Top SP/RP Relievers

One group of players that are usually under utilized are relievers that have SP qualification. For leagues that have daily transactions, these pitchers can fit in nicely for real starting pitchers on their off days. They are must haves in leagues that count holds. Also, they may vulture a save or win here and there and help pad your rate stats.

Today I am going to look at what I feel are the top SP/RP relievers. To make my cut, I was looking for relievers with a K/BB rate over 2 and a chance of possibly being the closer during the season.

All owned rates are from ESPN.

Aaron Crow (Kansas City) – 2.63 K/BB, 0.5% owned – Aaron was a starter his entire career until the Royals moved him to the bullpen this season. He has responded spectacularly with an ERA of 0.84 and a WHIP of 1.078. I would expect these numbers to come up, especially since his FIP and xFIP stand at 2.66 and 3.02. His strand rate of 97.2% will not be maintained.

Even if his ERA goes up, his strikeout numbers will still accumulate nicely. Also, he is the set up man for Joakim Soria. Soria has had a couple of DL stints in the last few years and is the talk of trade rumors. Crow has a chance of stealing a few saves this season.

David Hernandez (Arizona) – 2.20 K/BB, 0.4% owned – David has been decent this season with a WHIP of 1.21 and an ERA of 1.74. Like Crow, I would expect his ERA to go up near his FIP (2.85) and xFIP (3.66).

He is currently the setup man for J.J. Putz, so he looks to be next in line for saves if Putz goes down.

David Pauley (Seattle) – 2.80 K/BB, 0.1% owned – David has been lights out in the 24.1 innings he has pitched for Seattle this season. Even though I didn’t look for players with an ERA lower than their FIP and xFIP, he also fits into this group with Crow and Hernandez. His ERA sits at 1.11 while his FIP (2.49) and xFIP (3.38) are higher.

He started out the season as the long reliever for Seattle, but now looks to be one of the setup men in the pen. I would not be surprised to see him close at some point in the season in Seattle

Marc Rzepczynski (Toronto) – 3.60 K/BB, 0.0% owned – Marc’s ERA (2.75) is more inline with his FIP (2.80) and xFIP (2.77), so I don’t expect much correction. His K/BB ratio was the best of the 4 pitchers I looked at today, so his strikeouts will be there.

Shawn Camp looked to be Toronto’s main setup man to start the season, but it seems like Marc is possibly taking over that role. An injury to Francisco, and Marc could could possibly jump in the closer role.

*Side note: Each of the four of these relievers have accumulated 0.4 WAR so far this season.

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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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JP Howell qualifies at SP in Yahoo leagues. Would he make this list if he hadn’t just made his first appearance? Crow, Hernandez, and Rzep are all taken in my 16-teamer 6×6 with holds, but I’ve been stashing Howell on my DL. Should I drop him for Pauley/Camp? My top priority with this decision is holds.