Relievers Who Could Start Down the Stretch

It’s September, so innings limits, pitch limits, etc. tend to be a topic of discussion. Some teams are going the way of a six man rotation a la the Mets (well, until Matt Harvey gets shut down for the regular season) or moving starters to the bullpen such as the Nationals and Joe Ross. Regardless of the route teams decide to opt for, here are a few relievers who I suspect will get at least one or two starts in the final weeks.

Tyler Lyons, Cardinals — This is the first name that jumps to my mind when I think of RP/SP guys. He’s already made seven big league starts, and while the Cards aren’t set on a hard limit for Carlos Martinez, both he and Jaime Garcia would probably benefit from an occasional extra day or two of rest, or even a skipped start. Lyons is largely unowned, and is available in over 98 percent of CBS, ESPN and Yahoo! leagues. For someone who owns a 8.07 K/9 (20.2 percent) and a 4.39 FIP/3.91 xFIP in 100 1/3 innings career as a starter, he has uses in deep leagues where you’re looking for a win.

Adam Warren, Yankees — With Nathan Eovaldi done for the season due to a forearm strain, the Yanks are stretching Warren out as a starter. He’s already bounced back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen, though it seems clear the team views him as a starter for the remainder of the regular season. Warren owns a modest 4.18 FIP/4.48 xFIP and a mere 5.88 K/9 as a starter this season, but he does have six quality starts out of 14 total rotation appearances. Given the Yankees lineup, I’d expect him to pitch well enough to get a win or two. Warren is owned in 10 percent of CBS formats yet not even five percent of ESPN or Yahoo! leagues.

Tanner Roark, Nationals — As mentioned in the intro, the Nats have shifted Ross to the bullpen. Roark got the nod in a spot start last Friday, however it appears as though Roark will be taking Ross’ spot in the rotation. The 28-year-old right-hander owns a career 3.63 FIP/3.89 xFIP to go with his 5.99 K/9 (16.4 percent). He doesn’t offer a ton of upside, but he’ll get regular starts. Roark is available in 75 percent of Yahoo! settings, 86 percent of CBS leagues and 94 percent of ESPN formats.

Vidal Nuno, Mariners — He’s starting today against the Rangers, but with James Paxton set to come back from a finger injury on Sunday, Nuno may not have many starts left in him. Nuno has logged over 200 big league innings a member of the Yankees, Diamondbacks and M’s rotation and he owns a 4.76 FIP/4.32 xFIP for his efforts. He struggles with the long ball as a starter — to be fair, part of issue could be pitching in Yankee Stadium and Chase Field — although Nuno does have solid control. His 6.62 K/9 (17.6 percent) isn’t anything to write home about, yet I do like that he limits the walks a bit, allowing 2.48 BB/9. Nuno is free to pick up in over 96 percent of the three major fantasy sites.

Sean Nolin, Athletics — Despite being a starter for almost all of his minor league journey, the lone big league appearance last year has him RP eligible in Yahoo! and CBS leagues. He’s already notched a quality start in his sole big league appearance and according to Joe Stiglich of CSN California, Nolin will stick in the A’s rotation for now. In Triple-A Nashville Nolin posted a 2.66 ERA (4.83 FIP) in 47 1/3 innings spread out between 12 starts and two relief appearances. Recovery from offseason sports hernia surgery and lingering groin issues have limited Nolin’s innings this year, but with Kendall Graveman and Chris Bassitt hurt, Nolin is getting an opportunity to receive regular starts. He’s owned in less than 97 percent of the big three sites.

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Nolin made a big league start for the Blue Jays in 2013 that went very poorly.