Over the course of the next few weeks we will delve into the depths of the bullpens to identify potential middle relief targets, specifically, those relievers who appeal to owners in leagues that reward “holds.”
Andrew Bailey | RP | BOS
The oft-injured reliever struggled mightily in his first season in Boston — albeit, in just 15.1 innings (19 appearances) on the hill. His contributions were limited due to a damaged ulnar collateral ligament the right-hander suffered in a collision with a Pirates’ base runner while covering first in Spring Training. Bailey returned to the bump in mid-August, but failed to impress. The 18.9 K% and 10.8 BB% posted in that short time were both career lows. His velocity was up, but Bailey couldn’t hit the first strike (55.4% F-Strike%), miss bats (6.8% SwStr%) or induce ground balls (32.7% GB%) at rates he was previously accustomed to.
Based on Bailey’s struggles, the Red Sox went out and acquired Joel Hanrahan — from the Pirates, ironically — to take over ninth-inning duties. Despite the acquisition, Bailey and the Sox agreed to a one-year deal in the off-season for the righty to return to the Boston ’pen. This will give Bailey the opportunity to perform in situations that aren’t as high leverage, which could boost his confidence and potentially his trade value. Early indications suggest Bailey may share the setup duties with Koji Uehara, who was also brought in this winter, giving him the opportunity to tally some holds. If Bailey is dealt to a team in need of a bullpen arm, his role could increase, subsequently boosting his fantasy value. For now, Bailey is nothing more than a late-round dart for deep mixers or AL-Only leagues that reward holds + saves.
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