Archive for Bullpen Banter

Spring Battle: Which Tampa Bay Rays Reliever Is Worth Targeting? (Boxberger, Jepsen & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Jake McGee likely to miss the start of the season, the Rays’ closer job appears to be wide open. Lucky for the team they aren’t short on potential substitutes… Unlucky for fantasy owners they aren’t short on potential substitutes.

Who is most likely to prove worth the flier? Could McGee, a lefty, lose his job completely while sidelined? Let’s take a look:

 

Brad Boxberger
Even last season we speculated that Boxberger could actually prove to be a better fit for closing duties so it’s hard for us to argue against him. He was dominant last season, with a 14.47 K/9 and 2.78 BB/9 leading to a 2.37 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.

Control has always been the biggest question facing Boxberger. He owned a 3.9 BB/9 in the minors (including a 3.7 over 137.2 innings at Triple-A) and bloated marks of 5.86 and 5.32 with the Padres in 2012 & 2013. Is it possible that he simply found it as a 26-year old? Read more

Top 10 Closers Likely To Lose Their Job: #7 Brett Cecil

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

2014 Statistics:
5 SV (2 blown saves), 2.70 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 12.83 K/9, 4.56 BB/9

Potential Replacements:

  • Aaron Sanchez
  • Aaron Loup

Why He’s On The List:
While we happen to like Cecil and his upside in the closer’s role, there’s no guarantee that he even opens the season with the job.  The Blue Jays have been tied to Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano via free agency, as well as a potential trade for Jonathan Papelbon.  While they haven’t made a move, yet, with the veterans still available it’s not impossible that they make a move.

Of course, Cecil’s performance also should lead to a few concerns.  While he has shown significant strikeout stuff since moving to the bullpen (K/9 of 10.38 and 12.83 the past two seasons), there are two stats that jump out at us: Read more

Top 10 Closers Likely To Lose Their Job: #8 Luke Gregerson

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

2014 Statistics:
3 SV (8 blown saves), 2.12 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 7.34 K/9, 1.87 BB/9

Potential Replacements:

  • Josh Fields
  • Pat Neshek

Why He’s On The List:
Long considered a potential closer of the future, there is no proof that Gregerson will actually be able to handle the pressure of routinely closing out games. He’s made 435 appearances in the Major Leagues, earning 19 saves, and has proven to be one of the elite setup men around. Unfortunately that doesn’t always translate. Read more

Breaking Down The Dodgers Closing Options To Open 2015 (Peralta, Baez & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We have all heard the news about Kenley Jansen and the fact that he will be sidelined for the next 8-12 weeks.  While we all know he’s going to regain his job as soon as he’s healthy, who could hold value in the short-term?  Let’s take a look at the most likely candidates who could step up and make an impact over the first few weeks of the season:

 

Joel Peralta
He would appear to be the odds on favorite to close over the first few weeks of the season. While he “struggled” to a 4.11 ERA last season, the workhorse has emerged as one of the best setup men in the game over the past four seasons. Just look at what he did over his time in Tampa Bay:

Season
Innings
K/9
BB/9
FB%
201167.28.112.3957.5%
201267.011.282.2851.9%
201371.19.344.2953.9%
201463.110.522.1347.1%
Read more

Top 10 Closers Likely To Lose Their Job: #9 Neftali Feliz

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

2014 Statistics:
13 SV (1 blown saves), 1.99 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 5.97 K/9, 3.13 BB/9

Potential Replacements:

  • Kyuji Fujikawa
  • Shawn Tolleson

Why He’s On The List:
We took a close look at the Rangers bullpen recently (click here to view) and highlighted four important notes regarding his 2014 numbers:

  1. Significant Luck – He benefited from a 100% strand rate and .176 BABIP (21.6% line drive rate)
  2. Strikeouts – He owns a career 8.42 K/9 and did lose something on his fastball (93.1 mph); there is promise, given his 94.6 mph in September, but it’s hardly a given
  3. Control – Sure he was at a 3.13 BB/9 last season, but he’s never been a true control artist (4.33 BB/9 in ’11)
  4. Home Runs – 1.42 HR/9 in ’14 and with his 51.1% fly ball rate (49.0% for his career), there is every reason to believe that it’s going to continue to plague him

Read more

Top 10 Closers Likely To Lose Their Job: #10 Fernando Rodney

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

2014 Statistics:
48 SV (3 blown saves), 2.85 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 10.31 K/9, 3.80 BB/9

Potential Replacement:

  • Danny Farquhar

Why he’s on the list:
The surface numbers for Rodney are impressive, but there are a lot of concerns behind them. He has a history of control issues, including a career BB/9 of 4.40. In fact since 2008 he’s been above 4.60 in five of the seven seasons.

He also saw a significant dip in his velocity last season, going from an average fastball of 96.5 in 2013 to 94.9. With it also came a drop in his SwStr%:

  • 2012 – 13.2%
  • 2013 – 12.5%
  • 2014 – 10.5%

Read more