Archive for Bullpen Banter

Searching for Saves: Two Under-the-Radar Options Who Could Earn Closing Duties

by Steve Grindstaff


Adam Ottavino – COL
Ottavino is off to a hot start, posting a 0.00 ERA through April 22.  With the struggles of Rex Brothers, Ottavino has become a hot name in the Rockies pen as his third season in Colorao is shaping up to be his finest yet.  However we need to look at some early season stats that are not sustainable.

His LD rate currently sits at 6%, way off the mark of his career norm of 24.8%.  Also, he sports a BABIP of .176 which is well below his career mark of .318.  While he has been good thus far through 9 innings, be warned that his numbers won’t be this good the rest of the season.

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Searching For Saves: Three Candidates For Future Save Opportunities

by Steven Grindstaff

Chasing pitchers who could be in line for saves in the future?  Here are a few names to consider who could easily see some opportunities at some point:


Vic Black – New York Mets
The Mets were dealt quite the blow when Bobby Parnell became another victim of Tommy John surgery.  Jose Valverde is currently the man in the ninth but let’s be realistic, it won’t last.  Vic Black is currently in Triple-A, but he has the potential to become an elite closer based on stuff.

The one question will be if he can improve upon his control.  He brings the heat and offers superb strikeout ability, which can be dominate in the ninth inning.  Seeing as the Mets have no other options past Valverde, Black could see the majors soon.  Those in deep leagues should take note and plan accordingly when Black arrives in NY.  There’s no doubt he will be given a shot eventually.

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Searching for Saves: If (Or When) Jose Valverde Falters, Who Could Emerge For The Mets?

by Ray Kuhn

Raise your hand if when you were preparing for the upcoming fantasy baseball season, you thought Jose Valverde would have a save in the first week of the season. If you are one of the few that has your hand raised, then I’m guessing that you were not part of the obscene bidding war that occurred for the new Mets closer the first time waivers ran.

At this point Valverde is owned in just about all leagues so we must get past that shock. Now let’s ask another question; do we really think he will make it through the entire season as closer? Given the closer market, there is no relation to that answer and the FAAB dollars that were bid on him.

If I asked this question at the end of 2012, you would think I was crazy. Valverde had just followed up a 49 save season by saving 35 games. It wasn’t exactly smooth sailing, but with a 3.71 ERA things could have been a lot worse. He did struggle in the playoffs, go unsigned in the off-season and was forced to settle for a minor league contract to return to the Tigers last season, so heading into 2014 Valverde was on few if any draft boards.

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Waiver Worthy: Jonathan Broxton Named Closer, Becomes Must Add Option

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Jonathan Broxton has become a must own option for fantasy owners.  It’s just that simple.  John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer (click here for the article) has the following quote from Reds’ manager Bryan Price:

“I’m not to the point where I’m going to designate a guy. We anticipate Broxton being back relatively quickly. We know all of those pitchers I mentioned have a history in this league. If we can match them up as best as possible until we’re able to get a guy like Broxton, who’s been a closer, back. He’ll be the guy who holds down the fort until (Aroldis) Chapman comes back.”

The players he is referring to are J.J. Hoover, Logan Ondrusek, Manny Parra and Sam LeCure, who will share closing duties until Broxton is ready to return from the DL.  Of course, that time period may not be very long as the hope is that Broxton will return from the DL between April 7 and 9.

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Closer News: Bobby Parnell Out With Partial MCL Tear, So Where Do The Mets Turn Now?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

After watching him pitch yesterday, no one should really be surprised by this news.  How long he’s going to be out is not yet known, but obviously Tommy John surgery is a possibility.

The Immediate Replacement
Jose Valverde, who struck out 3 batters over a perfect 1.1 innings yesterday.  He’s a must add in all formats.  He has closing experience and is the “best” option in a rather weak bullpen, but over the long haul it would be a shock to see him locked into the rotation.

The Long-Term Replacement
Time will tell, but the Mets are flush with quality young arms.  Vic Black, who struggled this spring, could be a candidate if he can find his control (he was initially thought to be the setup man entering the season before being demoted).

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Searching For Saves: Is There Any Value In Houston’s Early Season Options?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Houston Astros are set to enter the season with the dreaded “closer by committee”. Arguably their best option (Jesse Crain) will open the season on the DL, leaving an opportunity for others to jump in and grab the role. Is there anyone fantasy owners should be targeting? Who is the early season favorite to earn saves?  Let’s take a look:


Chad Qualls
The veteran did save 24 games in a season, albeit back in 2009. He does offer good control (2.51 career BB/9), does a great job of inducing groundballs (57.8% for his career, which should help in Houston) and is coming off a good season in Miami (2.61 ERA). However, he was aided by some luck (82.9% strand rate) and offers little strikeout potential (6.87 career K/9).

The biggest benefit for the Astros would be building Qualls up and ultimately trading him. As a veteran he could see the bulk of the save chances, but he’s hardly an ideal candidate.

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