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March 6, 2015 6:00 am

Player Profile: Neftali Feliz

0

Nick Shlain

Can the Rangers flamethrower rediscover his old form?

Player Background

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March 6, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Avoid: Relief Pitchers

6

BP Fantasy Staff

You might want to let someone else pick up these projected closers in your drafts and auctions this spring.

Previous articles in this series:

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March 5, 2015 6:00 am

The -Only League Landscape: National League Relievers

13

Keith Cromer

Wrapping up the series with a look at the senior circuit's fantasy-relevant setup man.

The Only-Landscape: National League Relief Pitchers

As Nick Shlain alluded to in his AL-relievers piece yesterday, as we close out The –Only League Landscape series by previewing the senior-circuit crop, we thought it would be appropriate to stray a bit from the format used in the previous articles and take a look at the bullpens on a team-by-team basis, identifying relief arms that could have fantasy relevance this year. Like Nick, I am not going to focus on closers, since we know who those will be for the most part, and we understand their greater value based on save opportunities. Instead, I would rather offer up some setup men and middle relievers who can quietly amass fantasy earnings despite the lack of fanfare surrounding them. These pitchers do have value in mono leagues, and they are always available on the cheap. So let’s go around the senior circuit and pick a few relievers from each team that could be worthy of a roster/reserve spot come draft day.

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March 5, 2015 6:00 am

Dynasty League Positional Rankings: Top 50 Relief Pitchers

19

Bret Sayre

Sizing up the bullpen arms for the long haul.

The Primer:

Because dynasty league rankings are relatively league-dependent, I set up parameters for ranking the players below (and the ones who will follow at other positions). The list here presupposes a 16-team standard dynasty format, where there are no contracts/salaries, players can be kept forever and owners have minor league farm systems in which to hoard prospects. So feel free to adjust this as necessary for your individual league, whether it’s moving non-elite prospects without 2014 ETAs down if you don’t have separate farm teams or moving lower-risk, lower-reward players up in deeper mixed or -only formats.

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March 4, 2015 6:00 am

The Adjuster: Relief Pitchers

5

Wilson Karaman

Examining relievers who are worth targeting in leagues that count Holds or have innings caps.

I want to start this article by stating, clearly and in no uncertain terms, that I did not want to write this article. Bret made me do it. While on the one hand, aggressively targeting middle relievers in the early season is one of my favorite strategies for driving down my pitching ratios, projecting middle relievers before the season starts for draft day consumption is just a terrible, terrible idea. Yes, the flame-out rate is high. But just as importantly, the out-of-nowhere-hero effect is even higher. Dellin Betances? Yeah, that dude got drafted in like one percent of leagues last year. Wade Davis, Ken Giles, Brad Boxberger… none of those guys were high priority for drafters outside the deepest of leagues last spring.

Relievers come, and relievers go. How they’ll perform, nobody knows. Still, there do tend to be some traits in particular you’ll want to go after if you’re targeting guys in a Holds league. For one, there’s a significant correlation between strikeouts and the Holds leaderboards. Since accumulating Holds oftentimes depends on securing outs in high-leverage situations, this would seem to follow rather logically. Jeff Zimmerman wrote a nice piece to this effect last winter, and the basic punchline was that using past performance to predict future Holds totals is basically pointless, but that middle relievers with higher strikeout rates tend to be the best bets.

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March 4, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Three-Year Projections: Relief Pitchers

10

Ben Carsley

Ranking the bullpen arms based on their value through the end of the 2017 season.

Previous articles in this series:

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March 4, 2015 6:00 am

The -Only League Landscape: American League Relief Pitchers

9

Nick Shlain

A closer look at each team's non-closer 'pen arms.

As the positional series comes to a close this week with relief pitchers, we’re changing up the format for the –Only Landscape pieces. Instead of looking at the closers, all of which will have value in “only” leagues, Keith Cromer and I decided it would be best to examine each team carefully and identify interesting deep targets that aren’t in line for saves right away. This was originally Keith’s brainchild, so if there’s credit, I’ll humbly accept, and if there’s blame, well, you know where to find Keith. Kidding aside, if this does go awry, Bret, (to paraphrase Animal House) you screwed up, you trusted us.

Baltimore Orioles: Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter
Despite being a setup man, O’Day is one of the best relievers in all of baseball. Over the last three seasons, he’s seventh among relievers (min. 150 innings) in ERA (2.05) and sixth in WHIP (0.94). He tied Andrew Miller and Brad Boxberger for the second highest earnings among non-closing relievers in standard 5x5 AL-Only leagues last year with $15, according to valuation expert Mike Gianella. He’s worth owning for the ratios alone, but he also makes for solid Zach Britton insurance because the Orioles don’t have many other options in the bullpen. They tried making Hunter the closer last year and it backfired in May when he allowed eight earned runs and 18 baserunners over 10 games. His ERA was 9.39 for the month, but he recovered to post a 1.83 ERA in 44 and 1/3 innings while in a lower-leverage role over the last four months of the season.


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March 3, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Tiered Rankings: Relief Pitchers

8

Mike Gianella

Stacking up the ninth-inning men.

To read the previous articles in this series, follow the links below:

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March 3, 2015 6:00 am

Get to Know: Relief Pitcher Prospects

46

Craig Goldstein

Is there such a thing for fantasy purposes?

Previous articles in this series:

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March 2, 2015 6:00 am

State of the Position: Relief Pitcher

5

J.P. Breen

An overview of the ninth-inning men and those who'll set them up.

For the earlier articles in this series, click below:

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March 2, 2015 6:00 am

Fantasy Players to Target: Relief Pitchers

14

BP Fantasy Staff

These 'pen arms might provide nice returns on investment in drafts and auctions this spring.

Previous articles in this series:

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December 3, 2014 6:00 am

Fantasy Freestyle: Relief Help

6

Keith Cromer

These pitchers might not rack up saves, but they could still hold considerable fantasy value.

From my perspective, it’s never too early to begin speculating about teams’ bullpens during the offseason and researching who could make a fantasy impact the following year. Playing fantasy baseball for as long as I have has taught me that finding those hidden reliever gems can be the difference between hoisting a trophy and waving the white flag in July. Spending time studying every arm in all major-league bullpens is a staple of my pre-draft routine, and just as important as the homework done for position players, starting pitchers, and impactful rookies.

Please note I am not talking about closers, but rather those reliable bullpen arms that have impressive peripherals and produce in high-leverage situations, not just save situations. These pitchers have earned the trust and confidence of their managers and will continuously be given the opportunity to pitch in similar future situations that could result in wins, holds, and potentially some saves. Even in deeper AL- and NL-Only leagues, the value of these relievers is sometimes unappreciated, despite how they can offset bad performances by starting pitchers in any given week.

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