March 9, 2017
Dynasty League Positional Rankings Continued
Relief Pitchers on the Ocean Floor
While actively refraining from dropping any Boyz II Men lyrics in here, I’ll instead note that we’ve come…a long way in our journey to the corners of organized baseball where the bright lights of Bret’s Top 50 Dynasty lists don’t shine. And for our trouble, we didn’t even get a lousy t-shirt, we got an article all about marginal and minor-league relievers. Weee! I tried to make what follows as helpful and potentially useful in some capacity as I could. And as always, if I didn’t mention one of the 8.6 million other relievers in the world that you happen to like, feel free to inquire within the comments. Bret’s Top 75 relievers can be found here, while previous pieces in this positional series can be found here:
And now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: the Main Event.
In the Majors
Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs – On pure consistency of performance alone and for Hold speculation in particular, Strop should be firmly planted on everyone’s radar. He’s been consistently kind of great for over 200 innings now since arriving in Chicago three and a half years ago, and his performance crested with one of the best combinations of high chase and low O-contact rates in the majors last year. He’s buried very far down the Save speculation depth chart in Chicago, however, so his value is limited to basic, boring ol’ ratio support in standard formats.
Brett Cecil, St. Louis Cardinals – Cecil probably pitched hurt for a good bit of the first half, as lat injuries can make you try and do that. But it showed in the normally-reliable left-hander’s performance. He was much more like his usual self in the second half, particularly from August on, and St. Louis certainly bought the track record to the tune of a four-year deal this winter. The league and park moves are good for Cecil, and he should be primed to rack up Holds, a solid whiff rate, and the occasional Save for a few years to come.
Mychal Givens, Baltimore Orioles – Givens has some filthy stuff, but after a winter last year of getting some eyes as a potentially elite relief option, he’s back to the pack. His 2016 was an uneven season at times, lowlighted by a gnarly platoon split and higher-quality contact against him. He struggled to get ahead as often, and batters produced louder and more frequent pull-side contact against him when they got ahead. If the performance was just the product of poor sequencing and early-count execution issues, then there’s reason to believe he can bounce back to post strong ratios to back up his whiffs. Pay attention to the walk rate early.