|Searching For Saves: N.L. East||Tweet|
|Written by Anatoliy Metter|
|Saturday, 05 May 2012 10:01|
1.) Miami Marlins – The Miami Marlins' bullpen has not been one of the team's bright spots and Heath Bell has accounted for four blown saves. The Marlins had high expectations at the start of the season, but the team has stumbled out of the gate.
Fantasy Impact – Edward Mujica has kept his ERA a shade under 4.00, but Steve Cishek has emerged as a stable option in the Miami bullpen. Cishek has a .79 ERA, three wins, and three holds in 9.1 innings pitched and has not given up a home run this season. Randy Choate and Ryan Webb have also helped out the Marlins in the early going, but Heath Bell must improve if the Marlins expect to compete with teams such as the Nationals and Braves. Mike Dunn pitched well enough to have some late-game opportunities, but the reliever has given up 5 earned runs in his last three appearances. Fantasy managers should steer clear of the options coming out of the Miami bullpen and those that own Heath Bell (11.74 ERA) should consider benching the reliever until he shows signs of improvement.
2.) Atlanta Braves – Craig Kimbrel has started right where he left off last season and has compiled 8 saves, 20 strikeouts, and a 2.70 ERA. With Kimbrel pitching strong, Atlanta's closer situation seems to be set in stone, but the team's bullpen boasts a few arms that are more than capable of shutting down opponents in the late innings.
Fantasy Impact: Jonny Venters, Eric O'Flaherty, and Kris Medlen have been getting the ball to Craig Kimbrel, but two of the three relievers have unusually high WHIPs. Venters and O'Flaherty are both in dangerous territory as the relievers possess a 1.55 and 1.80 WHIP respectively. Kimbrel's WHIP isn't that encouraging either (1.50), but he and Venters have been keeping up their high strike-out totals, so there is much reason to believe that the duo will right the ship as the season goes on. On the other hand, Eric O'Flaherty has hit a rough patch at the beginning of the season as his ERA stands at a 7.56 clip and has given his owners cause for concern. Fantasy managers should bench O'Flaherty until he shows signs of improvement and should keep an eye on Kris Medlen (3.00 ERA, 1.20 WHIP) to see if the Braves entrust the reliever with greater duties if O'Flaherty cannot be more consistent.
3.) New York Mets – Frank Francisco hasn't exactly been a force for the Mets' bullpen, but the closer has managed to amass 5 saves and a win. The Mets will probably turn to Francisco in a save situation, but it is unreasonable to think that the team will stay with him as their closer if he continues to pitch poorly.
Fantasy Impact: While Frank Francisco might not be rewarding fantasy owners, Jon Rauch has done an exemplary job for the Mets as the primary setup man to Francisco. Rauch has 3 wins, a 2.31 ERA, and a WHIP well under 1.00. The eighth-inning man hasn't struck out a plethora of batters, but he has gotten the outs when it has counted. Tim Byrdak and Bobby Parnell have also been reliable for the New York Mets, but the pair of relievers should not be depended on by fantasy managers as the Mets have proven to be an inconsistent team at the start of the 2012 MLB season. Rauch will be the first to receive ninth-inning opportunities if Francisco continues to falter, and fantasy managers should look for different options if they are still holding out hope for Francisco.
4.) Philadelphia Phillies – Jonathan Papelbon has seemingly found a new home in Philadelphia as the closer has an ERA and WHIP that are both under 1.00. However, Papelbon has been one of the few options in the Philadelphia bullpen that could be relied upon by both Charlie Manuel and fantasy managers.
Fantasy Impact: Antonio Bastardo, Chad Qualls, and Jose Contreras have been used as the bridge to Jonathan Papelbon, but only Qualls has managed to maintain an ERA under 3.00. Contreras has an ERA over 13.00 and Bastardo's is returning to respectability (3.38). Bastardo seems to be getting back to form as he has only allowed 1 run in his last 4.1 innings pitched. Barring an injury or a complete implosion from Papelbon, the Phillies seem to have their bullpen situation mapped out. Jose Contreras has the talent to succeed anywhere in a major league rotation or a bullpen, but the pitcher has been inconsistent ever since defecting from Cuba. Fantasy managers should keep an eye on Qualls and Bastardo as the two aforementioned relievers will likely be depended on in key situations during the late innings.
5.) Washington Nationals – The Nationals were dealt a significant blow at the start of the 2012 MLB regular season when it was determined that Drew Storen would need surgery and would be out until at least the All-Star break. However, manager Davey Johnson did not hesitate to rely on Henry Rodriguez and the move has paid off for the Washington manager and the Nationals.
Fantasy Impact: When Storen went down with his injury, Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge were initially tasked with holding down the ninth-inning duties for the Nationals. However, Brad Lidge is no longer in the ninth-inning equation as Rodriguez has taken over the closer's role and is being setup by Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett. Clippard has a 2:1 strike-out to walk ratio, but his 5.40 ERA and 1.70 WHIP make him a hard option for managers to rely upon. On the other hand, Sean Burnett has not allowed a run this season and has brought some stability to the Nationals' during the late innings. Burnett might not pitch to many batters, but his control (5:1 K:BB ratio) might make him an interesting option for managers that are thin on relievers and those that play with statistics such as K/9. Henry Rodriguez should continue to hold the closer's role while Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett piece together that later innings. Clippard will likely get a shot at the closer's role if Rodriguez does not perform well in the coming weeks, but the Nationals seem to have their bullpen roles solidified right now.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 06 May 2012 07:16|