2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Relief Pitcher (RP) Breakout Players. Relief Pitcher (RP) Breakout Player 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) Breakout Player selections are based on players who have the potential to post a significant increase in pitching statistics during the 2011 season. Relief Pitcher (RP) Breakout Players are players to consider drafting a round or two earlier, based on their stat potential likely being greater than what their fantasy baseball draft position is to begin the 2011 season.
Relief Pitcher (RP) Breakout Players 2011
John Axford – Mil
Exploding onto the major league scene in 2010 as an afterthought 27 year old rookie, Axford was given the opportunity to close game early in the season for the Brewers and he never looked back. Whether Axford can actually replicate his 2010 success during the 2011 season seems to be a toss up. However when you look at his stat line of 76 strikeouts over 58 innings pitched with the Brewers in 2010, Axford’s chances of keeping the closers job in Milwaukee seems like a good bet. If Axford can tally 70 innings pitched, he could be looking at a breakout season with stats in the range of 35 saves, 90 strikeouts, and an ERA around 2.50.
2010 Minor League Stats: 13 IP, 3 W, 2 L, 2 SV, 19 K, 2.03 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
2010 Major League Stats: 58 IP, 8 W, 2 L, 24 SV, 76 K, 2.48 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 70 IP, 5 W, 3 L, 35 SV, 90 K, 2.50 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Chris Perez – Cle
Long considered a top relief pitcher prospect in the minors, Perez finally was able to put all the pieces together in Cleveland during the 2010 season. And after tallying a fantastic stat line after the all-star break that included 28 innings pitched, 32 strikeouts, 16 saves, and a 0.63 ERA and 0.87 WHIP, Perez seems to have finally transferred all of his potential into action. With little fanfare in Cleveland and among fantasy baseball managers entering the 2011 season, Perez is one mid to late round RP to target in all fantasy baseball drafts this season.
2010 Major League Stats: 63 IP, 2 W, 2 L, 23 SV, 61 K, 1.71 ERA, 1.08 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 70 IP, 4 W, 2 L, 30 SV, 65 K, 2.40 ERA, 1.10 WHIP
Craig Kimbrel – Atl
Since being drafted by the Braves in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft, Kimbrel has made quick work of time in the minors. After debuting in Atlanta during the 2010 season, Kimbrel took over as a key late inning relief pitcher in the Braves bullpen to finish the season. Offering outstanding strikeout ability, Kimbrel is seemingly every major league teams dream as a young and potentially dominant closer for the next decade. Entering the 2011 season at just age 23, Kimbrel could very easily encounter some bumps and bad stretches throughout his rookie season this year, but overall there seems to be little doubt that Kimbrel could potentially be a top 10 fantasy baseball closer in 2011.
2010 Minor League Stats: 55 IP, 3 W, 2 L, 23 SV, 83 K, 1.62 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
2010 Major League Stats: 20 IP, 4 W, 0 L, 1 SV, 40 K, 0.44 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 70 IP, 6 W, 3 L, 35 SV, 100 K, 2.00 ERA, 1.15 WHIP
For additional 2011 fantasy baseball rankings, articles, and draft tips, check out my blog at Hawk Fantasy Sports