June 6, 2012
Relievers for 6/6/12
We’ll get to the reliever analysis, just as soon as I can chase this umpire back to Triple-A ...
After an appearance as an AL-Only VP last week, Tom Wilhelmsen (Yahoo! 10%, ESPN 6%, CBS 19%) graduates to stadium status with a proper save Monday night against the Angels. Hasashi Iwakuma picked up each of Seattle’s two preceding saves, but don’t chase that red herring; both came under unusual circumstances. Wilhelmsen is flying under the radar by virtue of his circuitous route to an effective Major League career (he was out of the game for a few years), but his peripherals all check out. My only concern is that trade candidate Brandon League is still lurking in the bullpen, but T-Wil could put a death grip on the job. Either way, add him and enjoy the profit.
The long man is an oft-overlooked commodity in standard fantasy leagues, but they can be of value depending on a given format’s innings and category quirks. One such hurler is Washington’s Craig Stammen (Yahoo! 7%, ESPN 1%, CBS 6%). The righty is an ex-starter who didn’t quite have the stuff to pitch in the rotation, but he’s adapted well to life in the ‘pen. He’s fanning plenty of batters now (9.4 K/9) to go along with what was always an above-average groundball rate and strong control (2.5 BB/9 in 273 2/3 career major league innings). Currently on pace to log about 90 innings this year, Stammen has assumed Tyler Clippard’s old role quite well, and if your league isn’t stingy with roster spots, you could consider pairing him with another excellent long man (say, Brad Lincoln) for a “two-in-one” ace.
Last week’s long man du jour, Brad Lincoln (Yahoo! 11%, ESPN 3%, CBS 15%), had one nondescript outing since his debut here last week. Why the short shrift for a supposed innings-eating long man? Because he was held in reserve for a scheduled spot start Wednesday against the Reds in Cincinnati. It marks Lincoln’s second start of the season and presents a strong chance for his owners to vulture a win before he’s returned to the ‘pen.
Jonny Venters (Yahoo! 38%, ESPN 11%, CBS 20%) appeared on the third of three consecutive days on May 30 and has since made only one outing—two-thirds of an inning Saturday. Hopefully, the much-deserved rest will do him some good, along with some better BABIP (.474) luck. If those things come together while he’s on your roster, you’ll have added a heck of a pitcher on the cheap.