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Florio's Bullpen Report: Figuring Out Confusing Bullpens

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If you have been in need of saves, playing the waiver wire may be a very frustrating experience. There have been some bullpens that have been tough to figure out from the very start of the season. Just when we think we are starting to figure them out, something happens or the pitcher we like struggles. Every time you go to kick the football, someone pulls it away. 

We are getting signs that some of those tough-to-figure-out bullpens may be becoming more predictable. That can be huge for a team in need of saves. But of course, there is always the possibility that we are being set up and the football will once again be pulled away. But you need to take chances and hope something sticks. There are numerous options to acquire either off the waiver wire or in trades.

There will also be more help than ever soon hitting the waiver wire as no position is more impacted by trades than relief pitchers. Everyone, but particularly those teams in need of saving help should be ready to spend FAAB or hit the waiver wire aggressively come July. 

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Changing Bullpens for Fantasy Baseball

The Red Sox bullpen has been a tough one to figure out all year but that may finally be changing. Tanner Houck, who was once a sleeper starting pitcher with a lot of upside, has transitioned into a reliever and a dominant one at that. In the past two weeks, he has picked up two saves and has not allowed a run in that span. He has a 33 percent strikeout rate, 2.26 xFIP, 1.93 SIERA, and 0.86 in that period. Not only are you getting save chances, but he is providing elite ratios as well. Given how rocky the Sox pen was early on, they will stick with Houck as long as he is effective. He should be rostered and started everywhere. Matt Strahm has two saves in that period as well and is worthy of a pickup, but he is a secondary option. 

The Rays looked like they had a primary closing option with Andrew Kittredge, but unfortunately, he has to undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his season. The Rays have had no shortage of options when it comes to saving chances in the past two weeks. In that span, Jason Adam, Matt Wisler, Colin Poche, and Ryan Thompson have each picked up a save. This could be a very volatile situation but Poche and Adam have been the most effective pitchers all season. This situation can change quickly, but for now, rank them Adam, Poche, Thompson, and then Wisler. J.P. Feyereisen could also see opportunities. 

The Marlins have been another bullpen that has been tough to figure out all year, but that appears to be changing in Miami as well. In the past two weeks, Tanner Scott has picked up three saves and two wins while dominating in that span. He has pitched to a 0.00 ERA, 0.71 xFIP, and 0.25 SIERA with a 0.40 WHIP and a whopping 53 percent strikeout rate. He is the reliever to own in Miami and should be rostered and started everywhere. 

On Monday, Liam Hendriks was placed on the IL with a right forearm strain. Kendall Graveman is expected to fill in as the closer for as long as Hendriks is out.

 

Speculative Saves for Fantasy Baseball

The Giants had once looked like a bullpen that we had figured out, with Camilo Doval as the closer. However, in the past two weeks, he does not have a save, while Jake McGee and Jose Alvarez each picked one up. Doval did pitch the ninth on Monday but it was a non-save opportunity. He is still the reliever I like the most in this bullpen, but McGee is certainly worth a flier for saving needy teams. Alvarez would be best suited in deeper leagues. 

The Mariners bullpen has been a pain to figure out all year. But it appears we are starting to get an answer, though it is not a great one for fantasy. There is a two-man committee in Seattle right now between Paul Sewald and Diego Castillo. Castillo has been the more effective one as of late, pitching to a 0.00 ERA, 0.80 xFIP, and 0.33 WHIP with a 0.81 SIERA and a 50 percent strikeout rate. Seal meanwhile has a 4.05 ERA, 5.69 xFIP, 0.90 WHIP, 25 percent strikeout rate, and 4.13 SIERA in that span, with a blown save. Castillo is the top option, but both are worth rostering for the time being. 

The Reds have easily been one of, if not the most, frustrating bullpen in all of baseball. In the last two weeks, Tony Santillan, Hunter Strickland, and Alexis Diaz have each picked up a save. But in that span, each of them has an ERA somewhere between six and 11. Yeah, that is rough. Santillan also has two blown saves in that span. He seems to be the pitcher who gets the most chances here, but at some point, the leash runs out. If I were to take a flier on anyone, it would be Diaz, but this is a bullpen that is best to avoid. 

 

Elite Strikeout and Ratios

Seranthony Dominguez has been an elite option all year, but especially as of late. In the last two weeks, he has not allowed a run and has a minuscule 0.19 WHIP, with a 0.66 SIERA and a 47 percent strikeout rate, the 10th-best among relievers in that span. Plus, Corey Knebel has certainly struggled at times. If that continues, Dominguez could soon get save chances. 

UPDATE: Corey Knebel has officially been removed as the closer, and the Phillies will go with a committee approach for saves including Dominguez.

Matt Moore has pitched to a 0.00 ERA and 0.17 WHIP with a 0.55 SIERA and a 47 percent strikeout rate, the ninth-best among relievers in that period. He has been very effective as of late, but the same can not be said for current closer Joe Barlow. Moore is a flier worth taking. 

Michael Fulmer has pitched to a 0.19 WHIP, 1.42 SIERA, and 2.63 xFIP while not giving up a run and having a 42 percent strikeout rate in the past two weeks. The Tigers are also very much so not in contention this season, meaning current closer Gregory Soto could be dealt. Of course, Fulmer himself could also be traded. At the very least, he provides strikeouts and ratios. 

Daniel Hudson has pitched to a 4.15 ERA in the past two weeks, but he also has a 1.49 xFIP and a 1.42 SIERA, indicating that he has been a lot better than that. He has a 42 percent strikeout rate in that span as well. He provides strikeouts and ratios and is next in line for saves with the Dodgers if anything was to happen to Craig Kimbrel

Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter, @MichaelFFlorio.



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