2018 Starters With Relief Eligibility - SPARP

2018 Starters With Relief Eligibility

David PriceNot as good as the 2016 crop of SPARP’s but 2017 had Luis Severino as the star pick as a starter that was relief eligible. Danny Duffy was a good pick as was Mark Montgomery and Dylan Bundy was simply just “OK”.

Finding a starter that has relief eligibility is a bit of a crap shoot and won’t help you if you are playing DFS games at our affiliate partner site DraftKings.com. It is a strategy to use for full season fantasy baseball leagues that are run by sites like Yahoo, ESPN or CBS.

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What is the SPARP Strategy?

SPARP stands for Starting Pitcher At Relief Pitcher which boils down to where a pitcher last year pitched as both a starter and as a reliever and will in 2018 most likely be in the starting rotation or will as some point get a strong number of starts.

If you are in a deep or big fantasy baseball league and you need 3-4 relief pitchers, there are only so many good closers and set up guys to pick up. A strong strategy is finding guys, like our list below of relief pitchers that will be starters in 2018 but you can stick into your reliever position in your lineup because of the number of starts and relief appearances they had last year. A starter has more chances for wins, can improve your K/9 and maybe your WHIP and ERA. What you are doing is punting your Saves category to try and improve your overall pitching numbers.

It’s also a good back up in case of injuries to one of your starters that you can slot your guy back into an SP position and then pick up a reliever on the waiver wire which is really easy to do in most fantasy baseball leagues.


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List of 2018 Starters who are Eligible as a Reliever

Boston Red SoxDavid Price

First question is does Price qualify in your league? He had 11 starts and 5 relief appearances. If he qualifies he will be the top pick of a starter who is relief eligible. David Price is a top fantasy baseball pitching pick regardless, if you can slot him in as a reliever…all the better!

Cleveland IndiansMike Clevinger

The Indians have a lot of pitchers that could be starters and Mike Clevinger’s fantasy numbers could make you drool if they worked out all season. Watch the spring training games and see how he does, he is fighting for an SP role and should get some starts in 2018 even if he hits the bullpen to begin the season. His fantasy numbers still make him a solid reliever pick regardless.

Chicago CubsMark Montgomery

With Yu Darvish now a Chicago Cub, Montgomery may now be back in the bullpen. If an injury pops up or a starter is needed Montgomery will probably be the first man up. Because of the trade Montgomery isn’t a valuable option but keep him in mind in really deep leagues.

Chicago CubsTyler Chatwood

A free agent pick up this offseason Chatwood should be locked in as the Cub 4th or 5th starter. His numbers weren’t spectacular at first glance but remember that he played half of his games at Coors Field where pitchers go to die and his numbers away from Coors Field the last couple of years were pretty good.

Pittsburgh PiratesJoe Musgrove

If he makes the rotation for the Pirates Musgrove has a high ceiling for fantasy points. His numbers weren’t exciting last year but his career minor league numbers are impressive. He’s a bit of a risk/reward pick up.

Texas RangersMike Minor and Matt Bush

I am lumping them together because it is basically the same write up for both. Neither was a starter last year but both will have a shot at the Rangers starting rotation in 2018. Both have great numbers as relievers and if one or both get the starter job they could be a nice pick up for your team. Both would only qualify for your team as a RP position but that would adjust if they begin to get starts. Watch the spring training battle and pick accordingly.

Los Angeles DodgersWalker Buehler

He won’t qualify as a starter and may even start in the minors but he is a top prospect in the Dodger organization and could be given a starter position at some point this year. With Darvish walking away this could be a high reward pick if he makes the rotation.

Cincinnati RedsRobert Stephenson

Not a great option to pick as a starter with relief eligibility but he is one nonetheless. His numbers aren’t great and he may not really help your team in the long run. Maybe a nice bench stash in case of injuries to your pitchers that you can stick him in wherever you need.

Seattle MarinersErasmo Ramirez

Another pitcher that you would only look at in a deep fantasy league as an injury fill in, his numbers won’t do much for your fantasy team.

Miami MarlinsJose Urena

Same as the two above, his numbers aren’t great. Even his 14 wins last year won’t happen with the Marlins going into tank mode.


Guys on the Bubble of Eligibility

The players below may or may not qualify for both a starter and reliever position this year depending on how your league rules are structured. Some only started a few games and some only appeared as a reliever in a few games. Keep them on a list of possibles and see if they qualify.

Bud Norris – STL, Danny Salazar – Clev, Kenta Maeda – LAD, Trevor Williams – Pitt, Brandon McCarthy – ATL, Jake Junis – KC, Bryan Mitchell – SD, Chris Stratton – SF

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