2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Relief Pitcher (RP) Best Value Picks. Relief Pitcher (RP) Best Value Picks selections are based on a standard scoring system in mixed AL/NL fantasy baseball leagues for the 2011 season. Scoring system stats include: wins, losses, saves, strikeouts, era, and whip – (W, L, SV, K, ERA, WHIP). IP = innings pitched during the 2010 season.
Relief Pitcher (RP) Best Value Picks selections are based on players who offer the best value at their likely draft positions in 2011 fantasy baseball drafts. These best value players typically include players who have a history of successful seasons in the MLB, and because of their history are somewhat safer and more reliable draft picks for fantasy baseball teams entering the 2011 season.
Top 3 – Relief Pitcher (RP) Best Value Picks 2011
Jonathan Papelbon – Bos
Personally I have never been and never will be a big fan of drafting the top rated closers early in any fantasy baseball draft. However when I know a closer is a lock to get saves for his team, and his draft value is reasonable, I will jump ship to go and get him. Entering the 2011 season, Papelbon is one closer ranked in the top 10 that I will gladly draft between the #5-10 spots among all fantasy baseball RPs. After posting a career worst 3.90 ERA last season, Papelbon has seemingly lost his previous elite RP status in the mind of fantasy baseball managers entering the 2011 season. However when you look at the numbers and the fact that Papelbon’s high strikeout ability remained in tack last season, I really do not see any reason to honestly imagine the younger and quickly becoming very fantasy baseball popular Daniel Bard taking over Papelbon’s job this season. With an improved Red Sox offense scoring runs, Boston could easily be looking at a 90 plus win season in 2011, which means plenty of save opportunities are likely as well.
2010 Major League Stats: 67 IP, 5 W, 7 L, 37 SV, 76 K, 3.90 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 68 IP, 4 W, 2 L, 40 SV, 77 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
Huston Street – Col
With an elbow injury forcing Street to miss the first two months of the 2010 season, and then returning to post just average stats, there is no denying that Street clearly took a step back in the minds of fantasy baseball managers after posting an outstanding first season in Colorado in 2009. However over the past two seasons, Street has shown an ability to be able to pitch in Colorado with no problem. Entering the 2011 season with a solid young core of offensive talent that is able to score runs, and starting pitchers who can no doubt keeping the games close for the Rockies, a fully healthy Street could easily find himself in a plethora of save opportunities during the 2011 season. Often ranked and drafted around the #15 spot among all relief pitchers in fantasy baseball drafts to begin the 2011 season, Street is one closer who is considered a lock to close games and has essentially zero competition for his job entering the season.
2010 Major League Stats: 47 IP, 4 W, 4 L, 20 SV, 45 K, 3.61 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 65 IP, 4 W, 3 L, 35 SV, 68 K, 3.00 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
Brad Lidge – Phi
Plagued by the ‘busts’ label in the minds of fantasy baseball mangers, Lidge had an extremely quiet yet extremely successful comeback season in 2010. Posting an overall stat line that included 27 saves and a 2.96 ERA, Lidge’s valuable asset of strikeout ability returned as well last season, as he tallied 52 strikeouts in just 45 innings pitched. More impressive was Lidge’s post-all star break performance last season, as he was finally fully healthy and no doubt displayed his potential to once again be a dominate closer. Tallying an outstanding 21 saves and a 2.10 ERA to go along with 31 strikeouts over 30 innings pitched after the all-star break, Lidge who enters the 2011 season often ranked between the #15-20 spots among all relief pitchers, is poised to be one of the best RP draft day steals in all fantasy baseball leagues for the 2011 season.
2010 Major League Stats: 45 IP, 1 W, 1 L, 27 SV, 52 K, 2.96 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 68 IP, 2 W, 3 L, 40 SV, 75 K, 2.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Joe Nathan – Min
Drafting a pitcher who is coming off of Tommy John surgery is always a major risk, especially ones who are getting up there in age. However considering the fact that Nathan has proven to be a dominant closer, any fantasy baseball team who can use a late round draft pick on Nathan could easily be getting a major steal. Often ranked and drafted between the #25-35 spots among all fantasy baseball RPs, there really is no other potentially elite closer that you can find that late in your draft. All in all the value is definitely there, and I see no reason why using a late round pick on Nathan is not worth the potential return he can offer fantasy baseball teams in 2011.
2010 Major League Stats: Did Not Play – Tommy John Surgery
2011 Stat Projections: 45 IP, 1 W, 1 L, 25 SV, 47 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
For additional 2011 fantasy baseball rankings, articles, and draft tips, check out my blog at Hawk Fantasy Sports