Mike explains why elite middle relievers haven't climbed his tiers, before revealing the latest edition of those tiers and the updated dollar values.
Welcome to another installment of The Bullpen Report. As a reminder, closers are rated in five tiers from best to worst. The tiers are a combination of my opinion of a pitcher’s ability, the likelihood that he will pick up saves, and his security in the job. For example, a pitcher in the third tier might have better skills than a pitcher in the second tier, but if the third tier pitcher is new to the job or has blown a couple of saves in the last week this factors into the ranking as well.
Last week, one of my readers wanted to know why I didn’t have a middle reliever in the top tier. Although middle relievers are integral in some leagues, I have not been ranking them due to the fact that their value is vastly different depending upon each league’s rules. In leagues that use holds as a separate category, non-closers carry a great deal of value. In standard mixed leagues with no start limits, you might not feel the need to carry a middle reliever on your staff at all. My goal is to take a cursory look at a handful of valuable middle relief arms in a non-holds, deeper-league, standard Roto format.
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The Baseball Prospectus 2013 Top 101 Prospects, by Position, by Organization, and by Age
Yesterday, Jason Parks and the Baseball Prospectus prospect crew released our Top 101 Prospects of 2013, also newly available in printed form in the now-shipping Baseball Prospectus 2013 annual. The festivities were wild and raucous for all, perhaps tempered slightly for fans of the Chicago White Sox. Here is the Top 101 list displayed by position, by organization, and by prospect age. Enjoy!
Chris Perez cursed out an A's fan. In between swear words, he said some things we can tell were either true or false.
Before Sunday's game, Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez took a break from shagging flies, ambled over to the right-field foul line, and cursed out an A's fan. You'd think Perez would've known that players rarely come out ahead in public player-fan confrontations. Then again, this is only his fifth major-league season, so maybe he's still getting the hang of the whole heckling thing. Here at BP, we don't condone cursing at fans, but we do place a lot of importance on evidence-based arguments. That's why we've decided to evaluate Perez's responses based not on whether he was wise to make them, or even on the quality of his cursing, but on whether his spittle-flecked statements were supported by facts.
While you may be looking for fantasy sleepers for closers, don't let yourself be swayed by this side-armer...
Guys, it’s inevitable. Vinnie Pestano is going to be a trendy late-round draft pick this year as a potential saves sleeper. On the surface, it seems obvious why he would be. Cleveland’s closer entering 2012 will be Chris Perez, whose numbers were bad by middle-relief standards last season, much less by those of a closer:
Lee Panas looks at the bullpen situations in Cleveland, Tampa Bay, and Texas.
With Kerry Wood out for six to eight weeks due to a strained muscle in his back, Chris Perez is the new Indians closer. The rest of the bullpen will also take on a new shape from the set-up man down. Jensen Lewis is a fly ball pitcher with a 1.2 HR/9 rate since 2007. However, he also owns an 8.2 K/9 rate and has experience in high leverage situations having been the Indians closer in 2008. Heater Indians writer Brian La Shier believes that Lewis will be the set-up man in Wood’s absence.
Joe Smith has a 67% ground ball rate and 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings since 2007. However, he gets hit hard by left-handed batters making him unsuitable for a full-time set-up role. Southpaw Tony Sipp boasted a 2.92 ERA and struck out 48 batters in 40 innings as a rookie reliever for the Indians in 2009. Sipp pitches equally well versus left-handed and right-handed batters but has struggled this spring as evidenced by his 2.29 WHIP. Smith and Sipp will pitch in high impact situations versus right-handed and left-handed batters respectively when Lewis is unavailable.
With Kerry Wood heading to the DL, Chris Perez gets the opportunity to close for the Tribe.
The temptation is there to make some sort of joke about Kerry Wood and his relationship with the disabled list, but it’s just not all that funny anymore. The Indians closer will open the year on the DL - his seventh visit in the last six years - after an MRI revealed a "moderate" right shoulder strain. It’s just the latest in a long list of shoulder woes for Wood which will forever make him a risky option - no matter his role. As such, if you already drafted Wood for your fantasy club, you absolutely should have developed a plan B. The Indians Plan B is right-hander Chris Perez.
Perez, a former first round draft choice (42nd pick in the 2006 draft) of the St. Louis Cardinals, joined Cleveland in last summer’s Mark DeRosa trade. With his fastball/slider repertoire, Perez seems to be tailor-made for the ninth inning role. As such, he received a late season audition as closer in 2008 with the Cards and was fairly effective. Over the final two months of that season, he threw 18 innings, struck out 20 hitters and walked nine. Perez did well missing bats in this stretch, inducing hitters to swing and miss at 11% of his offerings while holding opponents to a .200 batting average and posting a 2.50 ERA. He collected seven saves in nine opportunities over those two months for St. Louis. It was a solid showing by Perez despite the fact he limped to the finish line. Perhaps he was just tired (he threw 67 innings in 87 appearances in 2008 between the majors and minors - both career highs) because in his final five appearances of the season when hitters put the ball in play, he enticed just a single grounder to go against 19 balls hit in the air.