2011 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide: Relief Pitcher (RP) Busts. Relief Pitcher (RP) Bust selections are based on a standard scoring system in mixed AL/NL fantasy baseball leagues for the 2011 season. Scoring system stats include: wins, losses, saves, strikeouts, era, and whip – (W, L, SV, K, ERA, WHIP). IP = innings pitched during the 2010 season.
Relief Pitcher (RP) Bust selections are based on players who have the potential to post a significant decrease in pitching statistics during the 2011 season, as compared to their 2010 season and previous season statistics over their major league career. Relief Pitcher (RP) Bust selections are also based on the probability that a player will be drafted earlier in a fantasy baseball draft than what their projected 2011 season stats will justify.
Relief Pitcher (RP) Busts 2011
Ryan Franklin – StL
The last time an aging closer with a slow fastball and low strikeout ability went from very good to terrible in just one season, I just cannot help but picture the Trevor Hoffman resemblance for Franklin in 2011. More importantly, if potential closer of the future Jason Motte can finally get his stuff down pat, then there is little reason to believe that Motte will not take over as the Cardinals closer at some point during the 2011 season. So if you are drafting Franklin thinking that he will get you 30 saves while closing games for the Cardinals in 2011, I would definitely think twice about that possibility.
2010 Stats: 65 IP, 6 W, 2 L, 27 SV, 42 K, 3.46 ERA, 1.03 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 60 IP, 4 W, 2 L, 18 SV, 40 K, 3.25 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
Fernando Rodney – LAA
Essentially the closer by default for the Angels, Rodney who has been closing games since the 2008 season, has never posted an ERA below 4.24 or a WHIP below 1.47 during any of those three seasons. Add in a terrible strikeout rate at under 1 strikeout per inning, and Rodney is essentially a complete waste as a relief pitcher on any fantasy baseball team entering the 2011 season. And more importantly, if Rodney treads in the 4.00 plus ERA and 1.50 WHIP levels again to begin the 2011 season, is seems reasonable to expect the Angels to look for a different closer sooner rather than later.
2010 Stats: 68 IP, 4 W, 3 L, 14 SV, 35 K, 4.24 ERA, 1.54 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 70 IP, 3 W, 3 L, 15 SV, 60 K, 4.25 ERA, 1.45 WHIP
Brandon Lyon – Hou
Having posted an outstanding second half of the 2010 season, Lyon took over as a very reliable and dependable closer for the Astros after the All-Star break, and he easily rewarded the Astros and fantasy baseball teams with 19 saves and a 2.56 ERA, with just 1 blown save over 38 appearances. Entering the 2011 season as the Astros incumbent starter after having traded former closer Matt Lindstrom, Lyon could easily be a late round steal for fantasy baseball teams or he could be a complete bust and a wasted pick. My thinking is that the latter has the greater possibility. Lyon will be facing potent division rival offenses in St. Louis, Milwaukee and Cincinnati; the Astros home park is not pitcher friendly; the Astros offense will likely have a hard time scoring runs this season; and finally, Lyon is simply not a strikeout pitcher which never bodes well for any closer.
2010 Stats: 78 IP, 6 W, 6 L, 20 SV, 54 K, 3.12 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
2011 Stat Projections: 70 IP, 4 W, 3 L, 15 SV, 50 K, 3.30 ERA, 1.25 WHIP
For additional 2011 fantasy baseball rankings, articles, and draft tips, check out my blog at Hawk Fantasy Sports