The lefty took the ball a career-high 73 times in 2017 and totaled 67.1 innings, his most since his days as a starter in Toronto. He's no longer the sub-3.00 ERA reliever he was a few years ago, but Brett Cecil was still plenty effective last season with more than four strikeouts for every walk thanks to a 37.0 O-Swing percentage. Renewed faith in his changeup -- he more than doubled his changeup usage from any of the previous four seasons to 14.4 percent -- helped Cecil post career-best numbers against right-handers (.230 OBP, .331 SLG). Unfortunately, his performance against lefties declined dramatically, with his .392 wOBA allowed to lefty batters coming in more than 100 points higher than his career mark. He also saw fewer high-leverage opportunities later in the year after a rough stretch in August, so Cecil may be confined to the middle innings to open 2018.
Cecil fired a scoreless ninth inning in Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Cubs, recording a strikeout while not allowing any hits or walks. Cecil appears to mostly be getting back on track as the season winds down, with Wednesday's outing serving as his sixth scoreless effort in eight September appearances. The veteran reliever does have 13 holds on his 2017 ledger, but some inconsistencies (seven outings with multiple earned runs allowed) have made him difficult for manager Mike Matheny and fantasy owners to trust at times.
Cecil pitched a clean seventh inning in Friday's 8-2 loss to the Cubs, recording a pair of strikeouts. Cecil got through his frame in a quick 13 pitches, 10 of which he got into the strike zone. The veteran reliever now has a five-appearance scoreless streak and has blanked opponents in nine of his last 10 outings overall. Cecil has lowered his ERA from 4.38 to 3.94 during that stretch while also compiling an impressive 12:0 K:BB over 10 innings.
Cecil fired a scoreless eighth inning in Tuesday's 10-2 win over the Brewers, recording a strikeout. Cecil needed only eight pitches, seven of which he threw for strikes, to dispose of Hernan Perez, Domingo Santana and Stephen Vogt. After a rough start to August, the 31-year-old right-hander has generated scoreless efforts in five of his last six trips to the mound. While his ERA has seen a bump this month, Cecil's 13 holds and 54 strikeouts over 54.1 innings render him a viable fantasy asset in both NL-only and deeper formats.
Cecil fired a scoreless seventh inning in Sunday's 6-3 loss to the Pirates, recording a pair of strikeouts. The veteran lefty got through his one frame on an efficient 13 pitches, marking his third straight scoreless appearance. The modest but successful stretch has served as an encouraging rebound for Cecil, who gave up seven earned runs over two innings in a trio of outings earlier in August.
Cecil surrendered an earned run on three hits and a walk over an inning in Tuesday's 10-4 loss to the Red Sox. He also recorded a strikeout. Cecil endured a 25-pitch frame and has allowed at least one earned run in three of his last four appearances. The 31-year-old southpaw has had trouble putting together extended stretches of consistent performances in his first Cardinals season, as evidenced by his 4.38 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. However, his solid strikeout upside and control (45:15 K:BB) give him some relevance in NL-only and deep formats that count holds.