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Fake Teams Staff Post: I Think I'll Pass - Relief Pitchers

Each of your favorite Fake Teams writers let you in on who the relief pitcher they will be avoiding at their current values.


Each week, when we cover a position here at Fake Teams, in addition to all of the content you've been seeing, we're going to be doing two staff posts where each of the writers will contribute a brief comment on a player they will personally be targeting in drafts and a player they will be avoiding. Yesterday we shared the optimistic side of this equation, but today is a day of reckoning. These are the players who we are weary of at their projected draft day values.

So without any further ado, I present the Fake Teams staff and their least favorite relief pitching targets for 2013:

"The closer I am avoiding on draft day 2013 is the new Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan. Hanrahan has saved 76 games over the last two seasons, but there are some disturbing trends owners should be aware of. The good: his strikeout rate increased from 8.00 K/9 to just over 10.00 K/9 last season. Oh, and he saved 36 games as well. The bad: his walk rate skyrocketed from 2.10 per nine innings to 5.43 per nine. HIs HR/9 also followed suit, from 0.13 HR per nine to 1.21 HR per nine. HIs 89.7% strand rate is not repeatable, especially with the move to the American League East. He is also moving from one of the better pitchers parks in baseball - PNC Park - which depressed run scoring by 24% and home runs by 37%, to Fenway Park which increased run scoring by 21% and home runs by almost 9% last season. Certainly not good for a closer who was prone to the free pass and home run ball last season. If you draft Hanrahan, make sure you draft his backup, Andrew Bailey as well." --Ray Guilfoyle

"Don't get me wrong, I like Addison Reed. I'm just not entirely sure why he's ranked so high among the Fake Teams' writers (No. 10 overall). Among the 21 closers with 25 or more saves in 2012, only Alfredo Aceves had a higher ERA than Reed's 4.75. And it's not like he's striking out a ton of batters, either. While Reed struck out 12.88 per nine in the minors, those numbers have yet to translate against big league hitting. In 2012, Reed struck out less than a batter per inning (8.84 K/9), and his swinging strike rate of 9.3% was below league average. Among the top 10 closers on our list, I think Reed is the most likely to lose his job." --Alex Kantecki

"This won't be a surprise to anyone who knows me, as I pushed the idea of the Orioles moving Jim Johnson in the middle of 2012 because a) I thought their luck would run out and, b) If a team was willing to pay full price, they would be selling high on a reliever with some weak peripherals. I was definitely wrong on "a" and perhaps Johnson contributed to that, but I contend that a team with the Orioles' holes would benefit from the pieces they would receive in a trade of a 70-75 IP reliever. Johnson does have more value than most relievers since the Orioles use him so much (or did in 2011 w/91 IP), but they decreased his total innings by 23 IP despite 2 more appearances in 2012. Johnson strikes nobody out which is a huge no-no in my book, especially from a reliever. In his favor is a spectacular GB% of over 60, in addition to his stinginess with the walks. That said, he appears to have gotten lucky in the BABIP department the last two years, with BABIP's of .268 (2011) and .251 (2012) despite the incredibly high GB%. We shouldn't rule out that some pitchers have some sort of control over their BABIP by inducing weak contact and the like and perhaps Johnson is one of those guys, but I'd rather not risk the pick I'd have to on that chance. Johnson also does well to keep the ball in the park, no surprise given his groundball tendencies. It's not that Johnson is a bad pitcher, but he doesn't have the qualities that I value in a reliever (K's) and I worry about some serious regression on the horizon. Couple those worries with some regression worries about the Orioles in general and the unlikelihood they do what they did in 1 run games again." --Craig Goldstein

"It's a bit too easy to say Drew Storen given my ranking of him and what we now know about their bullpen. It pains me, but I have to pass on a personal favorite of mine, Huston Street. Street has shown all the skills to be a top 10 closer, but between concerns about his health, concerns about the offense for the Padres, concerns about the quality of the team itself, and concerns about the quality of relievers behind him in the pen, there are just too many question marks for me to be able to trust him as even a #2 closer." --Jason Hunt

"I have nothing but respect for the absolutely dominant season that Fernando Rodney put together last season. There's no getting around it, he was insanely good. But we also know two additional facts which makes me very unlikely to end up with him on any of my teams. FIrst of all, the last time Rodney had an ERA lower than 4.00, Lehman Brothers was still managing record-breaking profits. Second of all, the Rays have never had the same pitcher lead the team in saves in consecutive years during Joe Maddon's administration. In fact, the last time the organization had a closer that accomplished this was Danys Baez in 2004 and 2005. There is certainly a very real chance that the Rays have 'fixed' Rodney, and his walk rate stays near his 2012 level, but let's not pretend it's a certainty. There is also no shortage of great arms in that Rays bullpen behind Rodney in Joel Peralta and Jake McGee. This all adds up to too much risk for a closer likely to go off the board in the top-5." --Bret Sayre