Happy Sunday and I am so pleased to be back writing this weekend after some much-needed time off with the family last week.

Did I miss anything? Oh, just the trade deadline and some wild bullpen swings. So not much, right?

Let’s dive right back into the deep end of the pool and start with some reader questions.

If your favorite beers are to be associated with the league’s best bullpen, and your least favorite beers are to be associated with the league’s worst bullpens, then for the purpose of this question name your best and worst beer/bullpen combo. Does this question make sense? Dave Funnell @sportz_nutt51
Oh Dave, I am certain to get in trouble with this one as it definitely show my fandom easily. But here goes:
Chicago White Sox: Three Floyds Zombie Dust
Milwaukee Brewers: Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
Los Angeles Dodgers: Bell’s Two Hearted Ale or Penrose Taproom IPA
So I have revealed my current favorites.
And now for the worst. Here’s the thing: I am a beer snob, surely, but I will have a macro-brew at certain times in the summer when nothing else is available or I need something lighter than my meaty beers listed above. Here goes:
Arizona Diamondbacks: Natural Light (worst beer ever in my opinion)
Chicago Cubs (post Chafin/Tepera/Kimbrel): Schlitz
Colorado Rockies: Michelob Ultra (tasteless)
Super bummed that Sewald blew it last night. I thought he was going to end up closing. It was a tough one off Gallo. Only a HR in 10 stadiums. But he did give up 3 hits. Oh well. Stick with Castillo?
Who Asked You? Fantasy Baseball Advice @eFFeX_Prod
Hey Who Asked You, I was going Diego Castillo here from the start. And yes, he also blew a save on August 3rd. Even though Sewald has been a great story and has had a remarkable run for a 31-year-old journeyman pitcher, the surprising move adding Castillo provides them with a closer with top-ten ability. I would be surprised if they did not deploy him as the closer and continue to use Sewald in a stopper role in earlier innings. I would still expect Sewald to get some vulture opportunities in the Emerald City too. What an interesting place the Seattle bullpen has become, trading closer Kendall Graveman to Houston and then turning around and nabbing Castillo.
I’d be interested in AL only RP’s who are maybe setup guys now that you can see being the closer next spring? Bob Bonner @CoachBonner15
Bob you always ask probing questions, and I thank you for that. I thought about this for a long time this week and it’s a tough question with the ever-changing nature of many bullpen and the constant shifting of roles. I think Nick Anderson will be the closer in Tampa next year after they go through their Matt Wisler/Andrew Kittredge play this year. You know how it goes in Tampa. But diving deeper, things could be unsettled in Texas; we will need to see if Spencer Patton takes the job and hangs on to it.  But guys like Joe Barlow and even deeper, like DeMarcus Evans, could be sleeper picks. And Baltimore seems to be a committee situation right now but I like Dillon Tate very much and could see him being the Orioles closer next year.

How The RotoFantatic Data Monster Works


Paul Mammino (@pmamminofantasy) has created the Data Monster, a tool that I firmly believe can help you win your leagues.  A quick summary of how it works is here, but for a full glossary of the terms, how they are used and what they tell us, go to RotoFanatic and check it out.  It’s all there for you to play with to your heart’s content; we are all looking for that winning edge, and Paul’s work can help you to that end.

In_Whiff (0 is average) – This shows how much better a pitcher is at generating swinging strikes than their location would suggest. So essentially a pitcher gets more credit for a swing and miss on a fastball down the middle versus one up in the zone. It’s pretty much a measure of the “nastiness” of a given pitcher.
rfCommand (0 is average) – This is a combination of four metrics: XWhiff, XSwing In Zone, xSwing Out of Zone, xWoba. It’s a bit hard to explain but it’s an overall combination of those four metrics that shows how good a given pitcher locates with respect to expected results.  Thus a good rfCommand means a pitcher:
  1. Throws pitches with high expect whiffs rates.
  2. Throws pitches in zone with low expected swing rates; called strikes are a good thing.
  3. Throws pitches out of the zone that are likely to generate swings.
  4. Throws pitches that are hard to hit well (low location-based xWOBA)
Stuff ERA – This is an ERA estimator that combines In_Whiff, rfCommand, and a few of the other DM metrics. When compared to actual season results it performed better than FIP from 2015-2020.
Closer Workbook
All Data According To Data Monster
Player Name In_Whiff Command Stuff ERA
Josh Hader 7.5 1.07 1.93
Liam Hendriks 5.5 0.90 2.92
Aroldis Chapman 4.4 -1.92 3.23
Chad Green 2.7 -1.03 3.12
Craig Kimbrel 4.4 3.59 1.80
Andrew Chafin 1.6 -1.17 2.84
Matt Barnes 2.5 2.66 2.77
Adam Ottavino -0.6 -0.63 3.42
Edwin Diaz 3.9 -0.02 3.25
Mark Melancon -1.7 1.84 3.81
Alex Reyes 2.3 0.66 2.23
Kenley Jansen 3.6 -3.69 2.96
Ian Kennedy 1.7 -3.09 4.22
Emmanuel Clase 4.8 1.71 2.41
James Karinchak 1.9 -2.33 3.47
Ryan Pressly 0.5 4.90 3.18
Raisel Iglesias 6.6 4.97 2.34
Diego Castillo 2.5 3.69 3.12
Richard Rodriguez -0.2 -2.40 3.31
Will Smith 1.1 2.08 3.39
Jordan Romano 1.8 -1.92 3.56
Brad Hand -1.7 -3.24 3.98
Lou Trivino 0.6 -1.68 3.32
Daniel Bard 2.8 -0.74 4.34
Paul Fry -1.1 -1.17 3.46
Cole Sulser 1.3 1.89 3.32
Gregory Soto 1.8 -2.17 3.38
Scott Barlow 0.8 5.53 3.08
Jake McGee 1.0 -6.56 3.76
Lucas Sims 2.5 0.68 3.47
Paul Sewald 3.2 -2.99 3.26
Spencer Patton 0.2 -1.44 3.94
David Bednar 1.9 -0.05 3.32
Manuel Rodriguez 0.5 -3.58 4.42
Codi Heuer 1.6 2.61 3.61
Matt Wisler 0.3 3.23 3.84
Tyler Clippard 0.9 -1.60 3.84
Dillon Tate -0.7 0.23 3.60
Kyle Finnegan -0.1 -0.69 3.85
Michael Lorenzen 0.2 5.56 3.46
Dylan Floro -2.2 0.38 3.84
Alex Colome 4.7 -2.14 3.66


  1. Josh Hader
  2. Liam Hendriks/Craig Kimbrel: Who is the closer on the South Side? They now have an embarrassment of riches. Tony La Russa is going to have some fun with this one. Look for him to mix and match as he learns when to deploy his best weapons with the game on the line. Pure hunch: it will be Hendriks.
  3. Mark Melancon
  4. Matt Barnes
  5. Aroldis Chapman: Chapman seems to have worked out most of the kinks but is now on the Covid-IL.   This should open opportunities for Chad Green, Jonathan Loiasiga and maybe Zack Britton.
  6. Edwin Diaz
  7. Alex Reyes: Watching a potential innings limit here. See notes below on other relievers to target at the end of this piece.
  8. Kenley Jansen
  9. Will Smith
  10. Ian Kennedy: “Enjoy the last few days of Kennedy’s tenure as closer in Texas, and be sure to add Joely Rodriguez if you have not already.” This statement aged poorly. Kennedy is closing in Philadelphia and Rodriguez went to the Yankees. Oops! Spencer Patton looks to be the closer in Texas. For now.
  11. Ryan Pressly
  12. Raisel Iglesias
  13. Emmanuel Clase/James Karinchak
  14. Diego Castillo/Paul Sewald: Two weeks ago I was wondering (to myself, of course, I don’t speak such things out loud at my house, for all the looks I get muttering about bullpens), how will the Tampa Bay bullpen sort itself out with the pending return of Nick Anderson and so many options already? And then Tampa turns around and trades Castillo to Seattle. My bet is that he will continue to be the top option there, with Paul Sewald also having value as a stopper, strikeout guy and maybe even a few vulture saves.
  15. Jake McGee: I need to give proper respect to McGee. He’s done a swell job for San Fran and has really solidified their pen.
  16. Gregory Soto
  17. David Bednar: Richard Rodriguez landed in a setup role in Atlanta leaving the chair open for Bednar.
  18. Jordan Romano/Brad Hand/Joakim Soria: Is this a full-blown committee?  Hard to say. I still think Romano is their best option even after trades to acquire Hand and Soria. Soria went on the IL this week with a finger issue, and on a night that Romano was off, Adam Cimber got the opportunity and converted for Toronto. Would not surprise me at all if they play matchups here and both Romano and Hand get chances.
  19. Lou Trivino: Quietly still has the job in Oakland.
  20. Daniel Bard
  21. Alex Colome
  22. Scott Barlow
  23. Dylan Floro: With the trade of Yimi Garcia last week, Floro ascends to the mantle in Miami. A good stopgap for now, but most likely not the long-term closer there. Saying that, who knows what happens?
  24. Dillon Tate/Cole Sulser/Tanner Scott
  25. Cincinnati Reds: Lucas Sims is coming. Michael Lorenzen is there now. I am interested to watch this one develop in coming weeks.I still think Sims will be the last man standing at the end of the year, and I may die alone on this hill.
  26. Washington Nationals: Kyle Finnegan is the guy to watch here. Both Wander Suero and Tanner Rainey were sent to the minor leagues. Gabe Klobosits is a name to earmark here too.
  27. Spencer Patton: the new Texas closer. For now.
  28. Tyler Clippard: Just no. Please don’t do this to yourself or your fake team.
  29. Chicago Cubs: The trade of Craig Kimbrel was expected. I can’t say the trades involving Andrew Chafin and Ryan Tepera were unexpected, but the void created in the Cubs’ bullpen is now a black hole. If I had to bet, I would go with Codi Heuer, acquired from the White Sox in exchange for Kimbrel. Kyle Ryan and Manuel Rodriguez could get opps too. One to watch; it’s unsettled.

 Other Relievers to Target

We take a look at several relief arms here who could provide benefit to you depending on your league context.  Looking for the next guy up for saves, especially this week when the looming Trade Deadline could reshape some bullpens? Looking for holds or strikeouts, maybe a vulture save or two in a really close league?  Take a look below.

  1. Blake Treinen: has 22 holds, and handcuff to questionably effective Kenley Jansen
  2. Adam Ottavino: Ottavino has 17 holds on the year, but he also, very quietly, has seven saves. He’s also got 47 strikeouts in 40.1 innings and has value if you are looking for depth, vulture saves, or strikeout help.
  3. David Bednar: continuing the trend here, I think Bednar is the guy who gets the save chances in Pittsburgh with the trade of Richard Rodriguez to Atlanta last week.
  4. Nick Anderson: with Diego Castillo traded and Pete Fairbanks fighting injuries, the closer role in Tampa Bay has been wide open, and right now, Matt Wisler and Andrew Kittredge appear to be the most able-bodied right now. But Anderson is lurking with a near-return and could get high leverage chances quickly. Grab him if he’s free in your league.
  5. Collin McHugh: staying in the Tampa bullpen, McHugh is not thought of in the same breath as their other high leverage guys.  But check this out: 3-1, 1.51 ERA, .91 WHIP, and a staggering 59 punchouts in 41.2 innings. The best part is that in most leagues, he has dual eligibility in the SP and RP slots, providing much value to savvy owners who know he will give you multiple good innings whether he is an opener, a bulk reliever, or coming in as a stopper.  He should be far more owned than he is.
  6. Lucas Sims: I can feel your eye rolls. But I fully think Sims will be inserted into the closer role when he comes off the IL next week. Stash him if you have room. He will have to contend with Michael Lorenzen too, but my lean is that Lorenzen will be a multiple inning weapon for the Reds.
  7. Paul Sewald: If you were paying attention this week, you know the Mariners designated Rafael Montero for assignment. He will get vulture chances even with Diego Castillo in the top spot, allegedly.
  8. Devin Williams: should close in Milwaukee with Josh Hader out on the COVID-IL this week. Grab him if he’s floating on your waiver wire.
  9. Jonathan Loaisiga: see above. Should get some opps with Aroldis Chapman on the COVID-IL as well.
  10. Michael Kopech: he’s just nasty and in a multiple-inning role can help you with Ks.