Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto made it clear that he wanted to improve the bullpen this offseason, and he has delivered. The former Texas Rangers closer, Rafael Montero joined the Mariners last year and will most likely be Seattle’s closer.
So, what can Rafael Montero offer in terms of fantasy baseball?
Rafael Montero fantasy baseball advice
Where is Rafael Montero ranked this year?
Montero is ranked 200th on Fantasy Pros’ rankings which is a lot better than I had expected. The 30-year-old reliever is one spot after his teammate, James Paxton.
If you participate in a 10-person fantasy league, Montero would most likely be drafted in the 18-22 rounds.
Among relievers, Rafael Montero is ranked 17th. When you look at the list, it is fascinating how highly ranked Montero is. That’s good news for the Mariners though. It says a lot about how good the right-hander could be for Seattle.
The Dominican Republic native had an impressive 2019, but he had an extremely small sample size. He posted a 2.48 ERA in 29 innings. More recently, Montero posted a 4.08 ERA in 2020 and saved eight games for the Rangers.
When to draft Rafael Montero
Closers are like kickers and defense/special teams in fantasy football. They get drafted in the last few rounds because they aren’t too valuable, but the best of the best can be extremely special.
If you can draft the top three closers in the MLB, you will win the saves categories every single week. Just like if you drafted the 2013 Seahawks defense in fantasy football, you would get a major boost every week from them.
But for me, Rafael Montero isn’t in the elite category. Additionally, the Mariners operated a closer by committee in 2020. It is still a little unclear what the 2021 bullpen plans are, and I cannot confidently say that Montero will be the closer. If Montero is not the primary closer, his value heavily drops and is not worth a pick.
In Spring Training, Montero has struggled thus far which makes me even more worried. He has given up four runs in just two innings.
That being said, wait for Montero. He would still be a good draft pick, but you should not draft him earlier than his draft value. Once 5-10 closers come off the board, that is when you should go after Rafael. A few names to look for include: Ryan Pressly, Kirby Yates, Craig Kimbrel, and Trevor Rosenthal. You should not draft Montero before these closers, who in my perspective are a lot better.
It might also help to just wait to decide until we get closer to the season. But until he is named the official closer, I will be wary.