It is the middle of your draft. You have to fill the rest of your roster spots. You’re 30 seconds away from making your choice. The clock ticks down. You don’t have a closer and Mariano Rivera is long gone. You see Heath Bell. Should you draft him? Didn’t he used to be New York Met? Sure, but he learned to pitch the second they traded him back in 2006. The clock strikes zero. You’re up. What do you do?
Since Heath Bell’s tenure with the Mets as well as the San Diego Padres, Major League Baseball has definitely sat up and taken notice of Bell’s prowess. According to ESPN.com, he agreed to a three-year deal worth $27 million with the newly minted Miami Marlins. Back in the highly competitive National League East, this is Bell’s shot to show he’s ready for the big time. Now, does he deserve a spot in your big time?
Heath Bell has racked up a career 134 saves, 494 strikeouts, a 3.06 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He might be 34 years old (i.e. slightly north his career’s midpoint), but he’s just getting better with age. He has kept his ERA under 3.00 for the past three seasons. In those same years, he has delivered at least 40 saves a season. He converts over 83% of his save opportunities and only blew l5 saves last season. He also kept his WHIP very respectfully under 1.20.
So, what are Heath Bell’s potential capabilities now that he’s a Marlin? Let’s face it. He has spent his career on some pretty miserable teams, and by miserable, I mean the New York Mets and the San Diego Padres. The Miami Marlins are making some moves though. Bell will be joining the team with Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and new manager, Ozzie Guillen. They are not as good as the Phillies, but they are going to put up a fight. Heath Bell will have more support than he’ll know what to do with.
Juan Oviedo, the artist formally known as Leo Nunez, will welcome Heath Bell to the bullpen. Oviedo would move from closer to set-up. If Oviedo can get his identity straightened out with the Dominican authorizes and is cleared to play, Bell would be a part of a pretty lethal one-two combination at the end of the game.
Heath Bell is by no means Mariano Rivera, but the chance that you land Mo in the draft is slim to nil. There’s only one of him and he’s going to go early. Bell, a two-time Relief Award Winner and easily one of the top ten relievers in the league, is a pretty interesting alternative. Even though his strikeout numbers have dipped, his other numbers have stayed consistently strong for three years. He’s got a lot of baseball left in him, and with an upgrade in his team, he’s got all the tools to just get better.
Heath Bell isn’t going to go cheap on your draft day but you shouldn’t need to break the bank on him either. Based on his new team, if he stays healthy, Bell is going to deliver for your Fantasy Baseball team. I don’t know about you, but I’m going for him. (Jeez! I hope I just didn’t give away my draft strategy.)