The Diamondbacks’ Bullpen: On the Mend

It’s time for our Depth Chart Discussions to begin. In an effort to suss out every team, we’ve divided them into four parts (infield, outfield, bullpen, and rotation) and will begin breaking them down for you over the next few weeks. You can find them gathered here.

The Closer:

Addison Reed

Addison Reed’s first season in Arizona went off with just a little bit of a hitch. He converted 32-of-38 saves and posted career bests in strikeout minus walk percentage (21.4%), swinging strike rate (13.1% SwStr%) and Skill-Interactive ERA (2.63 SIERA). Unfortunately, Reed lost a tick on his fastball for the third consecutive season and fell victim to some bad luck in the home run per fly ball rate department (13.9% HR/FB), which is partially to blame for the 4.25 ERA he posted in 62 appearances.

The 26-year-old experienced some soreness in his shoulder already this Spring and likely “needs two weeks before getting back on the mound again.” The team is hopeful that Reed will be back on the hill around March 20th and that he should be ready for Opening Day, but starting the season on the disabled list is a possibility. Keep an eye out for updates on Reed out of the Diamondbacks’ camp and monitor how that impacts his average draft position. In early NFBC drafts, Reed has gone as early as the 103rd pick and as late as the 236th pick, with an average draft position of 176. The shoulder injury could be scaring some folks away, making for some decent value on draft day for the optimists out there, including myself.

The Setup Men:

Evan Marshall
Brad Ziegler

With 33 career saves under his belt, right-hander Brad Ziegler may find himself in the mix for saves with Addison Reed’s health potentially being an issue for the Dbacks. Ziegler went 5-3 with 29 holds, a career-best 10.7% strikeout minus walk rate and a career-low 3.49 ERA in 68 appearances last season. Splits could be an issue for the side-armer, who’s allowed a .348 wOBA to lefties and .253 wOBA to righties over his career, although those splits reversed last season. But he too is coming off an injury and is working his way back to game shape, so if you’re speculating saves or a middle-man for your holds’ leagues, Ziegler should be considered late in deeper formats.

Twenty-four year-old Evan Marshall could be a better option than Ziegler out of the Dbacks’ pen for those concerned about Reed and/or Ziegler’s health, as Ben suggests here. Marshall tallied four wins and 19 holds with a 2.74 ERA and a 17.6% strikeout minus walk rate in 49.1 innings in ‘14. He missed more bats (13.9% SwStr%) than his bullpen mate and induced ground balls at a 60.7% clip — just a bit less than Ziegler’s 63.8% GB%. At any rate, both Ziegler and Marshall are extreme ground ball pitchers, necessary for a park that surrendered the second-most average runs per game and seventh-most home runs per game last season.

The Rest:

Oliver Perez
Randall Delgado
Matt Reynolds
Daniel Hudson
David Hernandez

Veteran Oliver Perez posted a 2.91 ERA with 15 holds and a 29.7% K% in 68 appearances for the Diamondbacks in ‘14. Barring a Spring injury or a shake-up in the roster, Perez will be an option for those looking to pad their holds and strikeouts category late in their drafts, but probably in leagues with 14 or more teams. Randall Delgado has a couple of elite offerings according to Eno Sarris, but should remain on your league’s waiver wire due to his current role.

Matt Reynolds and David Hernandez are on the comeback trail from Tommy John, but Reynolds already missed some time this Spring with a strained oblique and Hernandez has yet to throw from the mound. On the heels of two Tommy John surgeries, Daniel Hudson enters Spring Training with a role that has yet to be determined. He did make three relief appearances late last season, but going forward, Arizona’s brass would like Hudson in a “role in which he can remain the healthiest.” As of this writing, Daniel Hudson should not be drafted, except for those leagues that account for “heart.”

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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Great stuff. I’ve been picking up Marshall whereever I can. For some reason, people don’t seem to be on to the fact that he’s got a legit shot at some saves to start the season. I only know about him because of the great articles here at fangraphs. Thanks.