Archive for ‘Middle Reliever Method’

Monday: 01.21.2013

2013 Starting Pitcher Guide Announcement

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It is with great excitement that today I announce details regarding the 2013 Starting Pitcher Guide. This is the sixth year of the guide and it has grown exponentially since that first iteration which actually started on a message board (the now-defunct Rotojunkie.com which has morphed into RJ Bullpen). In the 2008 debut, I ranked 100 guys (or 112 if you consider “12 Under 30” add-on) in about 11,000 words growing to last year’s 400 player/76,000 word epic that spiked download count by 2x over 2011 and was even mentioned by Bill Simmons on his podcast. We’re ready for another step forward in 2013.

The first big piece of news related to the 2013 Guide is the addition of Doug Thorburn (Twitter) as a contributor. Doug is my colleague over at Baseball Prospectus and does some of the most amazing work on the site analyzing pitcher mechanics. He has also co-authored a book with Tom House on the mechanics of pitching. He has worked at the National Pitching Association (NPA), too, adding yet another impressive notch on his pitching resume (and those are just the highlights!). Both this 2008 interview with him at BP (before he started working there) and his latest article on Gio Gonzalez are free to view.

Take a look at the Gonzalez piece especially because that will give you a feel for what he will be contributing to the guide (and because it’s amazing). In addition to an essay on pitch mechanics to help us better understand them he will also be contributing a series of Mechanics Report Cards similar to the one you saw in the article. The report card list will be hand-selected by Doug with each team being represented by at least a couple players, though some teams will have a more robust offering. There will also be insight attached to the report cards crystalizing the information found within the card. We are still fleshing out some details, but this gives you a general idea and the one thing I can promise is that it will be awesome.

The next big news is the addition of bullpen coverage! Closers, for better or worse depending on your view, are a big part of fantasy baseball and having a firm handle on how to evaluate those who have a beat on the role as well as (and perhaps more importantly in some cases) those who might end up in the role can be extremely helpful to your success. It will also create an avenue to discuss the Middle Reliever Methodology that I have long been a fan of utilizing, especially in AL/NL-Only auction leagues.

Essays are returning to the 2013 guide! In 2011, the front of the guide contained a series of essays on various pitching-related topics, but they were absent a year ago. They are coming back with a vengeance this year with the only difference from 2011 being that I will be writing all of them (except for Doug’s pitching mechanics one, obviously). Topics will include strikeouts, prospects, bold predictions (often found here yearly, but this time tied to the guide), and park factors, plus much more. I have some other ideas, but they aren’t as set in stone so I’ll go with “plus much more” instead so you can dream about what might be included (you’re welcome!).

Projections are returning for 2013! Last year was my first attempt at putting together a projection set and it went well so I’m going to do it again this year. The ERA ranges will be used again spanning four to seven earned runs. I think it gives a better idea of what I’m expecting out of the pitcher, plus it covers a bit of luck on both ends. The ranges aren’t too wide over 185-200 innings and that’s another reason I do it. When you see 3.29-3.60, it feels quite significant, but it’s a seven run difference or one every five or so starts.

Of course this is all in addition to the player capsules you’ve grown accustomed to year in and year out. There isn’t a set number of capsules and there won’t be an announced number ahead of time so I don’t paint myself into an unnecessary corner by excluding someone to stay under an arbitrary round number. Instead, I’ll just say that it will likely be a number between 400 and 600. I have over 700 names on the initial list to be pared down as some situations became clearer and some low upside far-from-the-majors minor leaguers are eliminated.

Like last year, the focus will be on plentiful profiles of those with the most impact and upside, so Jason Hammel is going to get more attention than Carlos Martinez (Cardinals prospect at Double-A), but Martinez is going to get more attention than Nick Blackburn. Hammel is impacting 2013 and Martinez is impacting 2014 & beyond for dynasty/keeper leaguers. Blackburn, by costing the Twins $5.5 million dollars this year, is only impacting their ability to buy a free agent better than Kevin Correia. Blackburn isn’t even on the 40-man roster. That’s a foolproof sign that your signing has gone awry.

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With the continued enhancements to a product you’ve hopefully already come to enjoy, we are moving to a very affordable pay model. The guide will available in late-February just in time for the fantasy season and is available for $12.

The guide comes via email in PDF form.

Order now!

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Questions & comments can be directed to thespguide@gmail.com

Monday: 01.21.2013

2013 Starting Pitcher Guide Now Available

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Full details on the 2013 Starting Pitcher Guide

With the continued enhancements to a product you’ve hopefully already come to enjoy, we are moving to a very affordable pay model. You can order for $12! The guide, which comes via email in PDF form, is now available.

We now have a sample entry available for you to peruse so you have an idea of what you’re getting in the 2013 Guide. Click below to see both mine and Doug’s thoughts on Oakland A’s youngster, Jarrod ParkerDownload the Sample Here.

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Available Now

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Questions & comments can be directed to thespguide@gmail.com

Monday: 04.18.2011

Middle Reliever Update

Back in February I outlined the Middle Reliever Methodology and recommended the best pitchers for employing that strategy.  Though we are just two-plus weeks in, it appears as though the exercise has uncovered some really nice gems including Jordan Walden (now a full-time closer), Tim Collins (just dominating hitters) and Ernesto Frieri (latest in a long line of strong middle relievers in San Diego) among others.

While samples are admittedly small at this point in the season, we are still seeing names emerge who weren’t found on the original listing back in February.  Here are a handful for your consideration if you’ve soured on the likes of Kenley Jansen or Bobby Jenks.

Aaron Crow (KC) – Collins isn’t the only impressive rookie in that Royals bullpen as Crow has looked great in his 8.7 innings across six appearances.  He has 10 strikeouts and two walks and perhaps the bullpen suits him best going forward.  Of course as a guy who was starting just last year, he could pile up innings with several multi-inning appearances.  He already has five such occasions in his six games.

Guillermo Mota (SFG) – The 37-year old appears rejuvenated with a career-high 8.8 K/9 in 12.3 innings thus far.  The Giants aren’t afraid to use him either as two of his stints have gone three and four innings, respectively.  He’s shown a rubber arm tendency in his career, although it was seven and eight years ago when he totaled 105 and 97 innings entirely out of the bullpen.

Michael Dunn (FLO) – Ridiculously live arm (12.2 K/9 in 121 minor lg innings as reliever), but walks EVERYBODY (5.3 BB/9) and that has translated in the majors as well with 12.8 and 8.2 rates, respectively in 27 innings.  But his absurd strikeout potential is too hard to ignore and if he limits hits, then the walks won’t matter much in the overall picture when it comes to WHIP.

Al Alburquerque (DET) – He’s only pitched 2.7 innings, but he has struck out four and his stuff is positively electric.  I’ve seen both of his outings and I was thoroughly impressed (and that isn’t just a homer talking).  This kid has got the stuff to be a high strikeout asset in AL-Only leagues and he will cost nothing.

Matt Reynolds (COL) – He showed a glimpse of his capability in 18 innings last year and he has picked up right where that left off in 5.7 innings so far this year.  There is a bit of a ceiling on his potential as he is definitely a lefty specialist.  His 5.7 innings have come in eight appearances so Jim Tracy picks his spots with Reynolds.

Pedro Strop (TEX) – A hyper version of Dunn with seven strikeouts in his 3.7 innings (17.2 K/9), but also four walks (9.8 BB/9).  He’s very raw as he rarely knows where the ball is going to end up, but he’s definitely one to monitor.

Mitchell Boggs (STL) – He is a bit more high profile right now as Ryan Franklin has been awful this year leading to speculation about his successor.  There is no clear option so Boggs has thrown name into the ring with nine brilliant innings including 12 strikeouts and just two runs allowed.  Also a former starter, he is capable of logging plenty of innings having done his work in six appearances.

Kameron Loe (MIL) – The ERA is a tick high at 4.32, but that’s essentially blown up by one bad outing when he allowed three runs in a third of an inning on Sunday, April 17th.  More importantly, he looked strong out of the pen in 53 appearances last year and has gotten better early on in 2011.  He is also a good bet to fill in for John Axford if he should prove unable to hold the job this year.

Thursday: 03.24.2011

2011 Guide to Middle Reliever Methodology

Previous versions:

2009

2008

I didn’t do a 2010 version of the MR guide.  I think it was because my main Thursday column over at Fanball was called “Middle Men” so I was writing about middle relievers every week.  A quick refresher on the idea of MRM for the uninitiated—the goal is to acquire three dirt-cheap middle relievers who in turn will net you the stats of an elite starting pitcher. From my experiences, it is best employed in single league auctions. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be done in mixed league drafts and auctions, especially deep ones, just that I find it most effective in SLAs.

This strategy seems to gain traction yearly with more and more fantasy magazines and online draft kits dedicating a portion to middle relievers.  Of course they often identify the elite middle relievers.  I won’t gloss over the elite of middle relievers in my list, but I hope to highlight the up & comers so that you have a deep list in case other owners choose to utilize the MRM for their teams as well.  Not only that, but some of us will invariably end up in leagues where the bulk of middle relievers are ignored or severely undervalued.

I’d hate to assume that every league was going to bid up the top ones and leave you empty-handed when they finally do come available on the cheap.  The idea is to find the next elite reliever since the whole goal is to save money in the budget for more hitting*.

(*I’m saving it for hitting, you may choose to invest it in a higher priced ace starter or closer.)

VOLUME

When you’re constructing your three-pack of relievers, you need to keep an eye on their innings totals from the past couple of seasons. Some guys have very appetizing strikeout and walk rates, but are used in a very limited capacity (30-40 IP) and thus should be counted only as your third guy, if at all, unless you are predicting an increased role for 2011.

We are seeing greater balance in workload among the relief corps.  In 2009, eight non-closing relievers managed 80+ innings of relief work.  In 2010, there were only five such non-closing relievers.  Compare that with five years ago when there were 14 and 10 years ago when there were 19.  Only two relievers topped 90 innings last year so you’re looking for 70+ innings at the high end.

WHO’S NEXT?

Here are five young small-sample strikeout studs that you should keep on your radar:

1. Jordan Walden, 23 years old, Los Angeles Angels – He displayed blistering heat (avg. 99 MPH w/his fastball) in his 15-inning sample at the big league level last year striking out 23 batters.  He’s a failed starter as a 2-pitch pitcher whose third just never developed, but he looks like he could be a dominant setup guy behind Fernando Rodney and might even get a shot at saves at some point this year.

2. Kenley Jansen, 23, Los Angeles Dodgers – He had a star turn in 27 innings similar to Walden’s where he struck out 41 batters.  He’s actually a failed catcher that the Dodgers shifted to the pen with great success in limited samples thus far.  Unlike Walden, there is legitimate competition for saves on the Dodgers with Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo so he’s almost certainly going to spend the year in the 6th through 8th innings.

3. Zach Braddock, 23, Milwaukee Brewers – Likely to be just a LOOGY as a southpaw who crushed lefties in his 34 innings of work.  Even still, he has massive strikeout potential and could develop a larger role if veteran arms LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito succumb to injury.

4. Collin Balester, 25, Washington Nationals – Another failed starter, Balester shifted to the pen last year with great success in 21 innings striking out 28 batters.  If the team places importance on Spring Training numbers, Balester should grab a spot in the bullpen as he’s excelled in his nine innings striking out 10 and walking just two.  As a former starter, he could be stretched out for 2-inning stints and end up pushing the 100-inning mark which could make him especially valuable if he continues to strikeout a batter per inning or better.

5. Ernesto Frieri, 25, San Diego Padres – With Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb shipped out for Cameron Maybin, spots are open in the SD bullpen and Frieri had a great 32 inning audition during which he struck out 41 batters.  This could be the next great unheralded middle reliever for the Padres.  He’s no better than fifth on list for saves, so don’t speculate here if you want saves.

NON-STARTING STARTERS

Here are three guys that have come up as starting pitchers, but may be forced to the bullpen due to filled rotations:

1. Kevin Slowey, Minnesota Twins – He’s carried a solid 6.9 K/9 in 473 innings as a starter and I could see that ticking up above eight as a reliever.  How he will be utilized out of the bullpen is a bit of a mystery at this point, but I can’t imagine he would be much more than a 6th-7th inning guy and then a long relief guy for the 2nd through 5th innings every fifth day when Nick Blackburn pitches.

2. Hisanori Takahashi, Los Angeles Angels – The swingman pitched 122 innings for the Mets last year and was much better out of the bullpen.  He struck out 9.4 batters per game in 57 relief innings posting a 2.04 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.  Meanwhile he struck out 7.5 with a 5.01 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 12 starts totaling 65 innings.  He could have some sneaky value, especially if they use him more than an inning at a time.

3. Manny Parra, Milwaukee Brewers – Like Takahashi, Parra struggled when starting and excelled out of the ‘pen.  His strikeouts were strong regardless of role (9.4 as SP, 9.8 as RP), but in 16 starts he posted a 6.19 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in 84 innings.  Meanwhile his ERA was 2.39 with a 1.35 WHIP in 38 relief innings.  The WHIP was still high, but I’m really not concerned with a reliever’s WHIP in terms of impact on a team’s bottom line by the end of the season.  As I mentioned in the Closer Tier’s piece, Carlos Marmol’s crazy awful WHIP from 2009 (1.46) would impact a standard 12-team staff by 0.01-0.02 depending on the final innings count.  There’s an impact, but not nearly to the degree many analysts suggest.

THE ELITE

This is the cream of the middle reliever crop as I see it.  These are the guys that will likely cost you the most to acquire as just about everyone recognizes their value.  In the cases where your league fails to pump their costs, jump at the chance to get them at a discount.  Also, I’m not saying you can’t pay more than a dollar on them, but some of them might creep as high as $8-10 which is a price I’m not willing to pay.  In fact, anything above $5 would likely push me out.  Here are the favorites:

1. Luke Gregerson, San Diego Padres – Back-to-back 75+ inning seasons averaging 10.7 K/9 combined with the ever-looming threat of a Heath Bell trade make him the most sought after middle man these days.  He doesn’t give an elite ERA (3.24 and 3.22), but it doesn’t hurt, either.  You are drafting him for the major strikeouts and potential emergence into the closer’s role.

2. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds – He’s one of the hottest prospects in the game so his value is likely to be through the roof relative to middle relievers.  He could be a 100-inning, 100+ strikeout guy if Dusty Baker doesn’t lean veteran heavy and realizes the gem he has with Chapman.  Eventually he should be tried as a starter, so he should get some 2-inning stints to keep him at least somewhat stretched out.

3. Daniel Bard, Boston Red Sox – The arrival of Bobby Jenks likely puts Bard third on the list for saves, but that doesn’t curb his value for me.  He’s their best reliever for sure and they need him pitching the most important outs to get to the ninth with a lead.  He was excellent in 2010 and I could see him getting even better and taking that strikeout rate back up over 11 as he did in 2009.

4. Mike Adams, San Diego Padres – The skill is not in question at all.  It’s a matter of staying healthy for Adams.  He has yet to put together back-to-back healthy seasons so 2011 would complete his first pair.  He’s been the complete package at relief with gaudy strikeout totals and minuscule ERA and WHIP rates.

5. Joaquin Benoit, Detroit Tigers – Missed all of 2009, but came back with a career year that earned him a hefty contract.  Like Adams, the skill is not in doubt at all, it’s all about staying healthy.  He will be a major asset setting up Jose Valverde and could get some sneaky saves when Valverde needs a break.

6. Hong-Chih Kuo, Los Angeles Dodgers – Another guy similar to Adams whose skill is elite, but staying on the field has been problematic.  A complete season in 2011 would be his first pair of back-to-back full seasons, too.  He absolutely obliterates lefties (.095 last year), but crushes righties too, avoiding LOOGY status.

7. Sergio Romo, San Francisco Giants – His value is ticking upward as Brian Wilson’s status for Opening Day remains in doubt.  Romo isn’t guaranteed to get the saves if Wilson is absent, but he is the one most are speculating on thanks to back-to-back seasons with 10+ K/9 rates matched with a sub-3.0 BB/9.

8. Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics – Balfour is a good example of how a reliever’s ERA can vary wildly year-to-year even if the skills stay relatively steady.  The samples are so small that it a bit of randomness can make a huge difference.  He has maintained strong skills with strikeout per inning stuff for his entire career and the control is improving as he ages.  In Oakland’s spacious park, he’ll be even better.

9. Rafael Betancourt, Colorado Rockies – The home runs are always going to keep his ERA high for an elite reliever (3.50 or higher), but the ridiculous control (3 seasons below 2.0 BB/9 including 1.2 last year) and equally ridiculous strikeout rates make him a useful asset.

10. Rafael Soriano, New York Yankees – Speaking of home runs, I’m worried about how Soriano’s massive flyball rate (52% last year, 50% career) will play in Yankee Stadium.  The skills are strong otherwise, but the ERA will likely be higher than the sub-3.00* totals he has posted since 2006.  (*it was right at 3.00 in 2007)

THE NEXT LEVEL

Here is where you can find value.  A few of these guys likely won’t be at the forefront of many radars in your league.  Some are known, but still just don’t command a price tag commensurate with their value (which is of course great for us).  And others have the name, but found themselves in this tier because I value them as next-level despite their elite tier price tag—you may want to pass on those that fit those criteria:

1. Matt Belisle, Colorado Rockies – Came out of a nowhere with a brilliant season last year, but the lack of a legitimate track record is what keeps him out of the elite column.  Can he maintain the strikeout per inning stuff and more importantly will Colorado allow him to throw 92 innings again or close to it at least?  If so, he’s great and likely quite underrated.

2. Tyler Clippard, Washington Nationals – This is an example of what we’re trying to find the next example of in 2011.  Clippard was taxed by the Nats throwing 91 innings in 78 appearances, but he delivered with 11.1 K/9, a 3.07 ERA and 11 wins.  In fact, he had 17 decisions.  I wouldn’t bet on anything close to that again as reliever wins are even flukier than starting pitcher ones.  He will likely be overrated in 2011.

3. Bobby Jenks, Boston Red Sox – Don’t underestimate Jenks this year.  He could be closing at some point if Papelbon is moved, but if not we could see his workload increase back into the high 60s for the first time since 2007 as he won’t be used solely according to save availability.

4. Takashi Saito, Milwaukee Brewers – Even at 41, he shows no signs of slowing down.  He’s more a 55-inning pitcher these days as opposed to 65-70 he gave when came to the majors in 2006, but he can still offer 65+ strikeouts in that time.

5. David Robertson, New York Yankees – He’s been a favorite of mine since back in 2009 when he was an unknown.  Now part of a deep bullpen, he’s still pumping out massive strikeout totals, but the lack of control leaves his ERA & WHIP elevated.  The latter doesn’t bother me in the least.

6. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox – I love this kid, but there’s no way he deserved the closer’s role over Matt Thornton based on a 23 innings at the end of the season.  Drafted as a starter, he could be the swingman for Chicago this year which could boost his innings total and add to his value.

7. Sergio Santos, Chicago White Sox – The converted infielder came out of nowhere to have a very good season out of the bullpen last year striking out nearly 10 batters per nine innings.  His control was a bit erratic and he seemed to wear down late in the season.  He should improve in 2011.

8. Jason Motte, St. Louis Cardinals – I know he’s done it for two and a half years, but I still don’t buy Ryan Franklin as a closer.  Motte will get a chance sooner or later.  In the meantime, he’s good for a strikeout an inning and improving control and rate stats.

9. Kevin Jepsen, Los Angeles Angels – Another guy I’ve liked for a while, he’s been up and down, but with Scott Downs on the DL to start the season, he could be first in line for saves behind an ever-shaky Fernando Rodney.

10. David Hernandez, Arizona Diamondbacks – After struggling as a starter despite some quality stuff, he transitioned nicely to the bullpen raising his strikeout rate from 5.7 K/9 in eight starts (42 IP) to 10.9 in 37 innings of relief.  In fact, he improved across the board.  I love JJ Putz this year, but back spasms are putting his Opening Day in doubt and Hernandez should be heir apparent.

11. Joba Chamberlain, New York Yankees – We all know what he can do.  The Yankees aren’t afraid to allow him to pitch more than an inning at a time (did so 15 times last year) so he could feasibly push the 80-inning mark, though the depth of the NY bullpen might eliminate the need.

12. Alexi Ogando, Texas Rangers – With Neftali Feliz officially taking back the closer’s role, Ogando is firmly entrenched as his setup man.  He looked strong in his 41-inning debut and has looked even stronger in the minors with a 12.6 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 112 innings (all but 31 came in Dominican Summer League, but he dominated AA and AAA for those 31, too).

13. Ryan Madson, Philadelphia Phillies Another high dollar guy (again, relative to middle relievers) because Brad Lidge is so shaky in front of him and he has a long track record of quality middle relief.  His strikeout rate has increased yearly since 2006 nearly touching 11 last year.  A chair kicking incident cost him a lot of time last year as it resulted in a broken toe.  Otherwise, he’s a high workload reliever when healthy.

14. Joel Peralta, Tampa Bay Rays – He enjoyed a breakout season at age 34 last year and color me a bit skeptical.  He is in the mix for some saves as they vow to go closer by committee, but I want to see if the strikeouts are for real before investing.

15. Edward Mujica, Florida Marlins – He finally paired his elite control (0.8 in ’10, 1.4 career) with a big time strikeout rate (9.3) resulting in a sick 12.0 K/BB rate.  His home run rate has been a problem for his entire career and leaving PETCO will be problematic even though Sun Life Stadium is still solid for pitchers.

GOLD MINING

If the last tier is where you find value, then this is where you get rich. Some of your leaguemates won’t even know who a handful of these guys are, but they have the skills and they just might become the next best thing. Even if they don’t become sometimes-closers or vulture five-plus wins, they could just rack up 65+innings of quality work anonymously for your team:

1. Clay Hensley, Florida Marlins – He might be a bit more known as he is supposed to be the next in line behind Leo Nunez, but Nunez was much better than many are giving him credit for so I think he holds the job.  Hensley had his best season yet last year after spending all of ’09 in the minors.  I wouldn’t pay more than $2 to find out if he can repeat.

2. Santiago Casilla, San Francisco Giants – His career profile is a great example of how volatile a middle reliever’s skills can be as he has bounced from useful to scrub before finally notching his best season last year at age 30.  Don’t go crazy for him.

3. Chris Resop, Pittsburgh Pirates – He has remade himself as a strikeout-heavy reliever and should finally get a chance to do it for a full season, especially since he’s out of options.

4. Sean Marshall, Chicago Cubs – In his first season as a full-time reliever, he took a nice step forward in the strikeout rate and pitched in a lot of high leverage situations allowing him to accumulate seven wins.  Don’t bet on the wins, but this lefty can get right and left handers out.

5. Bobby Parnell, New York Mets – Looked sharp in 76 relief innings between AAA and the majors and I think he is a primed for 80+ inning season with quality stats.  A great dollar value very late.

6. Jesse Crain, Chicago White Sox – If the spike in strikeout rate (8.2 last year, 5.8 career to date prior to ’10) is for real, he’s usually good for at least 65 innings making him plenty useful as a dollar guy in that deep bullpen.

7. Sean Burnett, Washington Nationals – Emerged with an outburst of strikeouts last year raising his rate more than two to 8.9 K/9 in 63 innings.  The backend of Washington’s bullpen is uncertain so he could grab some saves, too.

8. Kerry Wood, Chicago Cubs – He’ll pump tons of strikeouts, but also tons of walks and he’s good for at least a DL stint or two so if you league counts injuries he is a first round pick.

9. Tim Collins, Kansas City Royals – The diminutive Collins (5’7) carries a strikeout rate that belies his stature (13.3 K/9 in 223 minor league IP).  He should make the team out of camp and I see no reason he won’t continue to pile up the strikeouts.

10. Anthony Slama, Minnesota Twins – Nicked a little bit with an elbow issue this spring, but he should be back at some point this season and he can be a huge strikeout asset out of the Minnesota bullpen.  Monitor his return and be ready to jump in.

11. Michael Wuertz, Oakland Athletics – He’s only had the one great season, 2009, so I’m a little skeptical, but he did maintain a strikeout per inning in an injury-riddled season last year.  The home ballpark always helps, but don’t bet on 2009 numbers.

12. Bill Bray, Cincinnati Reds – Looked as good as ever after missing all of 2009, but he is a LOOGY so he doesn’t pile up many innings which limits his potential.

13. Dan Runzler, San Francisco Giants – He’s got an explosive strikeout rate in his 41 innings as a big leaguer, but a 5.5 BB/9 suggests caution.  He could be a great sleeper if he tames the control and increases the workload.

14. Jeremy Jeffress, Kansas City Royals – Triple digit heat and a devastating breaking pitch scream future closer for this top prospect.  He may not break camp with the team, but when he comes up, he will be a target.  Don’t overpay, though.

15. Louis Coleman, Kansas City Royals – A big 2010 in the minors coupled with a big spring have earned him some sleeper buzz.  Reliever spring stats might be the most worthless of all as they samples are insanely small.  His 92 innings from last year are enough to know he can be a big strikeout guy out of KC’s pen.

Wednesday: 03.12.2008

2008 Guide to Middle Reliever Methodology

This was originally posted on Rotojunkie.com, but the board over there has been taken down and moved with the archives disappearing.  I’m posting this years after the fact…

First, let’s get a refresher on the MRM.

The idea is that you acquire three middle relievers amongst your nine pitchers whose stats will combine to give you those of a top flight starting pitcher at 1/5th to maybe ½ of the price. The price you will pay for your “Cheap Cy” as Bod [Bodhizefa, a poster from the board] termed them (and I like it, so I’ll keep it) depends on what echelon of reliever you aim to acquire.

The method is becoming much more prevalent these days (just as Bod predicted back in ’05 when he made brought this to light at RJ), so much so that the Rotoworld.com Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide put a section in their magazine dedicated to specifically to middle relievers. The way for this method to have the most success is to find the next Rafael Betancourt, Jonathan Broxton or Carlos Marmol as opposed to paying the premium for one (or more) of that trio. That said, you don’t avoid these three by any stretch. You will still encounter leagues where middle relievers, even the best, are undervalued. It is rare, but not completely unheard of…

Exclusions for the MRM:
This methodology is not viable in 4×4 leagues unless one of the four categories is strikeouts, though I’ve rarely seen that. It is best employed in standard 5×5 leagues. As the number of categories increases, the methodology will likely decrease in viability because Holds will likely enter the landscape, which automatically shines the spotlight on the landscape of middle relievers.

Tenets for the MRM:
• 3 relievers, 2 is too few unless you get something like Betancourt-Broxton, but then the point of it being a cheap way to improve the pitching is likely eliminated since they’re such high profile. 4 are too many since you’re taking up too many roster spots.

• 1 of your relievers should be a big innings guy. Last year, there were:

o 31 relievers who pitched 70+ IP
o 13 relievers who pitched 80+ IP
o 3 relievers who pitched 90+ IP

• Acquire relievers with high strikeout rates. The bar should be set no lower than 7.0 K/9. Last year, there were:

o 80 relievers who had a 7.0+ K/9
o 51 relievers who had a 8.0+ K/9
o 34 relievers who had a 9.0+ K/9
o 12 relievers who had a 10.0+ K/9
o Those 80 relievers averaged 57 IP
o Those 51 relievers averaged 57 IP
o Those 34 relievers averaged 57 IP
o Those 12 relievers averaged 52 IP

• All three needn’t be above that rate, but the best and most useful will end up there. Don’t eliminate the sub-7.0 K/9 relievers just because of the K-rate.

• That said the 7.0+ K/9 guys are going to be your best bets. With the measure I created to assess relievers, the top 50 middle relievers had an average of 9.1 K/9 and only six of them dropped below the 7.0 mark.

• All of the top 28 were at 7.9 K/9 or above with an average of 9.8 K/9.

• The seven pitchers in the Top 50 that were below 7.0 K/9 had an average of 6.6 K/9.

The List:
• To rank the middle relievers, I ranked the top 126 relievers by ERA, K:BB and K/9. Then I took the rankings of all three categories and weighted the strikeout rates by 1 and the ERA by 2 and divided the total by 3 to come up with a “score”. I don’t know if this is the best system, but I found the results to be viable enough to be useful. Frankly, you could probably just use K/9 and go by that.

Joba Chamberlain’s remarkable 24-inning cup of coffee last year was far and away the best score at 4.7. He ranked 25.3 points above the 2nd place Jonathan Broxton.

• We’re going to look at things from a few different angles. First let’s look at how the Top 50 ranked using the scoring method I devised:

HTML Code:
RK	PLAYER		        TEAM	LG	IP	W	L	HLD	SV	ERA	RK	K:BB	RK	K/9	RK	TOTAL
1	Joba Chamberlain	NYY	AL	24	2	0	8	1	0.38	1	5.67	2	12.75	2	4.7
2	Jonathan Broxton	LAD	NL	82	4	4	32	2	2.85	27	3.96	4	10.87	8	30.0
3	Jensen Lewis		CLE	AL	29.1	1	1	5	0	2.15	13	3.40	13	10.52	9	30.7
4	Rafael Perez		CLE	AL	60.2	1	2	12	1	1.78	4	4.13	3	9.27	28	33.7
5	Rafael Betancourt	CLE	AL	79.1	5	1	31	3	1.47	3	8.89	1	9.10	31	34.0
6	George Sherrill		BAL	AL	45.2	2	0	22	3	2.36	20	3.29	18	11.15	5	36.3
7	Carlos Marmol		CHC	NL	69.1	5	1	16	1	1.43	2	2.74	32	12.50	3	36.3
8	Heath Bell		SDG	NL	93.2	6	4	34	2	2.02	10	3.40	14	9.85	16	36.7
9	Russ Springer		STL	NL	66	8	1	11	0	2.18	15	3.47	9	9.00	32	51.0
10	Damaso Marte		PIT	NL	45.1	2	0	15	0	2.38	21	2.83	30	10.18	12	56.0
11	Joaquin Benoit		TEX	AL	82	7	4	19	6	2.85	28	3.11	24	9.55	19	61.7
12	Juan Cruz		ARI	NL	61	6	1	4	0	3.10	43	2.72	34	12.84	1	63.7
13	Justin Speier		LAA	AL	50	2	3	24	0	2.88	29	3.92	5	8.46	43	67.3
14	Hideki Okajima		BOS	AL	69	3	2	27	5	2.22	16	3.71	7	8.22	51	68.7
15	Octavio Dotel		CHW	AL	30.2	2	1	1	11	4.11	83	3.42	12	12.22	4	71.3
16	Troy Percival		TAM	AL	39	3	0	3	0	1.85	7	3.40	15	7.85	53	72.7
17	Pat Neshek		MIN	AL	70.1	7	2	15	0	2.94	31	2.74	33	9.50	20	73.7
18	Justin Miller		FLA	NL	61.2	5	0	17	0	3.65	64	3.08	25	10.88	7	74.7
19	Chad Qualls		ARI	NL	82.2	6	5	21	5	3.05	37	3.12	23	8.54	42	89.7
20	Bob Howry		CHC	NL	81.1	6	7	22	8	3.32	52	3.79	6	7.99	52	92.7
21	Scott Downs		TOR	AL	58	4	2	24	1	2.17	14	2.38	49	8.84	36	94.3
22	Ryan Rowland-Smith	SEA	AL	38.2	1	0	3	0	3.96	78	2.80	31	9.90	14	97.0
23	Dan Wheeler		TAM	AL	74.2	1	9	18	11	5.30	116	3.57	8	9.95	13	98.3
24	Manny Delcarmen		BOS	AL	44	0	0	11	1	2.05	11	2.41	47	8.39	45	99.3
25	Al Reyes		TAM	AL	60.2	2	4	0	26	4.90	110	3.33	17	10.47	10	100.3
26	Chris Schroder		WAS	NL	45.1	2	3	1	0	3.18	47	2.87	29	8.58	40	100.3
27	Matt Lindstrom		FLA	NL	67	3	4	19	0	3.09	42	2.95	26	8.33	47	101.0
28	Michael Wuertz		CHC	NL	72.1	2	3	8	0	3.48	58	2.26	58	9.86	15	111.7
29	Matt Guerrier		MIN	AL	88	2	4	14	1	2.35	18	3.24	19	6.95	83	114.0
30	Fernando Rodney		DET	AL	50.2	2	6	12	1	4.26	89	2.57	39	9.68	18	116.3
31	Jeremy Accardo		TOR	NL	67.1	4	4	2	30	2.14	12	2.38	50	7.65	59	117.0
32	Bobby Seay		DET	AL	46.1	3	0	10	1	2.33	17	2.53	41	7.42	66	118.3
33	John Bale		KAN	AL	40	1	1	5	0	4.05	82	2.47	44	9.45	21	119.7
34	Rudy Seanez		LAD	NL	76	6	3	4	1	3.79	70	2.70	35	8.64	39	120.7
35	Brian Fuentes		COL	NL	61.1	3	5	8	20	3.08	40	2.43	46	8.25	49	121.7
36	Jon Rauch		WAS	NL	87.1	8	4	33	4	3.61	63	3.38	16	7.34	68	126.0
37	Jimmy Gobble		KAN	AL	53.2	4	1	16	1	3.02	33	2.17	63	8.46	44	129.0
38	Joe Smith		NYM	NL	44.1	3	2	10	0	3.45	56	2.14	64	9.18	29	130.3
39	Andrew Brown		OAK	AL	41.2	3	3	3	0	4.54	97	2.53	42	9.39	24	130.7
40	Tim Byrdak		DET	AL	45	3	0	8	1	3.20	49	1.88	82	9.80	17	131.7
41	Jason Frasor		TOR	AL	57	1	5	4	3	4.58	100	2.57	40	9.32	27	133.7
42	Scot Shields		LAA	AL	77	4	5	31	2	3.86	75	2.33	52	9.00	33	135.0
43	Lee Gardner		FLA	AL	74.1	3	4	9	2	1.94	9	2.89	28	6.32	101	135.0
44	Lenny DiNardo		OAK	AL	34.2	1	2	0	0	1.82	6	3.14	21	5.79	113	138.0
45	Randy Flores		STL	NL	55	3	0	14	1	4.25	88	3.13	22	7.69	58	138.7
46	Aaron Heilman		NYM	NL	86	7	7	22	1	3.03	36	3.15	20	6.59	97	141.0
47	Pedro Feliciano		NYM	NL	64	2	2	18	2	3.09	41	1.97	73	8.58	41	141.3
48	Cla Meredith		SDG	NL	79.2	5	6	10	0	3.50	59	3.47	11	6.70	94	144.3
49	Santiago Casilla	OAK	AL	50.2	3	1	12	2	4.44	95	2.26	57	9.32	26	146.3
50	Joel Peralta		KAN	AL	87.2	1	3	7	1	3.80	71	3.47	10	6.81	89	146.3

• This list gives you the track record guys. Of course, that segues perfectly for me to mention something about this methodology as a whole: relievers are remarkably volatile. From year-to-year, things will change. On the positive, this allows you to find hidden gems. On the negative, you could invest in “sure things” and watch them blow up in your face. This caveat is why it’s smarter to invest less in your trio so that if things aren’t working out by June, then you can cut bait and try another.

• The next list is those 81 relievers that topped 7.0+ K/9 ranked by strikeouts per nine innings:

HTML Code:
RK	PLAYER		       TEAM	LG	IP	W	L	HLD	SV	ERA	RK	K:BB	RK	K/9	RK	TOTAL
12	Juan Cruz		ARI	NL	61	6	1	4	0	3.10	43	2.72	34	12.84	1	63.7
1	Joba Chamberlain	NYY	AL	24	2	0	8	1	0.38	1	5.67	2	12.75	2	4.7
7	Carlos Marmol		CHC	NL	69.1	5	1	16	1	1.43	2	2.74	32	12.50	3	36.3
15	Octavio Dotel		CHW	AL	30.2	2	1	1	11	4.11	83	3.42	12	12.22	4	71.3
6	George Sherrill		BAL	AL	45.2	2	0	22	3	2.36	20	3.29	18	11.15	5	36.3
53	Derrick Turnbow		MIL	NL	68	4	5	33	1	4.63	101	1.83	84	11.12	6	157.3
18	Justin Miller		FLA	NL	61.2	5	0	17	0	3.65	64	3.08	25	10.88	7	74.7
2	Jonathan Broxton	LAD	NL	82	4	4	32	2	2.85	27	3.96	4	10.87	8	30.0
3	Jensen Lewis		CLE	AL	29.1	1	1	5	0	2.15	13	3.40	13	10.52	9	30.7
25	Al Reyes		TAM	AL	60.2	2	4	0	26	4.90	110	3.33	17	10.47	10	100.3
56	Armando Benitez		FLA	NL	50.1	2	8	11	9	5.36	117	1.97	74	10.24	11	163.0
10	Damaso Marte		PIT	NL	45.1	2	0	15	0	2.38	21	2.83	30	10.18	12	56.0
23	Dan Wheeler		TAM	AL	74.2	1	9	18	11	5.30	116	3.57	8	9.95	13	98.3
22	Ryan Rowland-Smith	SEA	AL	38.2	1	0	3	0	3.96	78	2.80	31	9.90	14	97.0
28	Michael Wuertz		CHC	NL	72.1	2	3	8	0	3.48	58	2.26	58	9.86	15	111.7
8	Heath Bell		SDG	NL	93.2	6	4	34	2	2.02	10	3.40	14	9.85	16	36.7
40	Tim Byrdak		DET	AL	45	3	0	8	1	3.20	49	1.88	82	9.80	17	131.7
30	Fernando Rodney		DET	AL	50.2	2	6	12	1	4.26	89	2.57	39	9.68	18	116.3
11	Joaquin Benoit		TEX	AL	82	7	4	19	6	2.85	28	3.11	24	9.55	19	61.7
17	Pat Neshek		MIN	AL	70.1	7	2	15	0	2.94	31	2.74	33	9.50	20	73.7
33	John Bale		KAN	AL	40	1	1	5	0	4.05	82	2.47	44	9.45	21	119.7
80	Brandon Morrow		SEA	AL	63.1	3	4	18	0	4.12	84	1.32	120	9.41	22	198.0
54	Tyler Yates		ATL	AL	66	2	3	13	2	5.18	115	2.23	59	9.41	23	158.7
39	Andrew Brown		OAK	AL	41.2	3	3	3	0	4.54	97	2.53	42	9.39	24	130.7
64	Taylor Tankersley	FLA	NL	47.1	6	1	16	1	3.99	80	1.69	97	9.36	25	175.3
49	Santiago Casilla	OAK	AL	50.2	3	1	12	2	4.44	95	2.26	57	9.32	26	146.3
41	Jason Frasor		TOR	AL	57	1	5	4	3	4.58	100	2.57	40	9.32	27	133.7
4	Rafael Perez		CLE	AL	60.2	1	2	12	1	1.78	4	4.13	3	9.27	28	33.7
38	Joe Smith		NYM	NL	44.1	3	2	10	0	3.45	56	2.14	64	9.18	29	130.3
83	Jack Taschner		SFO	NL	50	3	1	13	0	5.40	119	1.76	92	9.18	30	201.3
5	Rafael Betancourt	CLE	AL	79.1	5	1	31	3	1.47	3	8.89	1	9.10	31	34.0
9	Russ Springer		STL	NL	66	8	1	11	0	2.18	15	3.47	9	9.00	32	51.0
42	Scot Shields		LAA	AL	77	4	5	31	2	3.86	75	2.33	52	9.00	33	135.0
55	Mark McLemore		HOU	NL	35	3	0	1	0	3.86	76	1.94	76	9.00	34	160.7
65	Trever Miller		TB	AL	46.1	0	0	12	1	4.86	108	2.00	69	8.98	35	176.0
21	Scott Downs		TOR	AL	58	4	2	24	1	2.17	14	2.38	49	8.84	36	94.3
61	Matt Thornton		CHW	AL	56.1	4	4	17	2	4.79	106	2.12	65	8.82	37	172.7
63	Renyel Pinto		FLA	NL	58.2	2	4	16	1	3.68	66	1.75	93	8.66	38	175.0
34	Rudy Seanez		LAD	NL	76	6	3	4	1	3.79	70	2.70	35	8.64	39	120.7
26	Chris Schroder		WAS	NL	45.1	2	3	1	0	3.18	47	2.87	29	8.58	40	100.3
47	Pedro Feliciano		NYM	NL	64	2	2	18	2	3.09	41	1.97	73	8.58	41	141.3
19	Chad Qualls		ARI	NL	82.2	6	5	21	5	3.05	37	3.12	23	8.54	42	89.7
13	Justin Speier		LAA	AL	50	2	3	24	0	2.88	29	3.92	5	8.46	43	67.3
37	Jimmy Gobble		KAN	AL	53.2	4	1	16	1	3.02	33	2.17	63	8.46	44	129.0
24	Manny Delcarmen		BOS	AL	44	0	0	11	1	2.05	11	2.41	47	8.39	45	99.3
92	Jon Coutlangus		CIN	NL	41	4	2	9	0	4.39	93	1.41	117	8.34	46	225.0
27	Matt Lindstrom		FLA	NL	67	3	4	19	0	3.09	42	2.95	26	8.33	47	101.0
52	C.J. Wilson		TEX	AL	68.1	2	1	15	12	3.03	35	1.91	80	8.33	48	151.3
35	Brian Fuentes		COL	NL	61.1	3	5	8	20	3.08	40	2.43	46	8.25	49	121.7
73	Will Ohman		ATL	NL	36.1	2	4	12	1	4.95	111	2.06	66	8.23	50	190.0
14	Hideki Okajima		BOS	AL	69	3	2	27	5	2.22	16	3.71	7	8.22	51	68.7
20	Bob Howry		CHC	NL	81.1	6	7	22	8	3.32	52	3.79	6	7.99	52	92.7
16	Troy Percival		TAM	AL	39	3	0	3	0	1.85	7	3.40	15	7.85	53	72.7
58	Brian Tallet		TOR	AL	62.1	2	4	1	0	3.47	57	1.93	78	7.83	54	170.0
97	Scott Eyre		CHC	NL	52.1	2	1	5	0	4.13	85	1.29	122	7.77	55	233.7
62	Salomon Torres		MIL	NL	52.2	2	4	5	12	5.47	120	2.65	37	7.76	56	173.0
77	Kevin Cameron		SDG	NL	58	2	0	1	0	2.79	26	1.39	119	7.76	57	193.3
45	Randy Flores		STL	NL	55	3	0	14	1	4.25	88	3.13	22	7.69	58	138.7
31	Jeremy Accardo		TOR	NL	67.1	4	4	2	30	2.14	12	2.38	50	7.65	59	117.0
82	Todd Coffey		CIN	NL	51	2	1	7	0	5.82	124	2.26	56	7.59	60	198.7
74	Dustin Nippert		ARI	NL	45.1	1	1	2	0	5.56	121	2.38	51	7.58	61	192.7
66	Jared Burton		CIN	NL	43	4	2	11	0	2.51	23	1.64	100	7.53	62	177.3
107	Frank Francisco		TEX	AL	59.1	1	1	21	0	4.55	98	1.29	121	7.46	63	249.3
98	Juan Rincon		MIN	AL	59.2	3	3	14	0	5.13	114	1.75	94	7.45	64	234.0
102	Luis Vizcaino		COL	NL	75.1	8	2	14	0	4.30	91	1.44	115	7.43	65	240.7
32	Bobby Seay		DET	AL	46.1	3	0	10	1	2.33	17	2.53	41	7.42	66	118.3
75	John Grabow		PIT	NL	51.2	3	2	8	1	4.53	96	2.21	62	7.38	67	193.0
36	Jon Rauch		WAS	NL	87.1	8	4	33	4	3.61	63	3.38	16	7.34	68	126.0
95	Joel Zumaya		DET	AL	33.2	2	3	8	1	4.28	90	1.59	104	7.32	69	233.0
59	Matt Wise		NYM	NL	53.2	3	2	13	1	4.19	86	2.53	43	7.27	70	170.3
71	Tom Gordon		PHI	NL	40	3	2	14	6	4.73	103	2.46	45	7.20	71	184.7
96	Kyle Farnsworth		NYY	AL	60	2	1	15	0	4.80	107	1.78	90	7.20	72	233.3
67	Darren Oliver		LAA	AL	64.1	3	1	8	0	3.78	69	2.22	61	7.16	73	180.0
78	Guillermo Mota		MIL	NL	59.1	2	2	6	0	5.76	123	2.61	38	7.16	74	194.0
110	Brandon Medders		ARI	NL	29.1	1	2	1	0	4.30	92	1.44	116	7.11	75	252.3
90	Jason Grilli		DET	AL	79.2	5	3	11	0	4.74	104	1.94	77	7.05	76	222.3
118	Brian Bruney		NYY	AL	50	3	2	6	0	4.68	102	1.05	125	7.02	77	270.0
101	Jeremy Affeldt		CIN	NL	59	4	3	9	0	3.51	60	1.39	118	7.02	78	236.0
117	Jonah Bayliss		PIT	NL	37.2	4	3	4	0	8.36	126	1.61	102	7.02	79	265.0
99	Sean Green		SEA	AL	68	5	2	13	0	3.84	74	1.56	105	7.01	80	234.3

FYI: The rank on the far left of the above list is their overall rank using my devised scoring method.

The usefulness of the above is list that it is where you are likely to find the diamonds in the rough.

Here is a breakdown of those Top 81 in strikeout rates by League:
o National League: 42
o American League: 39

Diamonds in the Rough (these are the guys most likely to be the next Betancourts and Broxtons):
o 1 Rafael Perez, CLE
o 2 Justin Miller, FLA
o 3 Matt Guerrier, MIN
o 4 Jensen Lewis, CLE
o 5 Santiago Casilla, OAK
o 6 Michael Wuertz, CHC
o 7 Juan Cruz, ARI
o 8 Matt Lindstrom, FLA
o 9 Brandon Morrow, SEA
o 10 Taylor Tankersley, FLA
o 11 Tony Pena, ARI
o 12 Joel Peralta, KC
o 13 Chris Schroder, WAS
o 14 Jimmy Gobble, KC
o 15 Bobby Seay, DET
o 16 Joe Smith, NYM
o 17 Andrew Brown, OAK
o 18 Manny Delcarmen, BOS
o 19 Pedro Feliciano, NYM
o 20 Mark McLemore, HOU
o 21 Justin Speier, LAA
o 22 Tim Byrdak, DET
o 23 Kevin Cameron, SD
o 24 John Bale, KC
o 25 Peter Moylan, ATL

Grandpas (these guys had solid seasons last year, but they are ridiculously old, so it’s tough to bet on a repeat):
o 1 Russ Springer, 39 y/o
o 2 Al Reyes, 37 y/o
o 3 Rudy Seanez, 39 y/o
o 4 Trever Miller, 34 y/o

The Known Commodities (these guys are the premier middle relief aces as well as the steady, unheralded relievers :
o 1 Jonathan Broxton
o 2 Rafael Betancourt
o 3 Carlos Marmol
o 4 Joba Chamberlain
o 5 Heath Bell
o 6 Scot Shields
o 7 Aaron Heilman
o 8 Pat Neshek
o 9 Dan Wheeler
o 10 Hideki Okajima
o 11 Chad Qualls
o 12 Joaquin Benoit
o 13 Scott Proctor
o 14 Bob Howry
o 15 Fernando Rodney
o 16 Derrick Turnbow
o 17 Octavio Dotel
o 18 Damaso Marte
o 19 Jeremy Accardo
o 20 Al Reyes

Examples: (I’ll close with a series of combos from last year to show how the method works)
o Heath Bell, Peter Moylan and Scott Proctor:
o 276.7 IP
o 15-13 W-L
o 2.51 ERA
o 1.14 WHIP
o 229 K

o Matt Guerrier, Justin Miller and Joel Peralta:
o 237.3 IP
o 8-7 W-L
o 3.22 ERA
o 1.18 WHIP
o 208 K

o Rafael Betancourt, Joaquin Benoit and Aaron Heilman:
o 247.3 IP
o 19-12 W-L
o 2.48 ERA
o 1.00 WHIP
o 230 K

o Jonathan Broxton, Pedro Feliciano and Jon Rauch:
o 233.3 IP
o 14-10 W-L
o 3.20 ERA
o 1.15 WHIP
o 231 K

o Cla Meredith, Pat Neshek and Matt Thornton:
o 205.3 IP
o 16-12 W-L
o 3.68 ERA
o 1.30 WHIP
o 188 K

o Scott Downs, Rafael Perez and Justin Speier:
o 168.7 IP
o 7-7 W-L
o 2.25 ERA
o 1.04 WHIP
o 166 K

A few final thoughts:

• Patience can be rewarded, but it’s a method that allows you a choice between patience and knee-jerk reactions. Personally, I give my guys that I target a fair shot to perform. Remember, relievers have small samples so one outing can balloon an ERA, but if they are still blowing batters away, then they are going to hold their bullpen spot and get a fair chance bring that ERA down. If you loved someone in the offseason and acquired them and then they suffer a rough April in six innings of work, but still hold a 9 K/9 or something like that, then I’d stand pat with them.

• Even if you plan to be patient with your initial picks, this method (like scouring for saves) takes in-season leg work. Always be alert of the next big thing. Carlos Marmol didn’t pitch until May 19th last year!

• If you start paying mid-teens in auctions for the upper-echelon of middle relievers, you’re not employing the strategy properly. The point is to get top 15-20 starter numbers for next-to-nothing cost.

• I’ll close with a few DEEEEEP sleepers:
o Kerry Wood, CHC
o Edwar Ramirez, NYY
o Renyel Pinto, FLA
o Vinnie Chulk, SF
o Wil Ledezma, SD
o Jack Taschner, SF
o Jon Coutlangus, CIN
o Guillermo Mota, MIL
o Lenny DiNardo, OAK
o Zach Miner, DET
o Tyler Yates, ATL
o David Aardsma, CHW
o Royce Ring, ATL

There it is, folks. I hope this helps you if you choose to employ what I believe is a very viable strategy. Please feel free to ask any questions or offer any players you think will be useful pieces in this strategy. Enjoy!

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