Bullpen Banter: Is There Value In the Potential “Next Up” Options In Arizona?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Did anyone really think that Fernando Rodney would be a “good” closing option in Arizona?  While he didn’t get a blown save in his first appearance, that’s because he entered in a tie game.  It was an ugly performance as he allowed 1 ER on 2 H and 2 BB, also throwing 2 wild pitches, in his inning of work.  He clearly didn’t have it, with 15 of his 30 pitches thrown for strikes.

It’s only one game and no one wants to panic, though there was always going to be concern about Rodney’s ability to hold down the job.  Let’s not forget how bad he was after the trade to Miami last season, posting a 5.89 ERA and 1.80 WHIP over 36.2 IP.  There were still strikeouts (10.06 K/9) and groundballs (52.9%), with his control (6.14 BB/9) being the issue.

Knowing that, Monday’s performance becomes that much more concerning.  He’s going to have more rope than one game, but don’t be surprised if he’s removed from the role before the end of April.

Who is next up if a change is needed?  For now, it would appear that Randall Delgado.  Of course he posted a 4.32 BB/9 over 75.0 innings for Arizona last season, his third straight year with a BB/9 north of 4.00.  He also saw his strikeout rate drop, as his SwStr% dropped to 9.9% (he was over 13% in the previous two years).

So is there anyone else fantasy owners should be targeting?  As we’ve noted before it wouldn’t be surprising to see Archie Bradley rise into the role, but he needs to acclimate himself to the bullpen and the team needs to commit to him staying there.

There are a few veterans who have had success before:

  • Tom Wilhelmsen
  • J.J. Hoover

Are either of those names going to excite you?  Neither of them looked particularly good on Opening Day, with Wilhelmsen allowing 1 ER over 0.1 IP and Hoover allowing 1 H and 1 BB, though he got out of the jam (and also struck out 2).  Given the usage Hoover would appear to be the other name in the conversation, but that doesn’t mean much.

Who would’ve thought that, this early, we would be eyeing Jake Barrett for a potential return and rise to the back of the bullpen?

The moral of this story is that once again Arizona’s bullpen could prove to be a disaster.  If you are desperate for saves you could grab Delgado now, because an opportunity could present itself, but in most cases there’s far too much risk to invest in any of the options until one gives us reason to believe.

Sources – MLB.com, Fangraphs

Make sure to check out our 2017 Pre-Season Rankings:

Standard League
OBP League
First Base01/16/1703/07/17
Second Base03/22/1703/09/17
Third Base02/06/1703/12/17
Outfield#1-20 |03/16/17

#21-40 |03/16/17
Starting Pitcher#1-20 |02/27/17

#21-40 |03/02/17
Relief Pitcher01/02/17--


  1. Sam says:

    What about Archie Bradley?? Looked good last night.

  2. Biff Malibu says:

    Word is coaches are happy with Barrett n his progress. I’m leaning to him to be the horse that’s separating himself from the herd upon return

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Agreed 100%. As soon as he’s healthy he steps in as next up and should get the first crack (especially after Delgado’s implosion yesterday)

  3. Rodney says:

    Bracho, perhaps?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Anything is possible in that mess of a ‘pen, though I’d be betting on Barrett once he’s healthy

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