2017 Outlook: His move to the bullpen in mid-2015 certainly seems to have agreed with him, as Colome's 2.01 ERA since the 2015 All-Star break was eighth-best among relievers with at least 75 innings pitched, and he parlayed his success into the Rays' closer role at the onset of last season. Dumping his changeup turned out to be a wise move, and at times, the Rays seemed to trust him as a multi-inning saves option. Late last year, however, Colome's role did appear to shrink to that of a "traditional closer" -- think 60-65 innings pitched for the year -- and his draft valuation should probably assume that amount in 2017 considering his health history. His skill set isn't quite that of a top-five fantasy closer, but he's productive enough across the board to vie for the top 10.
2017 Outlook: Few people recognize Robertson's historic ability to generate swings and misses: His 31.8 percent career strikeout rate is second-best in history among pitchers with at least 500 innings pitched. With them, however, comes a higher-than-normal walk rate (12.0 percent last season) and a variable batted-ball distribution, both of which help explain his annually so-so ratios and higher-than-normal rate of blown saves; calling hitter-friendly ballparks his home for the entirety of his career has also contributed. Robertson's contract assures the White Sox will remain patient with him through his struggles -- and bear in mind he was a popular closer on the trade rumor mill this winter -- so he should find his way to yet another 35-plus saves and 80-plus whiffs in 2017. Brace for the occasional ups and downs, however.
2017 Outlook: The only relief pitcher in baseball to strike out at least 125 batters in each of the past three seasons, Betances' value in fantasy leagues is widely variable dependent upon league type. In formats that afford daily transactions or leagues with starts caps, his ERA, WHIP and strikeout contributions can be plenty helpful plugging holes around your other pitchers. Even in traditional Rotisserie or weekly-transaction leagues, though, Betances is absolutely on the draft-worthy map in standard mixed, as he typically pitches a greater volume of innings than a typically reliever might. He'll serve as Aroldis Chapman's primary setup man to start 2017, filling in for saves only if needed, and has as much value as a top-125 overall player (if your league places the heftiest premium on the quality of innings pitched) or one of your final picks of the draft (if you're in a Rotisserie, season-long league with a heavier weight on saves).
2017 Outlook: His shoulder issues early last season ultimately persuaded the Reds to, upon his return from the DL in June, shift Iglesias permanently into a relief role. As one of the game's rare multi-inning relief options, the right-hander posted an eye-popping 1.98 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 26.7 percent strikeout rate in his new role. The move helped mask a key skills deficiency: A precariously wide platoon split, as lefties still batted .266/.334/.446 against him in 2016, but the decision at least made it more difficult for opponents to strategize their lineups around it. Iglesias probably has the most "closer-worthy" skills of the Reds' current closer candidates, and granted the role he could be a top-10 candidate at the position. Even as a workhorse middle reliever, though, he'd contribute enough in ERA, WHIP and K's to be worth your while in mixed formats.
2017 Outlook: One of six pitchers to save 40-plus games in 2016, Ramos will begin the season again the Marlins' closer, where he'll hope to reverse the strikeout decline he exhibited following an August DL stint for a fractured finger -- he struck out hitters nine percent less often after the injury compared to before it. Recapturing that ability will be key to his maintaining top-15 fantasy closer status; Ramos' control has always been shaky, leading to unusually high annual WHIPs. He still possesses a filthy slider that'll rack up the strikeouts, and 75 of those with 30-plus saves seems pretty likely, but beware mistaking him for a member of the upper tier at his position.
2017 Outlook: He's no longer the overpowering closer he was early in his career, having lost a good deal of fastball velocity over the years, but "K-Rod" continues to mount productive save totals, tallying a sixth career season with at least 40 in 2016, third-most in baseball history behind only Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera (9 apiece). The Tigers will return Rodriguez to their closer role once again in 2017, and despite his rising ratios, so-so peripherals and career-worst 22.1 percent strikeout rate last season, he's one of the few "predictable" picks among fantasy closers. He's seemingly aging gracefully, likely assuring you 30-plus saves despite minimal other contributions, and that's not a bad fallback option in the middle rounds if you miss out on the elite finishers. Rodriguez is, unfortunately, declining in value more rapidly in points-based scoring.
2017 Outlook: The Pirates' de facto closer, Watson saved 15 games in 26 appearances following the trade of Mark Melancon last July 30, but as a left-handed pitcher, he's at risk of his manager's whim should Clint Hurdle decide he's more integral coming out of the bullpen in situational spots. That's not to suggest Watson can't close -- he's not your traditional LOOGY (Lefty One Out GuY), limiting right-handed batters to .217/.282/.352 rates in 2016 -- but he's filthier against same-handed hitters, had a bloated 4.37 FIP, and the Pirates do have bullpen competition, including free-agent signee Daniel Hudson. Watson warrants top-20 fantasy closer treatment in drafts, but he's one at his position who might be smartly handcuffed or backed up with depth at the position.
2017 Outlook: As the Braves' de facto closer to conclude 2016, Johnson managed 18 saves, a 2.20 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in his final 33 games, earning himself a two-year extension to return in that role in 2017. It wasn't all fluky, as he whiffed 30.5 percent of the batters he faced, mainly because of a significant shift in his arsenal towards curveballs (especially with two strikes). Johnson is due for some regression as a more pitch-to-contact style reliever, but he appears skilled enough to keep the role all year, in which case he could be a good bargain target for those who passed on the name-brand closers.
2017 Outlook: The Rangers' de facto closer at the onset of 2017, Dyson's skills don't necessarily exceed those of some of the team's other relief arms, making him one of the closers at greater risk of losing his job in-season. That said, he was outstanding as the team's finisher last season, with 36 saves and a 2.63 ERA in 53 appearances after taking over in mid-May, most of that the product of great command and a major league-leading 66 percent ground ball rate (that among pitchers with at least 70 innings). Dyson is the type of pitcher who needs said command to remain pinpoint to succeed and generate top-20 fantasy closer value -- perhaps top-25 in points-based scoring -- so if you pick him, always be mindful of his team's competition as well your league's waiver wire.
2017 Outlook: Perhaps the favorite to begin the year as the Padres' closer -- though Carter Capps could represent competition -- Maurer had 12 saves, a 3.10 ERA and 1.10 WHIP during the second half of 2016, when he mostly held that role. He's a pitcher who needs command of his slider to be perfect to succeed; it partly explains how he has had such variable ratios the past three seasons. Maurer's annual inconsistency will make him one of the riskier saves investments out there, but as your second or third option in mixed leagues and second in NL-only formats, he's worth a look.
2017 Outlook: Feliz recaptured more than a full mile per hour on his average fastball velocity last season, resulting in a 28.0 percent strikeout rate, his highest in any full big-league year in his career. He parlayed that impressive stint with the Pirates -- thanks, Ray Searage! -- into a one-year deal to serve as the Brewers' closer, where job security might be his best initial asset. Feliz's elevated walk rate (9.6 percent in 2016) and so-so ground-ball rate (39.3 percent) will leave him at risk of the occasional blown save, but he's a worthwhile late-round target for those who choose the cheap route at closer.
2017 Outlook: Only three pitchers had more holds than Neris (28) last season, and he was one of only 15 to have at least 100 total strikeouts and a 30-percent strikeout rate. That excellent work in middle relief probably makes him the smartest choice to close for the Phillies, though he might initially have to settle for his familiar eighth-inning role behind Jeanmar Gomez or Joaquin Benoit or ... shall we go on? Neris is an outstanding bargain choice in leagues that combine holds and saves into one category, he'll help ERA/WHIP/K's in leagues where those are meaningful from middle relievers and he's even a speculative saves target in the late rounds of mixed leagues.
2017 Outlook: Ottavino returned from Tommy John surgery around midseason in 2016, flashing the same filthy slider he had before the injury. It's the pitch that makes him such a compelling choice to close, influencing many swings and misses as well as ground balls, precisely the desired mix from a Rockies pitcher. That said, Ottavino struggles against lefties, affording them .310/.386/.452 rates since 2013, and he'll face competition for saves from free-agent signee Greg Holland. With full health and the promise of the full-time job, Ottavino could make a run at the top-15 fantasy closers, but beware that his downside is greater than those ranked in that group as a result of those factors.
2017 Outlook: A stark decline in average fastball velocity caused Wacha to struggle last season, and shoulder issues that cost him a DL stint late in the year couldn't have helped. He's reportedly healthy and has a leg up on a Cardinals rotation spot, but without a return of the 94-95 mph heater he possessed early in his big-league career, he's a bit too ordinary a starter for fantasy purposes, requiring much start-to-start matchups maintenance. Treat him more NL-only than mixed material, barring a lights-out Grapefruit League performance.
2017 Outlook: Reed, the majors' leader in holds last season (40), thrived as a setup man for the Mets last season, his swing-and-miss ability shining through in his career-best 29.9 percent strikeout rate. Though he'll return to that role in 2017, his status as the next-in-line behind Jeurys Familia gives him the first crack to close, both during any potential Familia suspension and in the event of any injury/performance setbacks. Few relievers are stronger choices in holds or saves-plus-holds leagues.