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Scheming For Relief: Harris, Ottavino and Carpenter

It’s time to panic! No, it’s not time to panic, but no matter how many times we tell you that the season is a marathon, not a sprint, some just can’t help from over analyzing and heading to the waiver wire for the short-term solution in their middle reliever slots. Just see all the action over at the Bullpen Report. I can understand the chase to find the next guy for saves, but with all the early-season injuries and movement in the bullpens, is it worth risking a high-upside holds guy? Depends on you team’s needs I suppose.. At any rate, try not to panic too much.

This week we’ll take a look at a few middle relievers that may or may not be owned in your leagues, depending on depth, that could be relevant in holds, solds and standard leagues..

All ownership percentages reflect Yahoo! leagues.

Adam Ottavino | Rockies | 0%

We know small samples sizes are deceiving, but right-hander Adam Ottavino has looked superb in his first two innings of work out of the Rockies’ bullpen this season. Of the seven batters Ottavino has faced, he’s fanned five and surrendered just one hit. The 29-year-old did allow an inherited runner to score on a wild pitch — the 19th wild pitch of his career — but hopefully that won’t be a concern going forward. Ottavino owns a career 22.3% K%, which is fair for a middle, but we hope his career 9.4% BB% comes down a bit to not compromise your ratios. At zero percent owned, Ottavino is a guy to look at if you need some holds or solds.

Will Harris | Diamondbacks | 2%

Right-hander Will Harris has made two appearances out of the bullpen already for Kirk Gibson’s Diamondbacks. He’s faced ten batters in three full innings of work and has two holds and five strikeouts to show for it. The strikeout rates are going to regress as the season wears on, but Harris is the owner of a career 24.4% K% and 7% BB%, which is nothing to shake a stick at. With David Hernandez likely headed for Tommy John surgery, Harris could run with the eighth-inning gig and earn a bulk of holds in the desert this season.

David Carpenter | Braves | 4%

Carpenter is coming off of a stellar 2013 campaign thanks in part to an increase in strikeout rate and reduction in walk rate. As Colin noted during the preseason, Carpenter appeared to get a bit lucky on balls in play (.260 BABIP) and strand rate (90.2%), so we may want to tread with a bit of caution here. In two appearances thus far in ‘14, he’s allowed one earned run on one hit and a walk, while striking out two opponents. The 29-year-old right-hander has two holds under his belt in two appearances. Let’s hope he can fend off the regression monster.

Paco Rodriguez | Dodgers | 6%

Paco Rodriguez is likely owned in your holds and solds leagues, but if by chance he’s available, the time to pounce is now. Dodgers’ skipper Don Mattingly has summoned the left-hander to the mound in four games already this young season — and he’s earned holds in two of those appearances. In 2.2 innings on the bump, Rodriguez has faced ten batters, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out three. Last season he racked up 22 holds with a 2.32 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP and a 30.3% K%. Paco is one of those middle relievers I would consider adding in my standard mixed leagues for steady support in my ratio and strikeout categories while benefiting from the occasional scab win.