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2021 Middle Relievers Thread


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50 minutes ago, tucker26 said:

Definitely not the president of the Chatwood fan club but this thread is for discovering middle relievers. I get that you like to troll the closer thread, but you can sit in here and find warts on all these MRs. It's a shame the one man arm didn't finish the job. EDI: Just think 57 innings since the revision in the pitch is good sample to see what we have. I'm not calling him Mariano but he's been good with the cutter since the change. 

You know it's totally unfair to say those things, but I appreciate that you did some homework on Chatwood. I've personally been burnt by him before enough times, but that's personal bias I suppose. I'll refrain from knocking guys down on this basis on this thread for future reference. I just think the Jays are putting too much strain on the relief core and that's going to bear out in the summer months, especially when they move to the bandbox of Buffalo. In addition, I wouldn't expect Chatwood to fall into a consistent holds role, with regards to players looking for middle relief for that purpose. That said he's shown skills in the past to be a good quality reliever, but he always seems to pitch in situations like blowout games and gets dinged on his ratios when he goes the 2nd time through an order. They may very well ask him to take some starts soon, too, which is a mixed bag for me. I'm happy to observe him on the wire  and be wrong on this one. Again, listeners of the podcast I mentioned are always hearing this debate. He tantalizes and then falls apart spectacularly.

Edited by Richard Kimble
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I probably would be worn thing on him too if l listened to such a podcast anymore or was invested in him previously as a SP. These SP/RPs have value in H2H solds leagues and there is usually a limited number of good ones to play in the SP slots. They said he would be high leverage since the spring and here he is. I think he's a looongshot for saves tho. Even if Romano and Dolis flutter Merryweather will be back and not sure he's ahead of Borducki. But he appears to be a trusted member of the late inning crew, even if early late inning. Until he gets hurt again, of course.

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1 minute ago, tucker26 said:

I probably would be worn thing on him too if l listened to such a podcast anymore or was invested in him previously as a SP. These SP/RPs have value in H2H solds leagues and there is usually a limited number of good ones to play in the SP slots. They said he would be high leverage since the spring and here he is. I think he's a looongshot for saves tho. Even if Romano and Dolis flutter Merryweather will be back and not sure he's ahead of Borducki. But he appears to be a trusted member of the late inning crew, even if early late inning. Until he gets hurt again, of course.

Yes, the SP/RP thing is something I look for in certain leagues, guys like Stanek and and Chatwood can give you a team full of high K/low ratio relievers on days you don't have or trust your starter. Milone and Thornton have the same added designation and are in position to vulture more wins. Castro, Borucki, Mayza, even Phelps, who is in the same retread category in the minds of many fantasy owners as Chatwood, have all been great. I'm just nervous about the eventual regression from the Jays pen. They are working with only 3 real starters and may have to push Ryu's next start back due to his strained butt muscle, so I kind of see them stretching Chatwood out in the near future. He could reward you with one of his 7-10 strikeout outings,  so I don't mind speculating in leagues like H2H SV+H where he has value. They bring him up on literally every episode on the podcast! That's all I meant because they tease the producer endlessly about his love for Chatwood and he never relents.

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On 4/6/2021 at 4:27 PM, fawkes_mulder said:

I like garret whitlock too

This guy is an absolute joy. 2 ip 4K and the hold today, can’t wait to see him get starting opportunities later this year and 2022.

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15 hours ago, fawkes_mulder said:

This guy is an absolute joy. 2 ip 4K and the hold today, can’t wait to see him get starting opportunities later this year and 2022.

I’m currently trying to figure out who to drop to add this guy in my solds league. I think he may wind up being a starter in the future but this year he can be extremely valuable. His stuff is electric. 

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On 4/28/2021 at 12:21 PM, tucker26 said:

I probably would be worn thing on him too if l listened to such a podcast anymore or was invested in him previously as a SP. 

Listening to the latest episode, Chatwood is mentioned within the first 15 seconds of the Podcast, as they might as well rename it the "Tyler Chatwood is he good or not?" podcast. Does this not further illuminate my disdain for this particular debate? I'm totally hoping he has a monster year somehow just so the hosts have to eat crow on every show.

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Watched the whole Jays game tonight, and first its a testament to how well they are all pitching that they could have a 9-inning bullpen game, give up a grand slam in the 1st inning, and managed to shut down the Braves after for just a solo Acuna HR and come back for a 6-5, 10 inning win. Huge team win. Chatwood faced off against him in a key spot in the 8th with a runner on 1st, and was really controlling that slider away from Acuna and fastball location was perfect. He's definitely moved into that late inning hierarchy, and with the Jays possibly getting Stripling back from the DL tomorrow they may not have to look at him as a rotation option. If they can start to get a few more innings from the starters it would go a long way to preserving this over used pen.

Also adding a note on AJ Minter who really looks like SUCH a carbon copy of Craig Kimbrel, it really makes me wonder if he patterned some of his mechanics after Kimbrel when he was watching him as head of the Braves pen, though they were never on the same team. Minter must have watched him closely when he was in the minors as he came up the year after Kimbrel left for Boston. Interestingly, he's had the most # of high leverage appearances in MLB this year. Doing a good job thus far and should be next in line for saves in ATL.

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Posted (edited)

Bukauskas used to throw like 99 and he's now around 95. The slider seems good so he should be a good reliever but the ceiling/hype caught a little fire after the strong ST this year. Not sure how fast he will help or even if he's on the team in a week. 

Junis is interesting depending on what his role ends up being. 

Edited by tucker26
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4 minutes ago, Overlord said:

This is very interesting.

You mean year-to-year or from this spring until now?

Not spring. He came up throwing 99, thinks it’s been a couple years now. If it creeps back up then we may something special. Still the BB history is alarming. With no high leverage role atm and struggling, not much value. Just monitoring at this point. 

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7 hours ago, tucker26 said:

Bukauskas used to throw like 99 and he's now around 95. The slider seems good so he should be a good reliever but the ceiling/hype caught a little fire after the strong ST this year. Not sure how fast he will help or even if he's on the team in a week. 

Junis is interesting depending on what his role ends up being. 

I mean yeah the velocity isn't there but the underlying metrics speak of amazing swing and miss stuff and more so bad luck than anything in the early going.

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56 minutes ago, Dirtywater97 said:

I mean yeah the velocity isn't there but the underlying metrics speak of amazing swing and miss stuff and more so bad luck than anything in the early going.

The grade 70 change up will play and mid 90's heat (that could increase) is nothing to sneeze at. I think he'll be a good RP once he settles in. The walk rates were high in the minors but most of that data is as a starter. Still projecting for like a 5 bb/9. Good to see he's only walked 1 so far. Just saying his profile at 98-99 is a little different than 95. Both versions can be good!

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Anthony Bender who was just called up by the Marlins was absolutely electric tonight. 97-99 sinker with some nice diving 12 to 4 movement and nice slider.

Throw him on the watchlist! prob up for the rest of the year now that they locked in an extra year.

Already featured on pitching ninja.

80 grade pitcher name, what's not to like?

 

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16 minutes ago, Dirtywater97 said:

Anthony Bender who was just called up by the Marlins was absolutely electric tonight. 97-99 sinker with some nice diving 12 to 4 movement and nice slider.

Throw him on the watchlist! prob up for the rest of the year now that they locked in an extra year.

Already featured on pitching ninja.

80 grade pitcher name, what's not to like?

 

Bender has pretty Mehtastic strikeout numbers in his MILB history.  Have there been recent developments (velocity increase, new pitch) to justify thinking he'll be a K-monger going forward?

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Quote
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 40/45 96-98 / 99

Bender was a Royals and Brewers minor leaguer who also pitched in Indy ball in 2019 and ’20 (for the Milwaukee Milkmen!) before signing a minor league deal with the Marlins. He had a very impressive 2021 spring training, striking out 10 and allowing just five baserunners in eight innings of work. Though he was throwing pretty hard in 2019 (93-95, touch 97), he’s throwing even harder now and was consistently 96-98 during camp. He’s a low-slot sinker/slider guy, and with a name like Bender you know the slider is pretty good. He actually threw it more than his fastball during the spring. It’ll typically be in the 85-87 range but tops out at 89, and Bender’s low-ish slot makes it a tough look for righty batters. I think he has a chance to carve out a regular middle relief role at some point this year. (Independent ball)

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/top-46-prospects-miami-marlins/

Appears the velo is up from 2019 and the slider has a good grade. Lowish walk rate rates in the MILB so hopefully has some control. But more of a new profile with the long break and new velocity. Definitely sorcery on that 2 seamer coming back in the corner. But only 1 swing and miss and got a generous call on a wide pitch for his second. Monitor for swinging strike increase or role change imo.

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Can Victor Gonzalez become a starter? He is only 25 and has a few money pitches. Is it because he is in the LAD organization where they are stacked in SP's? 

 

Just seems early to deem him middle / closer RP?

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Posted (edited)

Karinchak has now been used in three of the last four and five of the last seven, and most of the pitches were high leverage.  He's in today even though the Indians have a four run lead.  He's already thrown 15 innings and is on pace for something like 85 innings.

It's the first week of May.  I am calling it now, they need to back off this guy's usage or he's going to get hurt.  

Edited by Overlord
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Anyone know anything about Caleb Thielbar from Minnesota? 
The good - 21 k 2 bb in 11 innings, 17.8 k/9, 42.9% k% 4.1% bb%, 1.47 siera 1.60 xfip

The bad - 14 hits 3 homeruns in 11 innings, 50% hard contact rate 7.7% soft contact rate 23.1% barrel %

From what I can tell by reading the stats he’s throwing his slider more which is causing the strikeouts to rise. But when hitters make contact it’s hard leading to lots of hits and home runs. I’m intrigued by the gaudy k and bb numbers but that hard hit % scares me

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Posted (edited)

Some mildly researched eyeball scouting reports on two guys who were on my radar coming out of Spring Training:

JB Bukauauakuakuaakus:  I went back through MLB.TV and watched every pitch that this guy has thrown in the majors this year.  I have three observations: first, he's getting hideously unlucky (I went and checked his SIERA/xFIP numbers and they bear out this eyeball conclusion).  Second, and this is a small sample size, but when he makes a mistake, particularly when he makes a mistake behind in the count, it seems like it's constantly with a fastball that catches too much of the plate.  This may be a pitch selection problem ... could be the catcher is trying to help him "get one over" and instead JB ends up overthrowing a meatball.  Third, and this is pure eyeballism at its worst, the guy looks nervous on the mound.  A lot.  Could be a "furtive rat being stalked by a cat" look is just his natural expression, but he just looks rattled when he's got runners on or he's behind in the count.  I'll keep watching, but this guy has "prone to blowups" written all over him regardless of how great he was in spring training.

 

David Bednar:  Just like JB, I've been watching this guy since Spring.  Unlike JB, I've actually owned him for almost the entirety of the season .. though I actually dropped him when he appeared to be mired in middle relief (very, very few RPs are worth rostering if they're not getting saves OR holds).  Well, I reacquired him a few days ago when he unexpectedly showed up in a setup role and grabbed a hold.  Checking on fangraphs, they seem to have confirmed he's been promoted to one of the two traditional setup roles.  His SIERA/xFIP are 3.25 and 3.34, respectively, which isn't very far from his actual current stats (a very good sign of predictability).  In 12+ team leagues with saves+holds as a category, every setup guy who is likely to have a K/9 above 10 traditionally is going to be rostered no matter how bad the team is, and Bednar definitely qualifies.  His competition for the closer role when Rich Rodriguez gets traded (if the Pirates don't trade Rodriguez while he still has affordable "control years" of value to a contender it would represent front office incompetence, IMHO) is Kyle Crick, the other setup man.  I started to look at Crick as a speculative future-closer add, but then I saw his SIERA/xFIP numbers and vomited on my keyboard.  Crick does have a history of overperforming his underlying metrics (except in 2019, when he pitched to his "true" skill level and was unrosterable), but you have to think it's going to catch up to him.  Bednar is young and may completely flame out, but if you're desperate .. and I am ... he's a good speculative add moving forward.

Edited by Overlord
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1 hour ago, Overlord said:

Some mildly researched eyeball scouting reports on two guys who were on my radar coming out of Spring Training:

JB Bukauauakuakuaakus:  I went back through MLB.TV and watched every pitch that this guy has thrown in the majors this year.  I have three observations: first, he's getting hideously unlucky (I went and checked his SIERA/xFIP numbers and they bear out this eyeball conclusion).  Second, and this is a small sample size, but when he makes a mistake, particularly when he makes a mistake behind in the count, it seems like it's constantly with a fastball that catches too much of the plate.  This may be a pitch selection problem ... could be the catcher is trying to help him "get one over" and instead JB ends up overthrowing a meatball.  Third, and this is pure eyeballism at its worst, the guy looks nervous on the mound.  A lot.  Could be a "furtive rat being stalked by a cat" look is just his natural expression, but he just looks rattled when he's got runners on or he's behind in the count.  I'll keep watching, but this guy has "prone to blowups" written all over him regardless of how great he was in spring training.

 

David Bednar:  Just like JB, I've been watching this guy since Spring.  Unlike JB, I've actually owned him for almost the entirety of the season .. though I actually dropped him when he appeared to be mired in middle relief (very, very few RPs are worth rostering if they're not getting saves OR holds).  Well, I reacquired him a few days ago when he unexpectedly showed up in a setup role and grabbed a hold.  Checking on fangraphs, they seem to have confirmed he's been promoted to one of the two traditional setup roles.  His SIERA/xFIP are 3.25 and 3.34, respectively, which isn't very far from his actual current stats (a very good sign of predictability).  In 12+ team leagues with saves+holds as a category, every setup guy who is likely to have a K/9 above 10 traditionally is going to be rostered no matter how bad the team is, and Bednar definitely qualifies.  His competition for the closer role when Rich Rodriguez gets traded (if the Pirates don't trade Rodriguez while he still has affordable "control years" of value to a contender it would represent front office incompetence, IMHO) is Kyle Crick, the other setup man.  I started to look at Crick as a speculative future-closer add, but then I saw his SIERA/xFIP numbers and vomited on my keyboard.  Crick does have a history of overperforming his underlying metrics (except in 2019, when he pitched to his "true" skill level and was unrosterable), but you have to think it's going to catch up to him.  Bednar is young and may completely flame out, but if you're desperate .. and I am ... he's a good speculative add moving forward.


Thanks for the insight on JBB. Dropped him in both of my leagues I had him in

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Posted (edited)
On 5/7/2021 at 7:43 PM, 5catstud said:

David Bednar:  Just like JB, I've been watching this guy since Spring.  Unlike JB, I've actually owned him for almost the entirety of the season .. though I actually dropped him when he appeared to be mired in middle relief (very, very few RPs are worth rostering if they're not getting saves OR holds).  Well, I reacquired him a few days ago when he unexpectedly showed up in a setup role and grabbed a hold.  Checking on fangraphs, they seem to have confirmed he's been promoted to one of the two traditional setup roles.  His SIERA/xFIP are 3.25 and 3.34, respectively, which isn't very far from his actual current stats (a very good sign of predictability).  In 12+ team leagues with saves+holds as a category, every setup guy who is likely to have a K/9 above 10 traditionally is going to be rostered no matter how bad the team is, and Bednar definitely qualifies.  His competition for the closer role when Rich Rodriguez gets traded (if the Pirates don't trade Rodriguez while he still has affordable "control years" of value to a contender it would represent front office incompetence, IMHO) is Kyle Crick, the other setup man.  I started to look at Crick as a speculative future-closer add, but then I saw his SIERA/xFIP numbers and vomited on my keyboard.  Crick does have a history of overperforming his underlying metrics (except in 2019, when he pitched to his "true" skill level and was unrosterable), but you have to think it's going to catch up to him.  Bednar is young and may completely flame out, but if you're desperate .. and I am ... he's a good speculative add moving forward.

Wow, what a prescient post...I literally just came here to ask this question regarding Crick and Bednar, thinking it might be a good idea to trade for one or the other in NL only leagues in anticipation of a Rodriguez trade. So you'd lean toward Bednar getting the job based on his performance + Crick's underlying metrics. I mean, it's hard to predict of course and they could even split duties. If Crick doesn't implode, since he has more tenure and experience, I think its reasonable to think he gets "first crack". But its really useful to know  because their numbers are similar, that Bednar is more for real of the two. Seems like an opportune moment to target either in such leagues, as 6+ saves for both is a nice benefit from the trade.

Edited by Richard Kimble
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