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Fantasy Baseball Today

Dellin Betances a uniquely valuable reliever

By Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer

Sometimes in the goal of trying to get to as many players as possible on Fantasy Baseball Today, Adam Aizer, Al Melchior and I aren't able to go into as much detail as we'd like.

Such was the case Monday with Dellin Betances, who probably deserved more than we gave him.

I added him, a middle reliever, in a standard 12-team Rotisserie league this weekend. It's not because I think David Robertson is at risk of losing the closer role or because middle relievers, as a whole, are more valuable than I've previous acknowledged. It's simply because Betances' specific skill set makes him too valuable to pass up in a league where you're competing for ERA and WHIP.

Granted, he wouldn't be the first middle reliever to have an ERA as low as 1.38 and a WHIP as low as 0.73, assuming those even continue, but what separates him from all the others is his capacity to pitch more than one inning at a time and his Craig Kimbrel-like penchant for strikeouts.

The result is a strikeout total that has him on pace with some starting pitchers, including ones you may have drafted specifically to help with strikeouts.

Betances' 56 strikeouts give him just five fewer than so-called strikeout specialist Tim Lincecum, three fewer than Yordano Ventura, two fewer than Justin Masterson and one fewer than Justin Verlander. He has the same number as Homer Bailey, one more than Scott Kazmir and 10 more than both Tony Cingrani and Shelby Miller.

One of the big reasons why a reliever who doesn't get saves isn't worth starting in Rotisserie leagues is because he can't compete with the starting pitchers in strikeouts. Betances clearly can.

So really, wins are all you forfeit by starting him every week, and they're such a crapshoot that you're liable to stream your way out of a few of them anyway. What Betances contributes in ERA and WHIP should more than make up for it, provided you use him enough to make a dent.

If your pitching staff is so deep in high-end talent that you couldn't see yourself fitting him into your lineup, don't bother. But if you've been trying to scrape together a quality pitching staff on the fly, Betances could be the mainstay you need.

 
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