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Fantasy Baseball Reliever Report: Week 19

As the fantasy baseball season draws to a close, Cam goes over five relievers that could help your team make a last-minute push in the ERA and WHIP categories.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 03: Ian Hamilton #71 of the New York Yankees pitches during the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium on April 03, 2023 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

At this stage of the fantasy football season, it is awfully tough to gain ground in any category. It is especially difficult to pick up ground in the ratios. With 1,000 innings already thrown, lowering your team’s WHIP or ERA is not easy. For the most part, every pitcher who could possibly move the needle is already spoken for. You aren’t getting Blake Snell or Clayton Kershaw off waivers. And snagging a top closer like Felix Bautista isn’t happening either.

So should you just throw your hands in the air and resign yourself to your WHIP and ERA plight? There’s a famous scene in the movie Moneyball, where everyone is debating how to replace Jason Giambi’s bat in the lineup. And Brad Pitt simply says, “We can’t … But we may be able to recreate him, in the aggregate.” Of course, the room filled with grizzled old scouts had no idea what he meant.

At this stage of the year, it is impossible to get just one guy who will help lower your WHIP or ERA, but you may be able to in the aggregate. I’ve compiled a list of five relievers who are most likely available in your leagues, who all have low ERA and WHIP numbers. If you can find two or three roster spots for them, they, combined, may be able to give you just enough down the stretch to help you.

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Each of these pitchers has thrown over 40 innings this year, and each has a sub-2.60 ERA and a sub-1.25 WHIP. Any two of them will be the equivalent of one 80+ inning guy who undoubtedly has higher ratios. Any three of them will offset one 120+ inning pitcher.

Here are the five, and remember, this is completely about their ratios … nothing more:

Ian Hamilton, New York Yankees

In 43.1 innings, Hamilton has a fantastic 1.87 ERA, with a solid 1.25 WHIP. If you need help in ERA, Hamilton should be your top priority: Of these five, he has the lowest ERA of the bunch.

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Colin Poche, Tampa Bay Rays

Poche has thrown 44 innings with a fantastic 1.11 WHIP and a very solid 2.25 ERA. If you were to combine him with Hamilton, you’d be getting the equivalent of a pitcher who has 87.1 innings on the year with a 1.18 WHIP and 2.06 ERA. And even though the focus here is on ratios, they have combined for 11 wins, 18 holds, two saves and 88 Ks.

Hoby Milner, Milwaukee Brewers

Milner has thrown 48.2 innings, producing a 2.59 ERA, which is the highest of this group, but also a 1.05 WHIP, which is the lowest.

Brent Suter, Colorado Rockies

Suter’s 55.2 innings are the most of this group, and he stands to throw the most the rest of the way. He has a 2.42 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP this season.

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Ryan Walker, San Fransisco Giants

Walker has thrown 44.1 innings this season and has a 2.23 ERA to go along with a 1.22 WHIP. Any two of these three National League pitchers is the equivalent of grabbing a starter with 100 innings under his belt. Only a handful of pitchers have thrown 150 innings or more this year, but if you could snag all three of these pitchers, you’d be getting the functional equivalent. And realistically, the arms you’d be replacing them with are likely far worse.

This may seem like throwing a Hail Mary, but if you are a couple of percentage points away from moving up a spot or two, this is your best, and most likely, only, chance to accomplish it. If you are sitting with an ERA of 3.75 and need to get to 3.50, nothing will help you … but if you only need to get to 3.68, this type of move can help. The same is true in WHIP. If you have a 1.28 WHIP and need to get to 1.20, you’re cooked. However, if you need to get to 1.26, this type of move gives you a puncher’s chance.

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