Bullpens: Top 10 'non-save' RP options 

March, 11, 2013
The weekend announcement from New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera that this would be his final big league season doesn't change anything from a fantasy baseball perspective. The beloved Rivera remains a trusted fantasy option, and is appropriately being selected sixth among current relief pitchers in ESPN average live drafts, and in the top 100 overall. It won't be me choosing a closer that early, but I also don't see much risk. Not only is Rivera's body of work outstanding, but he injured his knee early enough last season that he's now fully recovered, with the pending Opening Day not even in question. Rivera tossed a perfect inning Saturday, striking out two, and while it's rare that we project a 43-year-old to produce at such a high level again and again and again, in his case, it fits.

[+] EnlargeMariano Rivera
AP Photo/Kathy WillensThe great Mariano Rivera announced over the weekend that the 2013 season will be his last.
Of course, for those in dynasty formats, this news only confirms that Rivera will not be helping fantasy owners in 2014, so while one should always aim to win now, it's reasonable to seek out others in longer-term formats. One of the relievers likely to come in greater demand is Yankees setup man David Robertson, the presumed next in line. It's tough to argue the case against Robertson, an elite strikeout reliever certainly capable of moving his act to the ninth inning when given the chance. This transition might have occurred last May when Rivera was hurt, but Robertson was sputtering a bit with health and performance, and the experienced Rafael Soriano got the job done in the role.

Still, Robertson boasts an exalted and secure place among my top 10 non-save relief pitchers for 2013. I participate in a league in which holds are featured, and know of other leagues that use the "saves plus holds" category. For the record, it's often tougher to predict holds leaders than saves, but it's best to invest in skills over roles, and we want strikeout relievers that pile on the innings and, obviously, keep their ERA and WHIP in pristine shape. For the record, the holds leaders in 2012 were, and good luck guessing these names in advance, Joel Peralta, Vinnie Pestano, Mitchell Boggs (the NL leader!), Jason Grilli, Francisco Rodriguez (seeking work), Sean Burnett, Joaquin Benoit, Edward Mujica, Robertson and Eric O'Flaherty. Robertson, Benoit and O'Flaherty were the only repeat names from 2011.