Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Setup Men You Need to Know - 2019 Bullpen Outlooks


Now that the closers in each division have been covered, it's time to talk about those often-forgotten-but-possibly-even-more-important relievers: the setup men. A lot of times, closers can be pigeonholed into the ninth inning, especially by "old-school" or "traditional" managers, leaving the actual most critical late-game situations to another relief pitcher. In steps the setup man.

With more and more fantasy leagues including holds as a category (either as its own category or combined with saves as SV+HLD), relief pitchers who don't hold down a closer's role are becoming increasingly valuable in fantasy leagues.

Let's take a look at some of the top setup men for this upcoming season of fantasy baseball.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Adam Ottavino, New York Yankees

Many people believed Adam Ottavino would sign with a team in need of a closer and he'd instantly become one of the best closers in baseball. Instead, he signed with the New York Yankees and will remain one of the best setup men in baseball. Last season with the Colorado Rockies, Ottavino led the league in holds with 34. He posted a 2.43 ERA and 12.98 K/9.

He should put up similar numbers this season, although his holds total might fluctuate a bit. He's moving to a team that should win more games, so there could be more hold situations, but he'll also be sharing those situations with a bullpen full of other elite relievers. Still, Ottavino is one of the top non-closing relievers in the game and should be drafted as such. He's a must-own in any holds formats and should have solid value in standard leagues as well.

 

Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers

In recent seasons, for reasons both good and bad, everyone around baseball has gotten to know the name Josh Hader. His work on the mound has been absolutely elite. Last season, he earned 21 holds and 12 saves, working in a hybrid role for Brewers manager Craig Counsell. Hader posted a 2.43 ERA and an elite 15.82 K/9.

With the Brewers seemingly handing the ninth inning back to Corey Knebel, Hader should slide into a more traditional setup man role, at least for the start of the 2019 season. His holds total should go up this season, and there's no reason to believe he will see a downturn in his strikeout numbers. Hader is another guy who, even outside of the closer role, should have value in standard leagues. Of course, he should be one of the first relievers off the board in any holds formats.

 

Archie Bradley / Yoshihisa Hirano, Arizona Diamondbacks

One of these relievers will almost certainly end up as the closer in Arizona, with the other working as the team's primary setup man. It seems like the beginning of the season may see a closer-by-committee situation in the desert, but manager Torey Lovullo would seem likely to choose one as a full-time closer before too long. Both of these relievers pitched well last season overall with some tough stretches.

Bradley ended up tied with Ottavino for the most holds in baseball with 34. Hirano was right behind them with 32. Bradley put up a 3.64 ERA with 9.42 K/9 while Hirano pitched his way to a 2.44 ERA and 8.01 K/9. Neither pitcher is an elite strikeout guy, but both are more than solid enough to be excellent sources of holds in any leagues that count them. Only the reliever that wins the closer job will have significant value in standard scoring leagues, however.

 

Dellin Betances, New York Yankees

Most of the Yankees bullpen will probably end up being owned in a lot of fantasy leagues this season. Betances had the third highest K/9 in 2018, behind his teammate Aroldis Chapman and the previously mentioned Josh Hader. Betances put up a 2.70 ERA and 15.53 K/9 in 2018. Most impressively, he was able to resolve some of the control issues that plagued him in 2017. His 2017 season saw him put up a bloated 6.64 BB/9, but he lowered that to 3.51 BB/9 in 2018.

The only concerning thing about Betances' 2018 was his sudden increased susceptibility to giving up the home run ball. He posted a career-high 0.95 HR/9 (his previous high in a full season was 0.64) and 20.6% HR/FB ratio (his previous career high there was 13.2%). This season will determine whether that was just noise or if perhaps batters have picked up on something about Betances, but his strikeouts are still huge and that should give him some value in all formats, with an increased value of course in any holds leagues.

 

Tony Watson, San Francisco Giants

Tied for second in the league with 32 saves last season was Giants lefty Tony Watson. Watson came into some games as a lefty specialist, facing a batter or two before giving way to another reliever, but he also worked many games as a traditional setup man, getting a full inning late in the game.

MLB's hold stat officially requires just one out, so if Watson came into a close game with the lead, got one batter out, then left with the lead intact, he'd be granted a hold. Besides his 32 holds, Watson had a solid 2.59 ERA and 9.82 K/9. He's a good piece in holds leagues, but not someone necessary to own in standard formats.

 

Chaz Roe, Tampa Bay Rays

Chaz Roe's 2018 season was an interesting one. He had 31 holds, the third-most in baseball, but he only pitched 50 1/3 innings. If you look at the list of most holds for the 2018 season (where Roe is sixth because of ties for first and second place), you'd get down to number 36 (Chris Devenski with 18 holds in 47 1/3 innings) before you found a guy with fewer innings pitched. Roe was almost exclusively used as a short-outing reliever when his team was clinging to a small lead.

His 50 1/3 innings were spread out among 61 games. He posted a 3.58 ERA and 9.48 K/9 while featuring some of the most movement on his pitches that you'll ever see. He should return to a similar role this season, although Rays manager Kevin Cash does tend to get creative with his bullpen use. Still, Roe is a strong target in holds leagues since he can rack them up quickly and without much risk of a blow-up inning.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice




More Recent Articles

 

Waiver Wire Express - Week 8 Lightning Round

The better part of three weeks is in the fantasy football books, making those early trends very real -- for better or worse. One must still consider the matchups played thus far and those to come, but usage and volume are becoming reliable. Week 8 sees the Ravens and Cowboys hit their bye week. To... Read More


Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

It's Chase Edmonds' world, we're just living in it. Wait, what? Hopefully you added him, as suggested in this column the past two weeks, because even if David Johnson is deemed healthy enough to actually play, it's likely Edmonds continues to see action. In QB news, by the halfway point of Thursday night, we already had... Read More


Week 7 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 7... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 7 Matt Ryan is out for the game with an ankle injury. Marquise Brown is officially out again this... Read More


Updated Week 7 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 7 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 7 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison are both active. Todd Gurley is officially active, Malcolm Brown is out. Christian Kirk is not expected to play this week. David... Read More


Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 7

Welcome to our Week 7 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More


Week 7 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Even if this doesn’t turn out to be great MNF game, at least it's a divisional game with some importance. This is what Jets fans need to tell themselves heading into their second Monday Night Football game of the season. With the New England Patriots coming to town off their annual semi-bye in which they... Read More


Week 7 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More


Wide Receiver Matchups To Target in Week 7

In Week 6, Julio Jones didn't score, but he came through with a decent fantasy day, going over 100-yards receiving. Brandin Cooks brutal Week 6 showing was a little bit of a surprise given his 2018 track record against the 49ers, but the Rams offensive line was overwhelmed which led to a rough day for... Read More


The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 7

Welcome to Week 7, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football season. These player selections are based off my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More


Week 7 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that bye weeks are in full swing; streaming becomes a more viable and almost necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions throughout the season could easily be the difference in winning a championship. Each week, I... Read More


Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 7 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 7 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver... Read More


Week 7 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 6 is done, and we've seen some outstanding games thus far. We've also seen a lot of surprising teams through six weeks. The San Francisco 49ers, after picking in the top 10 for four straight years, are 5-0 with one of the most complete teams in football. As far as kickers go, we're seeing... Read More


Fantasy Football Booms, Busts - Joe Mixon, John Brown, Calvin Ridley

Will Week 7 be a lucky week for fantasy football players? Fantasy players will not have to worry about Jameis Winston throwing interceptions, Baker Mayfield missing receivers by miles, or backup quarterbacks ruining JuJu Smith-Schuster’s fantasy value thanks to their teams being on bye. Fantasy players will still have to win by picking the perfect... Read More


Week 7 Busts? Players To Consider Avoiding

We're almost halfway through the NFL season already. Time really does fly. At this point in the year, you should know whether your fantasy squad is a pretender or contender for a fantasy title. You may only be missing a couple of key pieces. If so, you should certainly consider trading for a player or... Read More