The current SAGNOF (Saves) landscape

Hi, Razzfools!

I thought it might be useful to study the current reliever landscape in early drafts so far. This one won’t have much in the way of deep dives or sleeper choices or anything else. This is just a preview of what’s going on right now so you can start planning your strategy a bit. That’s all. And what’s happened so far has been… interesting, to say the least.

There are generally two schools of thought regarding editorial judgments. Either reach them early and secure them, or just fade then play the thread when needed. Depending on the league setup, of course. But overall you have your “get your saves early!” types and the “every team has a closer (or two!), so crossfade!” types.

What is interesting this year is just How? ‘Or’ What the first people from Camp A were on NFBC. And some of that bleeds into standard Yahoo formats as well, but certainly not to the same degree.

I will try to cater to two audiences here. So, if you’re not interested in NFBC formats, skip to the Yahoo section, and vice versa. Some (or maybe all) of what I have for you may or may not be useful. It could be things you already know or do, but hopefully either way you’ll see it as a good reminder of things to consider when preparing for the 2022 fantasy baseball season.

15-team NFBC RP landscape

Agreed. You know us Razzball people really love our bats early. I am one hundred percent in this camp. Won’t surprise me taking up arms in the first two rounds, like never before. But you know what fools do these days?? They take relievers in the first two rounds. Sometimes the first round! What about tarnation? !

Right now, which for 15-team drafts I define as those that took place in calendar year 2022, Liam HendricksNFBC’s minimum pick is No. 14 overall at the time of writing, with his ADP sitting at 26.65. Right behind him is Josh Hader, peaking at 17th place, with an ADP of 28.13. And me suppose I get it: these are either non-FAAB FAAB leagues or very limited FAAB leagues in an age of baseball where relievers are caroused around and around. If you take a look at my more detailed ranking, I only have three guys in the top tier. You can pretty much set your watch and guarantee (there I’m going to do dark tower references again…) on these three who end up among the best fantasy PRs and keep their jobs all year. But like, Jordan Romano? Edwin Diaz? Will Smith? I feel good with them. But do I feel good with them? Do I feel good enough to pay the asking price? They all obviously have strong opportunities right now and are in a place where they can absolutely provide immense fantastic value. But still, they’re not the level of “sure thing” that elite level guys are. They’re all level 2 in my book, although I kind of want to drop the term “level 2” and start it at level 3 because the gap is really so big, at least in terms of “I really feel , really good at grabbing this guy right now for backups so I don’t have to worry about it later These guys could be a streak of bad outings or a free agent signing or a trade away from territory So the mindset is you get one of those level 1 guys real early on and secure those saves with elite ratios and strikeouts, basically for peace of mind. But peace of mind for basically one category is it worth it for a 1st or 2nd round? Or a 3rd? I, uh, I think I’m good at that. You gotta be good at that, No? I’m a little contrarian by nature, but I don’t think it’s just me fighting against the masses s. There is no 5 tool arm. There are 5 tool bats though and you will miss them if you don’t pick them up right away. Uh.

Rudy’s NFBC War Room has Hendriks and Hader essentially neck and neck on the main draw in terms of dollar value, but neither come particularly close to where they’re drafted. Of course they could exceed Rudy’s projections, and that’s not even too unlikely they will, but then again…that price. The 2021 version of Hendriks managed to finish near his 2022 ADP according to our player evaluator, but that was largely down to his win contributions, which you simply can’t reliably count on from a reliever. .

And it’s not just these two. By joining them to have an ADP in the Top 50, you have Raisel IglesiasEmmanuel Clase, and Edwin Diaz. In the Top 75, you have Ryan Pressley, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Will Smith. And finally, when you add Jordan Romano and Giovanni Gallegosthat’s a grand total of Eleven RP entering the Top 100. I’m not a historical ADP guru, but I’m 99.999% sure this has never been the case before. Only five RPs have finished in the Player Rater Top 100, but more than double that amount are drafted there.

So, as you can see, RPs are rare these days. It’s crazy, guys. Fools, I say! Jansen isn’t even employed right now! Of course, the assumption is that he signs somewhere (maybe even back in LA) and is immediately given closer duties, but damn that’s a price to pay for a free agent. Craig Kimbrel isn’t even a closer (but could be traded and therefore become one again) and has a minimum pick of #76. Gallegos was only a close for about a month. It’s far from certain that he starts 2022 as the closest (although I think it’s very likely). The closer market is so skewed right now you have people paying good picks for jobless farms and elite men just desperately hoping for savings in return.

In all single-digit rounds, all of these RPs are gone: Liam Hendriks, Josh Hader, Raisel Iglesias, Emmanuel Clase, Edwin Diaz, Ryan Pressly, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Will Smith, Jordan Romano, Giovanny Gallegos, Mark Melancon, and Craig Kimbrel. It’s just madness out there.

What’s a sista or brotha to do when everyone’s chasing savings and jacking up prices to the moon? Well, my lazy answer is that the purpose of this piece is not to make your choices for you. But if it was me, in a league with zero FAAB that is purely draft and hold, then I’m of the opinion of taking a guy like Pressly or Chapman if the price seems decent. Good bet these two are keeping their gigs and providing high-end backup totals. I don’t think I can bring myself to pull the trigger on a Hendriks/Hader/Iglesias/Clase, but you do, my friend. I even saw a team start with Hendriks/Hader around the corner! *Shrug emoji* And for what it’s worth, a guy like Taylor Rogers sits pretty well in War Room and is basically free compared to the rest of the class closer. I can also see myself just a little bit about halfway through quitting, giving up the fact that I probably won’t be leading the class and instead trying to catch enough guys in the later rounds to keep me competitive. If everyone pays for Diaz, Clase, Chapman, etc. I’ll focus on quality entries and wait to load guys like Dylan Floro, Scott Barlow, Joe Barlow, Lou Trivino, Matt Barnes, etc for my backups. I haven’t quite decided yet if I want to target Camilo Doval Where Jake McGee…maybe I’ll just try for both! That’s the beauty of the best ball. You don’t have to worry about having these guys on your roster on the right day; the computer does it for you!

Yahoo Standard 12-team PR Landscape

Let’s switch gears here. Go from the best 15 team balls to your standard 5×5 12 team fare. FAAB daily.

By nature, there is a lot more wiggle room for how you go about writing. Grab your aces early, target your mid-value bats, pick up some late RP (or just straight kick saves, who cares), then be a waiver helper to fill your gaps. Or go bats early and take SP halfway through. Can go both ways really. One thing remains a constant in my book: not having to pay RP. Almost not at all.

Anyway, so far people are still paying. Josh Hader actually lead the way (foolishly…I mean, come on, Liam Hendricks East the RP to choose if you will) with an ADP of 39.0. Next is Hendriks at 42.8. Close enough. But then there’s a gap, with the next man who’s Aroldis Chapman of all people at 77.2 (bins must be Raisel Iglesias). Only five PRs make it into the Top 100 right now: Josh Hader, Liam Hendriks, Aroldis Chapman, Raisel Iglesias, and Ryan Pressley.

In the NFBC section above you see the names of 13 RPs that are drafted before Round 10. In Yahoo that number drops to just six which is quite a stark difference even though we are talking about leagues with three teams less: Hader, Hendriks, Chapman, Iglesias, Pressly and Clase. This makes it much, much easier to wait for your backups. And so, in a standard league, I spend about zero single-digit round picks on RP. Can get a lot of saves in later rounds, and there’s always a random Joe or three that will appear out of nowhere and be on your feed anyway. Always.

My go-to tactic is to fade the big names and nab a few of the top prospects, knowing that I’ll probably drop some/most of them. Cuz again, the waiver thread will definitely produce a few helpful guys. That’s how I’ve always approached the closest ones (in most cases), and no asshole in the fantasy baseball Twitter circle is going to change my mind! Instead, I’ll target a guy like Corey Knebel. Yahoo ADP is at 187.5 right now. I’m more than decently confident he gets the gig for Philly to begin with, and given his health, he could be a huge deal. Taylor Rogers is also in this range and is, again, a bit of a darling in Rudy’s War Room. So you have Joe Barlow and Lou Trivino you might consider, who right now have no competition for their jobs. rowan wick, who is more than likely to be the Cubs guy unless they make a splash in free agency or make a trade. Oh yeah, and Matt Barnes! He is free. Apparently nobody wants him, but he still has a chance to get closer to Boston and seems to be getting back on track at the end of the season. All of these guys have the advantage of keeping you competitive in saves, letting you spend your premium picks on premium power, premium speed, and premium starting pitch.

I play fantasy baseball as well as fantasy hockey here at Razzball. Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. DMs are always open to questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc. Chances are good that I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at all times.

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