Fantasy Baseball: Most Impactful MLB Trades for Closers
The MLB Trade Deadline has passed and we're in the home stretch. There were several relievers on the move, and one over-priced closer stuck with his old team. New closers are stepping up now, so let's find out the value for each and give you Week 18 streaming pitchers as you SOBB Your Way to Success for Fantasy Baseball.
As always, we use SOBB (breakdown here) as the initial base when projecting a pitcher's future performance.
Range of starting pitcher SOBBs (K-BB%) and the values they hold.
Range of relief pitcher SOBBs (K-BB%) and the values they hold.
Cheers or Tears
Brandon Kintzler, WSH – This is the most high-profile situation given the Nationals' success this year. However, be forewarned, their bullpen has been far from a success, and I wouldn't expect Kintzler to change that on his own. Kintzler is fortunate to have a 2.78 ERA considering his 4.08 xFIP and awful 8.8 SOBB. In fact, that mark is just -2.2 over the last 30 days. Yes, negative! Kintzler walked 3.6 per nine innings while striking out 2.7 per nine over the past month. Is that someone you want closing games for your team? Additionally, the Nationals had already bolstered their bullpen with Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson (1.83 ERA, 24.1 SOBB), the latter of which has been pitching quite well. The Nationals don't need Kintzler to be their closer, and even if he's given the chance, there is too much risk given Kinztler's metrics. If you are a Kintzler owner and reaped the save rewards to date, sell now and sell high.
[caption id="attachment_255633" align="alignright" width="370"] Hand was an elite Fantasy Baseball closer before the MLB trade deadline and still is, as he remains in San Diego. Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire[/caption]
A.J. Ramos, NYM – With the Mets bullpen blowing the lead, we didn't get to see if Ramos would get the save opportunity with Addison Reed gone. It's assumed he will get the role, and if so, Ramos will carry value even with an ERA around 4.00. Ramos gets a good number of strikeouts, but his SOBB is just average (13.6) thanks to his extremely high walk rate. Nevertheless, unlike Kintlzer, Ramos can help in saves and strikeouts and doesn't have much – if any – competition for his job. Lastly, there will be a decent number of opportunities because he won't be sharing the role and when the Mets do win, it will likely be a close game the majority of the time. You could trade Kinztler for Ramos and additional value and reap the rewards, as even Kintzler for Ramos would still be a win.
Shane Greene, DET – Greene is the new closer for the Tigers now that Justin Wilson is in Chicago, and the good news is that he already has two saves in his first two opportunities. Greene also has an attractive 2.64 ERA, despite an xFIP of 4.57. Now for the bad news. Similar to Kintzler, Greene's xFIP is high due to his poor walk rate, and unlike Kintzler, Greene also has a rather lucky .241 BABIP. Greene's SOBB also isn't appealing at just 11.9 thanks to that high walk rate. All of that points to Greene being a risky option in Fantasy. Last year, Greene had a better SOBB, a lower walk rate and a slightly high BABIP of .327, which is why he posted a 5.82 ERA. Greene did pitch better than that with a 3.95 xFIP, but that xFIP is closer to his mark this year than his ERA is… by far. Greene does get a decent number of strikeouts, but his inability to keep men off base is worrisome. With two saves already, if you happened to grab Greene, trade him before the potential implosion.
Brad Hand, SD – Hand was one of the most coveted relievers at the deadline, but the Padres insisted on an Andrew Miller-like haul, and no one was willing to meet that price. Hand remains in San Diego, and of everyone on this list, he is by far the best option in Fantasy. Hand isn't available in any active league, but the fact is that Hand is someone to target in a trade if you need saves. Not only does Hand have a sub-2.00 ERA, but he's carrying an 11.8 K/9 and 27.0 SOBB. Hand is in fact elite, despite MLB teams not wanting to pony up for him. You should consider Hand among the Chapmans and Craig Kimbrels of the world. It's possible that Hand's owner doesn't see him the same way because he pitches for the Padres and/or that he's not yet consider an elite closer. You know better, and you should know paying anything less than it would take to get Chapman is a steal of a deal.
Streaming Pitchers to Target Next Week (Last 30 Days Stats)
Brewers: 19.1 SOBB, 27.9 K%, 82 wRC+
White Sox: 18.7 SOBB, 24.2, 78 wRC+
Padres: 18.1 SOBB, 24.5 K%, 96 wRC+
Rays: 16.5 SOBB, 25.0 K%, 88 wRC+
Astros: 8.6 SOBB, 16.5 K%, 143 wRC+
Indians: 7.7 SOBB, 18.0 K%, 119 wRC+
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