By Robby Wellington – Staff Writer
Jose Lopez, Yuniesky Betancourt, Pedro Feliz, Jason Varitek, Craig Biggio, Mike Napoli, Damion Easley and Mark Ellis. Those are the top eight non-DL free agents in my league right now according to Yahoo’s ranking system. And with the exception of Feliz, all of them are either middle infielders or catchers. I’m telling you, position scarcity should not be heavily considered when drafting your team.
Middle relievers are essential to any team’s title run and quality guys can be plucked off the waiver wire well into the season. My four-headed monster of Linebrink, Meredith, Betancourt and Neshek have combined for 70 Ks, 4 wins and an ERA and WHIP of approximately 2.32 and 0.98, respectively. Below is a list of middle relievers off to fast starts who are available in most leagues. While some are the real deal, others are just waiting for you to pick them up before turning in a 5-run stinkbomb of an outing. I’ve listed them from best to worst…
Tony Peña – Peña has been having a great year after a rough rookie campaign. While he may not get to close this year, he still has plenty of value.
Chad Qualls – Qualls’ peripherals are only adequate but the guy has quite the knack for getting wins, 17 in around 190 innings over the past three seasons.
Carlos Villanueva – Despite control problems, this young gun has put up some pretty impressive numbers in his short MLB career. In fact, I’m adding him right now.
Doug Brocail – Pitching out of the best bullpen in baseball, Brocail has been impressive and, even in the crowded pen, is able to pick up a win here and there.
Dustin Moseley – As a converted starter, Moseley has been lights out, despite only 11 strikeouts in more than 26 innings. See if you can move him for someone who gets strikeouts. When talking him up to other owners, be sure to mention that he’s from Texarkana, Arkansas and was a Sandwich Pick. Always good to know.
Heath Bell – Yet another Padres reliever with impressive numbers, Bell won’t get the opportunity for wins necessary to make him valuable.
Casey Janssen – Despite Janssen’s big numbers so far, his low strikeout totals and division make him a player that should be avoided in all but the deepest of leagues.
Matt Guerrier – Think Bell with fewer Ks. The poor guy only has one win in more than 188 career innings!