In most leagues, we value Relief Pitchers that can secure saves for our teams, but set-up men can provide great value in 5x5 leagues. They can lower our team's ERA and WHIP while adding to our strikeout totals. We will look at a few set-up guys that can help our teams out in 2016, and some may even provide some saves.
The Gold Standard
Dellin Betances should be a closer for most MLB teams, but he can provide $6 of value for our fantasy teams in 2016. H2H owners can draft him in the 14th round and quickly raise their team's strikeout totals. Betances' 14.0 k/9 last year built on his 13.5 k/9 in 2014, and he has induced 46% GB the last two seasons. His FpK slipped from 66% in 2014 to 59% last year, which resulted in 4.3 bb/9 instead of 2.4 bb/9. While we should not count on any saves this year, Betances saved 9 games last year, and he threw in 6 wins. His 2.41 xFIP shows that his ERA could rise some this year, especially if his .257 BABIP moves closer to his career .260-.270 BABIP. LHB's hit .134 against him last year, and RHB's hit .174 against him. Draft him and hope that he walks fewer batters in 2016, but we can count on 120-130 K's with a 1.0-1.1 WHIP, which will help most of our teams move up in the standings.
The Yankees attack hitters from both side of the plate. Andrew Miller excelled in 2015 with a 1.90 ERA and a 14.6 k/9, which moved down slightly from 14.9 k/9 in 2014. His value drops with Aroldis Chapman's arrival, but we should target him at the $2-3 range with his ability to create 48% GB while only giving free passes at a 2.9 bb/9 rate. Miller's moved his FpK from 59% in 2014 to 66% last year. We should note his inflated 10th round price because of drafts that were held prior to the Chapman trade. We should place Miller a little below Betances due to health concerns, but he could secure a handful of saves in 2016. His 2.06 xFIP should play well in 2016, and his 0.90 WHIP will help most of our teams. RHB's only hit .129 against Miller, and we can pencil in close to 100 K's in 2016.
If we want to wait on a guy, we can pay $3-5 for Pittsburgh's Tony Watson or draft him at #377. Watson's 1.91 ERA helped teams last year, but his 3.60 xFIP tells a different story. Watson kept throwing 66% FpK, but his 7.4 k/9 last year dropped from 9.4 k/9 in 2014. A few services have Watson's k/9 bouncing back to 8.4-8.6 this year with a 2.60-3.00 ERA. His ability to limit walks, 2.0 bb/9, helps his cause, and he also induces 48% GB. His 0% hr/f helped him in last year's second-half, but his hr/f should return to his career average of 6% in 2016. RHB's hit a career .212 versus Watson, and LHB's hit a career .200, but Watson has given up 20 homers in 205 IP against RHB's. We can attribute some of the disparity between his 1.58 career home ERA versus his 3.41 road ERA to his .231 BABIP at home and his .281 BABIP on the road. Even though he has some blemishes, Watson will help our teams in the standings with a few wins, a decent ERA, and a 1.00 WHIP.
Carter Capps made some gains in 2016, and we should list his name under possible save opportunities if he can recover from elbow issues last year. We should bid $1-2 on Capps in 2016, and owners are taking him at the #332 pick. Capps increased his k/9 from 11.1 k/9 in 2014 to 16.8 k/9 last year, and he limited his walks to 2.0 bb/9. His 1.17 xFIP supports his 1.16 ERA in limited action. Capps' ability to move closer to the plate with his pitches will help him maintain his strikeout total, but LHB's hit .283 against him in his career with 9 homers in 55 IP. RHB's only hit .233 against Capps with 6 homers in 80 IP. If we are looking for another positive, Capps struck out 26 batters in 20 career high-leverage IP. Capps could provide more return on investment if he can save more 2016 games for the Marlins.
Will Smith of Milwaukee is another possible save outlet at $3 and pick #267. Smith's 2014 11.8 k/9 jumped to 12.9 k/9 last year while he lowered his walks from 4.25 bb/9 in 2014 to 3.41 bb/9 in 2015 with 60% FpK. His ability to create 46% GB helps, even when his 17% hr/f in the second-half hurt him. If he is named the closer, Smith performs well in high-leverage situations. He has 54 strikeouts in 41 high-leverage IP, and hitters hit .230 against him with 3 HR in those 41 IP. Smith threw his nasty slider 40% of the time last year, and his 2.75 xFIP fell close to his 2.70 ERA. We should note his career .329 BABIP, but Smith should provide decent value to our teams with 85 K's, a 3.00 ERA, and the possibility of double-digit saves.
We should ignore the label of a set-up man or a shared closer with these names. A few of these names could move our teams up in 5x5 standings, or they may help us win a few more weeks in H2H leagues. Betances solidifies his ranking as the best set-up man, but Capps and Smith could provide the most profit if they secure more saves than their projections. If we are looking to vulture some saves, then we can turn to set-up guys, but Betances, Miller, and Watson will help our teams' value with strikeouts, WHIP, and ERA.