Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Bullpen Report: Second-half reliever watch

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Over the last three months, the Bullpen Report has looked at every possible angle on relievers -- ranking current closers, predicting new closers, getting intimately acquainted with holds and inventing SPARPs. Through it all, some analysis slips through the cracks. For instance, I'm a big fan of Rex Brothers eventually taking over as the closer for the Rockies, but there's no way to really shoehorn it in when going over who I think is the eighth-best closer in baseball.

Enter the All-Star break

With little to write about for next week's shortened slate of games, I decided to throw some potpourri out there for this All-Star break column. I give you ... random thoughts on five relievers I'm targeting in leagues for the second half.

Huston Street, Padres

I get a good amount of questions about why I have Street ranked so high, usually something along the lines of, "Hey [deleted], why the [deleted] do you have Huston [deleted] Street as your 11th closer? [deleted] you. --Aizer."

Most Added Relievers (as of 7/13)
Player % change
1. Hector Santiago, RP, White Sox 7
2. Chad Gaudin, RP, Giants 7
3. Steve Cishek, RP, Marlins 4
4. Steve Delabar, RP, Blue Jays 4
5. Greg Holland, RP, Royals 3
6. Francisco Rodriguez, RP, Brewers 3
7. Carlos Martinez, RP, Cardinals 3
8. Brad Ziegler, RP, Diamondbacks 3
9. Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays 2
10. Ernesto Frieri, RP, Angels 2

I'll admit, I have some worry that Street could just go south and make the lofty ranking look stupid. He's currently sitting on a 4.30 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, with just 16 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings. He's given up three home runs in his last six appearances, and he now has an ERA above 3.00 in five of his last six seasons.

But I see hope for Street. He has 15 saves this season, despite throwing just 29 1/3 innings. Street had to endure three seasons pitching in Colorado. His career K/9 is 9.00, so that ugly rate this year is due for a correction. And the Padres have Jedd Gyorko and Yonder Alonso close to returning, meaning the offense will once again be running on all cylinders -- a situation that had them 16th in the majors in runs scored in May and 11th overall in June. More runs should lead to more wins, which will give Street more chances at saves.

There's no guarantee that Street won't get hurt again, which is a legitimate gripe for those shying away from him. But if there wasn't a concern with Street, he wouldn't be available at a discount price. And that's what makes this game fun. It's a gamble, but it's a gamble that will come at a very low cost to an owner looking to add saves. Street is intriguing because he could go either way, but I'm willing to take the chance that he improves in the second half and finishes the season closer to 40 saves than 25.

Kenley Jansen, Dodgers

I'm not sure Kenley Jansen can be had cheap right now. And this may be one of the circumstances in which I don't care. Once he took the job from Brandon League, I moved Jansen all the way up to No. 5 in my rankings. He continues to sport a low ERA (2.38), minuscule WHIP (0.97) and very high strikeout rate (12.5 K/9).

Additionally, the Dodgers should be a much better team in the second half than the disaster that they were in the first, leading to more save opportunities for Jansen. After a bumpy stretch in mid-May, when Jansen gave up five runs in a five-game span (including two consecutive appearances with four total runs allowed), Jansen has been a stud, collecting seven saves in 21 games, with a 1.17 ERA and 0.87 WHIP, while striking out 32 batters in 23 innings. Since recording his last hold, on June 10, Jansen has rattled off seven saves, allowing just three runs in 12 appearances.

In short, Jansen has nudged his way into the "is he one of the best in baseball?" conversation. And outside of minor concerns over his health, along with the lack of a really solid track record, my feeling is that he has to be included in that discussion. Because of that, I wouldn't hesitate to offer something of substance (Billy Butler? Asdrubal Cabrera?) in a deal for the 25-year-old over the All-Star break.

Mariano Rivera, Yankees

Here's a fun fact -- in typical stoic Mariano Rivera fashion, the retiring Yankees closer is on pace to have the best season of his career. His 1.89 ERA is the ninth-lowest of his career (over 19 seasons), but his 29 saves have him on pace to topple his career-best 53. Sure, his WHIP is the highest it's ever been and he may be a handful of strikeouts off his normal pace, but Rivera is going on a farewell tour in the second half of the season and will likely be super-focused on making the most out of his last 30 or so appearances.

Granted, this "super-focused" theory is mainly guesswork and logic, but if you knew you were retiring in three months from a very public job, where peopel get emotionally attached to everything you do while wearing your last name on their backs, wouldn't you want to expend all your energy on doing the absolute best you could for that span, then just sail off into the sunset and relax after?

Like Jansen (health issues, lack of real track record), Rivera has some flaws (he's old, he was hurt last year), but with some key Yankee bats coming back, Rivera is going to have the exciting combination of more save opportunities and a sense of urgency in his final season. If a Fantasy team is looking for a closer upgrade, Rivera is worth a trade offer, with some very real upside in the second half.

Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals

This has nothing to do with Edward Mujica. In fact, if Mujica finishes the season with 52 saves and never yields an opportunity to another reliever, Rosenthal will still have value as a low-ratio, high-strikeout reliever. Consider this: Rosenthal, who has 20 holds, has pitched 43 innings this season and already has 64 strikeouts. Those Ks are more than Jhoulys Chacin, Jerermy Guthrie, or Dylan Axelrod.

Owned in 25 percent of leagues, Rosenthal isn't exactly an unknown to Fantasy players. He has a ton of value in holds formats, serves as Mujica insurance for save speculators, and can help fill the scoresheet with his strikeouts. Because he doesn't get a lot of wins in middle relief (to be fair, those are nearly impossible to predict), Rosenthal has limited value in Points formats -- outside of deeper leagues, where teams regularly roster speculative closers. But in Roto leagues, owners looking to slowly chip away at ERA and WHIP may want to consider rostering Rosenthal.

Rex Brothers, Rockies

Where Rosenthal's value has merit outside of Mujica, Brothers' is almost wholly tied to Rafael Betancourt. When Betancourt hit the DL last month, we saw Brothers step in while the team didn't miss a beat at the end of the bullpen. The popular qualifier with Brothers is that the Rockies need to drop in the standings in order for the team to trade Betancourt (38 years old and in the last year of his contract), but I'm not so sure that's the case. Colorado -- currently 7 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot -- could send Betancourt off in a deal while still in the playoff hunt. The Rockies will get something for a pitcher they would likely just lose in the offseason (the sides have a mutual option) while not really seeing a drop-off at the closer position.

Like Rosenthal, Brothers is owned in 25 percent of leagues, but I'd rather have Brothers on my roster. Look at it this way: Mujica would have to get injured in order for Rosenthal to work his way into the saves mix. But Betancourt can either get injured or get traded. And getting traded is an increasingly likely scenario for him. So while Rosenthal may be the better bet to just plug in and play no matter what happens with his situation, Brothers is the pitcher you want if you're looking to get any kind of saves on your roster in the second half

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

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Adam LaRoche exits game Monday with stiff back
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche was removed from Monday's game due to a stiff back, the Washington Post reports.

LaRoche was 0 for 3 at the plate before coming out of the game, which the Nationals won. The team will know more about the injury Tuesday, but for now he's day to day.


Denard Span slugs two home runs in win vs. Dodgers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals outfielder Denard Span went 2 for 5 with two home runs and three RBI in his team's 6-4 win over the Dodgers Monday.

Span delivered his team's third solo home run of the game in the third inning and then added a two-run blast in the fifth. The big performance doubled Span's home-run total in one night. He has hit .299/.349/.416 with four home runs, 31 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 531 at-bats.


Asdrubal Cabrera slugs 13th home run Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera went 1 for 3 with a walk and a solo home run in his team's 6-4 win over the Dodgers Monday.

Cabrera hit one of the four home runs served up by Dodgers starter Roberto Hernandez on the night, giving the second baseman four home runs since joining the Nationals at the July 31 trading deadline. He has hit .245/.312/.397 with 13 home runs, 52 RBI and seven stolen bases in 473 at-bats.


Jayson Werth homers, steals two bases Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth went 1 for 2 with two walks, a solo home run and two stolen bases in his team's 6-4 win over the Dodgers Monday.

Werth put his team up early with his first-inning home run and showed off his wheels later in the game, stealing second base after each of his walks. He has hit .288/.383/.458 with 16 home runs, 76 RBI and nine stolen bases in 465 at-bats.


Matt Kemp swats 17th home run Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp went 2 for 4 with a two-run home run in his team's 6-4 loss to the Nationals Monday.

Kemp delivered his blast in the first inning to extend his hit streak to nine games and added a second hit later in the game to give himself three straight multi-hit efforts. He owns a .281/.346/.475 line with 17 home runs, 66 RBI and eight stolen bases in 455 at-bats.


Rafael Soriano hangs on Monday for 31st save
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals closer Rafael Soriano delivered a shaky save Monday, giving up one earned run on two hits and one walk in one inning while striking out two in his team's 6-4 win over the Dodgers.

Soriano handled the first two batters of the ninth inning before issuing a walk, and after the runner took second base, he came around to score on a single. The closer surrendered another single to bring the potential winning run to the plate, but he struck out Dodgers prospect Joc Pederson to end the game. Soriano owns a 2.63 ERA and 52:17 K:BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings.


Gio Gonzalez gives up three runs in win vs. Dodgers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez earned a win Monday, surrendering three earned runs on three hits and two walks in six-plus innings while striking out four in his team's 6-4 victory over the Dodgers.

Gonzalez (7-9) walked a batter with two outs in the first inning before serving up a two-run blast to fall behind. It was the only hit he allowed until the seventh inning, when the starter surrendered two singles to start the inning before being yanked. Gonzalez owns a 3.89 ERA and 135:53 K:BB ratio in 132 innings. He's scheduled to face the Phillies Sunday.


Roberto Hernandez allows five runs in loss Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Dodgers pitcher Roberto Hernandez took a loss Monday, giving up five earned runs on five hits and one walk in 4 1/3 innings while striking out four in his team's 6-4 defeat against the Nationals.

Hernandez (8-10) was victimized by the long ball Monday, surrendering four home runs after getting through his first four starts with the Dodgers without allowing any home runs. The ugly outing gives him a 4.00 ERA and 94:64 K:BB ratio in 148 1/3 innings. Hernandez is scheduled to face the Padres next Monday.


Josh Edgin to have elbow examined Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Mets pitcher Josh Edgin will have his elbow examined by team doctors Tuesday after a platelet-rich plasma injection failed to relieve the bone spurs and tendinitis in the elbow, the New York Daily News reports.

"We’ll have to see with the doctors," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "The shot really didn’t help him. When the shot didn’t help very much, he was going to start taking his medicine, hold off until the doctors take a look at it."

Edgin has been sidelined since Aug. 23 with the injury. He owns a 1.40 ERA and 25:6 K:BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings.


Salvador Perez homers in three-hit performance Monday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Royals catcher Salvador Perez went 3 for 4 with a double, a home run and three RBI in his team's 4-3 win over the Rangers Monday.

Perez delivered the first blow of the game with his RBI double in the bottom of the first, and he followed that up with a two-run home run in the third inning to put his team up 3-0. He's managed to produce multiple hits in four of his last six games, raising Perez's line to .269/.302/.424 with 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 484 at-bats.


 
 
 
Rankings