2017 Statline- 3.18 ERA, 1.132 WHIP, 68 innings, 70 K’s, 18 saves.
No one likes to pay for closers. Just think about last year, when Corey Knebel and Felipe Rivero came out of nowhere to be two of the most valuable closers of the year. If you don’t like to pay up for saves, you have to look for guys who slip into later round. Brad Brach seems to be one of those guys this year.
There are a couple of reasons why this is happening. First, Zach Britton will come back at some point this year. Now, if he gets the closer spot back, when he does so is another question entirely. Secondly, the manager, Buck Showalter, has yet to formally announce a closer. However, Brad Brach seems the most likely to take the closer spot simply because he was the go-to guy last year when Britton went down. In a recent mock on Fantrax, he went 237th overall. His ADP overall on Fantrax is 226.99. When you can get closers past the 200 mark, usually it’s a Fernando Rodney-type pitcher. You have guys like Brach and Brandon Morrow, whose ADP is 238.16. Guys who have not been “named” closer officially, but are the favorites to win that position. I like Brach more than Morrow simply because of the bullpen. Carl Edwards Jr would make a great closer, not to mention Hector Rondon who has closing experience in the past. Brach simply has less competition in his way to nab that closer role.
This year, I will probably grab one elite closer, (The Kimbrel/Knebel type), and then wait for my chance to grab someone like Brad Brach. Brach’s second half was worse, posting a 3.94 ERA compared to a 2.58 ERA in the first half. However, his BABIP was inflated almost .100 points in the 2nd half. In the first half, he held opponents to a .196 batting average and a .207 BABIP, compared to a second-half average of .248 and a BABIP of .306. I believe the first half is more indicative of his skill. All you have to do is look at his 2016 season and his 2.89 ERA to know he is more than just a “good” reliever. He can be just what your draft needs in the later rounds.
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