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Each Wednesday I'll answer your questions which you can send to me at @BaseballGuys on Twitter. In this edition we'll talk about what we talk about every week – bullpens of course. Also a question or two based on expectations and what to do with rookies. Are you asking yourself – is every question Ray gets related to rookies or bullpen? The answer is no. That's only 75 percent of them.
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My god am I sick of bullpen questions. I mean like I want to give it all up and do something else with my life sick of them. It's a constant stream on Twitter. I would literally guesstimate that at least a quarter, at least, of the questions I get every day relate to the 9th inning. Every single day. I can tell you who I think are the most highly skilled pitchers in a bullpen but I cannot read a manager's mind. The fact is none of us know who a team will turn too when a closer is replaced. Look at the Indians as a prime example. Cody Allen is their best pen arm. John Axford gets removed from the 9th. Of course, it now looks like Bryan Shaw is in the the lead to be the closer. Why? Manager Terry Francona basically said that he's going to use Allen whenever the game is on the line, and if that's the 7th or 8th inning so be it (see Ray's Ramblings: Pitching Problems?). Most folks miss this completely. Do you want your best reliever working the 9th inning with a 3-run lead and the bases empty or would you rather have your best reliever working the 8th if there are runners on 2nd and 3rd and you're ahead by a run? The save is artificial, an in many cases pretty damn irrelevant when it comes to the actual game being played. We need to reassess how we evaluate relievers in fantasy. Whoever guesses “right” and picks up the right guy wins. Whoever guesses “wrong” has no shot at winning.
So of course...
– Do you think Darren O'Day gets first crack at closer if Tommy Hunter losses the 9th?
Hunter has allowed 23 hits and five walks in 15 innings leading to a 6.60 ERA. "I'm not going to get into handicapping, this means that and that means this," manager Buck Showalter said. "We'll constantly see what gives us the best option to pitch nine innings and be competitive and continue to be in first place.” Hunter does have a career best 8.40 K/9 mark but his 3.00 BB/9 mark is nearly a full batter above his career 2.05 mark, but even more poignant are two other measures: his line drive rate is 32 percent an his BABIP is .417. For his career those numbers are totally league average stuff (20.2 percent & .284). A regression is coming, but much like the case of Ernesto Frieri in Anaheim, it's hard to leave a guy working the 9th inning while you're waiting for the eventual turnaround. Don't forget... Jim Johnson was allowed to blow nine saves last year (Hunter has three). But - "It's not an advantage necessarily, but the difference between Tommy and Jimmy is, Jimmy had a track record. Tommy does, too, in certain other things. So there's some unknown with where we'll go with Tommy," said Showalter.
Seems like there are two solid options.
Zach Britton is left-handed. That's key. He's not likely to get 9th inning work cause of that fact if you're asking me. He does have an impressive start to the season though – 0.84 ERA, 0.89 WHIP over 16 outings. However, I would lean to O'Day, a side-winding righty, but that type of guy doesn't normally get 9th inning work (he has six saves in 6+ seasons). Still, the best option to turn to might be O'Day. Unfortunately his K/9 rate is way down this year (6.60 per nine versus 7.96 for career) while his 2.40 BB/9 rate is above his career mark (2.27). He also doesn't generate a lot of grounders (1.01 GB/FB for his career) so it's not like he profiles as a dominating arm. Of course, all of this becomes moot if the Orioles go off the board and try a guy like Kevin Gausman or Bud Norris in the 9th inning...
First of all, on principle, I would never add a guy in the minors leagues to a 10 team roster. Just not worth it. Even in some keeper scenarios I wouldn't. If you could hold Singleton for a $1 or as a 28th round draft pick then maybe you could hold/add, but if it's just a league where you hold five players or whatever, then again, pass.
Singleton is closing in on a callup with the Astros. He's hit .293 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs in 38 games at Triple-A, and it's not exactly like the Astros offense couldn't use a boost. At the same time, what will Singleton be when he is called up? The guy is a massive whiff monster, 278 in his last 259 games, so he needs serious work there. The power is legit though. At the same time in a 10 team league do you really want a .250-25 guy playing first base for you? That type of effort doesn't do anything other than help you to break even. Point being, I'm not dropping either guy you currently have to add that.
We all get enamored with youth and think that it's always better than the known. Fact is, it often times isn't. Adams is a perfect example. Twelve months ago everyone was looking at him just like they are looking at Singleton now. And what did you want to do... you wantto drop Adams. Why? Because of the perception that he's no good? In 532 career at-bats he's hitting .284 with 21 homers and 75 RBIs. You'd be lucky if Singleton produces at that level when he's called up and Adams has already done that in the big leagues. Get my drift?
I almost just wrote a snarky no and moved on. But I'll give a few sentences before saying no.
We think Garcia will be called up to take the rotation spot vacated by Tyler Lyons (this isn't official yet). Even if Garcia is called up what can we expect from him? Garcia only made it to 121.2 innings cause of injury in 2012. In 2013 he only made it to 55.1 innings. For his career his ERA is solid at 3.45, but he's barely at the league average in strikeouts (7.14 per nine) and his 1.33 WHIP is work than the league average. Toss in his extensive injury history and my answer to this question is... no.
When a rookie shortstop comes up and hits .252 with a .358 OBP is he really disappointing? My answer is no. The issue is expectations. I don't know how many times I have to tell people that playing this game just isn't that easy. As I warned all preseason, Xander was one of the most ovredrafted players in fantasy (hello Jurickson Profar). This type of effort should have been the expectation, though I know everyone thought he would hit .275 with 15 homers and 15 steals. That was never going to happen.
Miller on the other hand is a disappointment. A youngster who was productive last season (.265-8-36-41-5 in 76 games), Miller came into the year hitting at the top of the Mariners lineup with tons of good vibes. It just hasn't happened – at all. Miller is batting .156 with three homers, two steals an a bus ticket for the minors waiting for him. The Mariners have been extremely patient with him but that patience has nearly worn it's course.
At this point I would hold Bogaerts, but it's not looking like either is going to be an asset anytime soon.