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July 23, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Useful Non-Closer Relievers

by J.P. Breen


In non-dynasty leagues, quality relievers who do not rack up saves are often overlooked. If employed correctly, though, they can be pseudo-saviors for two main types of squads: (1) teams who have an underperforming pitching staff and are striving to recover in specific categories in the second half of the season, and (2) leagues that have strict “games started” limits in order to keep teams from simply streaming starters all season.

Teams who have fallen behind in pitching categories can try to cobble together a trade or two, hoping to bolster their pitching staff for a second-half run. However, trades aren’t always possible. And even in the meantime, it can be useful to target specific relievers who can help in desired categories. This article will outline a few relievers who could be useful waiver-wire pickups to aid in WHIP/ERA or in strikeouts. I’m not including pitcher wins because that seems like a crapshoot.

WHIP/ERA

Pat Neshek (7.1% owned)
While lefty Sean Doolittle gets all the attention for his ridiculous 32.50 K:BB ratio and his dominating performance for the Oakland Athletics, there’s still one reliever in baseball who has bested him in WHIP thus far in 2014: Pat Neshek. The right-hander has compiled a 0.60 WHIP due to an uncomfortably awkward pitching motion and nasty stuff. His fastball velocity has climbed to 91.05 mph this season, which is his best mark since 2007 when he was with the Minnesota Twins. He’s finally healthy and taking advantage of it.

Many folks point to the minuscule .177 BABIP, but I’m not expecting a huge regression upward. He owns a career .224 BABIP. That’s right, a career .224 BABIP in 254 1/3 innings over eight seasons. That’s partially because he consistently induces terrible contact. This season, however, I believe his otherworldly BABIP can be explained in part by his 23.6 percent infield-fly rate. Almost one-fourth of the balls put in play are infield popups. Only Aaron Loup of the Toronto Blue Jays has a higher infield-fly rate. Unsurprisingly, he also owns a low BABIP (.240).

Pat Neshek has a 9.5 percent line-drive rate allowed, misses bats, and has finally curtailed his walk issues. He’s dominating the NL Central. If you need ratio help, he should be a wise investment in the second half, assuming his improvements carry into the later portion of the season.

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Related Content:  Relievers,  Fantasy,  Era,  Strikeouts,  Roto,  5x5,  WHIP

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article The Stash List: 14th E... (07/23)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: The... (07/21)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Sus... (07/24)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Dynasty Dynamics: Play... (07/23)

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