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Breaking down sleeper relief pitchers in 2020 fantasy drafts

Relief pitchers are unavoidable in your draft regardless of it you want to accept it or not. We break down three options to consider in the later half of your drafts.

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Archie Bradley delivers a pitch in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Chase Field. Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Look, I get it. You REALLY don’t want to start researching relief pitchers for your roster, let alone potential sleepers. It’s the least talked about position in fantasy baseball but quite frankly, it’s still an important position. Luckily for you, I’ll take care of the grunt work and all you’ll have to do is jot these names down and target them during your draft. Let’s take a look at three potential relief pitchers you can target late in your fantasy baseball drafts.

Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks

Bradley is set to open the 2020 season serving as the Diamondbacks closer. He got a taste of the role last season, saving 18 games through 66 appearances. Bradley took on the role in the second half of the season and didn’t register his first save until July 30. Despite taking on the role in the second half of the season, Bradley excelled immensely and posted some impressive numbers. In the second half of the season, Bradley tossed 31 2/3 innings allowing just six runs on 21 hits and striking out 33.

Aside from being a closer for a team I’m predicting will exceed their win total in 2020, Bradley posted some strong strikeout numbers. His K% ended at 27.4, which was the highest of his career. His swing-and-miss rate landed at 9.6%, which was the second-highest mark of his career. His current career-high sit at 10%, which he did back in 2017. As the solidified closer and someone who can miss bats, Bradley should be a fantastic target in the later part of your draft. That is, of course, if someone in your league doesn’t read this.

Taylor Rogers, Minnesota Twins

Like Bradley, Rogers wasn’t the primary closer to start the season for the Twins. What that in mind, it’s awfully impressive to see he ended the season with 30 saves in 36 opportunities. Rogers boasted a 32.4 K% and a stellar 4.1 BB% through 69 innings. He’s got great swing-and-miss potential as well, posting at least an 11% rate over the last two seasons.

With Rogers locked into the closer’s role to begin the season, the sky feels like the limit when it comes to the 29-year-old. Coming out of the gate as a closer should give him so many opportunities to exceed his 30 save total from last year, especially with what the Twins did this offseason to improve upon their 2020 win total. While this team isn’t strong with their rotation, they’re going to score a ton of runs like last season and let the bullpen handle the rest. Rogers will be that guy to close the door on opposing teams.

Joe Jimenez, Detroit Tigers

I have to be honest, the Tigers aren’t going to win many games. They’re still looking to rebuild their entire franchise and the outlook for 2020 looks bleak. However, Jimenez is an interesting reliever to target late in your draft. Jimenez should be a force when it comes to strikeouts, posting a 32 K% and a 14.8% swing-and-miss rate through 59.2 innings last season. He also logged nine saves, which doesn’t sound all that impressive but lets remember this team won 47 games.

You’re likely thinking to yourself, with all these great numbers, what’s the catch (aside from playing on the Tigers)? Jimenez is far from consistent. Home runs were a big issue from him last season with a 1.9 HR/9. His command gets shaky as well, posting a 9 BB%. So this pick comes with risk but if you’re in need of strikeouts and it’s getting late into the draft, Jimenez is an option to consider.