Scheming For Relief: Looking For Hurlers With Dual Eligibility

Many fantasy baseball championships are won on draft day. Others, with shrewd moves throughout the season. And (probably) a smaller portion of owners are able to hoist a flag by smoothly navigating their league’s settings to identify certain loopholes they can use to their advantage.

In some league variations, owners are have a fixed number of starting and relief roster spots to fill each-and-every day, so identifying lesser-owned hurlers with dual eligibility could be more valuable than most imagine. With that said, here is a short list of arms that said owners could slot into either their starting or relief roster spots in an attempt to gain an advantage in whatever categories they need to do so as we make the turn for the homestretch.

All ownership percentages reflect Yahoo! leagues.

Brian Duensing | Twins | 2%

If you’re looking for a hurler with both starting and relief pitcher eligibility who has the potential to grab you some holds, Brian Duensing is your guy. He’s notched three holds in the last month and posted an identical 0.96 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 12 appearances (9.1 IP). The Twins’ middleman also snuck in two wins and struck out more than 30% of the batters he’s faced in the last 30 days. Velocity on each of his offerings appears to be up a tad for the year, he’s inducing swinging strikes at a career rate (10.3% SwStr%) and he’s keeping batters from making contact on pitches both in and out of the zone better than ever. Come for the position flexibility, stay for the four category benefit.

Luke Hochevar | Royals | 4%

Hochevar’s ERA (2.16) over the last month is a bit higher than Duensing’s, however, he’s still at 1.79 on the year (2.77 FIP) with a 0.83 WHIP. His 38% K% over the last 30 days is more than double that of his career 16.2% K% and about nine points higher than his 29.2% K% on the season. And while the whiff rate may not stick at 38% for the remainder of the year, the spike in SwStr% to 13% in twenty-thirteen indicates not all of the improvement is a mirage. Like Duensing above, Hochevar possesses the ability to provide your fantasy squad with support in up to four categories.

Carlos Torres | Mets | 4%

The Metropolitan’s right-hander landed back in the starting rotation when the “All-World” Matt Harvey landed on the disabled list with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. You should hardly expect Torres to fill in a fraction of Harvey’s spikes, but maybe he’ll be able to haul in a few wins for your squad down the stretch while minimizing the damage to your ratios.

Michael Wacha | Cardinals | 18%

Wacha, one of the Cardinals’ top arms, burst onto the scene in the Spring and gave fantasy enthusiasts butterflies while selecting him as a potential “sleeper” in the late rounds of their drafts. But an overcrowded rotation bumped Wacha to the farm for the majority of the ‘13 campaign, until the youngster was recently recalled to jump into the rotation. Wacha dished a fine six-inning outing this week, but Jake Westbrook appears to be on the road to recovery, potentially bumping Wacha back to the ‘pen. While there is no exact blueprint for the remainder of Wacha’s season, he is still slated to start on Sunday against the Pirates. Potential opponents going forward include the Mariners, Rockies and Nationals if he were to stick in the rotation.

Brad Peacock | Astros | 2%

Obviously not as appealing as some of the other names on this list, but Brad Peacock could earn a look or two if you need to utilize his position eligibility. He’s racked up two wins and 19 strikeouts over the last month while keeping his ERA under four. Peacock’s 1.41 WHIP over that same time may force you to go in another direction, but desperate times cause for desperate measures and maybe sacrificing your WHIP to the fantasy gods is the way to go.

Martin Perez | Rangers | 30%

Perez is one of my favorite arms as of late and he could be yours too if you’re able to slot him into your fixed RP position going forward. No, he doesn’t possess the high strikeout numbers, but he’s racked up five wins with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in the last month. He may not be available in your leagues, but if he is, snatch him up and ride the wave.

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

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Gausman should be joining this list very soon if he hasn’t already!