Scheming For Relief: Betances, Warren, Smith and Withrow

This week we’ll take a look at four middle relievers with at least five appearances, a 0.00 ERA and a 25% K% or better. These middles may or may not be owned in your leagues, depending on depth, but they sure can be relevant in holds, solds and standard leagues…

Warning: small sample sizes to follow.

All ownership percentages reflect Yahoo! leagues.

Dellin Betances | Yankees | 2%

Twenty-six-year-old Dellin Betances has been lighting up radar guns early this season, which many of you probably know at this point. The right-hander’s four seamer is averaging 95.1 mph while his cutter is coming in a bit hotter at an average of 96.9 mph. Through five appearances (4.1 IP), Betances’ arsenal has been giving opponents all sorts of problems. He’s fanned 53.3% of the batters he’s faced while inducing swinging strikes at a 16.9% clip. Just three of the 15 batters Betances has faced have reached base (one hit, two walks). The youngster has two holds under his belt already, so those in holds and solds leagues should consider the add if he’s available. For those in standard leagues, Betances could even earn a roster spot to pad your strikeouts and hold your ratios steady.

Will Smith | Brewers | 2%

In eight appearances (7 IP), the former Royals middle reliever owns a 0.00 ERA (2.62 xFIP) with a 1.14 WHIP, a 32.1% K% and a 17.9% BB%. Additionally, Smith picked up his first career save to go along with three holds thus far in 2014. The walks are a bit worrisome — five of the 28 batters Smith has faced have reached via the free pass — but, if he can continue to rack up strikeouts, holds and add on the occasional save or win, Smith could be fairly reasonable asset, especially if you have shares elsewhere in the Brewers’ bullpen.

Adam Warren | Yankees | 6%

In just seven games, Warren has already picked up four holds and a save out of the Yankees’ bullpen. His impact in those categories will likely change some once David Robertson returns from a groin injury, but the ride the wave as long as you can. Through seven frames, Warren owns a clean 0.00 ERA (4.12 xFIP) with a 26.9% K% and a 11.5% BB%. The velocity on each of his four offerings appears to be up a tick, but opponents aren’t swinging and missing as much as they did last season (8.4% SwStr% vs. 10.8% SwStr%). In my opinion, Warren is the most short-term add of this bunch.

Chris Withrow | Dodgers | 8%

WIthrow is my favorite add of the bunch, but the least likely to be avialable in your leagues. Like the others, Withrow owns a perfect 0.00 ERA (1.79 xFIP) in seven appearances and owns the second-most impressive strikeout rate (44.8% K%) behind only Dellin Betances’ 53.3% K%. The velocity on the four seamer is down a tick early on, but his cutter, slider and curveball have each jumped by one mile per hour or more. With two holds, strikeouts and excellent ratios (so far) to offer potential fantasy suitors, Chris Withrow should be considered immediately for those in need. Heck, I’ve even added Withrow in two standard 12-team leagues without holds or solds.

We know you play in all sorts of leagues. So to help you fine-tune the analysis you’d like to read, we’ve added three tags to the categories on the right: Roto, Head to Head, and Daily Fantasy Update. Use these to get the information that is most relevant to your leagues!




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In addition to contributing to the RotoGraphs blog, you can find Alan at his own site, TheFantasyFix.com and follow his nonsense on Twitter @TheFantasyFix.


13 Responses to “Scheming For Relief: Betances, Warren, Smith and Withrow”

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  1. chri521 says:

    No Britton mention? SP/RP qualification also.

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    • Wish I could mention all the guys I’d like to add to be honest, but only have so much time/space. Appreciate the suggestion, I’ll look into guys with dual eligibility for the next piece. Thanks for reading!

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  2. Nasty Nate says:

    I’m always a roto fan of Santiago Casilla (6% owned in Yahoo leagues). Of course, reliever wins are hard to predict, but I think the Giants in the past few years have gotten one of the highest totals of reliever wins. Casilla is a guy they trust in tied and close games, so he is a good bet to help with your wins. Also, he is likely to get a few stray saves along the way (or even more if Romo has DL stints). He helps with ERA and WHIP as well.

    However, he does not get you the K help that a lot of setup men do. If he did, he wouldn’t be only owned 6% of the time.

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    • Eric says:

      I agree with you Nasty Nate. I have had Casilla for the last few years in my league. Of course, we use Holds. I let everyone else draft RPs real high up and just try to get the good cheap set up guys.

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    • Agreed, I own Casilla a few places as well. He didn’t fit the bill here due to his K%, unfortunately.

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      • I like that Machi guy on the giants more for Cheap Wins.
        He has 3 already I think. And casilla comes in with a lead already. Machi looks to be the tie or behind guy.

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  3. Rob says:

    Thoughts on Adam Ottavino? I picked him up in both my holds league and my saves-only, K/9 league. I am hoping for great rate stats and a shot at the closer role with Brothers struggling and Hawkins being just so old.

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  4. Question: What are “Solds”?

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  5. Pete says:

    In a 5×5 am I better off holding Rondon and Strop for saves (which I’m light on) or can I drop one to snag Withrow for ratios?

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