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JB's Bullpen Method for 2022 - Building FrankenAces with Relief Pitchers

Devin Williams - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Relief Pitchers, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News Updates

Two years ago, I finally published an article breaking down my favorite fantasy baseball strategy I have been using for years. It's really less of a strategy and more a state of mind. No, the Bullpen Method is a lifestyle. I always speak about the importance of balance on a fantasy team. For your pitching staff, I find this even more important.

You need steady and consistent balance, and to be frank with you, that is not possible with a bunch of starting pitchers on your roster. Sure, you can attack Wins and Strikeouts, but your ERA and WHIP have no chance at survival. There are like 20 starting pitchers in all of baseball that I would trust with my team's ERA and WHIP, and people want to fill your roster with them?

When your draft day arrives before the start of the 2022 MLB season, I encourage you to try my bullpen method for roster construction.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Breaking Down JB's Bullpen Method

In a standard league, I will roster ~13 pitchers. Of the 13 pitchers I draft, six will be starters, and that usually drops to five during the season. That means the other seven or eight are relief pitchers, and I don't care if they are closers right now or not. For years, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller were anchors, then Josh Hader emerged before taking the closer role, and every year, a new crop of setup studs emerge like Giovanny Gallegos in 2019, Devin Williams in 2020, or Jonathan Loaisiga in 2021. This is the Bullpen mentality, realizing that starting pitchers are heavily overrated in fantasy and subsequently, relief pitchers (especially setup men) are heavily underrated. Once you come to this epiphany, you can immediately take advantage of the common industry mistake and instantly witness improvement in your teams.

*Disclaimer - Please do not attempt this method in Points Leagues. Points leagues are made for heavy-volume starters and elite closers. This method absolutely crushes Roto leagues, where balance is king - and in H2H leagues where you can easily beat your opponent in 3 of 5 pitching categories (5 of 5 if you are a talented SP streamer). 

 

Past Examples

Daily Roto

Example 1 is the 2019 RotoBaller Expert Roto League. Now, this was a daily roster-move league, not weekly. Daily leagues almost make it unfairly easy to use this method. Replacing non-starting starters with relievers every day maximizes your IP and puts you much higher in the standings for W and K than you would be in weekly leagues.

I finished the season with 13 pitchers on the roster. As is custom, five of those were starters: Homer Bailey, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Ryan Yarbrough, Tyler Glasnow, and Dylan Bundy. Typically in a vacuum with that rotation, I should have had no business being in even the top half of the league's standings, right? What if I told you I won the league with over 100 roto points? Bullpen Method to the rescue! Since I told you just five of my 13 pitchers were starters, that means the other eight were obviously relievers. The eight RP on my roster were:

How hard do you think it was to draft this group of relievers in 2019? Extremely easy and very cheap. All below 2.80 ERA and all below 1.09 WHIP. Sprinkle in all the saves you pick up along the way as they change roles in the bullpen and you've just won three of five pitching categories handily.

Daily H2H

Let's look at another daily lineup winning example from 2019 - this time in an H2H league. This time, my five starters looked much better with Gerrit Cole, Clayton Kershaw, Charlie Morton, Robbie Ray, and Ryan Yarbrough. Again, I went with 13 total pitchers, meaning once again I had eight relievers. Those eight relievers were:

  • Alex Colome (4 W, 30 SV, 55 K, 2.80 ERA, 1.07 WHIP)
  • Trevor May (5 W, 2 SV, 79 K, 2.94 ERA, 1.07 WHIP)
  • Drew Pomeranz (2nd half - 57 K, 1.96 ERA, 0.82 WHIP)
  • Chad Green (2nd Half - 55 K, 2.89 ERA, 0.96 WHIP)
  • Taylor Rogers (2 W, 30 SV, 90 K, 2.61 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
  • Keone Kela (29.2 IP - 2 W, 1 SV, 33 K, 2.12 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)
  • Ross Stripling (4 W, 93 K, 3.47 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
  • Julio Urias (4 W, 4 SV, 85 K, 2.49 ERA, 1.08 WHIP)

As you can see with the added boost I had at SP and it being an H2H league, I cared even less about finding Saves and focused more on the extra K from my bullpen while still nailing down the ERA and WHIP categories on a weekly basis. This is why I said earlier that the Bullpen Method is more of a mentality than an actual black and white strategy - you can tweak it based on the league and your roster build. We will look at some of the different drafting techniques within the method a little later.

Weekly Roto Overall

Okay, enough living in the past, even though they are beautiful examples. And enough with the low-hanging fruit daily roster-move leagues. Now let's look at 2021 The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational.

This league is an overall contest, weekly lineups, with 15 team leagues. There were 435 total teams in this contest. Now, weekly lineups do change the strategy a bit with the Bullpen Method. It becomes all about your RATIO. When I refer to the ratio, I am talking about how many starters versus how many relievers you have in your weekly lineup. There is no set answer unfortunately for the optimal ratio. It takes some focus and hard work to determine your weekly ratio based on two things: your standings in each pitching category and your pitchers' schedules/upcoming matchups.

If you fell a few spots in W and K last week, you might go six SP: three RP for the next week. After your 6:3 week, if you fell a few spots in ERA and WHIP, then you might go 5:4 next week. Say you have a 5:4 setup but pull up your SP's matchups and one of them has a one-start week in Coors, and one of them has a one-start week against Toronto, you might even benefit by a 3:6 ratio for a week. You will often find yourself comparing the possible effects of a starter's ~five IP, six K, 5.40 ERA, 1.40 WHIP week versus a reliever's ~three IP, five K, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP week. Again, it is a LOT of work, but man is it fun.

Okay, so back to my 2021 TGFBI team. Since we can not benefit from daily RP swaps into the lineup in a weekly league, I carry slightly fewer RP on my roster. I finished the season with six SP and six RP. The six SP were Zack Wheeler, Kevin Gausman, Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Andrew Heaney, and Kwang Hyun Kim. The six relievers were:

  • Josh Hader (4 W, 34 SV, 102 K, 1.23 ERA, 0.84 WHIP)
  • Giovanny Gallegos (6 W, 14 SV, 95 K, 3.02 ERA, 0.88 WHIP)
  • Tyler Rogers (7 W, 13 SV, 55 K, 2.22 ERA, 1.07 WHIP)
  • Chad Green (10 W, 6 SV, 99 K, 3.12 ERA, 0.88 WHIP)
  • Diego Castillo (5 W, 16 SV, 75 K, 2.78 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)
  • Jake Diekman (3 W, 7 SV, 83 K, 3.86 ERA, 1.34 WHIP) *Didn't use Diekman much 2nd Half, did not need 3:6 Ratio after falling back a bit in W/K by ASB.

Hader (fifth), Wheeler (seventh), and Gausman (ninth) were my only pitchers drafted in the first 12 rounds. Needless to say, the offense was rowdy. Gallegos and Castillo were not taken until rounds 17 and 18 and then rounds 27-30 were all RP. I drafted one "Closer" and finished with 83 Saves (12.5 Roto Points). As far as the results, I finished 26th overall out of 435 teams. My pitching roto points were as follows: W (10.5), SV (12.5), K (nine), ERA (12), WHIP (14). And of course, as is the way of the Bullpen Method, the offense results were also tasty: R (nine), HR (9.5), RBI (15), SB (13), BA (12).

 

Building Franken-Ace Relievers

The first question most people ask when they see my drafts is - "How can you win without drafting aces?" Well, there are two answers. First, draft the sleepers that become aces. Duh, right? Like the 2019 example above, I was able to get Ryu and Glasnow for very cheap, and for chunks of the season, they were bonafide aces. In 2020, I got Lance Lynn and Ryu again for a good value. In 2022, I got Wheeler and Gausman at draft spots they blew out of the water. That certainly helps. But the second and most important answer is YOU BUILD THEM WITH RELIEVERS.

Like Frankenstein, you can put together a stud ace with unwanted scraps you find on the waiver wire or late in the draft. This is the heart of the Bullpen Method.

Past FrankenAces

Let's do some hindsight FrankenAce building. We will once again start in 2019, and take Brandon Workman and Emilio Pagan into our lab. Both were for the most part undrafted in leagues in 2019, or at-best late stashes because Boston's bullpen situation was sketchy. So now we have our unwanted scrap parts. Now let's combine their end-of-season stats. We get 14 W, 200 K, 2.10 ERA, and 0.93 WHIP. Now let's compare. Clayton Kershaw finished 2019 with 16 W, 189 K, 3.03 ERA, and 1.04 WHIP. Our Franken-Ace easily had him beat. "Pagman" FrankenAce was a five-category monster that only took two relief pitchers to build, and I carry six of these relievers at a minimum, meaning I can build at least three of these FrankenAces.

The FrankenAce I want to point out from the 2020 season was one built by my colleague and long-time friend Nick Mariano. He is hands down the second-best FrankenAce builder on the planet and we have bounced relief pitcher strategies back and forth for years. He handily won the RotoBaller Expert League in 2020 and he did it with the help of a lethal "Willianthal" FrankenAce built by two undrafted relievers: Devin Williams and Trevor Rosenthal. When we combine their stats from 2020, we get 5 W, 91 K, 1.07 ERA, and 0.73 WHIP. Now, let's compare the stats of fantasy golden boy Lucas Giolito: 4 W, 97 K, 3.48 ERA, 1.04 WHIP. Thanks to Rosenthal's 11 saves, undrafted Willianthal FrankenAce just beat Gioltio in four of five categories, losing strikeouts by only six.

For our 2021 FrankenAce, let's use a guy I drafted at 432 overall in TGFBI, and another that I picked up in FAAB after Aaron Bummer got injured. Chad Green + Tyler Rogers = "Greegers"? Their combined 2021 stats were: 17 W, 19 SV, 154 K, 2.68 ERA, 0.97 WHIP. The first SP off the boards, Gerrit Cole, finished with 16 W, 0 SV, 243 K, 3.23 ERA, 1.06 WHIP. 

Pretty simple, no? So we are not only making FrankenAces out of late-round picks/ free-agent pickups but at the same time, our offense is STACKED because while the rest of the league was wasting picks on their starting pitchers in the early rounds, we were grabbing the elite bats. That is the soul of the Bullpen Method and why it is so deadly. You are stacking your offensive categories and then winning/catching up on pitching categories on the back end without breaking a sweat.

 

JBullpen Method Drafting Strategy

As I have said numerous times already in this article, and will probably say a few more times - this is not a black and white strategy. You can't say "I drafted James Karinchak because JB said relievers were better than starters and he sucked so I lost." That's why it is more of a state of mind, where names and roles don't really matter. All you care about is numbers. If one guy isn't getting it done, move on, even if he is getting saves.

With that being said, I have noticed over the years that the drafting strategy, specifically how you handle starting pitchers and closers, really doesn't matter with the Bullpen Method which is what makes it so cool. You can get five true aces as your starting pitchers, or you can get one ace and four mid-late round starters, or you can wait until Round 10 to get your first starter. Names don't matter. Those ~five arms are there to get you IP, W, and K to keep you afloat in those categories while your bullpen does the rest.

I ran a mock draft with my most common draft technique to show how little you need to focus on pitching early, especially starting pitchers. *I used FantasyPros for the mock with 12 teams, 5x5 Roto categories, 29 roster spots, 2C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CIF, MIF, OF x 5, UTIL, P x 9, Bench x 6.

 

HITTERS! (1 x SP, 3 x RP in first 15 Rounds)


This draft technique is my most common with the Bullpen Method. I get one top-100 overall SP after some elite bats, in this case, Justin Verlander. Then I might grab some stud relievers that happen to fall into my lap for those elite ratios, in this case, Ryan PresslyBlake Treinen, and Taylor Rogers. But other than that, the first half of the draft is all about the bats. I can get basically whatever hitters I want and really blow the league away offensively. Then, hit the pitching fast and furious in the second half until I have filled my six-man rotation. In this mock, I got my SP2 in Round 16 in Mike Clevinger. Then I filled out the rotation with Joe Ryan, Patrick Sandoval, Alex Cobb, and Andrew Heaney. The final bullpen was Pressly, Treinen, Rogers, Andrew Kittredge, Paul Sewald, and Chad Green. Let's see how the projections look:

This is the prototypical league roto rankings layout for my teams. My offense is competing for the top spot in all categories because of the number of first-half picks on the stud hitters. Saves, ERA, and WHIP are GRAVY- despite only having four pitchers after Round 15. That is the power of the Bullpen. Some successful SP-streaming throughout the season can vastly improve the W and K totals for some extra first-place padding, especially in daily-roster move leagues.

 

2022 Drafts

Mock drafts are fun and all, but computers are not SB and saves-thirsty humans. The RP landscape has changed drastically, you can no longer get a "for-sure closer" in the middle rounds so easily. So I will now show how I conducted NFBC50, DC150, and TGBFI drafts this season.

NFBC50

Since these leagues have no waivers and 50 rounds, obviously you attack it differently. In the first 29 rounds, I ended up with seven SP and five RP. Since I knew I had 21 rounds remaining, I didn't need all of my ~seven RP at this point. In the top-10 rounds, I took two pitchers, both SP (Jacob deGrom-third, Kevin Gausman-sixth). I'm not paying up for a top closer with a 50-round roster. I ended up with nine RP total, and I guarantee you at least four of those will be locked into a closer role for the majority of the season, and I assume all nine will come across saves. Those nine RP were as follows: Blake Treinen (11), Scott Barlow (12), Camilo Doval (15), Andrew Kittredge (21), Rowan Wick (24), Tyler Wells (29, boo on the reports of him being stretched out), Pierce Johnson (33), Pete Fairbanks (37), and Chris Stratton (41). The offense was absolutely loaded (I'll spare you further draft board pics), and the "analysis" was quite promising.

DC150

Now we are up to a 15-team league, which obviously increases the level of difficulty in avoiding weaknesses, which for me and my method are typically always going to be W and K. In the DC, I had to take three pitchers in the first 10 rounds: Julio Urias-fourth, Kevin Gausman-fifth, and Scott Barlow-10th. I still avoided missing an elite bat for a top closer but also was forced to grab Scott Barlow in the top-10 rounds because of this. Still rocking 50-round rosters, I ended up with 11 RP (10 if you don't count Garrett Whitlock but we all know the Boston bullpen will need him at some point). Those 11 RP were as follows: Scott Barlow (10), Andrew Kittredge (15), Rowan Wick (17), Garrett Whitlock (19), Devin Williams (24), Pierce Johnson (30), A.J. Puk (34), Drew Pomeranz (38), Tanner Scott (43), Steve Cishek (47), and Scott Effross (49). Would you look at that....W and K weakness. That is where the smart RATIO planning comes into play!

TGFBI

Once again a 15-team league overall contest, but this time only a 30-man roster instead of the deep 50. I went back to just two pitchers drafted in the first 10 rounds (Justin Verlander-seventh and Sean Manaea-10th), and even without the deep roster, I chose not to pay up for an elite "closer" since at this point I had a great feel for the ADP of some of my favorite RP targets and knew I was going to find plenty of saves. As I have said a million times, the bullpen method is fluid. I got chopped pretty hard on my SP depth in this draft, Bailey Ober and Carlos Carrasco were my SP4 and SP5. Because this happened and I knew Spring Training battles and injuries would produce some extra SP options, I chose to go heavy on SP fliers while only drafting five RP, with the intention of swapping one or two via FAAB for RP once the MLB rotations were settled. Reiver Sanmartin and Tyler Beede are the two I am referring to here, and look at that, SFG has already added like 43 new SP, which should bump Beede out of a spot. So very soon, I will be up to six RP. If Sanmartin somehow doesn't make the Reds rotation, I will be right back up to my comfy seven. The five RP were as follows: Scott Barlow (11), Lucas Sims (14), Andrew Kittredge (16), Cole Sulser (27), and Jorge Alcala (28). Wouldn't you know it, there are my W and K friends again.

 

2022 RP Targets

This season, once I reach the second half of the draft and start filling my rotation and bullpen, these are some late-round relievers I'm targeting to build some FrankenAces:

Andrew Kittredge, TBR - 284 ADP

There is only one player that I have drafted in 100% of my drafts in 2022, and it is Andrew Kittredge. His ADP is one of the greatest gifts of the 21st century. I do not believe he will repeat his fantastic 1.88 ERA from last year (see his low BABIP and high LOB), but the 32-year-old has increased his velocity and should serve as the backbone of Kevin Cash's deep bullpen. As is the case with most of my favorite relievers, Kittredge possesses a fine blend of weak contact-generating and bat-missing ability with his nasty slider-sinker combo and allows very few free passes. Saves projections for Kittredge are all over the place due to the Rays "Raying" but without Diego Castillo and Nick Anderson (for a while), it's hard to imagine less than 15 with great ratios and volume. Behind Kittredge, the Rays have other names you will want to keep on your watchlist after your draft such as Pete Fairbanks, Brooks Raley, and Matt Wisler.

Lucas Sims, CIN - 255 ADP

I know Sims is a little behind this offseason and likely won't be ready for Opening Day, but since this is causing his ADP to drop further every day, it's really just making it easier to target him. After breaking out in his first full season out of the bullpen in the shortened 2020 season, it might've appeared he took a step back in 2021 with his 4.40 ERA. If you look under the hood of the surface stats, however, Sims made some pretty eye-popping progress. Among relievers with at least 40 IP, he owned the sixth-highest K% and his xERA was almost two full runs lower at 2.49.

He struggled at the beginning of the season and then missed time with an elbow injury, but after the All-Star break, he boasted a ridiculous 42.0 K-BB%, 1.90 xFIP, and 0.76 WHIP. That's Liam Hendriks-level stuff and shows the ceiling for Sims once he gets up to speed sometime in April. In the meantime, Art Warren is a name to target in those deep leagues or a guy to pick up after you place Lucas Sims on the IL.

Devin Williams, MIL - 300 ADP

After a dominating 2020 performance, regression hit Williams right off the bat in 2021. But after the first two months, he settled in very nicely with a 1.74 ERA over the second half of the season, including just two ER allowed over 30 (!) IP from June to August. His xERA, K%, HardHit%, and EV all finished in the top 6% of the league, thanks in part to the most devastating changeup in the game which registered a 47.2 Whiff rate and a measly .161 BAA.

The saves will obviously be minimal behind Josh Hader but there isn't a better setup man in the league to help boost your teams' ERA while still getting you the same amount of W and K as some starters on your league-mates' rosters. He has been working on a cutter-slider this season (struck out the side on Friday unsurprisingly), which has the potential to raise DWill to demi-god status.

Chad Green, NYY - 368 ADP

I think it is public knowledge if you've ever read any of my work or follow me on Twitter that I LOVE drafting Chad Green in standard leagues to help form some hellacious FrankenAces. The high-leverage volume, the ratios, the ninth-inning appearances, the extra-inning wins, Green sees it ALL. He led all "true" relievers in innings in 2021, was one of only four to reach 10 W, ranked sixth in strikeouts, AND boasted a 0.88 WHIP.

I'm not in the business of trying to predict RP wins, but again, when you get this level of high-quality, high-leverage volume, only good things follow. Teammate Jonathan Loaisiga is another great late-target for W and ratios but lacks the strikeout upside of Green.

Anthony Bender, MIA - 382 ADP

This one is probably going to be slightly tougher to grab now that Dylan Floro looks doubtful to be ready by Opening Day, but I think his ADP was way off to begin with so will gladly pay a slight premium for some possible early-season saves. He is by far the Marlins' best reliever, and even once Floro is back, he should see a decent share of save opportunities.

Armed with a Sinker/Slider combo like Kittredge above, Bender finished 2021 with an impressive 28.7 K% and a lowly .311 xSLG. The sinker usage provides healthy groundball rates, and a 45.2 Whiff% on his slider proves its effectiveness to put away hitters. The fact that he threw 61.1 innings in his first big league season shows how heavily Don Mattingly is going to rely on the 27-year-old going forward.

Diego Castillo, SEA - 384 ADP

Another JB favorite in all leagues, Castillo is about as solid as they come. After a surprising trade last season, he now finds himself in one of the most loaded bullpens in the league in Seattle. Paul SewaldKen Giles, and Drew Steckenrider join Diego in forming one hell of a late-inning squad. His xBA and xERA have been top 10% for three seasons now, but in 2021, we finally saw the jump in his strikeout rates that I've been waiting for. He threw his slider at a 66% clip, and it boasted a .130 BAA and a 40.1 Whiff rate. He is now officially the whole package.

Cole Sulser, BAL - 429 ADP

Since the recent news of Tyler Wells being potentially stretched out as a starter this spring, I have been hammering Sulser late in drafts. Regardless of who gets the "majority" of Baltimore's saves in 2022, Cole Sulser is the most effective and heavily utilized bullpen arm on the team (again). In his first extended big league appearance during the COVID season, things looked pretty ugly for Sulser. But there was one bright spot, and that was a pretty nasty changeup.

Sulser not only threw his best pitch more often in 2021, he found a way to make it even better by adding over SIX inches of vertical drop. His K% jumped from 19 to 28.4. He should also be one of the many Orioles pitchers who benefited from the new left-field dimensions at Camden Yards. Four of his five HR allowed in 2021 were to RHB at home.

Jorge Alcala, MIN - 430 ADP

Last year, I predicted that Jorge Alcala would finish the season as the highest-ranked Twins reliever in fantasy. Obviously, he didn't wind up seeing as much ninth-inning work as I expected, but he definitely earned a very important role in Minnesota's bullpen. Things started out pretty ugly, as Alcala limped to the ASB rocking a 4.67 ERA and a sad 23 K%. But the potential was fully released in the second half as the 26-year-old boasted a 2.88 ERA and 32 K% over the last 25 innings to include just two ER over his last 18 IP.

His stuff is electric, and his command is equally impressive. Due to the past usage of Taylor Rogers, whom I love very much, I do believe Alcala is going to be on many standard league waiver-wire lists at some point this season. Get ahead of the game now.

Josh Staumont, KCR - 438 ADP

I am not going to lie, I definitely expected Staumont to be the closer in Kansas City by now, but the fact that he has a 438 ADP still in 2022 is more of a testament to Scott Barlow rather than a knock on Staumont. He is prone to giving up some hard contact, but he did take a step forward in that department from 2020. Staumont increased his sinker usage and saw his HardHit%, EV, LA, and FB% decrease. Staumont is also carrying some serious momentum into 2022 after a stellar second half in which he owned a 2.03 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 21.1 K-BB%. The inevitable 5-10 saves are a nice little bonus as well.

Hector Neris, HOU - 457 ADP

Despite being 32 years young, Neris might've had the most effective season of his career in 2021, depending on how you look at the effectiveness, of course. He doubled his sinker usage from 2020, which led to a career-best 47.1 GB% while still boasting lofty swing and miss stuff. His xBA, xSLG, xwOBA, and xERA were all also career bests. His splitter is still the bee's knees, and he finished the year with a 2.70 ERA and 35.8 K% over his last 40 innings. Now serving as top setup-man for Ryan Pressly and the magic Astros, I'm predicting Neris to have a career year in 2022 despite the drop in save opportunities barring an injury.

Collin McHugh, ATL - 497 ADP

In one of the more underrated signings this offseason, the Braves brought in 34-year-old McHugh to join a loaded bullpen. Fact: you do not realize how effective McHugh was in 2021. After 64 innings with the Rays, the veteran finished in the top 5% in xERA, BB%, wOBA, xwOBA, and xSLG, all while still rocking a 30 K%. After not pitching in 2020, McHugh drastically increased his Slider and Cutter usage while only throwing his 4-seam at a 10.1% rate. He seems to have found the perfect recipe. With the back end of the Braves rotation in question, I think McHugh sees some healthy volume to help the workloads of Tucker Davidson and/or Kyle Wright.

Drew Pomeranz, SDP - 597 ADP

I can't quit the Big Smooth. We know he won't be active for the start of the season, and I have taken plenty of Pierce Johnson, Robert Suarez, and Dinelson Lamet in 2022. But there is no denying the void in the Padres bullpen with the departure of Mark Melancon, and there is no denying Pomeranz's success as a reliever. For his career, he now has 160 innings under his belt out of the bullpen. Across those 160 IP, he's sporting a 2.42 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 31.1 K%, and a measly 26.9 Hard%. Since he moved to the pen for the Pads in 2019, he boasts an absurd 1.73 ERA that is only bested by Emmanuel Clase and Aaron Loup among RP with at least 70 IP. There is no need to draft and stash a guy with this ADP outside of those 50-round leagues, but he could provide value as soon as he is activated. Keep him on the watchlists.

Aaron Bummer, CWS - 630 ADP

The amount of Aaron Bummer I had in 2021 was kind of a.... bummer. But hamstring and bicep injuries can affect any man's season, and the guy still possesses my favorite arsenal amongst all relievers. Despite the ERA and WHIP being a little higher than we (or maybe just I) expected, Bummer still boasted a 2.80 xFIP. The underlying numbers looked fantastic. The xERA, Barrel%, xBA, and xSLG all finished top 4% in the league, and my favorite part of all: 76.1 GB%. Seventy-six point one percent ground ball rate. Oh, and he still had a K% north of 30.

You might remember him trying out his new slider in 2020, he threw it to five batters and all five struck out. Well, it appeared as though that was enough of a test to bring the pitch forward into 2021, as he threw the filth 282 times. Against the slider, opponents hit .094 (that's kind of good, right?) and whiffed at a 52.2 rate. Just imagine the results as that usage increases again in 2022.

Alex VesiaLAD - 679 ADP

Now that Kenley Jansen has moved to Hotlanta, there is a large void for late-inning opportunities in LA. Blake Treinen and his black magic is the easy favorite for the closer job but it may not be that simple and Treinen himself said he prefers the non-closer role.


The next man up would be seasoned vet Daniel Hudson or possibly Brusdar Graterol but we still have a lot of blank relief space on a winning club. This is where Alex Vesia fits in.

In his first big taste of the big leagues last year, Vesia looked extremely impressive for a 25-year-old. As the season went on, Dave Roberts started entrusting him with more and more high-leverage situations and this kid sure looked like he thrives under the pressure. He pitched five innings that qualify as  "High-Leverage," according to FanGraphs and gave up one hit. He threw 8.1 innings with runners in scoring position and gave up a total of three hits.

He's got ice in his veins and lives the dangerous lifestyle as he tight-roped around a 13.7 BB%. Obviously, that's a terrifying amount of free passes, but it was encouraging to see the walks drastically decrease as the season went on (20 BB% first 12.2 IP v 10.4 BB% last 27.1 IP). Being the top lefty in the pen, he should find himself a sprinkle of saving ops along the way to some big strikeout numbers.

Deep League Sleeper: Scott Effross, CHC - 798 ADP



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Ruled Out For Monday
Joel Embiid4 hours ago

Cleared For Monday's Game
Brock Purdy4 hours ago

Will Have Surgery On Elbow
Brock Purdy5 hours ago

Out Six Months With UCL Tear
Cam Talbot5 hours ago

Might Not Be Ready After The All-Star Game
Tage Thompson5 hours ago

Day-To-Day With Upper-Body Injury
Logan Stanley5 hours ago

Scratched On Monday
Connor Hellebuyck5 hours ago

Looks To Continue Success Over St. Louis
Robert Thomas6 hours ago

Remains Out On Monday
Jordan Binnington6 hours ago

Tries To Get Back On Track Monday
Jalen Green7 hours ago

Misses Monday's Practice
Alperen Sengun8 hours ago

Able To Practice On Monday
Kevin Love8 hours ago

Practices On Monday
Matt Barnes8 hours ago

Marlins Acquire Matt Barnes From Red Sox
Zack Greinke8 hours ago

Royals Re-Sign Zack Greinke
Romeo Langford8 hours ago

To Miss Third Straight Game
Daniel Gafford8 hours ago

Added To Injury Report
Omer Yurtseven8 hours ago

Hopeful To Return After All-Star Break
Darren O'Day9 hours ago

Announces Retirement
Kyle Pitts10 hours ago

' Rehab "On Schedule"
Taylor Hall13 hours ago

Pots Lone Bruins Goal Sunday
Frederik Andersen14 hours ago

Beats Boston With 24 Saves
Brent Burns14 hours ago

Extends Point Streak In 1,300th Game
Nicklas Backstrom14 hours ago

Grabs First Goal Of The Season
Morgan Rielly14 hours ago

Finally Gets His First Goal
John Tavares14 hours ago

Celebrates 1,000th Game With Two Assists
Giannis Antetokounmpo14 hours ago

Enjoys His Fifth 50-Point Outing
Cedi Osman15 hours ago

Catches Fire Against Clippers
Jaren Jackson15 hours ago

Jr. Posts 28 Points, Five Blocks Sunday
Ja Morant15 hours ago

Stays In Triple-Double Form
Tyler Boyd23 hours ago

Has Two Catches On Sunday, Exits Due To Injury
Travis Jankowski1 day ago

Signs Minor-League Deal With Rangers
Josh Harrison1 day ago

Signs With the Phillies
Gleyber Torres1 day ago

Avoids Arbitration
New York Yankees1 day ago

New York Yankees Will Have Shortstop Battle
DJ LeMahieu1 day ago

Ready For 2023
Kadarius Toney1 day ago

Questionable To Return To AFC Championship Game
Kansas City Chiefs1 day ago

L'Jarius Sneed Being Evaluated For A Head Injury
Mecole Hardman1 day ago

Cleared For AFC Championship
Josh Johnson1 day ago

Won't Return To The NFC Championship
Travis Kelce1 day ago

Will Suit Up For AFC Championship
Josh Johnson1 day ago

Exits Sunday's Game Versus Philly
Brock Purdy1 day ago

Returns To NFC Championship Game
Darcy Kuemper1 day ago

Takes On Toronto Sunday
Matt Murray1 day ago

Out With An Ankle Injury
T.J. Brodie1 day ago

On Track To Return Sunday
Josh Johnson1 day ago

Enters With Brock Purdy Questionable To Return
Jaccob Slavin1 day ago

Remains Out Sunday
Trent Frederic1 day ago

Questionable For Sunday
Justin Herbert1 day ago

Undergoes Shoulder Surgery
Travis Kelce1 day ago

Experiencing Tightness, Will Be Game-Time Decision
Nico Sturm1 day ago

Hurt On Big Hit
Dylan DeMelo1 day ago

Dealing With A Lower-Body Injury
Kenta Maeda1 day ago

Not Expected To Have Restrictions This Spring
Elijah Mitchell1 day ago

Ruled Out For NFC Championship
Aaron Rodgers1 day ago

Packers Prefer To Trade Aaron Rodgers?
Tom Brady1 day ago

Dolphins Not Expected To Pursue Tom Brady
Kyler Murray1 day ago

Not Expected To Be Ready For 2023 Season
Jonathan Taylor1 day ago

Has Successful Ankle Surgery
Travis Kelce1 day ago

Expected To Play In AFC Championship
Evgeni Malkin2 days ago

Enjoys Another Three-Point Outing
Brock Burke2 days ago

Could Be In The Closing Mix
Hirokazu Sawamura2 days ago

Returns To Japan
Nick Senzel2 days ago

Expected To Be Starting Center Fielder
Alex Colomé2 days ago

Nationals Sign Alexander Colome To Minor-League Deal
Yandy Díaz2 days ago

Yandy Diaz Closing In On Extension With Rays
Tyler Stephenson3 days ago

Reds Planning On Full Season For Tyler Stephenson
Danny Duffy3 days ago

Rangers Sign Clint Frazier, Danny Duffy To Minor-League Deals
Jesús Aguilar3 days ago

Jesus Aguilar To Split Time At First Base, DH
Paul Blackburn3 days ago

James Kaprielian, Paul Blackburn Expected To Be Ready
Tua Tagovailoa3 days ago

Still In Concussion Protocol
Emiliano Grillo5 days ago

Not An Option At Farmers
Will Zalatoris5 days ago

Loves Playing At Torrey Pines
Maverick McNealy5 days ago

May Struggle At Torrey Pines
Keegan Bradley6 days ago

A Decent Play At Farmers
Hideki Matsuyama6 days ago

Another Risky Play At Torrey Pines

RANKINGS

QB
RB
WR
TE
K
DEF
RANKINGS
C
1B
2B
3B
SS
OF
SP
RP