Archive for Bullpen Banter

Bullpen Banter: Is Shawn Tolleson Being Undervalued Heading Into 2016?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It seems like many owners are entering the season expecting Shawn Tolleson to falter and ultimately lose his job. How else do you justify him being the 19th relief pitcher coming off the board in NFBC formats, despite posting the following impressive 2015 line:

72.1 IP
6 Wins
35 Saves
2.99 ERA
1.15 WHIP
76 Strikeouts (9.46 K/9)
17 Walks (2.12 BB/9)
42.4% Groundball Rate
.294 BABIP

The Rangers do have a deep bullpen, with Keone Kela and Sam Dyson among those who are waiting in the wings should Tolleson slip. That said, their presence doesn’t ensure that Tolleson is going to be removed. Coming off a year in which he blew just 2 saves, there’s a lot to like. Read more

Bullpen Banter: Who Represents The Best Closing Option In Miami?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson (click here for the article):

“Marlins executive Michael Hill said he expects an open competition for the closer job. Carter Capps will have a chance to compete with incumbent A.J. Ramos.”

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise, as Capps was forcing the issue in ’15 before an injury prematurely ended his season. It’s not a knock against Ramos, but when someone is putting up video game like numbers it makes sense (though Ramos had his own issues as well) for the team to give him an opportunity. Ultimately who is the better option? Let’s take a look:

A.J. Ramos
It’s hard to knock Ramos, at least on the surface, as he stepped up after the plug was pulled on Steve Cishek and posted a 2.30 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 11.13 K/9 and 3.33 BB/9. There is no questioning the stuff, as he’s consistently posted elevated SwStr%:

  • 2013 – 11.8%
  • 2014 – 14.1%
  • 2015 – 16.0%

Read more

Bullpen Banter: San Diego Padres: Could Drew Pomeranz Be The Best Closing Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When the San Diego Padres jettisoned both Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit, they created a gaping hole at the back of their bullpen. One of the assumed candidates, Brandon Maurer, is now expected to get a shot at transitioning back into the rotation (according to Corey Brock of

“San Diego general manager A.J. Preller said Maurer will come to Spring Training with the opportunity to win a spot in the starting rotation.”

So where does that leave the back of the bullpen? There’s been talk of Fernando Rodney signing, but does anyone truly trust him?  Let’s take a look at the current candidates, as even if Rodney signs any one of them could easily rise into the role:

Drew Pomeranz
Acquired from Oakland there had been talk of him also getting a chance to start, but it’s hard to imagine San Diego giving both him and Maurer that opportunity. It’s also easy to understand why the team wants to use Pomeranz out of the bullpen, as he seemingly found his footing in 2015: Read more

Bullpen Banter: Who Is The Best Fit To Close For The Blue Jays?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It had looked like the Blue Jays’ closing situation was fairly cut and dry, as Roberto Osuna had thrived in the role in 2015. Sure there had been rumblings about the potential of transitioning both Osuna and setup man Aaron Sanchez back into the rotation, but that was simply noise (and the acquisitions of J.A. Happ and Jesse Chavez had cemented that). Then Friday happened and suddenly there is no sure thing…

That’s because Drew Storen, who was pitching like an elite closer in his own right prior to the Nationals’ acquisition of Jonathan Papelbon, is now a member of the Toronto Blue Jays (acquired for Ben Revere). While the move has already caused the chatter of Sanchez returning to starting to pick up, the bigger question is who is the better option in the ninth inning? Is it Storen or is it Osuna? Let’s take a look at each to try and figure it out:

Drew Storen
We all know that the wheels fell of last season after being shifted to the eighth inning, but it’s not like he’s never thrived in the role before. He owns a career 8.65 K/9 and 2.59 BB/9, though he saw his strikeout rate spike to a 10.96 K/9 in ’15 courtesy of a 12.2% SwStr%. Read more

Bullpen Banter: Could An Unheralded Closing Option Emerge In Cincinnat?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Aroldis Chapman traded the prevailing thought is that J.J. Hoover will step into the closers role for the Cincinnati Reds. Is he truly the best option, though? Is there a sleeper out there that fantasy owners should be targeting? Let’s take a look at the options:


J.J. Hoover
While he posted a 2.94 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in ’15, there are a few red flags that can’t be overlooked:

  1. His strikeouts dropped in 2015 (7.27 K/9)
  2. His control struggles (4.34 BB/9)
  3. His history of home run issues (1.87 HR/9 in ’14)

In regards to the strikeouts he only had two months with a K/9 greater than 7.20, though his 10.5% SwStr% does indicate hope that he can rebound (9.05 for his career). Home runs have generally not been an issue, with a 1.15 HR/9 for his career, but he generally does not generate many groundballs (32.0% for his career). While there are a lot of popups (17.2% IFFB), it’s not something that should be completely glanced over. Read more

Closer Watch: Who Really Is The Better Option In Seattle (Cishek vs. Benoit)?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When the Mariners acquired Joaquin Benoit earlier in the offseason the expectation was that he would assume closing duties. Fast forward a few weeks and the addition of Steve Cishek has changed that, though that doesn’t mean all of the questions have been answered:

  1. Is utilizing Cishek as closer the right decision?
  2. Will he be able to last in the role?

Let’s take a look at each pitcher to try and decide:


Steve Cishek
After being one of the top closers in the game Cishek fell off the map early in ’15, posting a 4.50 ERA and 1.59 WHIP with Miami before being sent to St. Louis. He did bounce back after the deal, with a 2.31 ERA over 23.1 IP, but what’s noteworthy is that he struggled with his strikeouts at both stops:

  • Miami – 7.88 K/9
  • St. Louis – 7.71 K/9

Read more