Fantasy Baseball – Middle Relievers
In deep leagues with inning caps middle relievers can play a role in your pitching landscape. They can get you some unexpected wins and saves. The elite ones can help lower your ERA & WHIP while adding to your strikeout total. Here are some relievers that can bolster your staff.
Jason Bulger, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Bulger racked up 68 Ks in 65-2/3 innings (9.3 K/9) last year with 6 wins, a save, a 3.56 ERA, and a 1.16 WHIP. He’s pitched well this spring posting a 1.29 ERA with 5 Ks in 7 innings.
Tyler Clippard, Washington Nationals
Stephen Strausburg isn’t the only live young arm the Nationals possess. Clippard picked up 4 wins with 67 Ks (10 K/9) with a 2.69 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 60-1/3 innings last year. He has a 3.00 ERA this spring with 10 Ks in 9 innings.
Luke Gregerson, San Diego Padres
Gregerson had 93 Ks in 75 innings (11.2 K/9) last year with 2 wins, a save, a 3.24 ERA, and a 1.24 WHIP. He’s dominated this spring with a 2.00 ERA, 2 saves, and 10 Ks in 8-2/3 innings. If Heath Bell were to be hurt or traded, Gregerson could assume the closer role.
J.P. Howell, Tampa Bay Rays
Howell did it all last year with 7 wins, 17 saves, 79 Ks, a 2.84 ERA, and a 1.20 WHIP. Rafael Soriano was brought in to close, but Howell can step in if needed. His K/9 ratio that past two years were 10.7 and 9.3 respectively. He had 6 wins in 2008 to show last year’s number wasn’t fluky. Hold off on him until his shoulder issues are sorted out.
Fernando Rodney, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Rodney picked up 37 saves with the Tigers last year. If Brian Fuentes suffers from injury or ineffectiveness, Rodney is capable of stepping in. I’d probably hold off on grabbing him until either occur. His K/9 ratio (7.3) was down from the 10.9 and 9.6 he recorded in 2008 and 2007. Plus, he has a career WHIP of 1.42. He’s also struggled mightily this spring with a 12.47 ERA.
Sherrill was brilliant for the Dodgers last year after coming over from the Orioles. He posted a 0.65 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, .192 BAA with a win, a save, and 22 Ks in 27-2/3 innings. His career K/9 ratio is 9.2.
Robinson Tejada, Kansas City Royals
Tejada was a bright spot for the Royals last year with 4 wins, 87 Ks (10.6 K/9), a 3.54 ERA, and a 1.26 WHIP. He started six games last year, and could work his way into the rotation again. Gil Meche could start the season on the DL. Tejada could be an option, but Kyle Farnsworth is likely the replacement. Either way, Tejada has value. Tejada’s ERA (7.15) this spring isn’t pretty, but he does have 14 Ks in 11-1/3 innings.
Matt Thornton, Chicago White Sox
Thornton was highly impressive last year picking up 6 wins, 4 saves, 87 Ks, a 2.74 ERA, and a 1.08 WHIP in 72-1/3 innings. His K/9 ratio that past two years (10.8 and 10.3) have been outstanding. He’s dominated this spring with a 1.42 ERA and 9 Ks in 6-1/3 innings. If Bobby Jenks were to go down, Thornton would likely step in.
Michael Wuertz, Oakland A’s
Wuertz was a dominant force last year racking up 6 wins, 4 saves, 102 Ks, a 2.63 ERA, and a 0.95 WHIP in 78-2/3 innings. He’s a nice compliment to a pitcher like Mark Buehrle, who had just 105 Ks in 213-1/3 innings. He could miss the start of the season with shoulder issues, but should return quickly.