Archive for Relief Pitchers

2015 Roto Sigh Young

It’s best of and worst of week at RotoGraphs. I’m here with 2015’s worst starting pitchers.

There’s a lot of ways to approach this. A lot of pitchers’ values are conditional upon their circumstances, so I’ve tried to keep this in mind when creating this list. When it comes down to it, though, this is all just one man’s opinion.

Fantasy Pros calculated the aggregate average draft position (ADP) using several premier fantasy baseball websites, so that’s the value upon which I’ve based my decisions.

But first, let us acknowledge 2015’s All-Injury Sigh Young Squad:

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Bullpen Report: September 30, 2015

• He allowed a two-run homer to Lucas Duda, but Ken Giles otherwise held on for his 14th save of the year. Giles was a top tier non-save relief option last year and he’s kept it up this season while accumulating saves. His K% dropped to 29.6% from a ridiculous 38.6% last year but a 30% strikeout rate is still elite and although he’ll continue to close on the Phillies, Giles should be a prime target in 2016.

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Bullpen Report: September 28, 2015

• Although Matt Williams let Jonathan Papelbon stay in the game after his throat grab on Bryce Harper, he’s now been suspended by the Washington Nationals for four games. Other people have been discussing the fight all day so I’ll only talk as it relates to the bullpen. I wouldn’t necessarily expect Papelbon to be welcomed with open arms after his suspension is over so his days of closing might be done this season and possibly even next year as well. I’ve removed him from the grid, putting Casey Janssen in his place. Matt Thornton threw a scoreless ninth today in a four-run game and could also be used in the ninth in Papelbon’s absence.

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Relievers Who Could Start Down the Stretch

It’s September, so innings limits, pitch limits, etc. tend to be a topic of discussion. Some teams are going the way of a six man rotation a la the Mets (well, until Matt Harvey gets shut down for the regular season) or moving starters to the bullpen such as the Nationals and Joe Ross. Regardless of the route teams decide to opt for, here are a few relievers who I suspect will get at least one or two starts in the final weeks.

Tyler Lyons, Cardinals — This is the first name that jumps to my mind when I think of RP/SP guys. He’s already made seven big league starts, and while the Cards aren’t set on a hard limit for Carlos Martinez, both he and Jaime Garcia would probably benefit from an occasional extra day or two of rest, or even a skipped start. Lyons is largely unowned, and is available in over 98 percent of CBS, ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. For someone who owns a 8.07 K/9 (20.2 percent) and a 4.39 FIP/3.91 xFIP in 100 1/3 innings career as a starter, he has uses in deep leagues where you’re looking for a win.
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Z-Contact% as a Function of Strictly a Pitcher’s Fastball

A couple of weeks ago, I investigated Justin Verlander‘s resurgence. I found reasons to validate his hot streak but turned up additional question marks along the way.

One of them was his zone contact rate (Z-Contact%). At 79.7 percent, it would have been the second-lowest of his career by several percentage points (despite not performing “at peak”). However, I realize now, unfortunately, that I must have encountered a glitch in the leaderboards — his Z-Contact% as of August 21 (because the post, despite running the same day as his Aug. 26 start, was published prior to it) was 85.7 percent.

Regardless, it got me thinking what affects a pitcher’s zone contact rate because it correlates very strongly with strikeout rate (R-squared = .594). User DoubleJ speculated about the metric via comment on one of last week’s posts:

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Bullpen Report: September 8, 2015

• Rough night for the Nationals pen against the Mets. With a six run lead in the seventh, Blake Treinen, Felipe Rivero and Drew Storen walked six batters, allowing six earned runs to blow the lead. In the next inning Jonathan Papelbon gave up the go-ahead homer to Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Jeurys Familia wasn’t perfect allowing a few baserunners but held on for his 38th save of the season. The Mets have done a nice job with their in-season additions this year and it’s no different with the bullpen where Addison Reed (two strikeouts in a scoreless seventh) and Tyler Clippard (two strikeouts in a perfect eighth) have helped strengthen the bridge to Jeurys.

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Bullpen Report: September 1, 2015

A quick rundown of the early games as we head into September.

• With Brad Ziegler in need of rest after a rough outing on Monday, the Diamondbacks went to Dan Hudson for the save against the Rockies. After two hits, two strikeouts and an earned run, Hudson netted his third save of the year. Ziegler’s worm killing ways (73% GB%) are still first in line but Hudson has cemented his role in the pecking order if anything were to happen to Ziegler.

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Bullpen Report: August 31, 2015

• After a throw back performance by Bartolo Colon (8 shutout innings, nine strikeouts, and five baserunners) Jeurys Familia was called on for the save. Familia wasn’t sharp, allowing three baserunners and an earned run but otherwise escaped with a 3-1 lead and his 36th save. Familia’s ERA has jumped since the first half but he’s actually pitching better of late with a higher K% and lower B% than he had earlier this season. On the year he has a 1.78/2.83/2.64 ERA/FIP/xFIP line and should continue to rack up effective saves over the last few weeks of the season.

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Bullpen Report: August 25, 2015

• Non-closing news: It looks like Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler are seeing some late inning action in Atlanta. Detwiler has been less successful than Jackson while on the Braves and has been pitching worse than he was last year as a full time reliever. Jackson has been decent in his first go around strictly in relief, pitching to a 3.13/3.44/4.10 ERA/FIP/xFIP line. As expected his velocity has ticked up a bit to 94 mph and although his swinging strike rate has shown some improvement, he’s yet to see an increase in his strikeout rate. There could be some future improvement in that category assuming he stays out of the rotation. I wouldn’t expect much moving forward this season from Jackson but he could see the ninth if/when Arodys Vizcaino needs a day off and it wouldn’t shock me to see Jackson be more effective next year, with more repetition out of the pen.

Vincent Velasquez saw some time earlier this season out of the rotation and although he wasn’t amazing, he showed solid potential. He’s likely to enter the rotation again next year but for the rest of 2015 he could be used primarily out of the pen. Velazquez threw two innings with three strikeouts (and one earned run) against the Yankees tonight and teams looking for ratio help and strikeout totals could look his way. He’s likely to see multiple innings each appearance and outings like tonight could be more common in September.

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Tyler Duffey & Tom Wilhelmsen: Deep League Wire

The pickings feel slim with just one more week of August ahead of us, but fortunately, the fantasy dumpster is always crawling with something of use. Whether you’re looking to outfit your team with a couple of spare parts or just want to plug holes in the aftermath of a firesale, here are two players who can help your cause.

As usual, the players mentioned in this space are better suited for mono leagues, and the ownership percentages are by way of CBS.
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