Tag:Bullpen Briefs
Posted on: June 6, 2009 6:50 pm

Bullpen Briefs

Since last weeks entry one thing has become extremely evident to me in regards to my own fantasy teams. I either dominate with my pitching staff or lose because of it. All this of course can be related to closers. If I draft two or three of them, it's nearly impossible for me to be below third in pitching categories. If I for go closers I'm usually tops in strike outs, and wins, be near or at the bottom in WHIP, ERA and SV of course. So what's a happy balance? Do you draft closers or do you wait for the waiver wire?

Naturally this is all a matter of opinion but from now on, I'm drafting at least two sure fire guys in the middle rounds, and going from there. Never again will I go into a draft with the intention of speculating for saves. Which means no Chris Ray/Chris Perez/Jason Motte/ anyone not a closer drafted to my team.

On that note let's get to the business.

Randy Choate of the Tampa Bay Rays now has three saves on the season, making him a popular pick up in AL only leagues and in standard mixed leagues alike for those speculating for saves. Given how unsorted and ineffective the Rays bullpen has been this season I've completely passed on this situation. I still fell the Grant Balfour, and Dan Wheeler are better suited for the job but he could potentially be this years George Sherrill.

Andrew Bailey may very well be the best pitcher in the world. Ok that's a great exaggeration but can you really argue against a guy that has 4 W,3 SV, 2.12 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 40 K in 34 IP AND is eligible at SP and RP in some leagues. In my ESPN head to head league when I saw that he was available he was a must add after all if I can pick up a couple saves form a starter there can't really be any harm can there?

Francisco Cordero has just many saves as Jonathan Papelbon does over the past three seasons. Each with 92 SV, though Cordero generally is thought of as the lesser talent, and thus is available four rounds later or for the equivilant of $10 at the draft table.  The smart, thrifty owner puts their money in the Cordero basket.

Top Ten Saves Leaders-

1- Heath Bell- 15 SV, 26 K, 1.27 ERA, 0.94 WHIP
2- Brian Fuentes-  15 SV, 22 K, 4.95 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
3- Francisco Rodriguez-  15 SV, 28 K, 0.70 ERA, 0.97 WHIP
4- Francisco Cordero-  14 SV, 22 K, 1.57 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
5- Trevor Hoffman-  14 SV, 15 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.44 WHIP
6- Jonathan Papelbon- 14 SV, 28 K, 2.25 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
7- Brian Wilson-  14 SV, 28 K, 3.71 ERA, 1.35 WHIP
8- Jonathan Broxton- 13 SV, 45 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.68 WHIP
9- Ryan Franklin- 13 SV, 16 K, 1.29 ERA, 0.81 WHIP
10- Brad Lidge- 13 SV, 27 K, 7.20 ERA, 1.84 WHIP

Surprise Save of the Week-

Chris Sampson- 2-0, 3 SV, 15 K, 1.91 ERA, 1.24 WHIP- Well let's face it, I'm not really surprised by this anymore. Sampson now has three saves on the year, filling in when LaTroy Hawkins was injured. If you were/are looking for a middle with a chance to pick up a save then Sampson deserves some consideration. But in all reality he doesn't figure to factor into any saves when Jose Valverde returns to action.

Guys to Watch-

Tony Pena- 5-2, 1 SV, 21 K, 3.12 ERA, 1.38 WHIP- With Chad Qualls battling fore arm stiffness Pena is the obvious choice to be the fall back option. He's already matched his career high in wins with five, but wins are hard to speculate for relievers so it's almost not worth mentioning. What is worth mentioning is near 2.5 K/BB ratio (2.45) and his solid 6.59 K/9 career ratio, which is up this season to 7.27 K/9. With good dominance and control Pena could easily step in as a stop gap closer.

Posted on: May 30, 2009 6:48 pm

Bull Pen Briefs

As I outlined last week, I tried to deal from my bullpen strength to strengthen my pitching staff. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in my attempts. I've opened up trade talks with other managers in order to acquire some starting pitching help.

Before we jump right into it here's a few stats to consider.

Over the past 14 days-

Pitcher A- 1 W, 4 SV, 6 K, 6.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
Pitcher B- 1 W,  2 SV, 8 K, 6.00 ERA, 2.00 WHIP

Can you tell what the difference is? Pitcher A was better over this small sample and has been through out the season. But this little comparison of Jonathan Papelbon (Pitcher A) and Joel Hanrahan ( Pitcher B) just shows how frustrating it can be to chase the saves. Over all the difference is a complete wash if you started  Jorge De La Rosa on your Papelbon team, and opted for Joe Blanton on your Hanrahan team. All things being equal, nothing is just, right nor fair when it comes to the bull pen.

George Sherrill over the last 14 days has been lights out 4 SV, 8 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.17 WHIP most impressive are the 0 BB, and 1 HA totals over that span. He's all but silenced the criticis and Danys Baez supports...for now.

Matt Capps owners may be looking for a hand cuff, and here's your guy... Jesse Chavez (what you were expecting John Grabow?) I know that's he's not the experts pick, and likely doesn't have the inside track but he's pitched better then Grabow and the other options thus far recording a 17 K, 7 BB, 3.00 ERA, 1.28 WHIP. This is for those in dire need of saves and in deeper leagues.

Matt Lindstrom the "Swedish Sensation" hasn't been impressing anyone of late, except those that are only concerned with saves. The 3 SV over the past 14 are good but the 0.666 K/BB ratio is not inspiring ( 4 K - 6 BB) the 6.00 ERA and 1.83 WHIP leave alot to be desired. I'd keep an eye out for Dan Meyer, he of the sparkling 4/1 KK/BB ratio and 2.45 ERA, 0.91 WHIP the closer's role could soon be his.

Now to usual content

Top Ten Saves Leaders-

1- Heath Bell- 14 SV, 24 K, 0.46 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
2- Francisco Cordero-  13 SV, 21K, 1.71 ERA, 1.14 WHIP
3- Brian Fuentes- - 13 SV, 19 K, 4.08 ERA, 1.42 WHIP
4- Jonathan Papelbon-  13 SV, 25 K, 2.45 ERA, 1.46 WHIP
5- Francisco Rodriguez- 13 SV, 24 K, 0.76 ERA, 1.01 WHIP
6- Ryan Franklin-  12 SV, 15 K, 1.42 ERA, 0.84 WHIP
7- Trevor Hoffman- 12 SV, 11 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP
8- Chad Qualls-  12 SV, 23 K, 3.43 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
9- Jonathan Broxton-  11 SV, 37 K, 1.50 ERA, 0.75 WHIP
10- Frank Francisco-  11 SV, 18 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.85 WHIP
One other tied for ninth.

Surprise Save of the Week-

1- Kevin Cameron- 0-0, 1 SV, 12 K, 1.72 ERA,  0.83 WHIP- I wouldn't be looking to Cameron for any save chances as this outting was of the three inning variety. Though it only further establishes the strength of the Oakland Athletics bullpen.

Guys to Watch-

1- Edward Mujica- 2-1, 1 SV, 28 K, 2.59 ERA, 1.07 WHIP- A great guy to have incase of injury to current saves leader Heath Bell and if you need a handful of strikeouts without jeopardizing your era and whip. For those in holds leagues you may want to find a way to roster him.

Posted on: May 22, 2009 10:20 pm

Bullpen Briefs

If you've read any of these past entries you'll notice that the names among the league leaders are typically the same from week to week. This should come as no shock. Saves generally come in bunches, and the value of closers fluctuates greatly from week to week, and from owner to owner.

This article is going to have more of a fantasy spin, but still have the standard set up.

Let's say that you're in a strong position in saves like I am in my primary CBS league. I currently sit first in the saves category with 40 saves (.5pts / save) thanks to Heath Bell, Frank Francisco, Francisco Cordero, and Brian Wilson. Notice how not one of those guys is considered a stud or a top draft pick? So what would you do in my situation?

Trade, and trade big. Since this is an auction keeper league, these closers have a little extra value. Consider that Cordero is my most expensive option at $12! It's not likely that he'll be kept by me over the others who combined will cost me $32. A hit I'm more then willing to take, so he's the obvious choice. Since starting pitching is my weakness I'll be looking to acquire one in the deal.

For full disclosure I've offered up Cordero for Adam Wainwright. On the surface based on preceived value this is not a "fair deal". But "fair" is relative to one's player valuation or lack there of. In reality this trade does make sense as it helps out both owners, and no is getting "ripped off" persay.

All things being equal, if it's late in the season, and I have a huge lead in the pitching categories, but I need speed badly, I'm trading Tim Lincecum for Michael Bourn or Wily Tavares, and I'm not thinking twice about it.

Remember folks it's about the numbers, not the names.

Top Ten Saves Leaders-

1- Heath Bell- 11sv, 23k, 0.50era, 0.89whip
2- Jonathan Broxton- 11sv, 32k, 1.29era, 0.62whip
3- Ryan Franklin- 11sv, 15k, 1.53era, 0.79whip
4- Brian Fuentes- 11sv, 19k, 4.30era, 1.50whip
5- Trevor Hoffman- 11sv, 10k, 0.00era, 0.42whip
6- Jonathan Papelbon- 11sv, 21k, 0.95era, 1.32whip
7- Francisco J. Rodriguez- 11sv, 20k, 0.92era, 1.02whip
8- Francisco Cordero- 10 sv, 18k, 2.12era, 1.24whip
9- Chad Qualls- 10sv, 22k, 2.50era, 1.11whip
10- Frank Francisco- 9sv, 13k, 0.00era, 0.75whip

Three others tied for tenth.

Surprise Save of the Week-

1- Phil Coke- 1-2, 1sv, 12k, 4.58era, 1.19whip- Never fear Mariano Rivera owners, he is still healthy. Coke recorded the save on May 18th because Rivera had pitched the previous two nights. Owners should take note though, and remember that Coke remained in the game to record one out in the eight and stayed in to finish it out.  Coke may be a decent source for holds this season, but other wise doesn't bear mentioning.

Guys to Watch-

1- Andrew Bailey- 3-0, 1sv, 31k, 2.02era, 1.02whip- If you or your league mates don't already own the guy, then we have an issue.  With a great 10.64 K/9, and a solid 2.58 K/BB ratio you should be lining up to roster this strike out monster. He's only owned in 42% of leagues so he's likely available. Who else has better numbers and has a shot at being the closer? Not to many. So hop to it!

Posted on: May 15, 2009 8:14 pm

Bullpen Briefs

Since last weeks entry not much has changed in the fantasy world, well actually there have been a few "minor" happenings.

Joakim Soria  of the Kansas City Royals has wound up on the DL thanks to recurring arm injuries that have bothered him for a couple of weeks now. That makes/made Juan Cruz the prospective saves guy in the interim. Cruz has good strike out numbers - 11 K's, 6.51 K/9- but has had control issues far this season surrendering 10 walks and an awful 5.92 BB/9 ratio. If you need the saves Cruz is a guy to pick up but one must also pay attention the indicators when selecting pitchers.

As mentioned last week the Seattle Mariners closer Brandon Morrow returned from the DL. By the looks of it he may have been better off remaining there. Posting a dreadful 0-2, 1 sv, 3 bb, 1 k 32.40era, 6.00 whip, one could draw the conclusion that he may not be fully healthy yet.

Frank Francisco of the Texas Rangers in the mean time hasn't pitched since May 6th due to shoulder pain. CJ Wilson appears to be the next best option in the Rangers bullpen, but with that comes ugly ratios. This is a situation best left alone.

Top Ten Saves Leader-

1- Fransisco Cordero- 10sv, 16k, 2.40era, 1.40whip
2- Fransisco Rodriguez- 10sv, 18k, 1.02era, 1.13whip
3- Frank Francisco- 9sv, 13k, 0.00era, 0.75whip
4- Ryan Franklin- 9sv, 13k, 0.00era, 0.64whip
5- Brian Fuentes- 9sv, 16k, 4.97era, 1.66whip
6- Jonathan Papelbon- 9sv, 19k, 1.13era, 1.44whip
7- Heath Bell- 8sv, 19k, 0.00era, 0.63whip
8- Jonathan Broxton- 8sv, 30k, 1.59era, 0.53whip
9- Trevor Hoffman- 8sv, 9k, 0.00era, 0.33whip
10- Bobby Jenks- 8sv, 12k, 1.15era, 1.00

Two others tied for 7th with eight saves a piece.

Surprise Saves of the Week-

1- Kip Wells- 0-0, 2sv, 9k, 9bb, 4.40era, 1.40whip- On the bright side he does have 2 saves in his last four games along with four strike outs. On the flip side he's allowed three runs in that span giving him a 6.42 era over the past week. The Washington Nationals bullpen is truly a mess, and it's difficult to pick the front runner as Wells, Joel Hanrahan, Logan Kensing, and Joe Beimel have all had save chances. I'm avoiding this mess.

Guys to Watch-

1- Jensen Lewis- 2-3, 1sv, 18k, 6bb, 4.26era, 1.32whip- He's only made two appereances in the last week but he's made an impression. Pitching 4.1 innings surrendering only one hit, walking none and racking up five strike outs. With a very solid 8.52 K/9 ratio and a good but not spectacular 2.84 BB/9 ratio, Lewis could be a cheap strike out option in AL Only leagues with the potential to pick up a few saves. Remember folks last year he did record 13 saves.

2- Mark DiFelice- 3-0, 17k, 3bb, 1.02era, 0.79whip- I'm not sure why I'm telling you about this guy. After all the numbers speak for themselves. Sure he hasn't recorded a save yet, and let's face it that's why we all want relievers. But he does have a stellar era and whip, as well as an impressive 8.89 K/9 ratio and a great 1.56 BB/9 ratio. He's also one of the main reasons I'm leading my 16 team league and currently sit with 10, 11, 11, 14, 14 in the pitching stats.

Posted on: April 24, 2009 6:01 pm

Bull Pen Briefs

Quick like a bunny rush to your waiver wire, and snap up LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Downs, and Jason Frasor. Why?
Because I told you to.

Incumbent Blue Jays closer BJ Ryan is once again on the DL, and quickly moving to the front of the line on my DO NOT OWN list. The injury questions surrounding him, and the risk involved in taking this "closer" far out weight the benefits.

The same can be said for the Houston Astros closer Jose Valverde. His upside is much higher then Ryan's but he too is not without his own injury concerns. Twice having spend time on the DL with Shoulder Tendinitis in 2004-2005. Most recently he's dealing with back aches and a sore leg after taking a ground ball to his right calf. Consider him DTD.

Which leads us to their potential replacements. The Astros have already made it clear that Hawkins will be the man while Valverde is nursing his injury.
The Blue Jays website already has Scott Downs listed as the closer on the depth chart. It gives him a significant boost in value in mixed leagues, where he becomes a solid number three closer, and a tremendous boost in AL only leagues where he becomes an immediate number two closer.
But keep an eye on Frasor. He has past closer experience and could get the call if Downs pitches on back to back days or if he struggles in the role.

Here's your closer break down.

Top 10 Saves Leaders-

1- Heath Bell- 7sv, 8k, 0.00era, 0.60whip
2- Fransisco Cordero- 6sv, 6k, 1.29era,, 1.23whip,
3- Jonathan Broxton- 5sv, 13k, 1.08era, 0.24whip
4- Matt Capps- 5sv, 4k, 0.00era, 0.71whip
5- Brandon Morrow- 5sv, 8k,  4.05era, 1.35whip
6- Joakim Soria- 5sv,8k,  1.80era, 1.20whip
7- Ryan Franklin- 4sv, 6k, 0.00era, 0.57whip
8- Jonathan Papelbon- 4sv, 4k , 1.43era, 0.95whip
9- Chad Qualls- 4sv, 9k, 3.00era, 1.33whip
10- Mariano Rivera- 4sv, 8k,  0.00era, 0.86whip

Surprise Saves of the Week-

1- Takashi Saito- 1sv, 6k, 6.23era, 1.615whip-  Nothing to worry about here Papelbon owners. Saito closed out the game instead of Papelbon as he has pitched the previous two nights. A nice hand cuff to have incase of injury but he's not likely to be much of value unless you play with K/9, then his 12.47K/9 rate is nice, but not worth owning in standard mixed leagues.

Players to Watch-

1- Rafeal Soriano- 2sv, 10k, 0.00era, 0.714whip- He's already got two saves on the season, one more then closer Mike Gonzalez, if you're got room on your roster you may want to pick him.

2- Garrett Mock- Let's just say this, incumbent closer Joel Hanrahan. 4 saves opps, 2 saves, 6.43era. I'm not saying, I'm just saying. Mock has been groomed to be a closer while in the minor leagues, he hasn't been perfect this season, but this is a situation that bears watching. Keep an eye on Mock.

This past week proves that without a doubt closers are a highly unrealiable lot, so keep an eye out for value.

Posted on: April 17, 2009 6:06 pm
Edited on: April 17, 2009 6:33 pm

Bull Pen Briefs

Since the last Bull Pen Briefs a handful of unknown scrubs have through and picked up a few saves. The key closers are still doing thier job but they're still trailing a pitcher new to the craft of closing.

A new trend has emerged though. More teams are willing to go with the closer by committe route then to designate one pitcher as "the guy".

No more is that more apparent then in St.Louis with the Cardinals bullpen. Where preseason fantasy darling Jason Motte has been usurped by the veteran Ryan Franklin. Now this may not be a true committee, as Franklin figures to pick up the majority of the saves, but Tony LaRussa has shown that he's willing to give anyone a shot at closing. After all Dennys Reyes has a save this season.

Other news worthy happenings can be found high up in the mountains where the Colorado Rockies incumbent closer Huston Street is struggling this season. Another confusing situation can be found in the Seattle Mariners bull pen where uber pitcher Brandon Morrow has been used in moderation to conserve his arm, allowing David Aardsma to pick up two saves in the process.

For those that are looking for cheap saves you may want to pick up Manny Corpas and David Aardsma, they're easier to manage in daily leagues but are still solid in weekly leagues. Unfortunately there is no certainty that there will be save opportunities to convert. THen again, nothing is certain in a big league bull pen.


Top 10 Saves Leaders-

1- Heath Bell- 5sv, 0.00era, 5k, .64whip

2- Joakim Soria- 4sv, 2.25era, 7k, 1.00whip

3- Jonathan Broxton- 3 sv, 1.80era, 7k, .20whip

4- Bobby Jenks- 3sv, 4.50era, 3k, 1.50whip

5- Brad Lidge- 3sv, 5.40era, 7k, 1.00whip

6- Mariano Rivera- 3sv, 0.00era, 5k, .75whip

7- George Sherrill- 3sv, 6.23era, 5k, 2.08whip

8- David Aardsma- 2sv, 0.00era, 3k, .86whip

9- Matt Capps- 2sv, 0.00eram 2k, .75whip

10- Fransisco Cordero- 2sv, 0.00era, 4k, 1.00whip


Surprise Saves of the Week-

1-LaTroy Hawkins- 1sv, 4.50era, 2k, 1.75whip- Hawkins picked up the save thanks to the sore back that Jose Valverde is nursing. Should the pain persist Hawkins would be next in line for save opportunities.

2- Jason Grilli- 1sv, 1.93era, 4k, .86whip- Don't expect it to happen again. Manny Corpas had already pitched in the game before Huston Street gave up 2 hits, a walk and an earned run, while recording no outs.


Players to Watch-

1- Jason Frasor- 1sv, 0.00era, 3k, .69whip- He has a bit of closer experience picking up 14 saves in 2004, and could find himself in an even more prominent role thanks to the struggles that BJ Ryan is experiencing with his control and velocity. Frasor is a must own in AL only leagues.

2- Rafael Sorian- 1 sv, 0.00era, 5k, .60whip- Pitching behind Mike Gonzalez should give Soriano a few save opportunities as the Atlanta Braves don't want to risk injurying Gonzalez's arm again. Stash Soriano for a few cheap saves.

3- Jose Arredondo- 4.50era, 5k, 1.25whip- I'm still not 100% confident in Fuentes. Though Brain's two previous outtings were much better, he's still got the job with a long leash but if Jose starts pitching better the job could be his.

So there you have it, your quick Bull Pen Briefs. Remember saves can come from anywhere, remain deligent.




Posted on: April 9, 2009 11:48 pm

Bullpen Briefs

The closer.

Highly sought after, highly prized, highly infuriating.

Heading into the season managers were excited about new, fresh closers like the Oakland Athletics Joey Devine, the Chicago Cubs Carlos Marmol  and the St.Louis Cardinals Jason Motte. While others were looking for insurance plans when incumbent closers like the Detroit Tigers Fernando Rodney and others succumb to their usual mediocrity and give someone else a shot at closing out games.

So what has happened to these guys? Well Devine is on the 60 day DL, Mamol remains the set up man in favour of Kevin Gregg and Jason Motte blew his first save attempt. Where as Rodney was surprisingly effective, despite recording no save (none save situation)

So here's a quick Bullpen round up;

Top 10 saves leaders.

1- Heath Bell-  2sv, 3k, 0.00era,

2- Jonathan Broxton- 2sv, 4k, 0.00era

3- Matt Capps- 2sv, 1k. 0.00 era

4- Fransisco Rodriguez- 2sv, 2k, 0.00era

5- Joakim Soria- 2sv, 2k, 4.50era

6- Brad Zeigler- 2 sv, 3k, 4.50era

7- Grant Balfour- 1sv, 1k, 0.00era

8- Fransisco Cordero- 1sv, 4k, 0.00era

9- Frank Rodriguez- 1sv, 2k, 0.00era

10- Brian Fuentes - 1sv, 1k, 13.50era


Surprise Saves of the Week

1- Grant Balfour- 1sv, 1k, 0.00era- Picks up a 4 out save after coming in with the sacks drunk in the 8th inning.

2- Denny Reyes- 1sv, 1k, 0.00era- LaRussa says it was for the lefties match up. Maybe he's previewing available options. Keep an eye on the situation.


Players to Watch

Given the uncertainty of the closer role, and the volitility of the closers outside the top tier there are plenty of guys that could lose their jobs without a moments notice, so here are five guys to keep an eye on.

1- Ryan Perry-1k, 0.00era- Well it was only one inning but the guy has a 95mph fast ball, and Rodney is no stud and Brandon Lyon well he's Brandon Lyon

2- Rafeal Soriano- 1k, 0.00era- Not quite the picture of health but neither is current closer Mike Gonzalez when healthy he should rostered.

3- Ryan Franklin- 2k, 0.00era- We know that LaRussa doesn't trust young players, Franklin could get a shot again this year if Motte isn't lights out next time out.

4- Grant Balfour- 1sv 1k, 0.00era- As you can tell I like this guy, but given Troy Percival's injury past he's a guy to watch for.

5- Jose Arredondo- 2k, 13.50era- Kind of an obvious choice but it wouldn't be the first time that Brian Fuentes has been replaced in season for the younger arm.


That's your quick Bullpen Brief, remember you can always find saves, they're just not always pretty.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com