Fantasy Baseball Bullpen Report: April 5
Justin Vreeland breaks down the many confusing and complex bullpen scenarios around Major League Baseball.
Welcome back to another year of the Bullpen Report! It has been a fun start to the season and I know we are all excited that baseball is finally back. If you were with us last season, you know what to expect, however, there will be new additions to the report throughout the year so stay tuned! Each week I will breakdown closers and middle relievers in many different ways to provide you with all the information you need to have a successful fantasy bullpen. Let’s dive in!
Closers in Flux
Dominic Leone (36% owned) – Has there ever been a more obvious closer for this section than Leone currently is? The Cardinals brought in Greg Holland to be the team’s closer and he is set to join the club Monday. On top of that, Leone blew his first and only save opportunity of the season on Tuesday when he gave up back-to-back home runs to Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun. He was one out away from securing a 4-3 Cardinals victory before the two home runs. It remains to be seen if Leone would be called upon for another save opportunity (if one arises) before Holland takes over the gig Monday.
Blake Parker (60% owned) – Parker has gotten off to a rocky start, coughing up two runs in just 3.1 innings pitched. The Angels have already shown that they have little faith in Parker as their closer by not naming him the closer early in the spring. He had a great year last year and strikes out hitters at a strong rate, but if he were to lose the job, his value would plummet. Cam Bedrosian, Jim Johnson, and Keynan Middleton are all pitchers in the Angels bullpen that could get save opportunities soon. It is a situation that must be monitored. Middleton is worth adding in deeper leagues.
*Note: I track blown saves that happened by guys who were brought into finish the game. Such as guys in the closer role, or other pitchers who were brought in late in the game. A guy who picks up a “blown save,” for example, in the 6th inning is not relevant in my opinion, when tracking fantasy assets.
|Player||BS YTD||Player||BS last 7 days|
|Kenley Jansen||1||Kenley Jansen||1|
|Corey Knebel||1||Corey Knebel||1|
|Brad Hand||1||Brad Hand||1|
|Brad Brach||1||Brad Brach||1|
|Dominic Leone||1||Dominic Leone||1|
|Josh Smoker||1||Josh Smoker||1|
Edwin Diaz (98% owned) – Diaz has been absolutely filthy and lights out to begin the season. He has pitched three shutout innings to the tune of a 0.00 WHIP with eight strikeouts. He has also already racked up three saves and has provided great value to fantasy owners so far. Diaz has always had nasty stuff and now in his third season in the bigs, he could be poised for a breakout campaign at a very young age (he just turned 24). His current pace is of course unsustainable, but there is little reason to believe he can’t finish as a top-5 closer this season. Top-Tier. YTD stats: 3 innings, 3 saves, 8 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA.
Jeurys Familia (90% owned) – Fantasy owners who were worried about the news that the Mets would use a “closer by committee approach” (this was never a worry for me) have to be relieved that Familia has received all three of the Mets save chances to begin the season. Familia is off to a fantastic start, tossing 4.1 shutout innings, picking up three saves, and striking out five. With his blood clot woes from last season behind him, there is no reason to not believe that Familia can return to his 2016 form in which he posted a 2.55 ERA while leading the league in saves with 51. He will continue to be a steal of 2018 fantasy drafts. Middle-Tier. YTD stats: 4.1 innings, 3 saves, 5 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA.
Kenley Jansen (99% owned) – Normally the premier closer in all of MLB, Jansen is off to an atrocious start. In his first outing of the year he was called upon to hold a 0-0 tie, but allowed Joe Panik to take him deep which led to the Dodgers falling to the Giants 1-0. In his second outing, Jansen was tasked with holding a three run lead; Chris Owings blasted a three-run home run off him to tie the game up and give Jansen his first blown save of the year. Two innings, four runs, zero strikeouts. You would not think this is Jansen that is being talked about. He said he is working through some mechanical issues. Fantasy owners should hope he turns it around quickly and makes good on the expensive price tag he came with in drafts this season. Top-Tier. YTD stats: 2 innings, 0 saves, 0 Ks, 18.00 ERA.
Middle Relievers of Note
This season, in a slightly different fashion from last year, this section will focus strictly on closers in waiting or closer capable guys and how they are performing. Each player of note will also include their stats from the 2017 season for the foreseeable future.
C.J. Edwards (22% owned) – The String Bean Slinger is off to a fine beginning of the year. He has pitched two innings, struck out three hitters, and picked up a hold. Edwards would likely grab the closing gig for the Cubs if Brandon Morrow falters or sustains an injury (something that has been common in his career). Edwards is worth owning in most leagues given the great ratios he provides as shown over the past two seasons. He has been nearly unhittable to this point in his career with an opponent’s BAA (batting average against) of just .135. His 12.75 K/9 last year is also very strong. YTD stats: 2 innings, 1 hold, 3 Ks, 4.50 ERA.
A.J. Minter (17% owned) – The hard throwing left hander has made three shutout appearances to begin the season. He has yet to record a strikeout, but given his 15.60 K/9 across 15 innings last year, the strikeouts are coming soon. Minter is behind Arodys Vizcaino for save chances and given Vizcaino’s fantastic start to the season (three shutout innings, six strikeouts, and a save) it may take longer than many expected for Minter to become the Braves closer. YTD stats: 3 innings, 0 holds, 0 Ks, 0.00 ERA.
Kyle Barraclough (29% owned) – Barrclough has been business as usual to begin the year. He has made three shutout appearances, allowed just one hitter to reach base against him, and recorded five strikeouts. Those numbers should come to little surprise given his career 2.82 ERA, .189 BAA, and 224 strikeouts across 166 career innings. Barraclough is easily the best arm in the Marlins ‘pen and it really doesn’t make any sense as to why Brad Ziegler is the team’s closer. Ziegler had a 4.79 ERA last season and has a 9.82 ERA though 3.2 innings thus far this season. Barraclough will be the Marlins closer sooner or later. YTD stats: 3 innings, 0 holds, 5 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA.
|Player||HLD YTD||Player||HLD last 7 days|
|Archie Bradley||3||Archie Bradley||3|
|Juan Nicasio||3||Juan Nicasio||3|
|Josh Hader||2||Josh Hader||2|
|Tommy Kahnle||2||Tommy Kahnle||2|
|Alex Claudio||2||Alex Claudio||2|
|Ryan Madson||2||Ryan Madson||2|
|Matt Barnes||2||Matt Barnes||2|
|Michael Feliz||2||Michael Feliz||2|
|Adam Morgan||2||Adam Morgan||2|
|10 more tied with||2||10 more tied with||2|
A new section for this season; this will simply provide the current top-5 closers in saves, strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP.
*More data is needed for this. Table will be started April 19 and be available every week following*
Team Bullpen ERA
This section will look into the best and worst bullpens in the league, which can be helpful for DFS. If a team has a weak starting pitcher throwing that day and also a poor bullpen it can make for big days for hitters. A bad bullpen ERA also has an effect on how likely a starting pitcher is to pick up a win.
|Blue Jays||2.31||23.1||Red Sox||4.09||22.0||Reds||7.62||13.0|
This highlights the bullpens that have been seeing both heavy usage and struggling over the last 7 days.
*Ownership percentages are based off Yahoo
Be sure to check out the Closer Grid which has regularly updated rankings. Also feel free to shoot me any questions on Twitter @JustinVreeland