RELIEVERS: Early ADPs and skill sets comparisons

End of January is a great time to begin to look at coelescing ADP bargains. There is enough data to start seeing where relievers are going in the ADPs and of course, we have our BaseballHQ.com projections rolling along. One caution--both the ADPs and the projections are dynamic and not static. As we head into and through February and spring training starts, we will get information that will move players up and down on the ADPs and also adjust the projections. So be alert for those changes. They happen every year and relievers are as volatile as any other position in this regard.

That said, let's start by looking at relievers who are projected by BHQ for 10 or more saves and a BPV of 130 or greater:

10 Sv; 130 BPV        Sv  IP   ERA xERA WHIP  Dom  Cmd HR/9 BPV  $ ADP min max
===================== == ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== === == === === ===
J.Hader (MIL) (L)     34  80  3.04 2.93 0.96 14.5  4.8  1.6 183 19  68  47 108
K.Yates (SD)          36  58  2.33 2.55 1.00 14.0  6.0  0.9 211 16  82  54 117
A.Chapman (NYY) (L)   34  65  2.49 2.84 1.14 14.4  3.2  0.4 156 16  88  52 114
R.Osuna (HOU)         36  58  2.79 3.31 0.93  9.8  6.3  0.8 153 15  93  69 120
H.Neris (PHI)         36  73  3.21 3.47 1.12 11.5  3.6  1.4 137 14 149 118 222
B.Hand (CLE) (L)      38  65  3.32 3.23 1.12 12.5  3.9  1.1 154 13 119  82 149
L.Hendriks (OAK)      28  65  3.05 3.32 1.11 11.9  5.4  0.7 169 12 115  87 150
K.Jansen (LA)         38  58  3.41 3.30 1.05 11.8  5.9  1.2 170 12 132  95 175
K.Giles (TOR)         32  58  2.79 3.12 1.09 12.3  4.7  0.9 168 12 136  99 175
E.Pagan (TAM)         24  65  3.05 3.74 1.00 10.9  4.9  1.5 144 12 166 130 220
T.Rogers (MIN) (L)    30  58  2.79 3.15 1.09 10.2  5.1  0.9 157 11 126  97 172
C.Kimbrel (CHC)       36  65  3.74 3.48 1.15 13.2  3.3  1.4 138 11 143 106 206
S.Lugo (NYM)          16  73  2.96 3.40 1.03  9.9  5.0  0.9 147 11 333 226 398
R.Iglesias (CIN)      30  65  3.60 3.64 1.14 11.1  4.0  1.4 137  9 153 115 209
S.Doolittle (WAS) (L) 28  65  3.74 4.12 1.09 10.0  4.8  1.4 130  9 205 138 353
E.Diaz (NYM)          20  65  3.46 2.84 1.18 14.5  4.6  1.1 194  7 129  96 169
W.Smith (ATL) (L)     14  58  3.41 3.26 1.17 12.3  3.8  1.2 152  6 142  93 248

For the most part, these are your high skills, relatively safe closers, with a couple of exceptions (for reasons other than skill sets). The closer who sticks out the most from this group is Phillies closer Hector Neris (RHP, PHI) at an ADP of 149 with a min ADP of 118. This is out of step with the other closers expected to get the large save total and/or do not have a lot of high skills relievers around him in his bullpen to vulture saves. It is hard to guess what causes Neris to have an elevated ADP, but perhaps it is a relic of him losing the job temporarily in 2018, albeit under a different manager. There is not a lot of reason to take Astros closer Roberto Osuna (RHP, HOU) at his min ADP of 69 or even his ADP of 93 if you can wait for Neris at 118 or 149.

There are two Mets relievers here, with the BHQ projection splitting time between Edwin Diaz (RHP, NYM) and Seth Lugo (RHP, NYM). The ADPs tell us that buyers expect Diaz to close (129 ADP, 96 min ADP) and Lugo to return to a multiple-inning set-up role (333 ADP, 226 min ADP). Add in Dellin Betances (RHP, NYM) (407 ADP, 214 min ADP) and you have a lot of highly-skilled moving parts. You could easily miss on Diaz due to the role risk when his 129 ADP is over Neris at 149, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen (RHP, LA) at 132, Blue Jays closer Ken Giles (RHP, TOR) at 136, Rays closer Emilio Pagan (RHP, TAM) at 166, and Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel (RHP, CHC) at 143. In the case of Diaz, it is as much because of the projected 2.84 xERA and 14.5 Dom skill set. If you grab Diaz in that range (120-150), you will likely want to add Lugo at 300-330 for insurance. It is easy to look at Diaz's skill set and see him creep up the board as we get closer to March. And if Diaz gets the more traditional closer role, Lugo falls out of this list altogether.

The skill sets on this first chart are the ones you want. You can wait a little longer and still get a closer, but the risk comes with a lesser skill set. So next, let's examine relievers who are projected by BHQ for 10 or more saves but a BPV under 130:

10 Sv; under 130 BPV  Sv  IP   ERA xERA WHIP  Dom  Cmd HR/9 BPV  $ ADP min max
===================== == ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== === == === === ===
B.Workman (BOS)       30  65  3.05 3.48 1.14 11.2  2.6  0.7 112 13 182 127 273
A.Bradley (ARI)       32  73  3.08 3.90 1.26  9.4  2.6  1.0  97 11 183 148 311
H.Robles (LAA)        30  65  3.32 4.17 1.20  9.4  3.0  1.1  99  9 171 138 260
A.Colome (CHW)        34  58  3.57 4.09 1.26  8.7  2.7  1.1  92  8 166 125 231
C.Martinez (STL)      18  87  3.52 3.99 1.29  9.1  2.4  0.9  91  7 191 143 266
J.Leclerc (TEX)       18  65  3.18 3.77 1.20 13.0  2.5  0.6 104  6 172 132 282
J.Jimenez (DET)       27  65  4.02 3.98 1.25 11.4  3.4  1.8 125  6 222 160 371
K.Kela (PIT)          12  58  3.26 3.68 1.14 11.3  3.2  1.1 124  5 229 155 378
A.Miller (STL) (L)    18  73  3.82 3.66 1.30 12.1  2.8  1.2 120  5 580 312 674
I.Kennedy (KC)        27  58  3.72 4.30 1.33  9.2  3.1  1.2 102  4 203 149 341
S.Oberg (COL)         20  58  3.41 3.96 1.29  8.4  2.5  0.8  89  4 252 186 415
M.Melancon (ATL)      20  65  3.46 3.39 1.32  8.5  3.8  0.6 128  3 231 172 344
M.Givens (BAL)        20  58  3.88 3.88 1.24 10.7  3.0  1.4 112  3 341 209 453
D.Hudson (WAS)        10  73  3.95 4.40 1.21  8.8  2.5  1.0  80  2 327 228 463
B.Treinen (LA)        11  65  3.74 3.92 1.20  9.7  2.3  1.1  89  1 380 272 519
S.Greene (ATL)        10  65  3.60 3.91 1.20  9.1  3.1  1.3 109  1 547 166 645
J.Diaz (COL)          12  44  4.09 4.49 1.43  8.2  2.1  1.2  69 -3 433 267 494

These are designated closers, preseason. But there is a chance that someone with better skills can snatch the job away from one of these closers, in-season. And it shows in the ADPs. This range is well after Neris in the 140s, running six closers from White Sox closer Alex Colome (RHP, CHW) with and ADP of 166, min ADP 125) to early 200s Royals closer Ian Kennedy (RHP, KC) at a 203 ADP, 149 min ADP.

Carlos Martinez (RHP, STL) sticks out as an anomaly since he is trying to make the Cardinals rotation, but could find himself slotted back in the closer role by season's start. The BHQ projections have him with 18 saves, but also 87 innings. Buyers currently have him at a 191 ADP and 143 min ADP, but it could move as his role becomes better defined. Importantly, if Martinez is a starter, then his replacement at closer will likely jump up the board. Note that Cardinals lefty Andrew Miller (LHP, STL) is currently projected for 18 saves of his own, but with a whopping 580 ADP and 312 min ADP. Buyers are not buying Miller as a substitute closer. You will see in the next chart that buyers are considering Giovanny Gallegos (RHP, STL) with a 213 ADP and 153 min ADP. Gallegos has a very strong skill set as well. Once the Cardinals set Martinez's role, it will likely move Gallegos up or down the ADPs considerably.

If you miss on a closer in that 160-200 range, do not despair. There are options, like Tigers closer Joe Jimenez (RHP, DET) at 222 ADP, 160 min ADP, Pirates closer Keone Kela (RHP, PIT) at 229 ADP, 155 min ADP, and Orioles closer Mychal Givens (RHP, BAL) at 341 ADP, 209 min ADP. Obviously, these relievers carry more risk, but beggars can't be choosers at these prices.

One more group--BPV 130+ but saves under 10:

10 Sv; under 130 BPV  Sv  IP   ERA xERA WHIP  Dom  Cmd HR/9 BPV  $ ADP min max
===================== == ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== === == === === ===
G.Gallegos (STL)       2  73  2.71 3.71 0.95 10.1  4.8  1.0 137  9 213 153 321
N.Anderson (TAM)       8  58  3.26 3.19 1.10 13.0  4.9  1.2 170  6 246 183 408
C.Green (NYY)          0  73  3.33 3.44 1.08 11.6  5.0  1.1 156  5 603 324 706
D.Castillo (TAM)       4  65  3.05 3.32 1.12 10.4  3.6  0.8 139  4 479 291 506
W.Harris (WAS)         6  65  3.18 3.16 1.09  9.7  4.4  1.0 144  4 546 269 647
D.Betances (NYM)       2  58  2.95 2.90 1.17 14.0  3.1  0.6 154  3 407 214 720
J.James (HOU)          0  87  3.83 3.65 1.22 12.3  3.3  1.1 134  3 421 281 495
R.Pressly (HOU)        0  58  2.95 2.76 1.10 12.3  4.4  0.9 172  2 425 215 504
E.Clase (CLE)          2  65  3.05 3.22 1.17  8.3  4.0  0.4 132  2 498 320 673
C.Martin (ATL)         2  65  3.32 3.12 1.05  9.8  8.9  1.1 171  2 677 418 747
T.Kahnle (NYY)         0  58  3.10 3.00 1.10 12.0  4.1  1.1 159  2 698 534 744
M.Barnes (BOS)         4  58  3.57 3.08 1.24 13.7  2.8  0.8 142  1 539 342 672
K.Ginkel (ARI)         2  44  3.07 3.66 1.11 10.8  3.8  1.2 130  1 534 354 720
M.Strahm (SD) (L)      0  73  3.70 3.81 1.15  9.7  4.9  1.4 137  1 549 342 595
J.Soria (OAK)          2  58  3.72 3.54 1.10 10.6  4.0  0.9 137  0 731 545 750
J.Smith (HOU)          0  58  3.41 3.55 1.12  9.0  4.1  0.9 130  0 750 698 746
C.Knebel (MIL)         4  58  3.57 3.35 1.26 12.6  3.1  0.9 139 -1 465 271 567

These are the higher-skills non-closers who might snatch a closer job away from a lesser skill set. This is a nice place to speculate in reserve rounds. If you organize them by BPV, you get a quick glance at which skill sets are strongest on this list. Rays reliever Nick Anderson (RHP, TAM), Astros reliever Ryan Pressly (RHP, HOU), and Braves reliever Chris Martin (RHP, ATL) all top out with a projected 170 or better BPV. These three can add value even without saves.

Two personal choices from this list for speculation after those three skill sets are Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes (RHP, BOS) at a 539 ADP, 342 min ADP, and Indians reliever Emmanuel Clase (RHP, CLE) at a 498 ADP, 320 min ADP. Brandon Workman (RHP, BOS) did win the closer role last year, but his projected skill set pales in comparison to Barnes. He is worth a speculation at 539. Clase is behind a very talented closer in lefty Brad Hand (LHP, CLE). But Clase is the late-inning weapon the Indians paid full freight to get when they traded Corey Kluber (RHP, TEX) to Texas and as mentioned last column, he throws bowling balls with pinpoint command. Clase is at a 498 ADP.

Next pen column is the first of the regular season just as pitchers are catchers are reporting in mid-February. We take an initial look at some non-roster invitees to watch. Follow me @dougdennis41


Click here to subscribe

  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.