2011 Fantasy Baseball: Middle Reliever Options

Mar 26, 2011


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Middle relievers don’t get the glory that starters or closers do, especially in fantasy baseball, but they can lower your ERA and WHIP while adding to your strikeouts without taxing your maximum innings pitched too heavily. Plus, if their closer gets hurt or is ineffective, you suddenly have a cheap closer.
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Tyler Clippard, Washington Nationals:  Clippard had 11 wins last year for the Nationals and four in 2009. He also racked up 112 strikeouts in 91 innings pitched to go along with a 3.07 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He could also earn some save opportunities if Drew Storen struggles.  Clippard has 179 strikeouts, a 2.91 ERA, and a 1.18 WHIP over the past two years.
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Jonny Venters, Atlanta Braves:  Like Clippard, Venters will try to bridge the gap between the starter and an unproven closer. In his case it’s Craig Kimbrel. Venters could find himself in the closer role at some point. Even if he doesn’t, Venters could be useful to fantasy owners. Last year he won four games, sported a 1.95 ERA, a 1.20 WHIP, and struck out 93 batters in 83 innings.
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Matt Belisle and Rafael Betancourt, Colorado Rockies:  Belisle  is a nice option because Huston Street can’t seem to make it through a season without getting hurt. Last year Belisle picked up seven wins, had  a 2.93 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, and had 91 strikeouts in 92 innings. Belisle was ineffective prior to last year so regression is a concern. Betancourt had five wins, a 3.61 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP, and 89 strikeouts in 62-1/3 innings. He has 527 strikeouts, a 3.22 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and .220 BAA in 497-2/3 career innings.
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Sean Marshall, Chicago Cubs:  Marshall won seven games last year, had a 2.65 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, and 90 strikeouts in 74-2/3 innings. Of course with Kerry Wood in the mix, he’s not as an attractive an option as last year.
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Luke Gregerson and Mike Adams, San Diego Padres:  Gregerson won four games last year while posting a 3.22 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, and 89 strikeouts in 78-1/3 innings. He had a BAA of .170. Gregerson had nearly identical numbers in 2009 (3.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .221 BAA, 93 Ks in 75 innings). Adams won four games last year with a 1.75 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, a .196 BAA, and 73 strikeouts in 66-2/3 innings. For his career he has a 2.31 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, .203 BAA, and 246 strikeout in 237-2/3 innings. Adams would likely take over closer responsibilities if Heath Bell were to be traded.
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Nick Masset, Cincinnati Reds:  Masset won four games last year with a 3.40 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 85 strikeouts in 76-2/3 innings. He has 155 strikeouts in 152-2/3 innings over the past two years.
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Clay Hensley, Florida Marlins:  Hensley had three wins, a 2.16 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, a .200 BAA, and 77 strikeouts in 75 innings last year. He could take over the Marlins’ closer gig if Leo Nunez struggles.
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Daniel Bard, Boston Red Sox:  Bard had a 1.93 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, a .176 BAA, and 76 strikeouts in 74-2/3 innings last year. He has 139 strikeouts, a 2.61 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, and a .197 BAA in 124 career innings. He could be in line, if he can hold off Bobby Jenks, for the Red Sox closer gig if Jonathan Papelbon struggles.
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Joaquin Benoit, Detroit Tigers:  Benoit had 75 strikeouts, a 1.34 ERA, a 0.68 WHIP, and a .147 BAA in 60-1/3 innings last year. Jose Valverde struggled in the second half last year. Benoit could step in if he failed to return to form.
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Hong-Chih Kuo, Los Angeles Dodgers:  Kuo took over for Jonathan Broxton last year, racking up 12 saves to go along with his three wins, 1.20 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, .139 BAA, and 73 strikeouts in 60 innings. If Broxton falters again, Kuo could once again step in. Even if he doesn’t close, his 309 strikeouts in 265-1/3 career innings are useful.
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Ryan Madson, Philadelphia Phillies
Madson will open the season as the Phillies’ closer as Brad Lidge is on the D.L. Madson had He had five saves last year to go along with a 2.55 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 64 strikeouts in 53 innings.
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One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Rita
    July 5th, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Well put, sir, well put. I’ll ceratnliy make note of that.

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