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“65 Mustangs” Building a better bullpen: Middle Relief/Set up – Yes, they have value too. 2014

In my last article on Closers, I talked a bit about the value of Middle Relievers (MR’s).  At this point in drafting and draft planning we are into the nitty-gritty of strategy, and not just ranking players. Every FBB owner, regardless of skill level or experience, knows he has to draft 2 or 3 Closers. We start the season with 30 of them give or take a committee or two, so in a standard 12 team league there should be enough to go around, but now what? We have our 13 starting position players, and about 5 or 6 Starting Pitchers, and now 3 Closers, but we still have a few rounds to go in a standard Roto league. If we have a deeper league, H to H, or count holds, we probably have quite a few more rounds to go. So, what are we going to do with those last few rounds?

If you have read anything I’ve written this off-season, you know I don’t believe in drafting 2nd string hitters, or any kind of bench hitter for that matter unless there is a break out candidate that I have high hopes for and can get cheap enough in the later rounds. Last year it was Will Myers, but otherwise I find no value in rostering a player that is not contributing to my stats every day. So, aside from that, I am stocking up on Relievers. I’ll fill every pitching slot not occupied by that day’s Probable Starters with a Reliever. There are more Relievers in the Fantasy Baseball Universe then any other position.  Hundreds of them. So, how will we pick them?

The most obvious Relievers to pick and roster are the ones who have a good chance of closing this season. They may be part of a Spring Training battle or part of an early season committee, or perhaps the next guy in line after a Closer who starts the season on the ropes for one reason or another. After that, there are the other “Closers en Waiting”, (CLEW’s from my last article), usually the “2nd in command” who will get the ball if the incumbent Closer gets hurt or is ineffective. They are also usually the 2nd best Reliever on the team and the primary Set-Up Man. Aside from the possibility of future saves, these pitchers will usually be good contributors to your ratios and usually have some of the highest K/9 Rates in baseball, as good as the those of the Closers, if not better. They will also chip in the occasional vulture Win or Save, which becomes extremely important when competing for the title if some of those cats are tight.

If your league counts Holds, whether it is a Roto or H to H league, then that will open up another layer of Relievers that can contribute to stats. The Primary Set-Up Men will tend to also be your go to guys for Holds, but many of the 7th inning Relievers and Specialists can also accrue a good number of Holds. Like Saves, the closer the scores are in any team’s games, win or lose, the more chances for Holds and Saves that team will provide. One game can produce multiple pitchers with Holds, on both sides of the diamond, while that same game can only produce only one Win and, sometimes, one Save. The Holds rules are similar to the Save rules, but a bit more liberal. For an explanation of the rules for a Hold to be awarded click here. While Holds are easier to get then Saves, the league leaders in Holds are usually in the 30’s while the leaders in Saves are in the high 40’s to low 50’s. In fact, in 2013, the all time record for single season Holds was set at 41 by Tampa’s Joel Peralta. Because of this, Holds are far more luck driven then Saves as they are more dependent on the Manager’s decision, whereas nearly every Save chance will go to the current Closer. For this reason, one has to roster more MR’s to get as many Holds as Saves and be competitive in that category. But, a good holdhold can make you feel so much better.

Finally, League Managers have become even more creative and found a way to measure and reward a whole other layer of Relief Pitchers, the Specialists. While specialists can also accrue Holds, and many do, they are the Relievers who most often enter a game with runners on base and are only responsible for getting one or two batters out. Conversely, Set-Up Men and Closers normally start an inning, and seldom enter with men already on base. Thus, the Fantasy Category “Inherited Runners Stranded” (IRS) came about, which is a component of the Bill James stat, IRS Percentage.  A quick look at 2013 stats shows that the bulk of them were awarded to Relievers who had less Innings Pitched then Games played and of the top 10, 8 or 9 were lefty specialists. It is tough to add an entire scoring category as obscure as this when it will have the same weight as Home Runs or ERA, so two of the leagues I am in have combined the two stats for Middle Relievers into one. So, we have the H/IRS Cat. Not to be confused with the other IRS that we talk about this time of year. We will talk more about the IRS Category, Specialists and how you are coming on your Income Taxes in my next article. This week we will talk about the Set-Up Men, CLEW’s, and Holds, as Tax Day is still a month away.1040

GET OUT THE CUFFS!

In my last article I listed a group of Closers who were starting the season with a tenuous hold on the Closer role for one reason or another. Because of this situation, the 2nd and maybe even 3rd choices to Close have added value because of the likelihood that one of them will be the Closer at some point, probably sooner then later. If you have been a student of the game as long as I have, you come to realize certain realities. One is that no matter how much better we all think the young up and comer is compared to the incumbent, the Manager will nearly always give the incumbent the chance to fail before anointing his replacement. This could be out of respect for the incumbent, so the new guy can get more experience, or just as likely, a strategic move by the manager to ensure his own job security. Whatever the reason, it is reality. So, that is why in 2013 we all KNEW that Kenley Jansen was going to be the Closer in LA, but we also all KNEW, as much as we didn’t like it that Brandon League was going to be named the closer for opening day in Spring Training. On draft day, one had to decide what was more important, the guy getting Saves in April or the one getting them in September. The seasoned Owner will nearly always choose the latter. 1. It is only a matter of time before the incumbent falters. 2. the new guy is a better pitcher anyway, and 3. He’ll accrue more Holds in the early months then the incumbent will after he is replaced and disgraced. Yeah, if you could not draft both, you drafted Jansen. What about this season?league

An incumbent Closer can be on shaky ground for a number of reasons. 1. He is just not that good or not built for that type of pressure, or maybe not very experienced in the role. 2. He is old or injured/coming off injury, or just always seems an implosion away from being replaced. 3. He is part of a “closer Committee”, which never lasts, as one always wins out. 4. The guys behind him are just that good, and 5. There is a good chance the incumbent will be traded before the deadline. We’ll go team by team, in the order of the most likely to be replaced, and the most likely to be the replacement. Later we’ll talk about the really good relievers who are blocked by a Closer who is not going anywhere unless it is to the operating table. These RP’s will be the late round targets that can add to your K’s, W’s and S’s, augment your ratios, become the Closer, and accrue Holds if your league rewards them. I’m doing the potential Closers first, but in many cases that is more about opportunity then talent, so the second group of desirable set-up men is stacked with talent from top to bottom.

We’ll use the same format as before Incumbent/Most likely CLEW. These are the Closer handcuffs worth targeting in the mid to late rounds, and in many cases are more important then the incumbent.

Throughout this article, the two main stats i will quote are Holds, since that is the main counting stat that Middle Relievers are measured by and K/9 as I think that is the most telling skill that will point to the pitchers who will dominate in relief, as they can maintain such a high rate for an inning or two at most.  In 2013, only 30 pitchers logged more then 20 Holds, and 71 logged more then 10.  So, while there is more then twice the pool as that of the Saves stat, it easily takes twice as many roster spots to generate one Hold for every one Save. In 2013, of the 30 pitchers with 20 plus holds, 15, or half had a K-9 of 9.0 or better, or roughly a K per inning pitched. 6 of those 15 sported a K-9 of 10 or better, and a few had K-9’s up in the 12-13 range. To put that into perspective, Clayton Kershaw, generally recognized as the best Starting Pitcher in MLB, had a 2013 K/9 of 8.8.  Adam Wainwright was at 8.3.

Colorado Rockies: LaTroy Hawkins/Rex Brothers (This is the closest thing we have this season to the League/Jansen handcuff of 2013.) There is a reason that Hawkins is among the all time leaders in Holds. He has been a great Middle Reliever. He is only being named the Rockies Closer because he is experienced and Brothers has a bit of trouble with control sometimes. I’m all in on Brothers in 2014 and I think the role change comes no later then May. Brothers is a flame thrower who saved 19 games after Rafael Betancourt got hurt in 2013, but while he had a 10.16 K/9, he also had only a 2.11 K/BB with 36 walks in 67.1 IP. I’m betting he harness that. If you are looking for Holds, Matt Belisle led the team last season with 25 and is not in line to close. Hawkins should have no problem reverting back to Set-Up, and should get Holds as well. Did I mention that I am high on Rex Brothers?

Houston Astros: Chad Qualls/Josh Fields, Jessie Crain, Matt Albers  Depending on what and when you read, any one of these guys have been in the lead for the Closer role in Houston.  The good news is that even the worst teams will generate at least 30 Saves and a bunch of Holds. Chad Qualls is the one with closing experience, is healthy, and will likely open the season as the closer for reasons such as those talked about throughout this article. But, he is not a lock by any means. When in doubt, draft skills, and both Fields & Crain have good K-Rates and out-pitches designed for closing. Crain is currently coming back from injury and likely not ready until late April. Albers is more of a specialist, and both he and Fields have had control issues. My money is on Fields taking the job, but if I had room I’d find a spot for both Crain & Qualls. One way or another, these four guys will be the ones accruing Saves and Holds in Hou.

Baltimore Orioles: Tommy Hunter/Darren O’Day First, let me say that I like both of these guys as MR’s. Both had quietly good seasons in Balt in 2013, racking up holds and IRS, and putting up excellent ratios. Hunter also had SP eligibility which helped in leagues that have designated pitching slots. But, neither profiles as a closer as neither has dominating stuff, Hunter has trouble with lefties and O’Day is a side-armer with a good slider. Balt tried signing Grant Balfour but he failed their physical, and they were also linked to available closers like Fernando Rodney and John Axford or trades for guys like Pedro Strop, but all signed elsewhere. I’m drafting both O’Day & Hunter as good middle relievers assuming that Baltimore will bring in a closer at some point. If I get a handful of saves in the process, all the better.

Cleveland Indians: John Axford/Cody Allen  Now and then a pitcher who has been dominant for years suddenly loses his touch. If is is a physical ailment that is one thing, but sometimes it seems inexplicable. John Axford was once a top 5 closer, and not too many years ago. He was nearly unhittable, till he hit a wall himself. The Indians let Chris Perez and his heart-attack approach to saves leave for the West Coast and brought in Axford who has been somewhat puzzling himself the last couple of years. I’m a believer in Axford’s ability to accumulate strikeouts and believe he will regain his closer prominence, whether in Cle in 2014 or some other year in some other city. Cody Allen is the most likely replacement should Axford choose 2015 to regain his closer abilities instead of this season. He has the make-up of a closer and in 2013 struck out 88 batters in 70 innings with only 26 walks for a nearly 4.0 K/BB ratio. He would be a great addition whether he is the closer or the primary set-up man. Draft him with confidence. Vinnie Pestano is another good option for Holds but likely is not in the mix for Saves.

Chicago Cubs: Jose Veras/Pedro Strop. Veras saved 21 games for the Stros in 2013 while blowing 4. He was traded to the Tigers once the Stros were out of it, and became one of the Tigers set up men where he accrued 9 holds as well, and had nearly a 1.0 K/9 for the season. That is worth owning. Pedro Strop came in with a 10.36 K/9, but also put a lot of guys on base en route to a 1.238 WHIP which is not very closer worthy. Many believe he has the stuff to close though, and would be the guy to own in June/July when Veras gets traded to a contender again. Kevin Greg is not in the way in 2014, leaving James Russell as the only other reliever with experience on the North Side. Russell is more conducive to set up duty and should chip in 20 + Holds.

Chisox: Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Ryan Webb On the South Side, there is a similar situation to Colorado. Jones can bring it but has some control issues, (At this writing he is unquestionably in the lead for Closer) Lindstrom is veteran insurance but more of a specialist then closer material, Webb pitched well in relief in Baltimore last season, but is also more of a specialist. Chicago also has Scott Downs, and Ronald Belisario. All 5 of these Releivers had at least 20 Holds and 30 IRS last season. Scott Downs is one of the ALL-TIME Holds Leaders, and still one of the more reliable sources.

Seattle Mariners: Fernando Rodney/Danny Farquhar This entry is here only because the Fantasy Baseball Community seems to always be waiting for Rodney to implode. He is not the most graceful performer and you should not expect him to help your ratios, but not many closers have more saves then he does over the last two seasons. However, Fernando RodneySeattle has a stable of flame throwing Future Closers, and one of them, Danny Farquhar ended 2013 as the closer and did ok after Tom Wilhelmsen’s train finally left the station.  Even if Farquhar does not get the gig he can fill up the box with a  lot of k’s as he was 7th in baseball for all Closers with a 12.77 K/9 in 2013(10th in the game for all relievers) And, with a K/BB of nearly 4.0 that puts him just outside Elite territory with guys such as Aroldis Chapman and Ernie Frieri. Draft Farq with confidence. Rounding out that flame throwing stable are Charlie Furbush & Stephen Pryor who both have bright futures and can give you Holds and K’s right now. (Though Pryor may not be ready for Opening Day due to a 2013 back injury.)

The next four bullpens are led by an established MLB Closer, but all four are either injured or prone to injury, making their 2nd and 3rd in command that much more valuable and sought after at the draft.

Texas Rangers: Neftali Feliz/Joakim Soria/Tanner Scheppers/Alexi Ogando This may be the most interesting Closer battle in MLB as both Feliz & Soria have closed successfully in the past, but both are coming off injury. Scheppers is healthy but probably more suited to set-up duties at this stage, and was 7th in Baseball with 27 Holds in 2013. He may be a safer pick then the loser of the Closer battle, and could even end up with a lot of Saves. But, to make it more interesting, at this writing Scheppers is being considered for a rotation spot as well, and Alexi Ogando, who was once a Tex SP as well as the Closer for a minute is also in the mix after coming back from injuries of his own. There is no debating that all four of these guys have immense talent, the questions are many however. A lot will depend on the relative health of these guys on opening day, as well as the decisions the team will make as to how to deploy these very versatile pitchers. Versatility is great in MLB, but makes it hard for us to plan our drafts in fantasy. I think Feliz will win the closer job, and the other three stay in the pen to start the season. So, if I am looking for Holds, I’m drafting Tanner Scheppers. Soria & Ogando make for good end game flyers. 

San Diego Padres: Huston Street/Joaquin Benoit   Like Rex Brothers, I’m all in on Joaquin Benoit, just as I was last season. He excelled both as Detroit’s Set-Up man and later as their Closer, netting me both Holds and Saves. Street could lose his job two ways even if he is effective. 1. He is injury prone and 2. He will be a prime trade target of contenders if he is healthy mid season. So, Benoit will get saves again, even if less then the 24 he accrued in 2013. Other hard throwing relievers that should get a lot of Holds, if not Saves should Benoit be traded also, are DaleThayer (9.0 K/9), Nick Vincent (9.5 K/9) & Alex Torrez (9.6 K/9).

New York Mets:  Bobby Parnell/Vic Black/Jose Valverde NYM We know Parnell is the closer and can handle the job, if healthy. But he was hurt the last couple of seasons missing time in each. There is very little in the way of Closer Insurance or even top Middle Relievers to count on. Vic Black is probably the best bet to set up and backup Parnell. That is a lot of pressure for a pitcher who has not yet had success above Triple A. The other option is Jose Valverde, who the Mets brought in as added Closer insurance, but he has not been reliable the last few years, lost his job to Benoit in Detroit last season and has not been a Middle Reliever in years. So, outside of Parnell, I can’t recommend any relievers from the Mets.

Tampa Bay Rays: Grant Balfour/Jake McGee/Heath Bell/Joel Peralta If you wanted Saves and Holds in 2013, the Rays had you covered. Joel Peralta (9.3 K/9) not only led MLB with 41 Holds, but that set the ALL Time record for Holds in a season (granted Holds have only been tracked since 1999) Jake McGee was 5th in MLB with 28 more Holds and had aperalta 10.77 K/9 to go with it. Late in the season they brought over Heath Bell and his 10.0 K/9 from Arizona and he pitched will in set up duties as well adding another 8 Holds. All three return to set up for new Closer Grant Balfour, who they probably did not need to sign, but got a discount when Balfour failed a physical for his original suitor Baltimore. Other then several years where Balfour missed time and that failed physical, we can’t think of any reason why any of the three next in line will get any Saves at all. Can you?  I’d have no issue drafting any of them, but my money is on Peralta, then Mcgee as the ones to draft.

Now we will talk about the best Set-Up Relievers on teams that are not facing imminent changes in their Closer Position. These are pitchers you will draft for Holds if your league counts them, and Strikeouts and Ratio help even if they don’t. Drafting and playing a few of these Pitchers will do so much more for your stats no matter what format you play in then drafting a bench full of marginal or mediocre multi- positional back-up hitters.  I realize that is hard to wrap around for some people, so perhaps we can do an article on that sometime. I will try to put these in order of teams with the best and deepest group and who I would draft first, and will key on K/9 ratio, skill level, closer experience, and likelihood to accrue Holds and maybe some Saves.

Washington Nats: Tyler Clippard & Drew Storen. Clippard has been one of the best set-up men in MLB for a few years now, and often comes off the board before the last 10 closers are chosen. K Rates near 10, minuscule ERA’s and microscopic WHIP’s accompany his nearly 10 vulture wins and in 2013 he was 2nd in MLB with 33 Holds. We hope this machine never wins a closer role. Drew Storen was drafted to be the next Craig Kimbrell, but control problems haveclippardclippard3 held him back, even earning him a demotion to the minors for a while, but, the talent is there. In 2013 he was 16th in MLB with 24 Holds while chipping in 3 Saves, 4 W’s and a K rate near 9. Don’t ask him to help your ratios at this point though. Oh, Clippard wants to be known as the reliever with the hottest girl in baseball, and we can’t argue with him.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Mark Melancon, Tony Watson.  Melancon was the RP to own in 2013. He was not only 10th in MLB in holds, had a K Rate near 9, WHIP under 1.0, but also chipped in 16 Saves when Jason Grilli got hurt. This guy should be a closer, and if anything happens to Grilli again, he will be. Watson was 20th in MLB in Holds with 22 and had great ratios, though not much of a K pitcher. Hmm, the last two top flight Set-Up men came up as Yankees, wonder what they got?

Oakland A’s: Ryan Cook, Luke Gregerson & Sean Doolittle  Nope, I don’t get it either.  There are probably enough potential Closers in this pen to stock the whole AL West. The A’s must have plans to win it all this season.  If Johnson has his typical season, there will be no saves for these guys, but all are worthwhile contributors in Holds and other stats.  All three were top 20 in MLB in Holds in 2013, with Doolittle 10th with 26 and Gregerson right after him with 25.  Cook had an “off” year by his own standards set in 2012 and “only” had 23 Holds and 2 Saves with 6 Wins, a 9.0 K/9 and a slight regression in the ratios with a 2.54/1.292 slash. He has been next in line to close for a few years now performing admirably as the closer for a chunk of 2012. Doolittle might actually have more talent, albeit a whole 1.0 less in K/9. But, he only walked 13 batters en route to a .957 WHIP and chipped in 5 Wins and a couple of Saves. Gregerson was far more wild with a whole 18 walks bumping his WHIP all the way “up” to 1.01. He also chipped in 6 W’s, 4 Saves and sported an 8.68 K/9. He also has some closing experience from his days in San Diego. All three of them would be in my draft queue once we reached the mid rounds.

It must be in vogue to have former Closers to Set Up as these next 7 teams have at least 1 former Closer in the pen.

Arizona Diamondbacks: JJ Putz, Brad Ziegler, David Hernandez.  JJ Putz has been a closer, and a successful one most of his career.  Last season, however, an injury may have cost him half a season and ultimately his job. He logged 6 Saves in 2013, but also blew 5, and logged 6 holds as well, with his usual low ERA and near 10 K/9. The Snakes traded for Addison Reed in the off-season, knocking Putz down in the pecking order. But, as long as he is there and healthy, he is a threat to regain his job. Reed saved 40 games for the Chisox in 2013, but also blew 8 and pitched to an ERA near 4, so he is not guaranteed a permanent hold on the role. David Hernandez has been one of the best and most stable relievers of the last decade, and he should be good for 15-25 Holds and a good amount of K’s. He is no longer a threat to theziegler Closer role. But, the Arizona pitcher I want to own is Brad Ziegler. In a league that recognized middle relievers, Ziegler put up this line in 2013: 8 Wins, 13 Saves, 11 Holds, 32 IRS and a 2.22/1.13 set of ratios. That was good for 10th place for all relievers in such a league. He is like the Alex Rios of Relief Pitchers. He won’t lead the league in any cats, but he ‘ll be in the top 20 in nearly ALL of them. He is also challenging Tyler Clippard for the hottest girl in Relief Pitching. Well, he is.

Boston Red Sox: Edward Mujica, Junichi Tazawa. In 2013 for the Cards, Mujica only walked 5 batters in 65 games. He also saved 37 of them. Unfortunately he blew 4 down the stretch and lost the gig. Setting up for a perennial AL WS contender won’t be so bad.  Tazawa was supposed to be the closer, but he blew 8 Saves before ever getting one. Uehara took the gig and never let go. But, Tazawa and his 10.0 K/9 did log 25 Holds which was top 12 in the MLB. The Closer Merry-go-Round goes round and round. I would not hesitate to own any of them.

LA Dodgers: Brian Wilson, Chris Perez. Both are former closers. Wilson was once one of the best, but also got to meet Dr. James Andrews 2 years ago and is just now getting his feet under him. Can he be a Set Up man again? Perez has wilsonlogged full time saves for several years in Cleveland but was always on the edge of a volcano. Prilocec was invented because of him. Cleveland decided to go in a different direction, so Perez is a Set Up man again. If i have room on my roster i might stash Wilson to see what happens, but other then that, we’ll have to wait till my next article to find out the LAD Reliever that I want to own.

Toronto Blue Jays: Sergio Santos, Steve Delabar, Dustin McGowan.  Something would have to happen to Casey Janssen for Santos to get another chance at closing. In the meantime he is Toronto’s best Set Up man and good for dustin ballHolds. Steve Delabar is ownable because he has a K/9 rate of nearly 13.0 which is sick. McGowan is on this list because I once met him when the Jay’s AA team played in New Haven.  I met Alex Rios the same day. The Romance of Baseball.

St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Motte, Kevin Siegrist, et.al.  Motte was the closer till he blew out his arm before the 2013 season when Mujica took over, he then lost his effectiveness so Rosenthal took over, and now Motte is back. It seems he had to prove himself for a long time before and now he will again. I bet he closes again, whether for the Cards or elsewhere in years to come. He should be a good MR once he gets his legs under him. Kevin Siegrist quietly pitched in 45 games with an 11.3 K/9. He somehow snuck by the radar with an ERA of 0.55 and a WHIP of 0.882. Some regression? Sure.  Then what? I’d keep an eye on him. et.al., We all know thatyukon-jason every pitcher who drinks the water in St. Louis becomes an All Star. In my next article we’ll talk about some serious specialists that walked under the Arch in 2013.

Milwaukee Brewers: K-Rod, Brandon Kintzler.  Francisco Rodriguez pitched pretty well in 2013, chipping in 10 Saves and good ratios, and even keeping his nickname fresh with a 10.5 K/9. It is not as if Jim Henderson is a top 10 closer either. Brandon Kintzler has been improving year by year, except for his K Rates, but still chipped in 27 Holds, tied for 6th in MLB. I’d own them both.

Cincinnati Reds: Jonathan Broxton, JJ Hoover, Sam Lecure, Manny Parra, Sean Marshall. Wow, why so many? Well, moments before I posted this article I saw the replay of what happened to Aroldis Chapman’s face yesterday.When

you throw that hard, the comebacker is that much harder, and we have some broken bones around the eyes, which is not good for anyone, let alone a MLB pitcher. So, till we hear otherwise, I assume one of the guys above will be closing if not more then one of them.  The rest will be putting up the same high K-Rates they put up in 2013. Broxton used to be an All Star Closer with the Dodgers and is working his way back from injury himself.  K-Rates: Broxton – once otherworldly, Hoover – 9.0 & 13 Holds, Lecure – 10.0 & 17 Holds, Parra – 11.0 & 16 Holds, Marshall – Another Allstar injury comeback. I’d take a chance on any one of them.

The rest of these Relievers will be listed by team, followed by 2013 K-Rates and Holds or other relevant stats. If I list them, I’d own them.

Matt Thornton, NYY – 6.23 K/9, 19 Holds. Did I mention he is in the top 20 all time for Holds in MLB history.

Shawn Kelly, NYY – 12.9 K/9 11 Holds  What will the Yanks do if Robertson fails?  Not an option.

Jordan Walden, Atl – 10.34 K/9 14 Holds

David Carpenter, Atl – 10.14 K/9 12 Holds. Honorable Atl mention goes to Johnny Venters who should pitch in 2014.

Al Alberquerque, Det – 13.0 K/9, 10 Holds, best name in pitching. Bruce Rondon, Det-Trying to make a name for himself.

Kelvin Hererra, KC – 11.5 K/9, 20 Holds He should be one of the first MR’s off the board.

Aaron Crow, KC – 8.25 K/9 19 Holds.

Luke Hochevar, KC – 10.5 K/9 9 Holds 1.92 ERA and 0.825 WHIP  Yeah, KC has a deep pen. More in the next article.

Joe Smith, LAA – 8.0 K/9 25 Holds

Dane De La Rosa, LAA – 8.0 K/9 20 Holds.

Mike Dunn, Mia – 9.5 K/9 18 Holds

AJ Ramos, Mia – 9.7 K/9 11 Holds

Santiago Casilla, SF – 7.0 K/9 23 Holds. Romo, Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt have been together seemingly forever. No?casilla

Antonio Bastardo, PHI – 10.0 k/9 14 Holds  Mike Adams is working his way back from injury.

Jared Burton, Min – 8.3 K/9 27 Holds  Burton is another who should be one of the first MR’s off the board.

Casey Fien, Min – 10.6 K/9 17 Holds

Brian Duensing, Min – 8.26 K/9 15 Holds

If you take nothing else from this article, remember to draft relievers to fill those last few roster spots. You will thank me when (enter name of closer of your choice) gets hurt and you already have his replacement on your roster when your buddies are scurrying to the waiver wire trying to find him.  See you next time when we discuss the forgotten men of Fantasy Baseball.  The Specialist Relievers. (I promise, it will be shorter.)

I'm an accountant and an amateur writer of fiction and sports commentary, mostly baseball. I've been a student of the game of baseball since the Dinosaurs roamed the earth, or at least since a few years before the world knew what a designated hitter was. Otherwise, I like "antique" cars of the 60's and 70's and have been a fantasy baseball fanatic since my first draft many years ago. I live in CT with my wife Megan of 25 years, our daughter Caitlin and their (their) cats. I'm also the better looking of the two guys in the the photo.

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2 Comments

  1. Pingback: “65 Mustangs” HELP WANTED: Reliable, Healthy Closers. Will Overpay. «

  2. Pingback: “65 Mustangs”: STOP THE MADNESS!! A Practical guide to dealing with the constant chase for SAVES. «

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