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AL Relievers: Day Twelve
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.

Jon Adkins008.642.0414138.1
CH White Sox4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 28P:R    B:L-3-4-4.2-4.2

A year after spending the entire season in Chicago Adkins found himself buried back at AAA Charlotte(IL), where his 4-9 record and 5.37 ERA on a 92:43 K:BB in 127.1 IP with 148 H and 20 HR over 21 GS(23G) couldn't even convince the Sox to recall him in September. Chicago non-tendered Adkins in December, and while he still could emerge as a capable reliever, his failure to land any job to date removes any chance of contributing this summer.

R.A. Dickey106.671.5515172929.2
TEX Rangers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 30P:R    B:R-3-3-7.7-4.2

The newest significant knuckleballer in the majors, Dickey learned the pitch over the past few years, now giving Texas the inning eater necessary to ameliorate the stress on Rangers' pitchers. Although nothing about his 10-6 record and a 6.07 ERA on an 81:39 K:BB in 121.2 IP with 152 H and 12 HR for AA Oklahoma(PCL) last year indicates that Dickey belongs in the majors, he instead appears a strong competitor to break camp in the majors, possibly even in the rotation. Of course, I barely recommend Tim Wakefield as a safe play, and given Dickey's relative inexperience with the knuckler and the obvious downside of pitching in Ameriquest, please don't draft him anywhere.

Paul Quantrill205.351.5536149369
Age: 36P:R    B:L-3-3-6.5-6.5

Apparently moving between three different playoff contenders didn't sit too well with Quantrill. While he looked like his old self upon reaching the Padres, where he registered a 3.41 ERA on an outstanding 24:2 K:BB in 31.2 IP, he announced his retirement last week, effective upon the completion of Canada's WBC run. The fourteen-year veteran finishes his career with an extremely respectable 3.83 ERA in 841 games, a product of the four consecutive seasons he led the league in appearances earlier this decade.

John Halama105.681.4837177965
Age: 33P:L    B:L-3-3-8.8-1.2

Halama segued to Washington after an awful first-half in Boston, yet despite decent qualitative stats, the Nationals quickly cut him after the season. He merely traveled up the road to Baltimore, where he now looks like the probably long man in the refurbished Orioles' bullpen. Don't be surprised to see a return to his Seattle form in Baltimore given Leo Mazzone's outstanding track record with similar pitchers.

Rick Bauer009.722.0454138.1
BAL Orioles4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 28P:R    B:R-3-4-5.3-4.3

Six terrible weeks of extremely irregular work in the spring rightfully kept Bauer locked at AAA Ottawa(IL) for the balance of the season. He at least pitched decently, registering a 4.00 ERA on a 43:35 K:BB in 74.1 IP, however his skill set will not allow similar results in his new home with the Rangers. Bauer possesses no fantasy value until he moves to a safer home park.

Doug Brocail515.521.6961349073.1
TEX Rangers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 38P:R    B:L-3-2-8.5-8.5

The veteran reliever posted relatively respectable numbers for the second straight year in Texas. San Diego signed him almost immediately after the Rangers failed to offer arbitration, and now Brocail appears set to replace Akinori Otsuka as one of the primary bridges to Linebrink and Hoffman. Unfortunately, I simply see too much downside here to recommend Brocail at the moment, but if you need mid-season help and see him compiling a better skill set, he probably won't hurt you in limited work.

Nate Field009.452.7045136.2
KC Royals4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 29P:R    B:R-3-4-4-4

Field needed less than a month to lose his roster spot last spring, and despite decent numbers in the minors, he failed to return to the majors. Signing with the Rockies may clear a path for his return at some point this year, however nothing in his statistical history indicates a realistic chance for him to perform acceptably in Coors.

Steve Reed106.611.5915114132.2
BAL Orioles4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 40P:R    B:R-3-4-8.2-8.2

We never understood why Reed never received much credit for his excellent work in Colorado. He currently owns a 3.63 ERA in 499 IP for the team, easily ranking him as the best pitcher as franchise history. Hopefully the Rockies will recognize that his skill set somehow suited that park perfectly, both giving him one more look in Coors and discovering what strategies Reed employed to remain more than a full run better than the next-best Rockies' pitcher.

Matt Whiteside0019.643.005563.2
TOR Blue Jays4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 38P:R    B:R-3-4-6.8-6.4

While Whiteside finally returned to the majors after a four-year absence, his failure to take advantage of that opportunity essentially ends his career. Yes, he posted a 2.59 ERA and 27 Saves on a 39:5 K:BB in 41.2 IP with 35 H and 4 HR over 40G for AAA Syracuse(IL), but if no team would give him a chance as a top minor league closer, he won't see more big league innings as he approaches 40. Don't expect his minor league deal with Pittsburgh to lead to more than a token appearance at best.

Cla Meredith0027.004.290462.1
BOS Red Sox4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 22P:R    B:R-3-4-6.5-6.5

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Boston for my comments on Meredith.

Matt Mantei106.491.7822242326.1
BOS Red Sox4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 32P:R    B:R-3-4-6.2-6.2

Everyone around the baseball world reacted in complete shock when strained an oblique earlier this week. With a multitude of equally solid options in Detroit's camp along side the veteran, I anticipate this twinge will force him to the minors, if not the disabled list. Although we still could see Mantei reemerge as a Three True Outcomes middle reliever, he appears highly unlikely to see more save opportunities and therefore doesn't merit any fantasy attention due to his persistently elevated WHIP.

American League Reliever Reviews continue tomorrow.

Today's Fantasy Rx: Only Quantrill, Halama, and Brocail merit any attention, and Quantrill appears headed into retirement. More importantly, while rostering Halama or Brocail isn't a terrible move, both pitchers possess so little upside that employing either for any extended period simply doesn't make sense. Plan to avoid everyone discussed today unless circumstances during the season create an unlikely opportunity for short-term profit.

Click here to read the previous article.

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