Fantasy Baseball 2018: 3 Must-Add Relief pitchers

BOSTON, MA - MAY 30: Ryan Tepera #52 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts during the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 30, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 30: Ryan Tepera #52 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts during the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on May 30, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

With teams shortening the game for their starters, relief pitchers are getting more work. Here are three pitchers worth adding to your team.

Starting pitchers are not pitching deep into games anymore. Outside of the elite names and the no-hitters, pitchers are getting pulled earlier and earlier in favor for relief pitchers. According to Baseball Reference, the league average for innings per start is just 5.5 innings, down from 5.8 in 2015.

With more outs available for the bullpen, relief pitchers are getting more work. Relievers are getting an average of 3.3 outs per game in relief. That is up over the last couple of seasons, 3.2 in 2017, 3.1 in 2016 and 3.0 in 2015. The way this is going, that number will be close to 4.0.

The number of strikeouts across the league is also up, resulting in low ratio stats and, obviously, more strikeouts for pitchers. Those are three important stats in most fantasy leagues. If you add the right player, you may even grab a couple of extra saves per week, too.

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Here are three relief pitchers worth adding to help your pitching staff.

Ryan Tepera, TOR

With the situation Roberto Osuna is dealing with, the Toronto Blue Jays needed a replacement closer. They have plenty of options with Seunghwan Oh, Tyler Clippard and John Axford, all of whom have closer experience. Though Tepera has been the most consistent options since taking over.

In his last seven appearances, Tepera has a 2.79 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and three saves. No other Blue Jays reliever has one. Roster Resource lists Oh, Clippard and Tepera as a closer committee but it’s clear this is Tepera’s job until further notice.

Tepera is owned in just 13.6 percent of ESPN leagues and 24 percent of CBS Sports leagues.

Joakim Soria, CWS

The Chicago White Sox may not be competing for much this season but they have some fantasy-relevant players. One of them being their closer.

Soria struggled in the first two months of the season, posting a 4.42 ERA and 1.42 WHIP and four saves in six chances. June has been very kind to Soria. In 7.2 innings, he has a 0.00 ERA, 0.652 WHIP, 10 strikeouts and one walk. He also has seven saves and two holds.

Soria credits lowering his arm in his delivery to his recent success.

"“I had a long at-bat against Jonathan Schoop and I ended up dropping my arm to see what happened. He ended up grounding out to the shortstop so I thought, ‘Alright, why not give it a try?’ I’ve felt good from there and been using it.”"

Soria is owned in 31.5 percent of ESPN and 40 percent of CBS Sports leagues, so his recent success is not going unnoticed. Add him before it’s too late.

Kyle Barraclough, MIA

Barraclough is another relief pitcher on a struggling team but is still finding success. He was recently named the team’s closer after Brad Ziegler allowed five earned runs in 2.0 innings.

Barraclough has been a successful reliever since joining the Miami Marlins. This looks to be his best yet. In 31.1 innings, he has a 1.15 ERA, 0.798 WHIP and a 9.5 K9. Since the change, Barraclough has converted his four saves chances.

With his low ratios and high strikeout rate, he’s a must-add relief pitcher. Though, the saves may be sporadic with the Marlins offense.

He’s owned in 23.6 percent and 46 percent of ESPN and CBS leagues, respectively.

Next: MLB DFS Picks for June 16

These three relief pitchers have been racking up saves in recent weeks to boost their value. Even if they don’t record any saves, they can still support your team with few runs allowed and a couple of extra strikeouts. These three need to be added in all league formats.