FANTASY BASEBALL – 2016 RP Rankings: Bullpen Stability
Thorne’s 2016 MLB Fantasy Preview
Divisional Break-Downs: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central | NL West
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Thorne’s 2016 RP Rankings
- Wade Davis, Kansas City
- Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles
- Craig Kimbrel, Boston
- Jeurys Familia, New York
- Aroldis Chapman, New York
- Ken Giles, Houston
- Trevor Rosenthal, St. Louis
- Zach Britton, Baltimore
- Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh
- Cody Allen, Cleveland
- David Robertson, Chicago
- Hector Rondon, Chicago
- Francisco Rodriguez, Detroit
- A.J. Ramos, Miami
- Andrew Miller, New York
- Sean Doolittle, Oakland
- Drew Storen, Toronto
- Jake McGee, Colorado
- Glen Perkins, Minnesota
- Dellin Betances, New York
- Jeremy Jeffress, Milwaukee
- Huston Street, Los Angeles
- Roberto Osuna, Toronto
- Santiago Casilla, San Francisco
- Shawn Tolleson, Texas
- J.J. Hoover, Cincinnati
- Keone Kela, Texas
- Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta
- Brad Ziegler, Arizona
- Brad Boxberger, Tampa Bay
Uneasy Situations of Importance
Toronto: Roberto Osuna (NFBC ADP: 184) and Drew Storen (227)
The 21 year-old Osuna broke onto the scene last season by not allowing a run in his first 9.2 major league innings and, by year’s end, the rookie had 20 saves. The issue here is not Osuna’s talent, well, actually it is. He’s got far too much of it (and, frankly, too many pitches) to be slotted into the bullpen for the duration of his career. As Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling pointed out to me earlier this month, in the quest to stretch out Osuna’s arm for a possible rotation run in 2017, the young righty might assume more of a Dellin Betances-esque role this season. Now, sacrificing saves for innings isn’t ideal in terms of fantasy, but, with his 9.69 K/9, he’ll be worth a roster spot depending on the innings peak. Obviously, Drew Storen is the beneficiary here. A career 0.65 HR/9 will serve him well in Rogers Centre.
Miami: A.J. Ramos (137) and Carter Capps (326)
**Carter Capps underwent Tommy John surgery March 8th**
As you’ll probably notice, I have Capps above Ramos in my reliever rankings. Allow me to explain. Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill came out in late January and stated that he expects there to be an open competition for Miami’s closer job this spring. Now, as much as I don’t trust any higher-up’s word in that sham of an organization, I’ll take this at face value – Ramos could definitely lose his job. I can believe it. Carter Capps is fantastic. His 16.84 K/9 was better than any other pitcher who threw 30 innings in 2015, a small sample size for sure, but a hard figure to ignore. Factor in above average control, especially important with Ramos’ career 4.67 BB/9, and I honestly believe Capps has the inside track. In fact, if he’s named the closer officially, the 25 year-old would easily vault inside my Top 15.
Texas: Shawn Tolleson (166) and Keone Kela (438)
I actually don’t have any real issue with Tolleson, who complied 35 saves for the Rangers last season, but when a reliever is inside the Top 20 in ADP positionally, you’d just hope there was a bit of a longer leash. Its not as if Tolleson had a closer’s pedigree before 2015 and though his numbers look pretty nice on the surface, you can’t exactly put him among the game’s elite. Since the beginning of 2014, only 55 relief pitchers have thrown 120 innings. Tolleson’s 1.19 HR/9 is fifth highest among these men and his 3.83 FIP is seventh worst. Again, he could certainly continue to thrive next year, but Texas also happens to be blessed with several eye-popping internal options. Keone Kela posted a better K/9 than Tolleson last season (10.14), combining that with a very admirable 50.6% ground ball rate. Actually, if keeping the ball in the park is your intention, and it should be (especially in Texas), how about Sam Dyson and his 68.8% grounder rate? Just don’t let him face Jose Bautista. They don’t get along.
Arizona: Brad Ziegler (209) and Tyler Clippard (543)
Brad Ziegler is a solid reliever. Brad Ziegler has experience. Brad Ziegler is not the guy I want closing games. Ever. Yes, the fact he induces 72.8% grounders is valuable, but a 4.76 K/9 signifies far too much contact late in games, especially when the .218 BABIP he posted last season normalizes. I’m not even overly concerned Dave Stewart has already named Ziegler the Opening Day closer. Really, the Diamondbacks recent signing of Tyler Clippard seems to have given this situation somewhat of a nice, neat, little bow as the veteran, who will clearly now become the incumbent, saved 19 games for Oakland in place of Sean Doolittle last season and racked up 32 in 2012 with Washington. Randall Delgado is also a name to stash away in the back of your mind.
Its Anyone’s Guess
San Diego: Fernando Rodney (455) and Kevin Quackenbush (405)
If the option of not having Fernando Rodney be your closer is on the table – do that.
Seattle: Steve Cishek (248) and Joaquin Benoit (326)
Cishek has already been named the man for the job in Seattle, but last year’s control issues and strikeout dip suggest this is not so clear-cut.
Cincinnati: J.J. Hoover (316), Jumbo Diaz (446), and Tony Cingrani (594)
Hoover’s ERA fell nearly two full runs from a home run plagued 2014 to 2015. His FIP did not. A .215 BABIP doesn’t bode well. Not to mention awful control in general.
Milwaukee: Will Smith (266), Jeremy Jeffress (317), and Corey Knebel (451)
Smith has a 12.35 K/9 since the beginning of 2014. Among qualified relievers, that’s the eighth best mark – better than Cody Allen and even Wade Davis.
Atlanta: Arodys Vizcaino (226), Jason Grilli (352), and Jim Johnson (679)
Grilli suffered an Achilles injury in July and might be ready for Opening Day, if not, its certainly Vizcaino’s job to lose.
Philadelphia: David Hernandez (310), Luis Garcia (604), and Edward Mujica (666)
Ummm… Yeah. Hernandez’s strikeout numbers were strong following Tommy John surgery. With a bit of name value, it might make the most sense for Philly to give the former Diamondback a look in hopes of flipping him for something later.