by Nick Hutcherson
Last week we named five bullpen arms who could be flying under the radar, though have the potential to emerge as great fantasy options before long. Let’s take a look at fourmore names you don’t want to ignore:
1) Koda Glover – Washington Nationals
I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t lead off with him. Do you recall the spring battle between Drew Storen and Roberto Osuna last season? The general belief was that the veteran, Storen, would end up with the pressure-cooker position when the games began to matter. All of a sudden April rolled around and there was Osuna closing for the Blue Jays. This situation smells much the same.
Most believed that Shawn Kelley is the man holding the winning hand, well that trend is shifting quickly. The buzz throughout Nationals’ land is that Glover, not Kelley, is in line to kick off the season with closers role. There is not a lot of data on Glover, he began last season pitching in High-A ball and ended it pitching in Washington. The numbers were elite early and began dipping as he reached the upper levels, which is to be expected for someone making adjustments as fast as he had to make them. Keep your eyes affixed on this situation as we close in on Opening Day, you may well steal yourself a closer for a team that is expected to win a healthy number of games.
2) Carl Edwards, Jr. – Chicago Cubs
There are two important things you should know here. First, this kid is special. Second, Wade Davis and health aren’t exactly a perfect pair. Of course Hector Rondon still resides in this bullpen, but the Cubs haven’t shown a whole lot of confidence in him. He was replaced as the closer by Aroldis Chapman for the stretch run last year and then the Cubs dealt for Davis this offseason. I expect that if (and when) Davis hits the DL this season, Edwards will be in line for a showcase role. He took the Majors by storm last season, striking out 13 batters/9 innings. He paired that with a FIP of 2.87 that forecasts he was a bit unlucky to end with a 3.75 ERA. The Cubs showed confidence in him throughout their World Series run, and don’t be surprised to see that grow this season.
3) Randall Delgado – Arizona Diamondbacks
Here is a gut-feeling and a walk out on a limb for you. Firstly, rule number 1 of fantasy bullpens: Never trust Fernando Rodney. Delgado took a big step back in 2016, but he has shown the best true skills of all of the members of the back end of this bullpen. He is capable of striking out a batter an inning and posting a mid-3’s ERA. If he can learn to pitch better at home and get the numbers closer to his road marks, then we may have just unearthed ourselves a gem. I would not condone relying on Delgado, but if you are in a deep league or a draft champions league, you can take much worse fliers in the late rounds.
4) Addison Reed – New York Mets
He may not quite be a sleeper, but what I am about to say may come as a bit of a shocking statement. What if I told you that Jeurys Familia may well not get his job back after his suspension? The expectation is that Familia is due to be suspended and if we take past examples as future expectations, I would expect no less than a 30 game suspension. That should give Reed plenty of time to prove himself worthy. Familia had garnered himself a bit of a cardiac closer mantra last season and Reed outpitched him in pretty well every way imaginable.
Reed’s walk rate was great, 1.51. His K-rate? Great at 10.5. His ERA? An elite 1.97. His FIP backed up that ERA as it also checked in at 1.97.
If Reed can repeat that performance early this season, the Mets are going to have a tough time pulling him out of the role when Familia returns. Drafting Reed is a wise investment. Even if he never sniffs a save, those numbers are elite across the board and could benefit any team in any format.
All statistical research listed in this column has been used from Fangraphs.
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|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|