So here's how this works. Each Monday, the Yahoo fantasy crew jumps on a conference call to discuss the week that was/will be. As part of this process, we've decided to include a short mock draft - roughly, one-eighth the size of a normal draft, I shall call it mini mock. This week's mini mock draft (four rounds) is dedicated to middle relievers — we're looking for the most rosterable MRs for fantasy purposes at the moment. I'll get the party started ...
Round 1 Pick 1 — Dellin Betances, NYY (Brandon Funston)
Funston says – His K/9 rate (15.25) is ridiculous — in fact, only Craig Kimbrel and teammate David Robertson have a better mark among pitchers that have logged at least 20 innings. He also has the lowest xFIP (1.07) among that group of arms, suggesting that his 1.50 ERA could actually be even lower.
Round 1 Pick 2 — Wade Davis, KC (Brad Evans)
Noise says – The converted starter has flourished as a reliever in Kansas City, tallying a 14.61 K/9 while picking up a W five times. In his past 18 innings, he's allowed just five hits, three walks and zero runs.
Round 1 Pick 3 — Jake McGee, TB (Dalton Del Don)
3D says – Grant Balfour’s latest implosion has the Rays headed toward a closer-by-committee, and it’s safe to expect McGee to be at the head of it. He’s a lefty but has been better against right-handers this season. There’s a lot of upside here.
Round 1 Pick 4 — Joaquin Benoit, SD (Scott Pianowski)
Pianowman says – He was one of the logical spec plays in March, as we all figured Huston Street would be hurt by now. Okay, that hasn't happened — and Street has been terrific — but a 1.63 ERA and 0.76 WHIP will play in any format. And maybe the Padres will finally wake up and smell the cat food (is that a litter box in the Petco outfield?) — a closer is an unneeded thing on a non-contender, making Street a terrific trade candidate.
Round 1 Pick 5 — Juan Carlos Oviedo, TB (Andy Behrens)
Behrens says – He established his PROVEN CLOSER™ credentials back when he was Leo Nunez, and he's now part of the committee in Tampa. If the Rays choose to keep Jake McGee and Joel Peralta in their usual roles, Oviedo would be the guy.
Round 2 Pick 1 — Mark Melancon, PIT (Behrens)
Behrens says – Regardless of his role, the ratios have been great. Melancon's WHIP is 0.83 as of this writing. If Jason Grilli stumbles, we know he's the guy.
Round 2 Pick 2 — Drew Storen, WAS (Pianowski)
Pianowman says – A 9.45 K/9 is good, not elite, but when it's tied to a microscopic walk rate (1.35/9), I'm definitely interested. Working in the NL East is good work if you can get it; consider some of the regular opponents Storen meets up with. The Braves are 29th in runs, the Phillies are 25th, the Mets are 19th (only Miami breaks the chain). Heck, the Nats are 17th in scoring. Take note, stream police.
Round 2 Pick 3 — Joba Chamberlain, DET (Del Don)
3D says – He got shelled when given a chance to close out Sunday’s game, but it was the first time Chamberlain has been scored upon since May 11. Joe Nathan has allowed 10 earned runs over his past 3.1 innings and looks done.
Round 2 Pick 4 — Tony Watson, PIT (Evans)
Noise says – It’s not elementary to roster this Watson. He’s induced a ton of ground balls (1.57 GB/FB), enticed ample whiffs (10.86 K/9) and totaled five wins. He’s an underrated ERA/WHIP tourniquet.
Round 2 Pick 5 — Alex Wood, ATL (Funston)
Funston says – I drafted him as a starter, but he's now spending time in the Atlanta bullpen with Gavin Floyd back in the rotation. That's alright, though, as Wood has more wins in his past month as a reliever (3) than he did in his first month-plus as a starter (2). He offers a K per IP and he'll be back in the rotation as soon as an injury or ineffectiveness plagues one of the current Atlanta starters (I'm looking at you, Aaron Harang).
Round 3 Pick 1 — David Carpenter, ATL (Funston)
Funston says – The requisite strikeout rate is here (10.58/9) and his four wins in relief ties him for sixth in MLB. Plus he's picked up a couple saves when Craig Kimbrel needed a break. His ERA is high right now (4.01), but I'd expect it to come down quickly. His FIP of 2.75 is actually lower than last year's rate (2.83) when he produced a 1.78 ERA.
Round 3 Pick 2 — Tyler Clippard, WAS (Evans)
Noise says – Overlooked seemingly every year, he’s as steady as they come. Despite an unsightly fly-ball rate, he’s kept the ball in the park (0.66 HR/9), racked the Ks (11.52 K/9) and, as always, stumbled into a few wins (4).
Round 3 Pick 3 — Luke Gregerson, OAK (Del Don)
3D says – Sean Doolittle looks locked in as Oakland’s closer barring injury, but at least Gregerson will help the ratios.
Round 3 Pick 4 — Brad Ziegler, ARI (Pianowski)
Pianowman says – Usually Ziggy plays middle-relief guitar, though he was the front-man in Arizona's bullpen for a while last year (13 saves). And maybe Ziegler will see the ninth again soon — Addison Reed has been a home-run wreck this year (eight taters allowed) and Ziegler recorded the team's last save. Even if we settle for non-closing work here, take heart in a 62.8 percent ground-ball rate and a career-best strikeout clip (7.6/9 isn't dominant, but it's moving in the right direction). And damn it, the sidewinder is fun to watch.
Round 3 Pick 5 — Joel Peralta, TB (Behrens)
Behrens says – Yet another share of this lousy Rays committee, which will probably give us only one save every two weeks. Peralta has pitched well lately, and he's had the eighth for Tampa.
Round 4 Pick 1 — Neil Ramirez, CHC (Behrens)
Behrens says – I'd like to dedicate this pick to the guy at the bar yesterday who swore up and down that Ramirez needs to be closing, immediately.
Round 4 Pick 2 — Jean Machi, SF (Pianowski)
Pianowman says – Obviously a 0.32 ERA and 0.75 WHIP are screaming for regression, but to what level? Machi's FIP still checks out at 2.08. The Giants are far and away the NL's best ballclub, and skipper Bruce Bochy likes to use Machi in high-leverage situations. Get ready for some sneaky wins, maybe the odd save or two.
Round 4 Pick 3 — Josh Fields, HOU (Del Don)
3D says – Since returning from a stint in the minors, Fields has a 0.68 ERA and a 0.68 WHIP with a 22:3 K:BB ratio over 13.1 innings.
Round 4 Pick 4 — Andrew Miller, BOS (Evans)
Noise says – The once hyped Tigers SP prospect has quietly delivered sound production in a relief role in Beantown the past three seasons. This year he’s trimmed the walks (3.16 BB/9) and induced a solid GB rate (46.4 GB%) while maintaining a 14-plus K/9.
Round 4 Pick 5 — Dominic Leone, SEA (Funston)
Funston says – He's been a top 5 middleman since early May, posting an 18:3 K/BB ratio and two wins while allowing just one run over his past 13.2 IP. And if/when Fernando Rodney happens to meltdown, Leone would be in the consideration for saves, though Danny Farquhar (another reasonable option at this spot) might be the first option.