Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back to “Off The Deep End”, where I will give you fantasy baseball tips on who to pick up in deeper leagues. For people who play standard leagues, drop/add columns are easy for you to find, but for those of you that love deeper leagues, advice can be harder to come by. That is where I can help. All of these players are available in 85% or more of ESPN leagues.
This piece will focus on relief pitchers to add in deeper leagues. If you play deep leagues, you already know that all of the closers and most of the backup options are already owned. What I look for in these deeper leagues is pitchers who rack up strikeouts in relief. In fact, these pitchers can even be used in standard leagues if they count strikeouts and WHIP. Never underestimate the power of dominant middle relief!
Brett Cecil, Blue Jays: Cecil has adapted to the bullpen quite nicely after toiling as a starter for his first couple of years in the majors. He has found his niche. Cecil has not allowed a run in 7 and a third innings, and has three holds in the last week. Oh, and he is striking an average of nearly two batters per inning over that span! He should already be owned in every league that counts holds, but he can provide solid value with his strikeouts in any league.
Tyler Thornburg, Brewers: Thornburg is another converted starter who has dominated in the ‘pen. He has 12 strikeouts in ten innings, and has only allowed one run on the season. Oh, and he has vultured two wins. He can be added in nearly any league if you are looking for some wins or strikeouts. You might just get lucky!
Matt Thornton, Yankees: Thornton is truly a specialist – he has only 3 and a third innings in seven appearances – , but he has five holds in his last six outings. If you are not in a holds league, he probably won’t see enough action to really make a difference. He has given up a run and only stuck out four batters, but he should be owned in all holds leagues.
Dellin Betances, Yankees: Betances allows fewer than a baserunner per inning, and has racked up 11 strikeouts in just eight innings. Oh, and he hasn’t given up a run. He can be picked up in all leagues. Bullpen guys with that volume of work can make a difference, even in standard leagues.
Kyle Farnsworth, Mets: Farnsworth has only given up one run this season, but the main reason I mention him here is because Jose Valverde is far from a sure thing. How long will the Mets let him keep struggling? My guess is not much longer. Farnsworth has some closing experience, and could get a shot at any time with as volatile as Valverde is. He is worth stashing if you are desperate for saves.
Jordan Walden, Braves: Don’t read anything into Walden’s save last night. Yes, he replaced Craig Kimbrel, but Kimbrel came into the game in a non-save situation before giving up a couple of runs. The reason I mention Walden here is because he has racked up 11 strikeouts in seven and a third innings. And as last night showed, he might just pick up a save or two along the way.
Casey Fien, Twins: Fien picked up two wins in four days this week. Was it a fluke? Probably, but if the Twins keep putting him in there with the game on the line, some more vulture wins could be in order.
Tune in tomorrow for players that are okay to drop……even in deep leagues!