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: Will Holland provide for your team?

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
  •  

For years, the Kansas City Royals have tortured their fan base with dismal showings year after year in the American League Central standings. On Tuesday, they reached a new level of disappointment by crushing some Fantasy owners' dreams of a championship.

Don't Just Play, Play to Win!
Fantasy Baseball Today Be sure to catch Fantasy Baseball 360 LIVE at 5 p.m. ET every weekday to dominate your Fantasy leagues. Our writers will have the latest news, analysis and roster trends each afternoon.
Fantasy Baseball TodayCheck out the latest episode!

By trading closer Jonathan Broxton to the Reds, the Royals stripped owners of a reliable source of saves as now Broxton becomes a setup man for Cincinnati closer Aroldis Chapman. And if those Broxton owners weren't fortunate enough to nab his replacement, Greg Holland, they could be in for a world of hurt.

For those owners who put in a flier for Holland, while he has the potential to be a great late-season addition, how many times have we seen first-time closers fail? Then again, how many times have we seen veteran closers falter?

Holland, a 2007 10th-round pick, first appeared on the major-league scene in 2010 and struggled like many rookie pitchers. But the light at the end of the tunnel was Holland's 23 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings that season.

The right-handed reliever then came back in 2011 to be one of the breakout arms of the season, going 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in 46 outings (60 innings). He put the league on notice as a force to be reckoned with, which is why when he got off to a slow start in 2012 it was such a huge letdown. But we would soon find out that Holland was battling a rib injury, which likely contributed to his poor early season numbers.

Holland returned in mid-May and quickly re-established himself as a dominant arm. Before recording his first save Wednesday, Holland had posted a 4-1 record, 2.16 ERA, .220 opponents' batting average and nine holds in 34 outings from May 12-July 29. Oh yeah, he also struck out 46 batters in 33 1/3 innings during that span.

Unlike most relievers, Holland can throw four pitches -- four-seam fastball, slider, curveball and changeup. Holland, who relies mostly on his fastball and slider, has thrown his fastball, slider and curveball for strikes 63.3 percent of the time or better this season, according to PitchFX data compiled by TexasLeaguers.com. He also has managed a 16.5 percent or better whiff rate on his curveball and slider. Those two pitches seem to set up nicely thanks to Holland averaging 95.8 mph on his fastball.

Top non-closers Week 17 (H2H)
Player Points
1. Scott Feldman, RP, Rangers 55
2. Jeff Samardzija, RP, Cubs 48
3. Lucas Harrell, RP, Astros 32.5
4. Brian Duensing, RP, Twins 32
5. Mike Fiers, RP, Brewers 26.5
6. Samuel Deduno, RP, Twins 26
7. Matt Moore, RP, Rays 25
8. Michael Schwimer, RP, Phillies 22.5
9. James Russell, RP, Cubs 22
10. Steve Cishek, RP, Marlins 19.5

Holland is striking out a career-high 12.4 batters per nine innings, which drowns out his .376 BABIP. That just goes to show when hitters make contact, they are getting hits at a high rate, but Holland has done a very good job of sneaking pitches past the opposition.

His FIP (2.34) and xFIP (2.97) suggest his ERA (3.54) should come down.

Aside from his high walk rate (5.1 BB/9), one stat that really jumps off the page is Holland's throwing first-pitch strikes just 48.1 percent of the time, which is well below the norm (59 percent) and well below his career average (55.7). It's also the second-worst rate among relievers. That number is usually a strong indicator of failure among relievers, but some players defy the odds. Case in point is Ryan Cook, Carlos Marmol and Rafael Betancourt. They are all relievers who have terrible first-pitch strike percentages and high strikeout rates, yet manage to keep their closer jobs. Perhaps Holland will follow suit.

Royals manager Ned Yost said Holland was the "obvious" choice to succeed Broxton as closer. Let's hope he is right.

Closing Time

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

Houston: Apparently Francisco Cordero has forgotten how to be a closer. First, he lost the closer's job with Toronto earlier this season. Now he has been stripped of the role with Houston just a few appearances after being acquired in a trade. I wrote last week I didn't expect much from Cordero, but I expected he would be a suitable enough option to keep the closer's job. How wrong that turned out to be. For now, Astros manager Brad Mills said Wilton Lopez will be given the opportunity to close out games, but Mills said he still might use him in the seventh or eighth innings if needed. That obviously leaves the door open for a committee approach, but if you are looking for saves in deeper formats, then Lopez is the Astros reliever to own.

Milwaukee: Speaking of closer committees, that is the Brewers' latest approach after Francisco Rodriguez did his best Francisco Cordero impersonation and had a complete meltdown in the closer's role after supplanting John Axford. Manager Ron Roenicke hinted Livan Hernandez might see some save chances, but Axford got the team's first save Monday since the change. However, he did record a blown save Sunday against the Nationals, but Roenicke going back to Axford Monday could be a very telling sign that his confidence is rising with the former closer. I've been saying for weeks to stash Axford because the team always expected to give him a chance to regain the closer's role. It seems that could be happening in the coming weeks -- if not sooner.

L.A. Angels: Scott Downs landed on the disabled list Tuesday with a shoulder strain, clearing the path for Ernesto Frieri to be the team's sole closer while Downs is sidelined. It's only fitting that Frieri then suffered his first blown save of the season Wednesday, yielding two homers in one inning of work after allowing three homers in his first 43 appearances this season. It's far from time to hit the panic button. It's true he has a 10.50 ERA in his last seven appearances, but it could just be a market correction after Frieri's first-half ERA (0.71) was outstanding. But if something happened to Frieri while Downs is out, then Jason Isringhausen and LaTroy Hawkins would likely be the top candidates to close games over former closer Jordan Walden.

Baltimore: Much like Frieri, Orioles closer Jim Johnson has been awful post-All-Star break. After posting a 1.21 ERA in the first half, Johnson has a 15.95 ERA and two blown saves in his first nine second-half appearances (7 1/3 innings). There's no talk of a change in Baltimore, but Fantasy owners need to be aware of Johnson's recent shortcomings. Pedro Strop continues to be a very solid reliever for Baltimore and showed earlier this season he could handle the pressures of being a closer.

San Francisco: The Giants bolstered their lineup at the non-waiver trade deadline by acquiring outfielder Hunter Pence, but failed to bring in a reliever, which temporarily means good news for closer Santiago Casilla. I say temporarily because now it's up to Casilla to keep the job since he has been given a second life. Casilla has really struggled since June, posting a 6.89 ERA and five blown saves in his last 21 outings (15 2/3 innings). Manager Bruce Bochy leaned on Jeremy Affeldt for a two-inning save Tuesday against the Mets, so that could be a telling sign he will either make a change at closer or go to a committee approach if Casilla continues to labor. The Giants can't afford many mishaps in a playoff chase.

Top non-closers Week 17 (Rotisserie)
Player Rank
1. Michael Schwimer, RP, Phillies 23
2. James Russell, RP, Cubs 27
3. David Phelps, RP, Yankees 41
4. Carlos Torres, RP, Rockies 53
5. Brandon Lyon, RP, Blue Jays 59
6. Sean Marshall, RP, Reds 68
7. Tony Watson, RP, Pirates 70
8. Kevin Jepsen, RP, Angels 73
9. Joe Smith, RP, Indians 74
10. Jerry Blevins, RP, A's 75

Boston: Andrew Bailey took one step closer to making his 2012 debut by pitching in his first rehab game Wednesday. Bailey estimates he will need 5-6 rehab appearances, which could span 10-14 days, before coming off the disabled list. At that time the Red Sox finally have to answer questions about Bailey's bullpen role, but as we suspect, Alfredo Aceves should keep the job and Bailey will likely end up in a setup role. It's worth holding onto Bailey in deep formats for the off chance he is given the role he was acquired for prior to hurting his thumb this spring.

N.Y. Mets: Frank Francisco (oblique) is set to rejoin the major-league roster this weekend. The Mets opted not to trade for relief help as their playoff hopes dwindled while Francisco was out, so the erratic reliever should remain New York's closer the rest of the season. That might not have been the case had Bobby Parnell ran away with the closer's role while Francisco was sidelined, but he continues to prove he is much more reliable pitching in other scenarios.

Call to the 'pen

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

Former Mariners closer Brandon League was dealt as expected prior to Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline. Unfortunately, he didn't go to a situation where he could return to being a closer immediately. League was acquired by the Dodgers, who have said he will share setup duties with Ronald Belisario now that Josh Lindblom is with the Phillies … Had Chris Perez been traded, then Vinnie Pestano would have been the likely choice to replace him as the Indians closer. Alas, Perez stays put and so does Pestano in his setup role. However, he continues to be outstanding in that role. Through Wednesday, Pestano has tossed 14 straight scoreless outings (14 innings), recording 11 holds and 18 strikeouts in that span. He has 29 holds on the season and is one of the most valuable non-closer relievers in Fantasy … David Phelps has been on fire since returning from the minors July 18. Phelps was demoted to stretch out as a starter after the Yankees rotation was hit hard by injury. Phelps did quite well in the minors, going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in four starts between Class A, Double-A and Triple-A. But upon his return, the Yankees had no need for him to start, so he has been back in the bullpen and thriving. Phelps has tossed nine scoreless innings in his last five outings, striking out 13 and allowing just two hits and one walk. Phelps has certainly become a nice Rotisserie reliever thanks to his recent surge, but owners in the deepest of Fantasy formats might want to stash Phelps on your bench. It seems he could be the first candidate to enter the rotation if needed … In Oakland, most of the attention and acclaim when it comes to pitching goes to the rotation and closer Ryan Cook, but it's time folks start to recognize the work of left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins. The A's certainly do since Blevins has emerged with a significant role after pitching in mostly losses through the first two months of the season. Since June 1, Blevins is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA and five holds in 21 outings (22 innings). He is just not a lefty specialist either. In those 21 outings, Blevins has recorded more than three outs six times and he has recorded less than three outs just seven times. Not only has Blevins been a wins vulture, but his holds total is on the rise, making him a viable Fantasy option in Rotisserie formats and leagues that reward for holds.

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
Angels 3B David Freese homers, extend hit streak to six games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:30 am ET) Angels third baseman David Freese homered and singled during a 7-3 win Monday against the Rays. He also had one walk and one strikeout.

Freese connected for his ninth home run when he led off the second inning with a solo shot. He has now hit safely in six straight games. He is batting .429 (9 for 21) with one home run, two doubles, two RBI, five runs and three walks during the hitting streak.


Rockies' Nolan Arenado homers in third straight game Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:29 am ET) Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado went 2 for 4 with a two-run home run in his team's 11-4 loss to the Dodgers on Monday.

Arenado slugged a homer to center field in the fourth inning off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw that was measured at 431 feet, per Statcast. It was his third straight game with a home run, and he's managed to rack up six homers in his last eight games.

"He's staying behind the ball better than he did the last couple of years," manager Walt Weiss said after the game, per MLB.com. "We'd see him out on his front side a lot, and that's something that he and [hitting coach] Blake [Doyle] have really worked on and talk about consistently."

With his recent power stretch, Arenado looks well on his way to topping his career-high 18 homers from last season. He has hit .289/.330/.578 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 180 at-bats.


Angels OF Mike Trout parks three-run HR in win vs. Rays
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:20 am ET) Angels outfielder Mike Trout connected for a three-run homer during a 7-3 win Monday against the Rays. Trout parked his 13th home run off Alex Colome in the third inning.

Trout has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games. He is batting .327 with a .582 slugging percentage, three home runs, five doubles, nine RBI and 11 runs in that span.


Mets' Jenrry Mejia (elbow) to begin throwing program next week
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:13 am ET) Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia (elbow) will return to the United States to begin a throwing program in about 10 days, The Star-Ledger reports.

Mejia was placed on the disabled list in early April before being handed an 80-game suspension for testing positive for an anabolic steroid. Though initially the reliever was said by general manager Sandy Alderson not to be guaranteed a roster spot once his suspension was served, manager Terry Collins indicated on Monday that the team would find a spot for him in the bullpen.

Mejia had served as the team's closer before his absence, but the Mets have seen Jeurys Familia blossom in the role, racking up 15 saves in 16 opportunities while posting a 1.44 ERA and 30:6 K:BB ratio in 25 innings this season.


Dodgers' Jimmy Rollins launches sixth home run Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:07 am ET) Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins went 2 for 4 with a walk and a solo home run in his team's 11-4 win over the Rockies on Monday.

Rollins was one of two Dodgers to homer in the second inning to give the team a 2-0 lead, and though the Rockies tied things up in the fourth, a six-run sixth inning helped key the win. Rollins was hitless in his previous two games before joining in on the offensive fireworks on Monday. He has hit .209/.277/.358 with six home runs, 15 RBI and five stolen bases in 187 at-bats.


Dodgers' Andre Ethier slugs seventh home run Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9:01 am ET) Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier went 2 for 5 with a triple and a solo home run in his team's 11-4 win over the Rockies on Monday.

Ethier kicked off the fireworks with a home run in the second inning, one of four homers for the Dodgers on the day. He scored a second run in the sixth inning after banging out a triple. Ethier has homered twice in his last seven games and now owns a .309/.395/.551 line with seven homers and 20 RBI in 136 at-bats.


Rays OF Kevin Kiermaier hits 10th double of season
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2:04 am ET) Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier went 2 for 3 at the plate in Monday evening's 7-3 loss to the Angels. 

One of Kiermaier's hits went for a double, his 10th of the season. It's also the second game in a row where Kiermaier has posted a double. 

It appears Kiermaier has snapped out of his mini-slump. After going four games in a row without a hit, he's posted hits in the past three. This is Kiermaier's first multi-hit game since May 17, when he had two against the Twins. 

Kiermaier now has a slash line of .233/.273/.387. 


Angels' Albert Pujols homers twice in Monday's win
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(2:01 am ET) Angels first baseman Albert Pujols homered twice and went 3 for 5 to help lead the Angels to a 7-3 win over the Rays on Monday. Pujols drove in three runs and scored two.

He connected for a solo home run off Alex Colome in the fifth inning, and then parked a two-run homer off Andrew Bellatti in the eighth inning. Over his last 11 games, Pujols is 15 for 46 (.326) with two doubles, six home runs and 11 RBI.

''Albert's resume speaks for itself,'' starting pitcher Garrett Richards said. ''He's a Hall of Famer. That guy with one swing of the bat can get you right back into a game, and he showed that tonight.''


Rays' Nick Franklin hits 2-run HR in loss to Angels
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2:00 am ET) Rays infielder Nick Franklin took his third hit of the season for a home run in Monday night's 7-3 loss to the Angels. 

Franklin hit a two-run shot in the fourth inning for his first homer of the season. Franklin, appearing in just his 12th game of the year, is hitting just .091 this season. He hadn't recorded a hit since May 17. 


Rays P Alex Colome gives up 5 runs in loss
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(1:56 am ET) Rays pitcher Alex Colome surrendered five earned runs in Monday evening's 7-3 loss to the Angels. 

Colome went six innings and gave up nine hits, three walks and three home runs. Colome struck out five batters. Colome fell to 3-2 and has an ERA of 5.05. 

The five runs marked the second-most allowed by Colome in a season. 

His next start is projected for Saturday against the Mariners. 


 
 
 
Rankings