The debates will always rage on– the chicken or the egg, bacon or more bacon, and quality or quantity? All are equally important discussions, I mean who doesn’t want more bacon? But for pretend-baseball sake I am going to focus on quality vs. quantity. Relief pitchers continue to get a bum rap, judged as useless and set to harsh shunning like dudes subjected to Megan’s Law. Well, I’m here to learn you something, or at least completely waste your time for 10-12 minutes. I ask you, who doesn’t want more K’s with low ratios? Sounds like the 24-36-24 dimensions of that skin mag you “borrowed” from that zany uncle. K/9 is the stat that people tend to light up there funky jazz cigarettes to. They bask in it, the better… the more greedy. So why not just stream SP and get all the K’s you want? Well there are reasons for and against it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to stream. Hell I even love Field and Stream….ahhh nature. Is it wise to gamble on a SP that may get shelled against the Mariners on a random Wednesday and blow your rates for the week? Or is it wiser to just ride a hot RP who will get you maybe 3 innings that week? The answer is both, or neither. It’s your team after all, you make the decisions. I am just here in an advisory role. So my whole focus this week is RP that will give you lots of K goodies and not destroy your rates at the same time, and not eat away at those precious innings and GS limits.
Danny Farquhar — The love for Danny was lost when the man with the crooked hat was signed to get the stat that counts. Look further as he sets up now, K/9 rate was 12.77 last year and he pitched better than his ERA by almost 2.50. That to me looks like a Guiness… stout.
Steve Delabar — Sergio seems to be getting as much attention in Canada as Nick’s departure will do to the stripper community. His injuries last year scared some people off him this year, understandably. With K/9 of 12.58 his punch-out potential makes Great Tiger look like a punk. PS: go back and look at the first 2 guys HR rate… that’ll do donkey, that’ll do.
Nick Vincent — I am your twin brother Julian, and this year is your night bro. Street and Benoit are going to gobble alot of meaningful innings in SD this year. Then who else is left to pitch there in the RP successful turnstile know as the Padres pen? This dude, insert own thumbs pointing somewhere, boasting a 9.5 K/9 rate in both MLB seasons, plus extras in the Minors. Lots of goodies are coming pitching in front of Calle and Juaquin.
Shawn Kelley — As a Yankee fan, I am nervous about the 7-8th inning guys. Thornton? Only if its Mellon. Two years removed from being a decent pitcher and healthy. Lots of retreaded SP turned RP (Warren and Phelps) and Kelley gets no pub. All he did last year was boast a nifty k-rate of 11.98 and an ERA lower than expected based on xFIP. Only caveat is he likes the taters, starch is a killer. Nice situation, winning team and 12K’s per 9 is nothing to famine over.
Casey Fien — I’ll start by saying that I like Jared Burton a lot this year, but someone has to pitch in front of him. I mean, have you seen the Twins rotation? As Fien takes a tertiary role in the pen he brings solid numbers that could be a nice 2-3 game stint on your roster here or there. 10.6 K/9 doesn’t grow on trees, it’s made in China and way cheaper.
David Carpenter — Jesus was a carpenter, I am a carpenter… vis-à-vis, you should roster Carpenter. Luis Avilan gets more notice in drafts, and Kimbrel is the teets, but has anyone noticed the Braves SP unit know as Dr. Andrews retirement plan? What Avilan doesn’t offer, David does and that’s K’s. K potential his whole career, go look it up. While you’re there, look at last years nice shiny 10 plus K/9 season. Venters is lying in the weeds after a month or so, so be on your toes, add wise.
Wade Davis — Luke is down, so in essence, is he cold? Davis has already been hinted of being the 8th inning guy. It seems to be a growing trend every year that one or two players who were former starters blossom in the RP role. Last year it was… oh what a coincidence, Hochevar and Brett Cecil. Look for a growing K-rate over his career 7 rate. Anywhere near 8.5, and you got a winner me thinks.
Will Smith — Lots of good options at the end game for the Brewers. Smith is going to build his niche, and is going to become a similar Davis retread SP into RP helper. Career K-rate over 11, nice arsenal of pitches to augment his RP forte, just innings to pitch in is his only deterrent . The deepest of sleepers on this list, though I see more success than the other Will’s movies lately.