Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Fantasy Relief: Bullpen bargains to be had

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
  •  

I have to thank Javy Guerra and Jim Johnson for proving that it's not worth Fantasy owners' time on Draft Day to be chasing closers.

As I pointed out last week, Guerra was drafted behind teammate and setup man Kenley Jansen in most formats, and Johnson was drafted behind both Dodgers relievers. On average, Johnson was drafted in the 19th round of Rotisserie formats and 20th round in Head-to-Head leagues (mixed leagues).

Let's not forget that Guerra and Johnson weren't even drafted in all Fantasy formats. Guerra's ownership was at 55 percent at the start of Week 1 and Johnson was at 39 percent. Their low ownership had a lot to do with uncertainty about their bullpen roles, but nonetheless it strengthens the point that Fantasy owners need to divert their resources to hitters and starting pitchers on Draft Day and only worry about saves in the mid-to-late rounds.

Top non-closers in Week 3 (H2H)
Player Points
1. Cory Luebke, RP, Padres 57.5
2. Pedro Strop, RP, Orioles 28.5
3. Anthony Bass, RP, Padres 27
4. Lance Lynn, RP, Cardinals 27
5. Jose Veras, RP, Brewers 23.5
6. Chris Sale, RP, White Sox 21.5
7. Luis Perez, RP, Blue Jays 20
8. Juan Cruz, RP, Pirates 18.5
9. Duane Below, RP, Tigers 18
10. Lucas Harrell, RP, Astros 17

Heading into Tuesday, Guerra was the highest-scoring closer (72 Fantasy points) and Johnson was second (63) in Head-to-Head formats. Behind them were Fernando Rodney (62.5), Grant Balfour (55), Chris Perez (52.5) and Rafael Betancourt (50.5) -- all players that were either nabbed off waivers or drafted in the late rounds.

Is that to say Jonathan Papelbon or Craig Kimbrel, who were the two-highest drafted closers in CBSSports.com leagues, were bad investments? Not at all. In the end, both closers will likely finish the year as top 10 Fantasy relievers.

But both players on average were going in the early rounds of drafts this spring, which definitely seems like a reach as we see the type of value you can get in the late rounds or off waivers when it comes to relievers.

What's done is done. We just have to learn from the past, but hopefully the way the 2012 season has started for closers will serve as a lasting memory when Draft Day 2013 rolls around.

Closing Time

Each week we'll break down closer situations worthy of further examination ...

Toronto: Sergio Santos is not having a good start to his Toronto career. First, he blows his first two save chances and now he's on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. As of Monday, Santos isn't expected to throw for 10-14 days. Francisco Cordero, who has 328 career saves, steps into the closer's role in Santos' absence.

Pittsburgh: We saw further proof in Week 3 (April 16-22) that the Pirates aren't ready to trust Evan Meek in a key late-inning role by leaning on Juan Cruz to close out games while Joel Hanrahan was hurt. Hanrahan returned over the weekend from a hamstring injury, but now we know who the Pirates will turn to in the event Hanrahan needs a rest or misses time again.

N.Y. Mets: Mets manager Terry Collins continues to back Frank Francisco as his closer despite some recent struggles. Francisco entered play Tuesday with a 23.14 ERA in his last three outings. Setup man Jon Rauch has an unblemished ERA through 8 1/3 innings and has experience as a closer, but Collins is committed to Francisco. Francisco said his issues stem from a flaw in his delivery, which he said he has fixed. Only time will tell if Francisco, who also has a balky left knee, will be able to hold off Rauch.

Miami: All is back to normal for Marlins closer Heath Bell, who blew his first two save chances this season. According to the Sun-Sentinel, all Bell needed was a pep talk from his wife. Bell's wife left him a Facebook message after his April 14 meltdown against the Astros. Bell called the message "inspirational." Fantasy owners aren't going to complain about the means of his turnaround with Bell back on track. He's 2 for 2 in save opportunities since blowing his first two saves. The Marlins and Fantasy owners can take their fingers off the panic button.

Top non-closers Week 3 (Roto)
Player Rank
1. Cory Luebke, RP, Padres 2
2. Pedro Strop, RP, Orioles 8
3. Jose Veras, RP, Brewers 15
4. Luis Perez, RP, Blue Jays 32
5. Anthony Bass, RP, Padres 35
6. Lance Lynn, RP, Cardinals 37
7. Clay Hensley, RP, Giants 43
8. Matt Belisle, RP, Rockies 45
9. Rafael Perez, RP, Indians 58
10. Marco Estrada, RP, Brewers 63

Washington: Manager Davey Johnson is sticking with his co-closer tandem of Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez, despite Lidge having blown two saves and Rodriguez a perfect 4 for 4. Lidge, who has a 5.14 ERA, admits to battling some location problems. He was very efficient for the Phillies the last two seasons when he wasn't injured and has years of experience as a closer. Rodriguez is new to the closer's role, which is why Johnson isn't giving up on his current approach. He probably doesn't want to put a ton of pressure on Rodriguez while continuing to ease him into the ninth-inning role.

San Francisco: Clay Hensley earned a save during an extra-inning win against the Mets on Friday. Don't be surprised if Hensley is in the mix for some save chances in Bruce Bochy's committee approach to the closer's role. Hensley worked as a setup man for Juan Oviedo with the Marlins and even had seven saves in 2010. However, Santiago Casilla (owned 51 percent of leagues) is the option Fantasy owners want to nab off waivers. We still feel he's the top candidate to get most of the save chances.

Call to the 'pen

Each week we'll break down pertinent Fantasy news with setup men and other relievers ...

Mitchell Boggs is emerging as the primary setup man for Cardinals closer Jason Motte. He has appeared in the eighth inning in four straight appearances and entered play Tuesday tied for second in the majors with five holds ... Chad Qualls is surprisingly getting a lot of setup work for closer Jonathan Papelbon, even with Antonio Bastardo and Jose Contreras healthy. All six of Qualls' appearances have come in the eighth inning and he already has four holds. He also has tossed six scoreless innings ... He might have lost out on the closer's role, but White Sox reliever Matt Thornton hasn't let it affect his performance. He's opened the year with eight scoreless innings and four holds ... Tigers manager Jim Leyland said pitcher Duane Below, who lost out on the final spot in the team's rotation this spring, will remain as the team's left-handed long reliever. Below's name surfaced as a potential rotation replacement while Doug Fister is on the disabled list, but Below has pitched so well in long relief that Leyland would rather keep him in that role ... Indians reliever Tony Sipp hasn't been efficient through his first seven outings, posting a 11.57 ERA and 2.14 WHIP, but that hasn't cost him his seventh-inning role. He has four holds through 4 2/3 innings and remains a viable Fantasy option in leagues that reward for that category ... Speaking of Holland, at least we now have a reason for his early-season struggles. Holland is going to be shut down for a few days and might not resurface in a game for at least three weeks. He has immense strikeout potential and is an option for holds when healthy, so he might be worth stashing in deeper Fantasy formats ... I'm not sure how long Cory Gearrin will be in the majors with Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson set to come off the disabled list on Sunday, but this kid is a reliever to watch. Gearrin posted a 7.85 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in his first taste of the majors last year, but he struck out 12.3 batters per nine innings. Before his recall Tuesday, Gearrin tossed 12 1/3 scoreless innings at Triple-A Gwinnett and had a 15-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. If he can stay in the majors, Gearrin might emerge as a viable Rotisserie Fantasy option.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Michael Hurcomb at @CBSHurc . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Mets SP Matt Harvey no match for Greinke in Saturday loss
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:07 pm ET) One might have assumed that Mets starter Matt Harvey had shed the inconsistency that had plagued him in late May and early June when he put together three successive strong performances.

But one might have assumed wrong.

Harvey needed to be on top of his game Saturday night against Dodgers stud Zack Greinke, but he was at the bottom. He gave up seven hits and walked five in five innings, leading to three runs. He fanned four along the way.

The right-hander, whose record fell to 7-6, gave up a solo home run to Adrian Gonzalez and RBI single to Alberto Callaspo in a fifth inning that all but doomed his team to defeat.


Twins RP Glen Perkins works clean inning Saturday for 27th save
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:04 pm ET) Twins closer Glen Perkins recorded his 27th save in Saturday's 5-3 win over the Royals. Perkins worked another perfect ninth inning, striking out a pair of batters on the way. The right-hander hasn't allowed a run in his last 11 appearances.

Royals' Joe Blanton loses second straight start on Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(11:01 pm ET) Royals right-hander Joe Blanton gave up four runs on nine hits over five innings in the 5-3 loss to the Twins on Saturday. Blanton struck out four and did not walk a batter, but he picked up his second consecutive loss.

Blanton (2-2, 3.74 ERA) got off to a bad start on Saturday, as he gave up a two-run home run to Joe Mauer in the first inning. He would give up another run later in the inning, before allowing an RBI triple to Trevor Plouffe in the fifth inning. 

After allowing two earned runs over 11 innings in his first two starts of the season, Blanton has now allowed eight runs in 7 2/3 innings.

It remains to be seen if he will get another start, as the Royals are expecting to have Yordano Ventura back from the disabled list next week sometime. 


Twins SP Mike Pelfrey goes four innings in no-decision Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:55 pm ET) Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey came away with another disappointing outing on Saturday. Pelfrey lasted just four-plus innings against the Royals. He allowed three runs on seven hits, while walking three and striking out three. Pelfrey was able to escape with a no-decision, however, as the Twins held on to beat the Royals 5-3.

The Twins staked Pelfrey to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, and he was able to keep the Royals off the board for the first four innings. But, after the Twins tacked on another run, Pelfrey allowed the first three men to face him in the fifth to reach base before Lorenzo Cain singled in a pair. Pelfrey was then lifted for a reliever, but another run would come into score before the inning was over.

Pelfrey's ERA sits at 3.94 now, and he has allowed 11 runs over six innings in his last two starts.


Dodgers SP Zack Greinke runs shutout streak to 28 in win
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:54 pm ET) So much for Clayton Kershaw being the ace of the Dodgers staff. Zack Greinke has wrested that distinction away from the southpaw.

Greinke continued to be virtually unhittable Saturday against the albeit punchless Mets. He ran his scoreless streak to 28 innings by shutting out New York through seven and earning his sixth win in eight decisions.

The right-hander, who now boasts a ridiculous MLB-leading 1.48 ERA, allowed four hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He has issued three walks while fanning 23 during his scoreless stretch.


Braves CF Cameron Maybin homers, steals bag on Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:39 pm ET) Braves center fielder Cameron Maybin fell a triple short of the cycle on Saturday, as he went 3 for 5 with a double, a home run, two RBI and three runs scored in the 9-5 win over the Phillies.

Maybin, who also stole his 15th bag of the season, knocked his seventh home run of the season in the second inning. His solo shot gave the Braves an early 5-0 lead. 

Maybin has managed to stay hot at the plate recently, as he's hitting .326 with two home runs over his last 10 starts.


Twins RP Ryan Pressly sustains shoulder strain Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:36 pm ET) Twins reliever Ryan Pressly was removed from the game Saturday night in Kansas City with a right shoulder strain, MLB.com has reported.

He pitched one shutout inning and threw 11 of 13 pitches for strikes before going down.


Braves' Alex Wood gives up four runs, gets sixth win on Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:34 pm ET) Braves left-hander Alex Wood was the beneficary of a nine-run explosion by his offense on the Fourth of July. Wood gave up four runs on 10 hits over six innings, but came away with the win in the 9-5 victory over the Phillies.

Wood (6-5, 3.34 ERA) walked two and struck out four. He gave up a three-run home run to Darin Ruf in the fifth inning, but the Braves already had nine runs on the board at that point.

This is the first time Wood has allowed more than three runs since he allowed four on June 12. 


Marlins set to activate 1B Michael Morse
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:31 pm ET) Marlins first baseman Michael Morse, who has been sidelined for seven weeks with finger and back issues, will finally come off the disabled list in time for the Sunday game against the host Cubs, per MLB.com.

Morse will return on a 2-for-22 slide and a weak .211/.268/.289 slash line.


Phillies SP Kevin Correia lit up for nine runs on Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(10:30 pm ET) Phillies right-hander Kevin Correia got lit up like the Fourth of July in his start against the Braves, as he got blasted for nine runs on 10 hits over 3 1/3 innings on Saturday. Correia gave up four runs in the very first inning.

Then he allowed a solo home run to Cameron Maybin in the second, before giving up four more runs in the fourth.

Correia's ERA rose from 3.60 to 6.56 after Saturday's horrid outing. 


 
 
 
Rankings