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AL Relievers: Day Seven
by Tim Polko

Today's Fantasy Rx

American League Relief Pitchers without Positive Draft Value

Quick Key to the tables:
W = Wins.  S = Saves.  ERA = Earned Run Average (ER*9/IP).
WHIP = (Walks + Hits)/IP aka Ratio.  K = Strikeouts.  BB = Bases on Balls aka Walks.
H = Hits.  IP = Innings Pitched.  P = Pitches.  B = Bats.
Age = Player's Age as of October 2, 2005.
4x4 = BA, HR, RBI, and SB in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters in 2005.
5x5 = BA, HR, RBI, SB, and R in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters in 2005.
RAR = Runs Above Replacement in 2005; Adjusted RAR = RAR modified to
consider whether a pitcher qualified as a starter in Scoresheet fantasy baseball .

We ranked players in order from the highest draft value in a 4x4 league to the lowest. As the majority of fantasy leagues allow you to keep anyone traded to the other league, we listed each player in the league where he started the season.

Keiichi Yabu414.501.5544266458
OAK Athletics4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 37P:R    B:R-100.67.4

Unexpectedly kept on Oakland's roster the entire year despite consistently mediocre work, Yabu nevertheless departed the Athletics after the club didn't exercise his 2006 option. Of course, his subsequent signing with Colorado eviscerates the remains of his fantasy value even if he somehow wins a bullpen spot during camp. Don't draft him.

Ron Flores001.040.926088.2
OAK Athletics4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 26P:L    B:L-1-13.83.8

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Oakland for my comments on Flores.

Chad Bradford203.861.411042923.1
BOS Red Sox4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 31P:R    B:R-1-12.12.1

Back surgery last March cost Bradford the entire first half, and then despite four impressive season of work for the Athletics, the increasing depth in Oakland's bullpen prompted the club to deal him to Boston for Jay Payton. Although he didn't dominate hitters, he also posted a walk rate of 1.5 BB/9, suggesting plenty of upside following his move to the Mets this winter. Bradford should reemerge as a superb option for roster filler in NL leagues, albeit not someone worth more than about a buck anywhere.

Erasmo Ramirez003.911.17632423
TEX Rangers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 29P:L    B:L-1-11.91.9

A strained finger tendon sidelined Ramirez through June, and he then spent the rest of the season on the Texas-AAA Oklahoma(PCL) shuttle, seeing three stints with each club in less than three months. Ramirez registered a 3.79 ERA on an 11:5 K:BB in 19 IP wit 19 H and 3 HR over 16 G in the minors, along with fairly comparable marks in the majors. His excellent command makes him a good fit in Texas, however his occasional homer problems and normally low strikeout rate give Ramirez so little upside that he doesn't warrant fantasy consideration as anything more than short-term roster filler.

Mike Wood524.461.576052129115
KC Royals4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 25P:R    B:R-101.715.2

Perhaps the most underrated member of Kansas City's largely woeful stuff, Wood shifted to the bullpen to accommodate lesser pitchers to accommodate lesser pitchers before returning to the rotation in the second half. Unfortunately, he failed to demonstrate particularly solid command regardless of his role, giving the Royals the excuse they need to leave him as no more than a spot starter and long reliever. I still see plenty of upside here but can't recommend investing more than a minimal sum at this time due to Wood's highly uncertain immediate future .

Josh Rupe102.791.146479.2
TEX Rangers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 23P:R    B:R-1-22.13.3

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Texas for my comments on Rupe.

Scott Feldman000.961.184299.1
TEX Rangers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 22P:R    B:L-1-24.25.3

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Texas for my comments on Feldman.

Mark Woodyard001.500.673046
DET Tigers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 26P:R    B:R-1-22.33

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Detroit for my comments on Woodyard.

Shaun Marcum000.001.254468
TOR Blue Jays4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 23P:R    B:R-1-24.55.5

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Toronto for my comments on Marcum.

Steve Kline204.281.4636305961
BAL Orioles4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 33P:L    B:S-1-12.32.3

The Orioles understandably bristled following Kline's public whining last spring for his Old Missouri Home, and his refusal to accept a mid-season demotion with the goal of reversing his diminished performance further enflamed the relationship. Baltimore smartly sent Kline to San Francisco for LaTroy Hawkins in December, adding a far superior pitcher in a deal that at least gives Kline a new start in a friendlier environment. He won't hurt you if employed for short stretches on your roster.

Brian Shouse305.231.3735185553.1
TEX Rangers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 37P:L    B:L-1-1-4.3-4.3

Dropping from a 2.67 G-F to a 1.98 mark wrecked havoc with Shouse's numbers as hit and homer rates skyrocketed despite improved control. Given his overall skill set, he appears far closer to the pitcher that posted a 2.23 ERA in 2004 than the author of this disaster last summer. I strongly suspect we'll see a return to positive value even if Shouse doesn't merit much fantasy consideration due to his home park.

Scott Sauerbeck104.041.4335163535.2
CLE Indians4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 33P:L    B:R-1-12.42.4

Sauerbeck demonstrated skills surprisingly close to his 2002 peak in his return from missing all of 2004 due to shoulder surgery. Yes, he still walks too many hitters, but the rest of skill set remains extremely solid. Consider him a remarkably safe option whenever you require short-term roster filler in deeper leagues.

American League Reliever Reviews continue tomorrow.

Today's Fantasy Rx: Although most of the situational southpaws discussed today won't hurt you for short stretches, the only pitchers that might merit regular employment look like Bradford and Wood. I expect Bradford to reemerge as a strong fantasy option in New York while Wood once again will benefit from Royals' rotation attrition as he finally should claim a permanent starting slot by the second half.

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