In all likelihood, Brett Myers will be dealt at this year’s trade deadline. His eventual trade will cause a ripple effect in the Astros bullpen, moving a set up man to the ninth inning and a middle reliever up to a set up role. The options are currently Brandon Lyon — who actually may also be traded — and Wilton Lopez.
My gut says that Lyon gets moved to a contender needing some right-handed bullpen help. He is not a great reliever, but he is having a solid season with a SIERA under 3.00 due to a huge spike in his strikeout rate at 25%. Lyon has just five holds, so he is a good reliever to speculate on in holds leagues as if he does get moved, he will likely see his set up opportunities rise. If he does not get moved, the Astros will either make him the closer or top set up man, improving his value in at least one category. In leagues that count for holds and saves, Lyon looks like a very attractive target.
Lopez, to me, looks like the most likely closing candidate when all is said and done. He has an xFIP and SIERA well under 3.00, backed by a tremendous 3.2% walk rate. A 26-3 strikeout-to-unintentional walk rate is incredibly impressive and should provide Lopez with some downside risk in the back end of the bullpen, as the likelihood of him walking the park is extremely low. He has home run issues and relievers tend to have short leashes with these types of roles, but I do not really see a way that Lopez does not end up being either the closer or primary eighth inning man once Myers is moved. He, like Lyon, looks like a quality add at this point.
The rest of the Astro bullpen is rather inconsistent. Wesley Wright is a good LOOGY holds target, as he leads the team with 12, but his rate stats are ugly, though his 21.1% HR/FB rate should eventually drop. Fernando Abad is in a similar situation, as a stellar strikeout-to-walk ratio comes along with a very high home run rate. Abad may not be a bad reliever to speculate on if you are looking for cheap LOOGY holds, especially if Wright’s ERA does not drop.
There is nobody else worth owning in fantasy formats in the Astro bullpen. Myers is a good target if you are set in saves and looking for holds, as he is most likely to enter into set up role when traded. Lyon and Lopez are both stellar adds in leagues that account for holds and saves, and Abad may be worth speculating on in holds leagues. I hope that the Astro bullpen situation is now a bit more clear.