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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With all of the big-name free-agent closers off the market, how are things shaking out at the end of each team's bullpen?
Now that the Blue Jays have signed Francisco Cordero, all of the legitimate closer candidates are now off the free-agent market. As such, now makes for a good time to check out how things look now that the closer carousel has stopped spinning.
Mike Petriello looks at hidden gems in San Diego and Colorado, and who to avoid in Houston.
You don’t need me to tell you that Heath Bell is an elite closer, since he’s currently owned in 100% of ESPN.com fantasy leagues. But what makes this situation different is that unlike other top closers, Bell’s not likely to end the season with his current team, the dreadful Padres. So not only is San Diego a prime place to see an open closer’s role this season, his potential replacements are valuable enough that they may be able to help you right now - if you can spare the roster spot - rather than waiting for Bell to be moved and for your fellow owners to join you in trying to feast on a new closer.
If and when Bell moves on, Padre relievers Luke Gregerson and Mike Adams would be in line to get the save opportunities, according to Heater expert David Golebiewski. Each of them actually beat Bell in K/9 rate last season and had slightly lower HR/9 rates as well. PECOTA looks for more of the same in 2010, suggesting that they could easily step in for Bell should the need arise.
The first half of an extended conversation with an OBP fiend about coming up with the Senators, playing for Billy and Yogi, and more.
Toby Harrah has been in the game of baseball for over 40 years, and the long-time infielder for the Rangers and Indians has loved every minute of it. Currently the minor league hitting coordinator for the Tigers, Harrah debuted with the Washington Senators in 1969 before going on to earn All-Star honors four times while spending all but one of his 17 seasons with the Senators/Rangers franchise and the Cleveland Indians. A shortstop and third baseman known for his patient hitting approach, Harrah finished among the league leaders in walks nine times, and in OBP six times. A right-handed hitter who broke into the big leagues under the tutelage of Ted Williams, Harrah had five seasons of 20 home runs or more and 238 career stolen bases to go with an OBP of .365. Harrah talked about his love for the game, including what it was like to play for managers like Williams, Yogi Berra, and Billy Martin, and with teammates like Joe Charboneau, Curt Flood, and Denny McLain.
There's a rising favorite in the AL Central, as our experts weigh in on everything from division winners to Matsuzaka's line.
Our annual predictions arrive this year as our Hope and Faith series comes to an end. While the beauty of spring training is that every team can think it has a chance, somebody has to take the losses. For today, we concentrate on the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American League. Tomorrow we'll conclude with the National League predictions, along with the staff picks for the World Series.
Each author's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division, plus the results of our preseason MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year voting. A slight shift at the bottom of the AL East rankings, a rising favorite in the AL Central, and anarchy in the AL West highlight our staff's guesses.
Derek tackles a Sheets-Harang duel, and one pitcher gets the better of it in the return of Prospectus Game of the Week.
The Reds, who lead the wild card race and are within scratching distance of the Cardinals for the lead in the NL Central, started off the major trading by dealing their starting shortstop (Felipe Lopez) and their starting rightfielder (Austin Kearns) to the Washington Nationals for a gift basket of middle relievers--Gary Majewski, Bill Bray, and Darryl Thompson--along with infielders Royce Clayton and Brendan Harris. The big trade was an acknowledgment of the weakness of the Reds bullpen--even now, with their new, improved bullpen, the Reds are still tenth in the league in WXRL, and fifteenth in Adjusted Runs Prevented--and a decision to emphasize defense. Still, that doesn't change the fact that the Reds surrendered two youngish full-time position players, one of whom was an All-Star last year, for three no-name relievers and a couple of role players.
We debut our Prospectus Notebook with a look at LaTroy Hawkins' recent arrival in San Francisco, the new-look Kansas City Royals, and a cautious introduction to Braves rookies Kelly Johnson and Kyle Davies.