Closer Carousel: Looking At The Impact Of Brad Hand Heading To Cleveland (Hand, Allen, Yates & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Last night we got the news of the Manny Machado trade, but that appears to be just the start of things.  The Padres and Indians pulled off their own blockbuster this morning:

The Cleveland Indians acquire LHP Brad Hand & RHP Adam Cimber
The San Diego Padres acquire C/OF Francisco Mejia

The move has ramifications for both teams, but let’s first take a look at the impact of the bullpens:


Cleveland Indians
Closer – Cody Allen
Next Up – Brad Hand

The acquisition of Hand gives the Indians a proven late inning threat, and allows them to keep Andrew Miller in a versatile, multi-inning role.  Allen has been struggling of late, but it didn’t appear likely that he’d be replaced because of the lack of alternatives.  That all has changed, and the fact that Hand is left-handed won’t be used against him due to the presence of Miller.

In regards to Allen, while he finished the first half with a clean inning his two prior outings were particularly bad (1.2 IP, 7 ER, 5 H, 3 BB).  He owns a 4.66 ERA as his control hasn’t been great (3.71 BB/9) and he’s really struggled to induce groundballs (30.1%).  The latter has led to a 1.40 HR/9 (after a 1.20 the year before), so consider him on notice.

If you are looking for saves keep Hand stashed (or scoop him up when the current owner cuts bait).  He already has the inside track to the job for 2019, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him emerge before 2018 is over.


San Diego Padres
Closer – Kirby Yates
Next Up – Craig Stammen

Yates is the obvious choice to step up and assume Hand’s role.  He’s been posting impressive peripherals this season en route to 2 SV and 16 HLD, making you think he should thrive immediately:

  • Strikeouts – 11.47 K/9
  • Control – 2.63 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 50.0%

The groundball rate is a significant jump from what he’s done (career 36.6%), but he’s also significantly increased the usage of his split-finger fastball (35.28%).  With the pitch generating a 61.76% groundballs on balls in play, the leap is justifiable.

He could immediately become a Top 10 closer, and at the least should be considered a Top 15 option.

Stammen represents a solid alternative, posting a 2.91 ERA and 1.17 WHIP while flashing his own impressive skillset:

  • Strikeouts – 9.91 K/9
  • Control – 1.75 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 51.2%

You can argue that he can’t maintain the control (2.71 BB/9 for his career), but outside of that it’s hard not to love the stuff.  If Yates were to stumble, Stammen should seamlessly step in.

Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out all of our Midseason Prospect Rankings:

First Baseman
Second Base
Third Baseman


  1. Daze says:

    With Yates getting the job
    Do I drop Will Smith for him. His job seems temporary

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Yates’ could be temporary as well. There are a lot of rumors that he could be moved prior to the deadline himself

  2. Barry says:

    Hello Professor,

    I currently have Allen, Hand, Rondon, Greene and Jimenez in a 6×6 H2H redraft. I’m going to hold onto Hand, however should I drop Jimenez who I picked up when Greene was on the DL and pick up Yates? I only roster the minimum number of bats.

    Thank you

  3. OAR says:

    Is Strickland a good hold in NL only even if it takes a roster spot? Basically, do you believe he is closing when he returns?

    Also, who do you like better for speculative saves ROS, Stammen or Steckenrider?


    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Barring an acquisition at the deadline, I’m holding onto Strickland. It’s not like anyone has really stepped up and pushed him out of the role.

      As for the speculative add, as of right now I’d go Stammen

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