Fantasy baseball rankings have started coming out on most main sports sites. Some of the most-searched-for information is how the top 10 closers look for the 2017 MLB season. It’s another intriguing season, as two or three relievers who aren’t even closers may jump up the list of drafted pitchers this year. While the two best closers in fantasy baseball are still Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen, there is also a lot of value to be had in the second-tier.
A new report by ESPN has projected who the top 300 players will be to own in leagues this year. The first relief pitchers show up are Kenley Jansen at No. 87, Aroldis Chapman at No. 88, Zach Britton at No. 89, Craig Kimbrel at No. 90, Mark Melancon at No. 91, and Seung Hwan Oh at No. 92. Those are the only relievers that ESPN has ranked inside the top 100, with Cleveland Indians playoff star Andrew Miller way down at No. 138.
Andrew Miller and Dillon Betances are not closers to open the 2017 MLB season, but they also bring a lot of value to fantasy baseball teams. With strong numbers in ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts, they also have the chance to pick up a few wins. Miller and Betances will also get saves at inconsistent intervals, but they become even more valuable in leagues with deeper rosters. In leagues with holds, or saves plus holds, Miller and Betances gain even more value.
During the 2016 MLB season, the fantasy baseball rankings incorrectly predicted who the best closers in the game would be for the year. Jeurys Familia ended up leading all of baseball with 51 saves for the New York Mets. Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles, Kenley Jansen of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Mark Melancon of the Washington Nationals each finished with 47 saves. Melancon started the season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but was acquired by the Nationals before the trade deadline.
The rest of the top 10 closers in total saves were Francisco Rodriguez of the Detroit Tigers (44), A.J. Ramos of the Miami Marlins (40), Sam Dyson of the Texas Rangers (38), Alex Colome of the Tampa Bay Rays (37), Jeanmar Gomez of the Philadelphia Phillies (37), and David Robertson of the Chicago White Sox (37). Aroldis Chapman was suspended for the first month of the season, taking away a lot of save opportunities for the Yankees. Craig Kimbrel also dealt with injuries during his first season with the Boston Red Sox.
A few names that really surprised fantasy baseball owners were Seung Hwan Oh with the Boston Red Sox, Edwin Diaz with the Seattle Mariners, and Alex Colome with the Tampa Bay Rays. All three return with higher ceilings for the 2017 campaign and slots as the main guy for Opening Day. Diaz is a converted starter who was a rookie for the Mariners, but he quickly proved to be dominating in the ninth inning. Oh is now with the St. Louis Cardinals with a new contract and a chance to shine. Colome may have to do well to hold off Brad Boxberger with the Rays.
Top 10 2017 Fantasy Baseball Closers
1. Kenley Jansen (Los Angeles Dodgers)
2. Aroldis Chapman (New York Yankees)
3. Craig Kimbrel (Boston Red Sox)
4. Zach Britton (Baltimore Orioles)
5. Edwin Diaz (Seattle Mariners)
6. Seung Hwan Oh (St. Louis Cardinals)
7. Mark Melancon (Washington Nationals)
8. Roberto Osuna (Toronto Blue Jays)
9. David Robertson (Chicago White Sox)
10. Wade Davis (Chicago Cubs)
A name on this list worth paying attention to is Wade Davis of the Chicago Cubs. He has an opportunity to rack up a lot of saves this year, but his health has been a question mark. This is why he is lower in the current rankings, with the opportunity to easily move up during the beginning of the season. David Robertson is currently with the Chicago White Sox, but could also be traded before Opening Day. That concludes the list of the top 10 fantasy baseball closers this season, with a surprise reliever likely to join the list soon due to the volatility of the position.
[Featured Image by Elsa/Getty Images]