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6/18/1986 (30 y, 9 m, 11 d)
2007 June Amateur Draft - Round: 5, Pick: 12, Overall: 166, Team: Florida Marlins
$10M / 2 Years (2016 - 2017)
Cishek (hip) threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Wednesday, his third since undergoing surgery, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. (3/29/2017)
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Cardinals Acquire Steve Cishek
Paul Swydan (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Steve Cishek made a decent splash in his first full season with the Fish. He started the season with the Marlins, but was sent down to Double-A a couple of times. Once he was finally up permanently with the team, he excelled. In 2011 he had a 9.0 strikeout rate, 3.1 walk rate, .291 batting average on balls in play and 0.2 home run rate (only one home run allowed in over 50 innings). The extremely low home run rate was helped by a 57% ground-ball rate. These stats helped lead to a 2.63 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. His ERA is comparable to his ERA estimators: 2.46 FIP, 3.12 xFIP and 2.78 SIERA. Expect some level of regression for 2012, but he is a decent pitcher. His main problem is that he will probably not given the chance to close in Miami. His only value is among other relievers with a sub-three strikeout-to-walk rate in leagues that count holds. (Jeff Zimmerman)
The Quick Opinion:
While he is a good reliever, Cishek's fantasy value is limited in Miami.
Steve Cishek is an excellent reliever... against right-handed batters. He struggles quite a bit against lefties with his sidewinding motion, posting a .340 wOBA facing righties in 2012. Nonetheless, Cishek was a cool 14-for-15 in save opportunities in 2012 while finishing with a 3.22 FIP/3.81 xFIP. Additionally, Cishek's shown an ability to keep the ball on the ground with a ground-ball rate over 50% but unfortunately, that number drops to 40.3% against lefties. Regardless of his platoon splits, Cishek is the undisputed closer for the Marlins and will bring fantasy teams saves and strikeouts -- he has a solid 9.24 strikeouts per nine for his career. Lefty Mike Dunn might get a shot against a particularly strong left-handed hitter but Cishek is the closer and should be useful on the Marlins and teams that draft him to their squad. (
The Quick Opinion:
With Heath Bell now in Arizona, Steve Cishek will be closing games in Miami without having to constantly look over his shoulder.
Cishek is coming off the best season of his young career, as his 2.33 ERA and 2.98 xFIP were both career-bests. This is largely thanks to Cishek dramatically decreasing his walk rate, from 4.10 per nine innings in 2012 to 2.84 BB/9 in 2013. The 27-year-old accomplished this by throwing more first-pitch strikes than in either of his two previous full major-league seasons; he threw first-pitch strikes to 63.7% of the batters he faced last season, compared to 56.7% in 2012. The other big improvement Cishek made between 2012 and 2013 was his ability to get lefties out. He's a righty-killer, as he allowed right-handers to hit just .177/.233/.227 last year, but sidearm pitchers usually suffer from pretty bad splits. He was solid against lefties in 2011, allowing a weighted on-base average of just .280, but that figure ballooned to .340 in 2012, raising concerns about his ability to retire lefties regularly enough to be a full-time closer. He addressed those concerns head-on last season, holding lefties to a .285 wOBA. (
The Quick Opinion:
With the Marlins' acquisition of Carter Capps, there is another legitimate ninth-inning option on the roster, but there's no reason to replace a 27-year old closer coming off the best season of his career. Unless it's to trade him. If he struggles to start the season, Capps could get a look, but Cishek should be a solid mid-range fantasy closer again in 2014.
Last offseason, Cishek was thought to be a future trade candidate. The Marlins had other plans, though, namely outperforming expectations. Cishek stayed put, and racked up 39 saves in the process, posting the best fielding independent pitching marks of his career. He missed more bats than ever, posting a strikeout rate just over 30%. He did so, thanks to his slider, which he used 48% of the time, up nearly 12 points from 2013’s usage. That might not bode well for his long term prognosis, but it produced real results, and it makes sense for him to stay the course until something changes. Most importantly, though, Cishek was able to keep left-handed batters at bay, despite his extreme arm slot, as they posted a .261 weighted on-base average. As with most relievers, health is key, but in the world of ever-changing bullpens, Cishek’s performance earned a little more rope. (Landon Jones)
The Quick Opinion:
Closers come and go, but Cishek has proven himself to be a formidable option on an improving team. Save opportunities could be somewhat plentiful, and given his ability to limit damage and miss bats, he should capitalize on them once more.
The Mariners took a risk by signing Cishek, hoping he can be their closer and regain the form that made him one of the best relievers in baseball from 2011 to 2014. Cishek ran into all sorts of trouble with Miami early before being demoted and eventually traded to the Cardinals, where he was not a ton better. His fade was more surprising considering it came after a 2014 in which he posted career bests in the strikeout rate and FIP. Most of the 2015 troubles appeared to be with his slider. He throws it nearly half the time and it returned negative value for the first time in his career. It’s also worth noting that despite the positive results in 2014, his velocity and swinging strike rate were on a decline even then. Since he didn’t get “unlucky” in many of the obvious ways in 2015 and his failures with the Marlins were so public (despite ending the year with a decent 3.58 ERA) Cishek is likely to come at a discount in fantasy drafts. His great record for the four previous seasons make him worth the risk if he’s available at a cheap price, in case he regains his slider. (Adam McFadden)
The Quick Opinion:
Cishek has high upside and the closer’s spot in Seattle, making him a very nice option in fantasy drafts if he comes cheaply. Even when things fell apart last year he didn’t crush fantasy owners, so his floor appears to be quite steady.
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Updated: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 3:37 AM ET
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