Scheming For Relief: Relievers With Dual Eligibility

It was brought to my attention last week that I have yet to discuss bullpen arms with both starting and relief pitcher eligibility. So, here we go.

Many fantasy baseball championships are won on draft day. But others are able to raise a flag with shrewd waiver wire moves and smoothly navigating their league’s settings to identify certain loopholes they can use to their advantage.

In some league variations, owners are have a fixed number of starting and relief roster spots to fill each-and-every day, so identifying lesser-owned hurlers with dual eligibility could be more valuable than most imagine. With that said, here is a short list of arms that said owners could slot into either their starting or relief roster spots in an attempt to gain an advantage in needed categories.

All ownership percentages reflect Yahoo! leagues.

Justin Grimm | Cubs | 1%

The Cubbies have summoned Grimm to the mound 12 times already this young season. In those 12 appearances (11.0 IP) he’s 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA (3.39 xFIP) and a 27.1% K%. He’s walking (12.5% BB%) more than one would like, which is a WHIP liability, but the opportunity to earn holds — he’s notched one hold so far this year — rack up strikeouts and snag the occasional scab victory could offset that concern.

Zach Britton | Orioles | 3%

Britton is the player that was discussed in last week’s comments, so naturally I felt the need to discuss if/how he would help fantasy baseballers looking for hurlers with multiple position eligibility. Yes, he will help. The left-hander has been to the bump on eight occasions thus far in 2014, resulting in two wins and three holds. Britton’s 3.20 xFIP indicates his 0.68 ERA may be on the rise in the near future, but considering he’s a reliever who comes into games in brief stints, I wouldn’t hesitate to run him out there regularly. He’s inducing swings-and-misses (12.3% SwStr%) more than he has in the past, he’s seen a spike in strikeouts (17.0% K%) and the velocity on his fastball and slider appear to be up a tick or more since last season. Strongly consider adding Britton.

Dallas Keuchel | Astros | 3%

Those looking to sneak in a few extra starts utilizing the relief slot should take a close look at Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel is 2-1 in four starts this season, with a 3.38 ERA (2.85 xFIP) and a 24% K% (6% BB%). Last week, Mike Podhorzer discussed that the left-hander’s velocity is up in the early-going and Eno Sarris recently noted that Keuchel’s slider is looking good, making said pitcher relevant in mixers. Keuchel is 2-0 in his last three starts — each of the three were of the quality variety — with a 19/4 K/BB. Good signs for those in deeper leagues and those looking to take advantage of his SP/RP eligibility.

Carlos Torres | Mets | 4%

Carlos Torres has already collected two wins, a save and three holds in 11 trips to the bump in ‘14. In those 14 frames, Torres owns a 1.38 ERA (2.23 xFIP) and has fanned 29.1% of the batters he’s faced while allowing 9.1% of opponents to reach via the free pass. It’s also worth noting that Torres’ velocity is up a tick on each of his offerings and he’s inducing swings-and-misses (13.9% SwStr%) more than he has over his career (9.2% SwStr%). With the current (shaky) state of the Mets bullpen, Torres could continue to contribute to the wins, saves, holds and strikeout categories in some fashion as the season wears on.

Chris Capuano | Red Sox | 11%

Capuano is off to a fantastic start to the 2014 season out of the bullpen for the Red Sox. The left-hander is 1-0 with two holds and a 0.00 ERA (2.59 xFIP) in nine appearances (13.0 IP). Capuano owns a fair 22.9% K% but complements that skill with an impressive 2.1% BB%. It’s uncertain if he’ll continue this impressive start to the season, but I’d definitely look to ride the wave while I can.

In addition to contributing to the RotoGraphs blog, you can find Alan at his own site, and follow his nonsense on Twitter @TheFantasyFix.

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10 years ago

Torres is surprisingly efficient for someone who really doesn’t have any special anything. Problem, as seen last year, is when he gets used more regularly and as a SP. He’s easy to figure out and is just more effective coming into the game rather than starting and facing the same guys 3-4 times in a game