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]

2020 Early Bullpen Outlooks - N.L. West


We've made it out west, folks! After covering every American League team and all of the National League East and Central, it's time for our final division of the winter: the National League West. The NL West has the bullpen that is likely to be the best in the National League. It also has one that may be one of the worst. With three (and maybe even four) "Solid" ratings on our Rotoballer Closers & Saves Depth Charts it is the best established division in the National League, at least in terms of bullpens.

There aren't many changes in terms of personnel to talk about in the NL West, but some roles have been established, others have been re-established, and some have slightly altered. It should be an interesting division to keep an eye on throughout the season, and there's plenty of fantasy value to be had from each team.

Let's ride into the sunset together and see what the National League West bullpens look like right before Spring Training kicks off.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Arizona Diamondbacks were decent last year, finishing with an 85-77 record. With the regular season juggernaut Dodgers in the division, however, the 85 wins still left them 21 games out of first place. They have a solid core and some offseason moves could propel them a bit for 2020. The bullpen looks more or less set, with Archie Bradley heading into Spring Training as the closer. Bradley picked up 18 saves in 21 chances last season, pitching to a 3.52 ERA/4.06 xFIP. He struck out 27.4% of the batters he faced while walking 11.4%. SIERA had him at 4.03 for the season. None of these numbers are particularly eye opening, but they're all certainly "good enough". Bradley should be able to keep the ninth inning to himself for most of the season and does have some upside if he can reign in his control a bit. He's not a guy that you must get in the draft and definitely not a guy to reach for, but he is a guy who you can be happy with if you waited on closers.

Elsewhere in the Arizona bullpen will be Kevin Ginkel, Hector Rondon, and Junior Guerra. Ginkel has some nice strikeout upside and should work as one of the key setup men ahead of Bradley. Ginkel debuted last season with a 29.2 K% and posted some outrageous numbers in the minors, including a 53.7 K% in Triple-A, albeit in just 16 2/3 innings. His control hasn't been perfect, as seen by his 9.4% BB% in his big league innings last season, but if he can work on his control a bit, he has elite holds league potential. Rondon will likely throw some significant innings in his first season as a Diamondback, but he's a guy with more value to his real team than to any fantasy team. Guerra is similar to Rondon in that regard. Both have experience and could be called upon for saves now and then, but Bradley and Ginkel are the arms to own from the desert.

 

Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies bullpen was a wild ride last season, with injuries and ineffectiveness reigning supreme. Wade Davis returns in 2020, and the Rockies reportedly want him to close. That went excruciatingly poorly in 2019, as Davis posted an 8.65 ERA/5.80 xFIP, somehow only blowing three saves in the process. He struck out 20.4% of batters faced and walked 14.1%. It was an overwhelmingly bad season for a formerly elite relief pitcher, and the Rockies are clearly hoping he can return to the form that earned him a three-year, $52 million contract. There's little reason to believe he'll ever be that guy again, but it isn't far-fetched to think he'll at least improve on his 2019 numbers. Davis may be the closer to start the season, but he's perhaps the least likely Opening Day closer in the NL West to keep his job all year.

Davis will be backed up by Scott Oberg, who took over for Davis last season before suffering a medical issue that cut his season short. Oberg was solid when on the mound, pitching to a 2.25 ERA/3.90 xFIP. He posted a 26.0% K% and a 10.3% BB%. He's solid enough on the mound, but there were some concerning signs pointing toward possible regression in 2020. SIERA had him at an even 4.00, and his .248 BABIP and 80% LOB% are sure to change. Still, Oberg is in position to take over the closer's role as soon as Davis falters, so he's worth keeping an eye on in most formats. Carlos Estevez and Jairo Diaz will also throw important innings in 2020, but neither is worth a look in standard formats at this point.

 

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers offense is going to be absolutely ridiculous in 2020. With the Mookie Betts trade, their lineup will now arguably have two of the top five players in baseball in it every day. Their bullpen, however, is a different story and may be one of the key weaknesses addressed by the team as the summer drags on. For now, it's Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning again. The formerly elite, unquestionably top-three closer in baseball has had two down years in a row (by his standards) although 2019 was a slight bounce back from a career-worst 2018. Last season, Jansen saved 33 games in 41 chances, posting a 3.71 ERA/3.77 xFIP. He had a 30.4% K% and a 6.1% BB%. Those are all fairly good numbers, but they're just not Kenley Jansen numbers. He's still worth picking up in all formats since the Dodgers will win plenty of games and he'll get plenty of saves, but his name may still be outperforming his game in some drafts, so be careful not to take him too early.

The Dodgers added to their bullpen by inking Blake Treinen to a one-year deal, but it's Pedro Baez who will likely return to the eighth inning, at least to start the year. Baez was thoroughly unexciting but solid in 2019, posting 25 holds and a 3.10 ERA/4.82 xFIP. There are clear signs of regression based on a quick look, but Baez has soundly outperformed his xFIP in all but one of his big league seasons. He's solid enough for deeper holds leagues, but not a must-own. Treinen, meanwhile, had one of the best relief seasons of all time in 2018 (0.78 ERA!) but took a giant's step back in 2019. His 2019 ERA was 4.91 (5.01 xFIP) and he saved just 16 games for Oakland before watching Liam Hendriks take over and run away with the job. If Treinen can return to form, he should challenge Baez for eighth inning work and could even push Jansen if he struggles. For now, he's a wild card with nice upside but a clear floor.

 

San Diego Padres

The 72-win San Diego Padres from 2019 are being picked by many to be legitimate Wild Card contenders in 2020. The bullpen isn't the only reason for that, but it's certainly a big reason. The Padres should have the best and deepest bullpen in the NL West and maybe in the entire National League. It'll be anchored by Kirby Yates, who is coming off an amazing season in which he saved 41-of-44 games and posted a 1.19 ERA/2.25 xFIP. His rate stats were amazing as well, with a 41.6 K% compared to a 5.4% BB%. Yates is the best closer in the National League and at this point, it's not really close. He should be the first closer taken off most draft boards, although there's always the risk of overdrafting. Remember: he's still a "just a closer".

Yates will be set up by another elite right hander, Emilio Pagan. Pagan was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays recently, and while it was a massive blow to his personal fantasy value, it's an enormous boost to an already strong bullpen. Last season, Pagan saved 20 games and put up a 2.31 ERA/3.15 xFIP. He struck out 36.0% of the batters he faced while walking just 4.9%. He'll be one of the best assets in holds leagues and has the clear path to the ninth inning if Yates were to miss any time. Pagan-Yates is easily the best 8-9 (innings) combo in the National League. But wait, there's more! Drew Pomeranz and Andres Munoz are also in the San Diego bullpen. Pomeranz found new life in the bullpen in 2019, posting a 1.88 ERA/1.67 xFIP with 47.2 K% and 7.6 BB% as a reliever. He'll work exclusively out of the bullpen in 2020 and should be one of the better lefties in the National League. Andres Munoz throws 103 mph and looked unhittable in many of his 23 big league innings in 2019.

 

San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants bullpen is the most up-in-the-air bullpen in the National League West and one of the lest certain in terms of roles in all of baseball. Will Smith led the Giants with 34 saves last season, but he's a member of the Atlanta Braves now. Sam Dyson and Shaun Anderson were tied for second with...TWO saves each. Dyson is still a free agent and could be in trouble with Major League Baseball due to a domestic violence incident. Anderson is being looked at as a starter heading into Spring Training. That leaves some sort of mix of Tony Watson, Trevor Gott, Jandel Gustave, and Tyler Rogers likely taking the important late innings in 2020.

Watson is the favorite for closing duties for now mostly due to his experience. He hasn't saved a game since 2017, but he's been a solid, if low-upside reliever since 2012. His "veteran presence" will likely give him the role or at least a large chunk of a committee approach. He ended last season with a 4.17 ERA/4.89 xFIP and just 17.8 K%. He may end up picking up a decent enough number of saves, but he won't contribute in any other standard fantasy category. He's one of the last relievers on draft boards. Tyler Rogers had some decent numbers but will likely be used in situational...situations. Reyes Moronta should take the ninth inning outright once he returns from the injured list sometime in the second half of the season.

More 2020 Fantasy Baseball Advice




More Recent Articles

 

ADP Showdown – Trevor Story vs. Trea Turner

Pitchers and catchers have officially reported and position player workouts are getting underway, which means baseball season is officially upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already started dealing with tough draft position... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitcher Statcast

Statcast metrics such as Barrels and Brls/BBE are great ways to evaluate a batter's performance, so it is only natural to assume that the metrics would be predictive for pitchers as well. As much as batters want to hit a Barrel every time, pitchers want to avoid them at all costs. Yet there is evidence... Read More


Bases Loaded Podcast - All Things Fantasy Baseball w/ Nick Pollack (@PitcherList)

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is  joined by Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) and they discuss all things fantasy baseball! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune... Read More


Finding Combo-Player Values Using Z-Scores and ATC Projections

Towards the end of last season, I asked the question – “Draft Speed or Pound the Power?” Loaded in this seemingly simple query are two contradictory approaches – one for power and one for speed. Power Approach 1: Home run totals are dramatically up in baseball these days. Therefore, there are many power bats available... Read More


ADP Showdown - Whit Merrifield vs Austin Meadows

Spring training is officially underway, which means baseball season is upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already begun dealing with tough draft position decisions. The outfield position is deep as always, but... Read More


2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Third Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More


2020 Dynasty Leagues: Players to Sell (Premium Content)

As draft day approaches in dynasty leagues, the window to sell-high on a big name has never been better. The first days of spring training are a chance to cash in on players who may have hit their peak value before the 2020 season begins. Bartering is a matter of risk vs reward. You hate... Read More


Bases Loaded Podcast: Early Round Values

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino) and Zach Braff (@BraffZ) and they discuss early round values. They go through and highlight a few players that are going inside the top 150 in ADP that offer a great chance to return profit. Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast... Read More


Second Year Pitcher Preview: Fantasy Baseball 2020 ADP Analysis

Host Anthony Aniano of RotoBaller Radio discuss the 2020 fantasy baseball season and keeps you updated with all the latest news and analysis Be sure to tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel Sirius 210, XM 87) - every weekday morning between 6-7 AM ET, every weekday afternoon from 1-2 PM ET, Saturday nights from 9-11 PM ET... Read More


Relief Pitchers to Target for Holds

Hold on... there are fantasy leagues that reward middle relievers, not just starters and closers? Yes, there are, and leagues that reward holds are one of the fastest-growing segments of fantasy baseball as real baseball continues to diminish the role of the starter in favor of building deep bullpens with multiple relievers that throw 95+... Read More


2020 Second Base Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a different strategy if you wish to truly compete. Rankings themselves are a different beast altogether, as category specialists like Mallex Smith and Dee Gordon (stolen bases), Kyle Schwarber and Franmil Reyes (home runs),... Read More


ADP Showdown – Matt Olson vs Paul Goldschmidt

Pitchers and catchers have officially reported and position player workouts are getting underway, which means baseball season is officially upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already started dealing with tough draft position... Read More


2020 Second Base Rankings - Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Leagues

As the season draws near, we realize more and more that it's draft season. There is a large portion of fantasy baseball busy with mock drafts, rankings, sleepers, and more mock drafts. The Dynasty community, on the other hand, is looking to continue their dominance, rebuild, or in a worst-case scenario, stick their hands up... Read More


Six Undervalued Draft Targets for Mixed Leagues

Heading into 2020, there are a number of players who had poor 2019 campaigns that should bounce back strong. Some of these players are presently undervalued by fantasy owners for one reason or another. In this article, I'll identify a few such players who should outperform their current ADP in 2020. While each of these... Read More


Josh Hayes' 2020 Best Ball Draft Targets (Premium Content)

All other Premium Tools can be accessed on the premium dashboard. The fantasy baseball season is here! For those fantasy players looking to get an edge on their 2020 leagues, Best Ball formats are a great way to get a head start on the players that look to be ADP risers this season. One key... Read More


More Recent Articles

 

XFL DFS Lineup Picks For Week 3: The Checkdown

Check out this week's XFL fantasy football preview including game breakdowns, player analysis, DFS lineup picks and more for week three of the 2020 XFL season. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune... Read More


D.J. Chark - Dynasty Price Check

Are you ready for some football? If you are in a dynasty fantasy football league, you most certainly are! The time between the Super Bowl and the NFL Draft is a prime opportunity for hardcore owners to evaluate their current team and prepare for their upcoming rookie drafts. We've already looked at young players like Courtland... Read More


RB Opportunity Share and Impact (NFC South & West): 2019 Review

We roll on with coverage of each of the eight NFL divisions, discussing the teams that are part of them and the running backs that were part of those teams in 2019. To present those teams and players I use a set of easy-to-read charts: treemaps. The graphics will hold all of the players of... Read More


Biggest ADP Surprises: Early Fantasy Football Mock Draft

RotoBaller fantasy football analysts Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano review the draft board from RotoBaller's 2020 Way Too Early Mock fantasy football draft. They look at early ADP, reaches, values, and surprises throughout the first 10 rounds. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us... Read More


XFL Week 2 - Quarterback Risers and Fallers

We previously looked at target and opportunity risers and fallers, based on the first two weeks of XFL data. Now, it's time to evaluate the quarterbacks, for better or worse. There are few known commodities, even among seasoned NFL fans, at the quarterback position in this league. Relative unknowns like Phillip Walker and Jordan Ta'amu... Read More


XFL Week 2 - Opportunity Risers and Fallers

We previously looked at target risers and fallers based on the first two weeks of XFL data. The XFL has made it past Week 2 and now we have eight games of data to analyze. No small feat, as nobody knew where this league was going just a few weeks ago. But here we are,... Read More


XFL Week 2 - Target Risers and Fallers

The XFL has made it past Week 2 and now we have eight games of data to analyze. No small feat, as nobody knew where this league was going just a few weeks ago. But here we are, just mere days from Week 3 matchups! With two dates already in the rearview mirror and plenty... Read More


NFL Draft Combine Preview: Quarterbacks

With the Super Bowl now behind us, it is officially NFL Draft season! It's time to speculate on draft picks for teams, who should land where, and which players should be valued over others. This also marks the unofficial start to the 2020 fantasy football season. Getting in the early preparation can give owners a... Read More


RB Opportunity Share and Impact (AFC South & West): 2019 Review

We roll on with coverage of each of the eight NFL divisions, discussing the teams that are part of them and the running backs that were part of those teams in 2019. To present those teams and players I use a set of easy-to-read charts: treemaps. The graphics will hold all of the players of... Read More


Dynasty Price Check - Anthony Miller

Many of you have already begun planning and building your 2020 rosters. This includes best-ball owners who have assembled teams in that popular format. A number of owners in redraft leagues are inspecting the early rankings, while those of you who are involved in dynasty leagues have continued your process of relentless roster evaluation. As the... Read More


Is Lamar Jackson Worth a First Round Pick?

RotoBaller fantasy football analysts Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano discuss the idea of taking Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in the first round of 2020 fantasy football redraft leagues. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure... Read More


Why Lamar Jackson Should Be a First-Round Pick in 2020

Sometimes I like to make noise and some headlines if I can. That is why I host shows six days a week on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio representing RotoBaller. If I can get people buzzing about a topic, calling in or responding on social media with passion and vigor, I am having fun. But whenever I... Read More