The landscape of many team’s bullpens are likely to change in the forthcoming weeks as MLB’s trade deadline approaches. With that in mind, those in leagues that do not use a waiver or FAAB system should be camping out by the computer or glued to their fancy hands-free device ready to pounce on the next man in.
However, we’re not there just yet. So, here’s a look at a few lesser-owned middle relievers who’ve been providing owners in holds leagues some joy over the past two weeks.
All ownership percentages reflect Yahoo! leagues.
Casey Fien | Twins (1%) – Twenty-nine-year-old Casey Fien (pronounced “Feen”) is 2-2 with a 2.98 ERA (2.71 FIP) and a 0.87 WHIP in 48 appearances this season. He stumbled out of the gate posting a 4.00 ERA in March/April (9 IP) followed by a 5.40 ERA effort in 13.1 May innings. But June and July have been a different story as Fien has posted a 0.87 and 0.93 ERA respectively. It appears that Fien improved the control of his offerings as the season progressed, resulting in fewer free passes allowed. Fien posted a 8.3% BB% in March/April, 7.6% in May, 0.00% in June and has allowed just 2.9% of batters to reach via the walk in July. Fien also surrendered a few long balls in the early going but has been able to keep all but one in the park since the beginning of June.
And as Jared Burton continues to struggle, Fien has been thrust into a more significant role in the backend of the Twinkes’ bullpen. He’s earned four holds in the past two weeks with a 1.59 ERA and a 22.7% K%. The 1.41 WHIP over that same time frame isn’t exactly sexy, but for those in need of holds — and maybe even a long shot saves candidate should the Twins decide to sell off a Glen Perkins at the deadline — Fien makes for a fine add.
Charlie Furbush | Mariners (1%) – The past two weeks have been extremely kind to Mr. Furbush. He’s been summonsed to the hill four times (5.1 IP) and has earned three holds while posting a 0.00 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. The veteran fanned 40% of opponents without surrendering a walk. He’s had a few blow ups this season — allowing two earned runs in five separate appearances — but that’s one of the risks fantasy owners take on when rostering middle relievers. I’d have no problem giving Furbush a roster spot if my reservoir of holds were running dry.
Seth Maness | Cardinals (0%) – Like Furbush, 25-year-old Seth Maness pocketed three holds in the last two weeks in five trips to the bump. His 2.70 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 14% K% on the season really don’t make him all that interesting, but his WHIP is just 1.09 over in his last five appearances while his strikeout rate spiked a bit to 21%. Maness fails to miss many bats (6.4% SwStr%) so the likelihood of his strikeout rate ballooning is fairly slim, but respectable ratios and the chance at some hold make the young right-hander rosterable in deeper leagues that reward holds.
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