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Relief Pitchers Deeper Dive - Week 6

Today and every Tuesday moving forward throughout the 2018 MLB season, we will take a deep dive into some of the lesser-owned relief pitchers on the market that are worth keeping tabs on.

This can be a good tool for those in deeper holds leagues, although any pitcher in a position to make a move on their respective team's closer job will get priority.

Let's take a look at some lesser known names out of the bullpen for Week 6 of the fantasy baseball season.

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Under-the-Radar Relievers to Watch - Week 6

Mychal Givens, Baltimore Orioles - 4% owned

After 21 holds, a sub-three ERA and 88 strikeouts last season, Mychal Givens was looking like the closer of the future for the Orioles heading into the season. A lot of that hype faded away quickly as Givens got off to a horrid start to the season, allowing six earned runs in his first six outings. Since then, however, he has put together a solid string of appearances and should start seeing some more use in high leverage situations again. In his last 10.1 innings, he has a 16/4 K/BB ratio to while allowing just five hits and two runs. He's been better than Darren O'Day and Brad Brach over that stretch and with the Orioles heading towards a rebuild, don't be surprised to see Givens closing out games in the second half of the season.

Matt Barnes, Boston Red Sox - 5% owned

Taking advantage of some injuries to other members of the Red Sox bullpen over the past two years, Matt Barnes has established himself as one of the better set up man in baseball. It shouldn't come as too big of a surprise given his draft/prospect status, as the stuff was clearly there it was just whether or not he could command the strike zone frequently enough. He has bouts of being wildly inaccurate which show in his 5.02 BB/9 rate, but when he is locating his stuff, he can be downright dominant. He's on a nice run currently, (Last 9.2 IP: 15/3 K/BB, four hits, one run) which is good considering Tyler Thornburg is close to finally making his Red Sox debut. I expect him to keep a setup role, whether it be pitching the seventh or eighth inning, which keeps him valuable in leagues that count holds.

Jared Hughes, Cincinnati Reds - 0% owned

Now working as Raisel Iglesias set-up man, I was surprised to see that Jared Hughes has a career ERA of 2.88 over 388 career innings, good for 15th among active relievers with over 300 innings pitched. Sure his strikeout numbers aren't anything to get excited about and his four-plus career FIP/xFIP indicate he may have been lucky more often than not,  but he has been a dependable reliever this season and should see more hold chances moving forward. With the Reds in rebuild mode, there's also the chance either Hughes gets moved to a contender or Iglesias gets moved, leaving Hughes with an opportunity to close, making him a somewhat intriguing deep holds league add.

Lou Trivino, Oakland Athletics - 0% owned

A rookie with almost no prospect status despite two straight seasons with respectable numbers, Trivino has pitched well since his call-up this year, even working his way into a setup role. The minor league stats don't suggest he will become a 10+ K/9 guy, but he should be able to sustain some low ratios and that strikeout rate has some untapped upside. His fastball does sit at 97, which he sometimes adds some cut to at 92 MPH and rounds out his arsenal with an 80 MPH curveball. With a lot of question marks in the Athletics bullpen behind Blake Treinen, Trivino could run with his current set up role, and potentially see himself as Treinen's back up if Treinen ever wound up on the DL.


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