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Opening Week – Introduction

It is so good to have baseball back. Life feels complete. With a new season comes a new resource to help track and monitor which relief pitchers are earning wins and losses out of the bullpen. This series will provide fantasy managers with valuable information from each relief pitcher appearance that has resulted in either a Win or Loss from the previous week or two. It can be difficult to stay on top of which relief pitchers are finding success out of the bullpen throughout the duration of the season.

Over at SPStreamer.com, we have you covered!

The Purpose

It is imperative to accrue Wins in Rotisserie leagues to compete for an overall prize. Most fantasy managers do not have the time to track every relief pitcher outing on top of everything else during season. This necessity to stay abreast of relief pitcher performances gave rise to the Wins From The Bullpen tracker. This resource will also track Notable Losses From The Bullpen in a separate tab. Notable is the key word here. These are relievers with a lot of buzz around them in the fantasy baseball world who post negative performances. This article series will highlight recent bullpen performances that can potentially assist in guiding your free agency endeavors.

Wins From The Bullpen – Week One

The Wins From The Bullpen tracking resource can always be accessed here.

With the lockout delaying Spring Training and player conditioning, the nature of Week One was inherently chaotic across the league. There were sixty-seven different relief pitchers who earned a Win between April 7th and April 17th. You read that right, sixty-seven of them. Only six of those relievers have earned multiple Wins in the first ten days of the season. The majority of starting pitchers around the league have been throwing five or less innings in their first two starts of the season. This has resulted in a more diverse distribution of Wins from each bullpen thus far. We can only hope that this trend normalizes as time goes on.

The Standouts

In this section, relief pitchers who have earned multiple Wins since the last adaptation of this article was released will be highlighted. For the Opening Week installment of this article series, Opening Day will serve as the starting point for stat accrual. Detailed relief pitcher profiles will also be added as the season continues. If you wish to skip to the entire Wins From The Bullpen table, please scroll down to the next section of the article.

3-0 | Adam Cimber – TOR | 6.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 0.37 WHIP

Adam Cimber is the hottest name on the Wins market right now, so grab him while he is hot. He has yet to walk a batter across six innings, striking out four in that span. Toronto seems to like using him in the sixth and seventh innings thus far, and he should continue to see these mid-to-late appearances with the game on the line.

 

2022 pitch location contour maps for Adam Cimber, per BaseballSavant.com

 

Cimber has increased his sinker usage to 40.6% yielding a 26.7 Whiff%. He has also raised his overall Chase% to 38.5% (93rd percentile). His success has relied upon command of the sinker low in the zone, allowing for his fastball to play up in the zone. If Cimber can continue suppressing runs with his current approach, he will remain a viable fantasy option to vulture more Wins from the bullpen.

2-0 | Jhoulys Chacín – COL | 5.2 IP, 4.76 ERA, 0.88 WHIP

Chacín has been pitching in the Major Leagues since 2009. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Jhoulys started his career in Colorado and is noted for how well he has pitched in Coors in the past. His current ERA may not suggest so, but Chacín has held his own in Colorado so far this season. He has a 4:1 K:BB ratio across 5.2 innings, and has resurrected the slider as his primary pitch (31.8%). If Jhoulys can keep the ball on the ground (42.1% GB%) he may stay relevant as a mid-relief option in fantasy. This will be a tough feat for him to achieve in Coors while currently posting his lowest career strikeout rate of 16.7%. Proceed with caution.

2-0 | Reynaldo López – CHW | 4.1 IP, 4.91 ERA, 1.90 WHIP

The Chicago White Sox have used López to protect their leads in the 5th and 6th innings so far in 2022. For the first time in six seasons, Reynaldo has been throwing the slider as his primary pitch (45.9%). The pitch has only yielded a 12.5% PutAway% after gaining 2.2 inches of total movement from last season. The slider you will see below just doesn’t seem that nasty to me. It starts off the plate, and ends off the plate.

López always seems tantalizing at the beginning of each season, but his typically high WHIP and BB% will make him hard to roster in 2022. He is giving up hard contact (18th percentile) and not striking enough batters out to get away with a 18.8% BB%. Reynaldo may vulture some Wins from the bullpen for the White Sox, but could also end up in the rotation. His situation is worth monitoring, but the walks and hits will need to subside.

2-0 | Collin Snider – KC | 4.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP

Collin who? This dude has been absolutely dealing for the Royals across his first four innings in the Major Leagues. He has been called upon four times this season and has delivered with each appearance. Snider has shown in the past that he does not have issues with walking batters, posting a career 6.64% BB% and in the Minor Leagues. Though a small sample size, this is the type of start you like to see from an underrated rookie.

 

Statcast percentile sliders for Collin Snider, per BaseballSavant.com

Snider is the type of relief pitcher that is worth the speculative add in most fantasy league formats. He has the stuff and the control to become a viable fantasy asset out of the bullpen. The Royals have already proven that they will use Snider when the game is on the line, and he has come through so far by posting a 28.6% strikeout rate, 0% walk rate, and 50% Whiff rate on his slider. Take a look at this frisbee and keep your eyes on Snider going into the second week of the season.

2-0 | Dillon Peters – PIT | 4.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 0.75 WHIP

Dillon Peters has been up and down between the Major and Minor Leagues since 2017. He is off to a great start  in 2022 with the Pirates, but expect his performance to normalize as time goes on. His best year to date was in 2021, when he posted a 3.71 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 11.1% K-BB% and 1.35 WHIP across 26.2 IP. Peters is giving up hard contact (55.6% HardHit%) and isn’t striking out many batters (14.3% K%). He may be able to get away with this for another week or two, but his xBA (.222) and xwOBA (.317) are bound to regress with the lack of strikeouts and weak contact. Unless the strikeouts increase, Peters will be tough to roster in most formats.

But there is this…

Throw it more, Dillon.

2-0 | Jake Cousins – MIL |

Did you know (sips coffee), that Jake Cousins is the cousin of Kirk Cousins? Well now you know. So far in 2022, Jake likely has a similar completion percentage with his catcher as his cousin Kirk does with Vikings receivers. That isn’t a good thing. Wild pitches have been his main crutch this season and they have led to runs being scored. See Example A below.

On the bright side, Cousins has posted a 7:1 K:BB ratio while ultimately keeping the ball on the ground (60% GB%) in a volatile park. His slider has generated a 64.3% Whiff rate and a 37.5% PutAway%, while his sinker has yielded a 30.8% Whiff rate and a 30% PutAway%. There is also this. Cousins appears in a Tweet by Cameron Grove (@Pitching_Bot) that suggests his stuff is liked by multiple models, including Eno Sarris’ Stuff+ model.

If he can gain control of his slider and reduce the number of wild pitches that he throws, Cousins could remain in the mix for being a viable fantasy reliever. The whiffs he is generating on both pitches suggest that he has the strikeout stuff to remain in a critical relief role. Wild pitches will be the death of Jake Cousins if he doesn’t figure those out in the coming weeks.

New Winners

This module will include relief pitchers who earned their first Win since the previous edition of this article was released. Since sixty different relievers earned their first Win during Opening Week, the overall summary table is provided below. As the season trots on and bullpen roles become more defined, this section will increase in detail. For the beginning of the season, however, it is most important to get this tracking resource into your hands for Week Two. The results from Opening Week are below:Table 1 of 4 for Week 1 Wins From The BullpenTable 2 of 4 for Week 1 Wins From The BullpenTable 3 of 4 for Week 1 Wins From The Bullpen

Table 3 of 4 for Week 1 Wins From The BullpenTable 4 of 4 for Week 1 Wins From The Bullpen

Notable Bullpen Losses

This section will highlight notable relievers that have squandered opportunities out of the bullpen. Utilize this section of the article to identify popular relief pitchers that may be struggling when it really counts. Notable losses per relief pitcher will be expounded upon in future editions of this article series. Results for Opening Week notable losses from the bullpen are included below:

 

Thank you so much for reading! Please feel free to reach out to @cory5ott on Twitter with any questions or suggestions about the Wins From The Bullpen tracker article series.

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*All data and media extracted from BaseballSavant.com, Fangraphs.com, and Twitter.com profile Tweets.

*The ‘Wins From The Bullpen’ tracking resource was created by and is managed by Cory Ott.

Cory Ott

Cory Ott

@cory5ott

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