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Fantasy baseball sleepers: Gregory Soto, Mark Melancon among relief pitchers to target

We go over some of the top sleepers to consider in your fantasy baseball draft for the 2022 MLB season.

Tigers pitcher Gregory Soto pitches against the Yankees during the third inning of Grapefruit League action at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Tampa, Florida. Tigersny Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Atlanta Braves have shored up their bullpen to potentially be the best in baseball. They still have closer Will Smith and postseason standout Tyler Matzek, and they brought in both Kirby Yates and Kenley Jansen in free agency. This is terrible for fantasy though because it is going to be hard to guess who is going to get the call out of the pen on a day-to-day basis or in save situations. These are the things you have to consider when looking for valuable relief pitchers.

Most leagues have it set up with general P positions, but there are some leagues that break it down between starters and relievers. For this article, we are going with the general P lineup spot and the assumption that a standard league would have nine P spots in a typical lineup meaning that you should roster between three and five relievers depending on your strategy.

The MLB Lockout has come and gone and now we can get back to looking forward to Opening Day. With the 2022 season getting started on April 7th, now is a great time to start mock drafting and looking into your fantasy baseball leagues.

Gregory Soto, Detroit Tigers

Soto represented the Tigers in the 2021 All-Star Game, which put the lefty fireballer on a lot of people’s radars. He has struggled with accuracy and has been known to give up walks, but he is throwing high 90s from the left and so he makes up for it with plenty of strikeouts. Soto figures to be the Tigers closer for the 2022 season and they made some free agency moves to try and increase their offense which should give him some extra save opportunities.

Mark Melancon, Arizona Diamondbacks

Melancon showed in 2021 that he still had some juice left in the tank. Not only did he have a 2.26 ERA, but he also led the MLB in saves at age 36. Melancon has been in the league since 2009 and he will be joining his ninth-team of his career. He has 244 career saves and a career 2.79 ERA. While the Diamondbacks are predicted to set him up with many save opportunities, he doesn’t have much competition for late-inning work.

Corey Knebel, Philadelphia Phillies

Knebel looked ready to try and push Kenley Jansen for saves for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021, but then he strained his right lat and was sidelined over half the season. Knebel looked great when he came back from injury and showed that a team should take a chance on him. Enter the Phillies. They signed Knebel in the offseason and he figures to be their closer to start the season. Given the upgrades they made to an already power-heavy offense, Knebel should get plenty of opportunities early.

Others to consider: Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers; Camilo Doval, San Francisco Giants; David Bednar, Pittsburgh Pirates; Scott Barlow, Kansas City Royals