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Fantasy Baseball Reliever Report: What Is Up With Josh Hader?

Cam takes a look at six relievers who have gotten off to interesting starts for the 2024 fantasy baseball.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 03: Clay Holmes #35 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 11th inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 03, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Getty Images)

First, let me say … it’s so early. If you’re having a tough start to the fantasy baseball season, take a deep breath; there is a long way to go. We aren’t even at the starting line for Marathon Monday yet, with the traditional home game for the Red Sox played at 11am.

That being said, you don’t want too much of the year to go by without making tweaks and improvements wherever needed. I am focusing on relievers here, one of the more volatile and unpredictable categories in baseball.

I’m going to list three pitchers on the rise and three pitchers wallowing at the moment:

Clay Holmes, New York Yankees

Look no further than Holmes for why the Yankees have started the season 6-1. He’s always been a nice and serviceable reliever, but so far this season, he’s been nothing short of amazing. He’s made four appearances and has three saves and a win under his belt without giving up an earned run. If he keeps this up, the Yankees will surely be playing meaningful games in October.

Josh Winckowski, Boston Red Sox

As the surprising Red Sox are showing this season, there are many ways to win baseball games. Over the last few years they have been working hard to bolster their bullpen, and the results are paying off so far. They find themselves one game behind the Yankees, with a 5-2 record. One of the reasons is Winckowski. He’s pitched in two of the team’s seven games, throwing a total of four innings. He’s struck out seven of the 12 batters he’s faced and has accounted for one of the team’s five wins.

Chris Martin, Boston Red Sox

The other piece of the Sox bullpen, leading to closer Kenley Jansen, is Martin. He is the team’s primary set-up man. In four appearances he’s thrown four innings. He hasn’t given up an earned run and has two holds so far. If your league counts holds, you must get Martin. And, if the Sox fall off, there is a great chance Jansen will be moved, ascending Martin to ninth-inning duties.

Josh Hader, Houston Astros

Houston’s big acquisition in the offseason has been a dud so far this year. In four appearances, he’s 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. The Astros have invested mightily in Hader, so his leash will be as long as possible. Realistically, Hader will be fine, but it might not hurt to snag Ryan Pressly. Truth be told, when I first saw Hader going to Houston, it didn’t make sense to me. They don’t have unlimited funds, and Hader’s contract could have gone to more pressing needs.

Jose LeClerc, Texas Rangers

LeClerc ended last season as World Champion, pitching lights out in the playoffs. Although manager Bruce Bochy was cagey regarding who’d have ninth-inning duties, it seemed obvious it would be LeClerc. But he has been awful to start the season. He’s made three appearances and is currently 0-1. He’s walked a massive five batters in just 2.2 innings, and his ERA is 20.25, to go with a whopping 3.00 WHIP. His leash won’t be nearly as long as Hader’s. You should snag David Robertson if he’s available in your league.

Tanner Scott, Miami Marlins

Scott has been given ninth-inning duties in Miami to start the season, and so far, the results have been terrible. In three appearances, he’s 0-2 with a 2.33 WHIP. In just three innings, he’s walked six batters. There isn’t an obvious replacement for Scott, which may give him a few more outings before any change is made.