the 32-year-old is now on the third year of his ERA getting worse, his innings are limited, his xFIP was the worst of his career, and his WHIP was the 2nd worst of his career.

And that’s it for Relief Pitcher Week! Be sure to check out our relievers to target, in case you missed that one!