Five things are pretty much certain heading into the 2021 fantasy baseball season: Liam Hendriks, Josh Hader, Aroldis Chapman, Raisel Igelsias and Edwin Diaz, in whatever order you like them, are considered the top five relievers.
Beyond those, there are a slew of familiar names, such as Kenley Jansen, Brad Hand, Kirby Yates, Craig Kimbrel and Trevor Rosenthal. One name, however, has been popping up more than all of those well-known commodities: Cleveland’s James Karinchak.
In last year’s abbreviated season, Karinchak went 1-2 with a 2.67 ERA and 53 strikeouts (17.7 per nine innings). Among pitchers with a minimum of 20 innings pitched, Karinchak was tied with the Brewers’ Devin Williams (160.44 average draft position, $5 auction) for the best strikeout rate per nine innings (17.67). He also had the second-best strikeout percentage (48.6), the 12th-best opponent average (.151) and a top-20 swinging-strike rate (17.1 percent).
Karinchak utilizes just two pitches — a mid-90s four-seam fastball and a nasty curveball. He struck out 19 batters with his four-seamer while holding opponents to a .184 average and .569 OPS. He also had a 17 percent…