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…

Instead of looking at the full year of stats that will give a false perspective of late game usage, I am focusing on the last 40 days of 2015.  That would be September and August for the counters at home.  I have added a few other stat comparisons with the K/9 factors, because a guy who can K a lot isn’t always useful if he’s a pin cushion for walks and HR’s.  First are the sleepy guys, followed by the top save vulture and holds guys from last year for a good comparison:

Name K/9 BB/9 K% BAA HR/9
Brett Cecil 17.51 0.73 53.3 .114 0.00
Mike Morin 13.14 1.46 36.0 .213 0.00
Travis Wood 13.06 1.74 45.5 .032 0.00
Randall Delgado 12.86 5.14 33.9 .196 0.64
Jumbo Diaz 12.33 2.93 32.3 .267 1.76
Mychal Givens 12.27 2.45 32.6 .204 0.00
Kyle Barraclough 11.68 7.30 30.2 .186 .073
Corey Knebel 11.25 2.25 30.6 .244 1.50
Sam Dyson 10.69 1.69 31.7 .175 0.00
Trevor May 10.64 2.45 27.7 .273 0.82
  • Brett Cecil thrived when the bullpen was built around him instead of being the guy.  His stats from the second half-on are better than Bettances…
  • The Angels second-chair bullpen spot is completely up for grabs behind Joe Smith.  Morin has youth and the K-rate to be a nice piece if you want a nice differential roster add.
  • Jumbo is getting some closer banter.  Why?  I haven’t a clue.  Too many homers and base runners for my liking. Heres to Hoover or deeper sleeper Zach Weiss winning that job.
  • Givens, Barraclough, and Knebel are all on teams where they could really take a leap this year as that second guy. Givens has O’Day, Knebel has Jeffress, and Barraclough has Capps — all garnering more interest ahead of them.  While none are rosterable everyday, they make for a sneaky insert play on days after they haven’t pitched.
  • Between the Twins and Rangers, I don’t know who has tastier cheaper options for K’s, holds and overall goodies…
Name K/9 BB/9 K% BAA HR/9
Carson Smith 14.21 2.13 40.0 .178 0.00
Will Smith 13.86 2.92 35.2 .240 0.73
Dellin Betances 13.50 6.48 35.2 .224 1.62
Pedro Strop 12.75 2.25 34.7 .217 0.75
Joe Smith 12.27  2.45  32.6 .262 1.64
Darren O’Day 11.66 1.23 33.9 .173 0.61
Antonio Bastardo  10.80 2.70 32.7 .114 0.00
Joakim Soria  10.67 1.88 29.8 .259 0.00
Kevin Siegrist  10.29 6.43 26.2 .157 0.00
Kelvin Herrera  9.58 4.35 22.0 .311 0.87
Ryan Madson  8.25 2.25 24.4 .190 0.00
Kevin Jepsen  7.53 1.26  21.4 .204 .063
Tony Watson 5.02 3.77 14.0 .196 0.00
  • Carson was the best piece in Seattle with a shaky closer.  He now goes to Boston and is setting up in front of piece that will make him look better.  He’ll make the All-Star team.
  • I am blaming overuse on guys like Betances and Siegrist as they were horses down the stretch for teams that were in their respective races.
  • Soria, Bastardo and Madson all move to a new team, and their roles will be important as the 1st chair option (in most cases).
  • Tony Watson is the hold yeezus as a cuff for Melancon.  For my money, it is better to get the 2nd-5th hold option in a draft and welcome the K’s instead of the accumulation of Holds.

What the charts show me are is that late-season is an all out dog-fest for stat accumulation, and there is value to be had throughout the relief corps.  Usage, team being in/out of race and basic effectiveness are all determinations on who and how they are used.  This is just an outlier for sleepers to start the season, the second chart has guys that should be owned almost universally in most 12-team leagues or greater, that also have holds as a category.  The first chart is a sneaky look at some guys who are in decent situations with their own team and may have an expanded role this upcoming season.  Rankings for closers, holds and some more sleeper stuff is on the way so stay tuned my friends. Cheers!

 
  1. The Great Knoche says:
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    Thoughts on Carter Capps if healthy?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @The Great Knoche: Love him, if he is pitching great (and he will be) Ramos better look over his shoulder. One fo the first 3-4 cuff guys that should be drafted in all leagues even 10 teamers. His K rate will be 15 plus.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Smokey: i guess they haven’t yet made the capps rule yet, wherein MLB makes a point to make his mechanics illegal since he jumps more forward than any pitcher ever (and technically, already is illegal i think). i remember reading about that (and i believe talking to you about it as well) last year. Unlike really tall guys with long arms who also go closer to home plate (legally) he actually lands closer to home plate at the end of his jump than is allowed.

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @goodfold2: it was ruled legal by MLB last year, Walden does the same thing as long as they jump forward and not up its considered legal cheating I guess.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            @Smokey: oh wow, but walden doesn’t jump even close to as far forward as capps does. Why would jumping “up” be an advantage, it’s the forward part that gains the advantage. So they actually say a guy can’t jump so many inches off the ground, but gaining inches towards home plate is ok, that’s crazy town. Logic, let’s play it inversely.

            • guest says:
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              @goodfold2: By elevating their delivery point, pitchers can gain momentum as they stride down towards the plate. A downward angle from the ball to the plate makes it more difficult to hit and is the reason why the mound is raised since it was moved back. Jumping up would benefit the pitchers throwing angle and delivery point.

  2. Re-Pete says:
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    Great early season work! I’m in a pretty complicated 16-team H2H points league, and we have to start 8 pitchers every week (our choice of 5SP/3RP or 4/4). With a big league and that many RP started every week, I’m actually debating my one re-sign option this year. My best choices are Chris Sale for $13.79 or Ken Giles for $11.22. In relative terms for my league that’s almost even. I also have Snydergaard/Cole/Miller/Walker/Nola already signed as SP, and just Rondon as RP.

    Logic and SAGNOF tells me Sale is the one to re-sign, but depth and league conditions have me considering Giles. Thoughts?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Re-Pete: I love Sale this year. I think this is the year he goes from 4-5th overall sp to a clear number 2 behind Kershaw. He could push the 300 K mark if he makes all 32-34 starts alloted to him. With Rondon you have a top 10-12 option no need for 2 if it costs you a sp of Sale’s quality. Closer dive later for some cheap options later in draft

      • Re-Pete says:
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        @Smokey: Ok, thanks. That’s what my brain was telling me, but shiny new toys like Giles always distract me. SQUIRREL!

  3. Lville Jim says:
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    Picked McGee off the waiver wire late last season in my all keeper league. Was waiting to see how the Rays pen would shake out this spring. Hopefully the Rockies have enough sense to allow him to close, I’m just worried they build his value closing then flip him for prospects at the trade deadline to a team that makes him a set up man again.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Lville Jim: Unfortuanely McGee will be the closer. I say that as bad because teh Rockies are going to be not in situations very often for his use. I think what you say actually happens and they flip him at the deadline for specs. Relievers at the deadline are wicked expensive if they are controlled, Left-handed and semi decent

  4. Alan says:
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    So in a dynasty league, I sent my 8th rd pick from Cecil because it is daily and 15 teams and this is the one market deficiency I see. Man this article makes me feel good.

    However, I bailed on O’Day for Cecil because of a trade a guy wanted O’Day.

    Are you saying Cecil’s second half is more believable because he wasnt hurt and knew his role? Also, O’Day’s Ks jumped in 2015. You think he is more 9 k per 9 instead of 11?

    Also very excited to own Givens. Love these articles.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Alan: Exactly what I am sayong. Relievers that are comfy in a role thrive sometimes and Cecil is not going to be yanked around with closing or not anymore.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Smokey: one of the rare guys left over (cecil) that actually makes old school managers like lloyd christmas still get jobs.

  5. MB says:
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    Hey man, this is great.

    Who closes in MIL? Is Colome the guy to get for when Box implodes in TB? How you feel about Lorenzen’s chances in cincy as closer?

    Take care

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @MB: Milwaukee is Will Smith with the edge right now. Sleeeprs there are Knebel and Jeffress with deeper sleeper in Barrios. It’s a bad situation there right now I would avoid unless desperate. TB is Farquhar. I don’t see Lorenzen being an early guy to look at their with JJ, Jumbo and keep an eye on Zach Weiss (who I love)

  6. Gordon Shumway says:
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    Thanks for keeping us up to date with this hard to find info, Smokey! If you were punting saves in favor of holds, who would be your top 5? Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Gordon Shumway: Ill get into holds ranking in 2 weeks but Watson is top guy for me. Romo, Siegrist and Gregerson are up there.

  7. jorge says:
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    surprised you didn’t go with K%. similar, nontheless.

  8. booya says:
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    15 team 5×5 dynasty
    Cargonz or Souza, Anderson espinoza, & a wood?

    Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @booya: the later

  9. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    siegrist was used like a horse by matheny’s dumb ass even in games they were losing or up by 4 or more in late aug and september sometimes so it’s not odd that he broke down (like 3 homers allowed in 9 batters in playoffs or something). i forget his dumbshit response to this post game on those occasions but it was some claptrap.

  10. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    this line here is confusing me
    “it is better to get the 2nd-5th hold option in a draft and welcome the K’s instead of the accumulation of Holds.”
    since aren’t most of the time the 1st holds option usually also the best K guy anyway (not always of course), watson most seasons was the best K guy on PIT (just not late last year).

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Montezuma’s Revenge… right now: when I release the holds rankings teh K guys in 2-5 will out rank Watson, who had his second lowest k/9 last year of his career. I am not saying he isnt the goods I am just saying i would rather have 2-5 based on k potential being better

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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        @Smokey: oh wait, you meant top 5 OVERALL for K’s, yeah that is true. i thought you meant PER TEAM, as watson had been (till last year’s lower K rate) one of best (if not the best) K guy on PIT.

  11. AdamH says:
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    Smokey, looking for your expertise here.

    I am looking for any rookies, mostly relievers, that expect to break camp with the big league club that aren’t necessarily top 50 prospects. Last year, I hit on this with guys like Kela, Osuna and Castro. Looking for bullpen arms for my 16 team dynasty points league.

    Got any names?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @AdamH: Barrios from Mil, Bracho from Arizona, Weiss from Cin, Montas for Dodgers, Gott from Wash. I have more in depth stuff when I cover hold and such

      • AdamH says:
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        @Smokey: No doubt – problem is the draft for me to get these guys is happening this week as we speak haha. Thanks for the list as always Smokey!

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @AdamH: Well I am one tweet or message away for questions. Good luck

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