No, you haven’t stumbled onto a WebMd bait page. Well… this is an advisory blog, none the same, but we won’t scare you into believing that you have clinical depression with every symptom. I mean, I’ve seen some other fantasy sites that attempt to advise on bullpen strategy. It’s easy to throw stuff up about closers and bullpens and say this guy will fail because of this and that. Heck, I like watching Jeopardy and guessing at the stuff I don’t know about either. Add in the fact that I remember my first beer… So this is one of the last pieces of the fantasy bullpen puzzle before we get down to brass tacks. The NSVH question… I always get it from the fantasy inspectors of the net of how and what to do about it. Do I stick with what I know, or do I go complete rover and draft whatever, whenever? That’s why I am here, hopefully to quell all ills in the race for bullpen dominance. The NSVH leagues are tricky and can be described as: people don’t know until they have to know. I know that really isn’t a draft strategy that I am going to “learn” you with this post, since I am better than that and take pride in leading my disciples into reliever bliss. So go get a comfy seat upon the porcelain throne of fantasy knowledge and let me guide you, for I am the fantasy bullpen shepherd.Please, blog, may I have some more?
A few weeks ago, we looked at some interesting hitter stats over the last few years. If you didn’t find the stats and trends that were highlighted in that article to be particularly interesting, at least you might have been mildly amused by the inclusion of names such as Jack Cust, Candy Nelson, and Silver Flint. Today, it’s the pitchers’ turn. Perhaps I can find an excuse to reference Cannonball Titcomb in this post. There’s only one way to find out! (spoiler alert: he won’t be mentioned again)
Just as I did in the hitter edition of this series, I’ll be listing various statistics with little to no analysis so that you can be the judge of how relevant each statistic and/or trend is in regards to the 2016 season. This article focuses on pitchers only, and the stats that will be highlighted range from the basic (strikeouts, win-loss record, innings pitched, ERA, WHIP) to the slightly more advanced (K/BB ratio, LOB%, batted ball profile, SwStr%).
Let’s get to it. Here are some interesting pitcher stats and trends to consider entering the 2016 fantasy baseball season:Please, blog, may I have some more?
What if I told you that the top-four teams last year in Holds didn’t make the playoffs? I know the obvious answer would be: it’s a made-up stat that does nothing but clog a fantasy roster with fodder and otherwise un-rosterable relievers. Well, if you said that out loud, then I am mad at you and you can not come to the Razzball Winter Dance Carnival. No, but seriously, I get offended when people make such determinations. Listen, you are either in a league that uses Holds or you aren’t. Not all of these guys is basically like having a second doorstop (when one doorstop will do). Many of these guys are usable in most formats as ratio gaps in K/9, looking for cheap wins or for a slow day of waiver wire madness. My theory on any league is to roster any two relievers that are non-closers at all times. At worst, they decimate your rates for one day. At best they give you an inning or two and give you great rates and a few K’s. Now, for Holds leagues, I am a hoarder. I live by this simple motto. Two pairs and a wild, just like five-card poker. It stands for two closers, two stud holds guys, and a streamer. In moves leagues, it’s a little more difficult to do, but in non-move limited league, it’s a fun way to just basically win your Holds category by August, save yourself the innings/starts and then stream the holy hell out of the last seven weeks. So since you have searched around the web and found zero other info on the topic (yeah, I looked, so take that), here are the holds tiers and sleepers for the 2016 year.
“A Hold is credited any time a relief pitcher enters a game in a Save Situation, records at least one out, and leaves the game never having relinquished the lead. Note: a pitcher cannot finish the game and receive credit for a Hold, nor can he earn a hold and a save.” ~ The edited out part of the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Sneaky free K’s are all the rage for a streaming option when a starter just won’t do. The numbers they put up are more of a collection-basis rather than a hunt, play and punt. Relievers, not just closers, are the container that transports the glue. Can you imagine glue not coming in a container and just being had at the local sundry store by the handful? Messy proposition my friends. Non-closers are what every complete fantasy team need. They are like the egg in a good recipe – you can often substitute one reliever for another. That’s what makes them so handy… they don’t usually carry a huge draft day burden. They are basically free waiver-wire adds. For those in holds leagues, that doesn’t always ring true, and when I start getting into the preseason hold rankings, some of the names will be similar. That’s because the names you want just don’t give you holds, they give you multiple stats. They are the five-tool performers in the industry of relief pitchers. So here is a little preseason primer for guys who don’t really adorn too much draft day attention, but should be snagged in situations that require their services when you are short on K potential and maximizing the K/9 of your fantasy roster…Please, blog, may I have some more?
It’s telling over a period of time, taken into account the teams success rate naturally, how well their bullpen is performing. Take a look at the Texas Rangers over the last 30 days. They are a 19-10 and steaming toward playoff relevance… maybe. During that time they had 17 save/hold situations. Those of you that can’t count well, that is a lot. Leading the charge for them has been bullpen recall and future closer dubbed by me Keone Kela, who over that same 30 day period is contributing a hold basically every third game with 8. As a team, they have 28 team holds which is more than the White Sox, Orioles, Phillies, Athletics and Mets… combined. So basically they are the Costco of holds for those who like to buy in bulk. Kela isn’t alone in his fantasy hold-em, Sam Dyson has kicked in 7, Jake Diekman 6 and Sam Freeman with 4. The best part of this whole thing is that the latter three guys were not on the roster to start the year. I love that kind of stuff, that’s like wearing matching t-shirts with your friends whether it be on purpose or not. Awesomely awkward. Stick it here for some more bullpen tidbits and a fancy chart with gadgets and numbers that show an order. Cheers!Please, blog, may I have some more?
When your team is battling for a playoff spot, what’s the most important thing? Winning. Winning out of the bullpen is a thing that is not predictable, I get it, but when your team goes 7-0 from the bullpen in the last 14 games, that is just a damn near beautiful thing if you love bullpens as much as I… I mean, you may not, but that’s cool (maybe). You have your love interests… invested in beanie babies or all your Gregg Jefferies’ rookie cards that your whole childhood fortune is invested in… Just saying, you should probably move out of your mom’s basement or branch out from the family business for a bit. As a whole, the Pirates are a top-3 club for bullpen ERA, and are led by the king of Holds currently: Tony Watson. Him and his merry men of “set-uphood” have completely just wrecked shop out of the pen lately, their ERA is 1.21 and they have allowed just a measly 34 hits in 52 innings. Take it from me, that is getting the job done. The addition of Joakim Soria has lengthened their bullpen to the point where Jared Hughes, Joe Blanton, and Arquimedes Caminero are in prime win plucking spots. Yeah, I just used Joe Blanton in a fantasy write-up, and no it’s not 2000-never. So stick around as I wax symbolic about other bullpen situations arising as we stream towards the fantasy baseball playoffs.Please, blog, may I have some more?
All this talk about the Blue Jays offense is completely detracting from the fact that their bullpen to date has been mediocre-to-awful for most of the year. The additions they have made, namely Mark Lowe and LaTroy Hawkins, are a future holds market band-aid. The one true positive addition for the back-end of the pen is Aaron Sanchez. He comes in with filthy stuff, isn’t afraid to pitch inside, and gives them a hard throwing right-hander, which they’ve been lacking. The Blue Jays, to date, have the fewest saves (19) namely because they do one of two things that both involving blowing. (It’s either a blow-out or a blown save.) It’s a miracle that they are where they are record-wise with the amount of blown saves they have (it’s 17 and counting). But the team is setup to win, and they are going to score a ton of runs, so from a fantasy holds perspective, anyone outside of Sanchez is a fool’s chance at holds gold. With 13 games remaining against front-running New York, the schedule isn’t on their side as the slugging they do takes away from the bullpen allure.Please, blog, may I have some more?
Here I thought the Brew Crew were a dying entity this year with all this talk of punting and trading all their mid-level talent. For soothe, they have had an impressive last 30 days in the Holds department. It isn’t just one guy garnering them either… It is a multi-syllabic hold dragon with three heads. Each head is completely different and has a really cool story. The first is the Fresh Prince of Holds, Will Smith. He has basically been what we all thought Jonathan Broxton would be this year, but probably with more success. Over the last 30 days he has 5 holds, 2 Wins, and a K/9 rate over pushing 14. That is sassy with a Jor and extra emphasis on the dache. The next is Michael Blazek, who in some weird way is basically Jeremy Jeffress‘s boy by name only. I will call them Smoke, and yes please. Common sense is there for anyone who knows dudes history. He is my honorary hero and on the Smokey hall of fame wall with Lincecum, Chris Perez, and Dock Ellis. So to their stats before I teeter out from pure excitement… Blazek and Jeremy have both garnered 4 holds over the last 30 and form a power/finesse RH combo in front or beside Smith, and in front of K-Rod. With all the trade talk surrounding basically everyone in baseball, it seems if K-Rod gets bounced out I have them Smith and Jeffress in a tie, then Blazek for saves, with Broxton on ready for that veteran preference. So let’s see what other bags of factoidal goodness I can come up with and of course the Holds chart for some good toilet reading…Please, blog, may I have some more?
So with the festivities of All-Stardom concluding, thus comes the second half. It’s an inevitable thing, you eat half a cookie the other half remains. So this week I am going to run down a list of the closers for the remainder of season. So sorry for not doing salads with donkeys this week, I felt this was more noteworthy since we are about two weeks from the trade deadline in real and fake baseball life (in some leagues). The closer rankings that I came up with will be based off of a few things: saves (no durrr), team success, likely hood to remain a closer, and peripheral stats. So we lump all those together and we get the ROS STSLRCPS. Which basically looks like a pretty good scrabble deck. Bare with me, it’s a busy time of year, and for those in the know, Fantasy Soccer is live and in full effect. Go check it out, it’s fantasy baseball with an accent. So now onto the closer ranks for the rest of the 2015 campaign…Please, blog, may I have some more?
I am equating this one solely on one thing for the Cubbies… and that term is? Pseudo-intellectual. Joe Maddon does everything different and it’s gotta be the glasses. He makes everyone want, need or have to be involved in his bullpen. Basically, he is the united colors of Benetton of managers. His hydra approach at the bullpen is not only bothersome or troubling for the roster-bater in all of us, it’s damn near impossible to roster and guess which guy it will be today. The trio of Jason Motte, Hector Rondon, and Pedro Strop all seem to play the part of a closer, but get shuffled around like Joe is playing little game in his head. I get that some situations warrant certain match-ups, but sometimes it doesn’t make any sense to me. So for those of you that still care about the Cubs and their six save chances combined between all relievers in the last 14 days, I would roster Motte and Rondon equally, and if I had the space, I would roster Rafael Soriano and hold on tight. Soriano is going to come in like the new city slicker, with a shiny pair of aldo shoes and end up being the cat’s pajamas for about a minute in Maddon’s mind. Personally, rostering three guys to garner one stat is a crazy, crazy thing to get wrapped up into and is a waste. If you are rostering one non-closer reliever to help with ratios, where are you making this roster space up from? Nowhere is the answer, my friends. So stick to the straight and narrow for saves for now, don’t chase unless a clear situation opens it’s doors and gives out the good candy on Halloween. Stick around for some tidbits about the world of relief-dom…Please, blog, may I have some more?