The Indians have two great relief pitchers in their bullpen. Is it possible their closer is the second-best option for fantasy?
The Cleveland Indians were doing just fine with Cody Allen and company in the bullpen. Allen recorded 34 saves with an ERA under 3.00. However, the front office felt the need to trade for Andrew Miller. With two dominant relievers in the ‘pen, does Allen have less value than Miller?
Allen improved on his 2015 season with an even better 2016 season. In 68 innings, 67 appearances, he had a 2.51 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 32 saves. He also posted an 11.5 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. He finished as the No. 76 overall player on the Player Rater. For a closer, that’s great. Only 12 finished inside the top 100.
Miller, between his time with the New York Yankees and Indians, finished No. 39 overall. He benefitted from being the Yankees’ closer for the first 30 days of the season. Miller ended the season with a 1.45 ERA, 0.686 WHIP, and 12 saves. He also had a 14.9 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9.
Breaking Miller’s stats down to just his time with Cleveland, he posted great numbers in a short amount of time. He pitched in 29.0 innings and finished with a 1.55 ERA, .0552 WHIP (better than NY), 14.3 K/9, 0.6 BB/9 (better than NY), and a 4-0 record.
Miller has three straight seasons of 100+ strikeouts per season. Allen just missed 100 in 2015 when he struck out 99 in 69.1 innings.
Miller also allowed fewer base runners. He let 51 batters reach base by either walk or hit. Allen allowed 68 in six fewer innings.
While Miller won’t reach as many saves as Allen will, Miller will post better numbers in every other pitching statistic. Some of it may come down to which third of the lineup Miller and Allen face in their respective innings, Miller is a shutdown reliever.
Saves can be found late. There will be plenty of current set-up men that will have a shot at the closer job sooner rather than later. The Los Angeles Angels is in one of those situations with Huston Street and Cam Bedrosian.
Though, if you want Miller because of his peripherals, you will have to pay a hefty price. He is getting ranked higher than Allen across the board. I have Miller No. 10 and Allen No. 13 among my closers. I’ve seen them both ranked lower than that, too. The point is Miller will be drafted earlier than Allen. If Allen falls to Round 17 or 18, then that is a steal.
The Indians bullpen has two excellent options, something a majority of the teams would love to have. For fantasy, this adds another reliever worth drafting in many league formats. Miller will get more attention because of his strikeouts and low ratio stats. That benefits the owners who wait for saves because Allen will fall in drafts. Picking him and his 2.75 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 30 saves close to Round 20 will be a great value.