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3 SP-Eligible Relief Pitchers to Draft (2024 Fantasy Baseball)

3 SP-Eligible Relief Pitchers to Draft (2024 Fantasy Baseball)

The pickings are slim for SP-eligible relievers who project to make an impact in fantasy baseball leagues this season. Some could emerge as the season marches on and starters fall out of their respective rotations before succeeding from the bullpen. Fortunately, two SP-eligible relievers are projected to save games, and another intriguing option could be a multi-inning ace, helping fantasy squads in ERA, WHIP and strikeouts.

SP-Eligible Relief Pitchers to Target

Mason Miller (SP – OAK) | 279.6 ADP

In December, general manager David Forst revealed that the organization has talked about trying to keep Mason Miller healthy by using him as a reliever. It’s unclear what role Miller will serve in Oakland’s bullpen, but closing is possible.

Zeile consensus projections are pegging Miller for 14 saves, a 3.35 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 80 strikeouts in 62.2 innings. The righty split time between the rotation and bullpen for the A’s when he got his feet wet last year, pitching 24.1 innings as a starter and 9.0 as a reliever.

Miller’s 4.00 ERA and 3.98 SIERA in relief weren’t outstanding, but they were acceptable. Furthermore, he had a 29.0 K%, 30.7 CSW%, 125 Stuff+, 98 Location+ and 105 Pitching+ out of the bullpen. Miller could be a dynamic reliever if he can improve his 13.2 BB%. Miller’s cost is cheap enough to roll the dice and enjoy a tidy profit if he stays healthy while not burning fantasy teams if he gets hurt or his walk rate undermines his electrifying stuff.

Louie Varland (SP, RP – MIN) | 356.0 ADP

Louie Varland is a wildcard. It looks as if he’s squeezed out of Minnesota’s rotation. However, the Twins are keeping Varland stretched out in the spring. Furthermore, Aaron Gleeman says Varland is likely to begin the year in the Triple-A rotation to stay stretched out as essentially Minnesota’s No. 6 starter.

Varland was lights out in a small sample in Minnesota’s bullpen in 2023, though. In seven appearances spanning 12.0 innings, he had a 1.50 ERA, 1.77 xFIP, 1.58 SIERA, 0.58 WHIP, 2.4 BB%, 40.5 K%, 28.3 CSW%, 98 Stuff+, 110 Location+ and 111 Pitching+. He recorded more than three outs in four of his relief appearances. While opening the year in the minors to stay stretched out is possible, Minnesota could also opt to keep him on the parent club as a multi-inning relief ace. In the latter’s case, Varland would be an intriguing non-closing reliever in deeper formats and a sweet pick in leagues of all sizes that count holds.

John Brebbia (SP, RP – CWS) | 444.7 ADP

Sadly, John Brebbia hurt his calf and is projected to miss a few weeks. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll start the year on the Injured List (IL). Brebbia doesn’t need to get completely stretched out like a starter. So, he could conceivably be ready by Opening Day, but he would be an appealing IL stash if he’s not.

Chicago’s bullpen doesn’t have an established closer, leaving the door open for Brebbia. In fact, Zeile projects Brebbia to have 16 saves, a 4.33 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 56.6 innings this season. The ERA and WHIP aren’t optimal. However, Brebbia has pitched better than those marks in recent seasons.

In 106.1 innings since 2022, Brebbia has had a 3.47 ERA, 3.90 SIERA, 1.26 WHIP, 7.1 BB%, 22.5 K%, 27.1 CSW%, 105 Stuff+, 104 Location+ and 105 Pitching+. Brebbia’s marks aren’t eye-popping. Thus, they’re more befitting a setup pitcher than a closer. Still, if he starts the year as the closer, he’s potentially skilled enough to hold the gig the entire season. Saves aren’t often available after the 400th pick, and being able to use Brebbia in an SP spot is a cherry on top.

More Fantasy Baseball Draft Advice: Players to Target


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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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