Steve Cishek
Steve Cishek
33-Year-Old PitcherRP
Chicago Cubs
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Cishek is coming off arguably his best year. His ratios were slightly lower in 2017, but last season, he appeared in a career-high 80 games, throwing a personal-best 70.1 innings while cranking his strikeout rate back over a batter an inning. Cishek's sidewinding delivery gives fits to right-handed batters, while his slider, thrown 13 mph slower than his fastball, keeps lefty swingers off balance. He can handle hitters from both sides of the plate with near equal aplomb. The Cubs used him in high-leverage scenarios, resulting in his logging 25 holds, tied for eighth most in the league, along with chipping in four saves. Cishek is slated to return to a similar role in 2019, making him one of the top options in leagues scoring holds. His ratio protection with decent whiffs and the occasional situational save put him in the mix in all formats. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a two-year, $13 million deal with the Cubs in December 2017.
Records seventh save of season
PChicago Cubs
June 20, 2019
Cishek recorded two strikeouts and didn't allow a baserunner in a scoreless inning of work to earn his seventh save of the season Thursday against the Mets.
After a home run and a walk brought the tying run to the on-deck circle in the ninth inning, Cishek got the call to close out the game. He did so with relative ease, throwing eight of 12 pitches for strikes as he retired all three hitters he faced. Cishek could get a couple more save opportunities in the short term and maybe as an occasional sub after Craig Kimbrel joins the team, but his run as a part-time closer is coming to an end.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .213 214 55 30 38 4 1 5
Since 2017vs Right .165 382 101 24 57 10 3 5
2019vs Left .212 60 19 6 11 1 0 1
2019vs Right .191 74 18 6 13 2 0 1
2018vs Left .218 99 25 18 17 2 1 2
2018vs Right .165 189 53 10 28 6 3 3
2017vs Left .208 55 11 6 10 1 0 2
2017vs Right .148 119 30 8 16 2 0 1
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
Since 2017Home 2.71 1.09 79.2 6 3 7 9.7 3.3 1.0
Since 2017Away 1.83 0.90 68.2 3 6 5 9.2 3.3 0.1
2019Home 2.95 1.09 18.1 2 1 3 10.8 2.5 1.0
2019Away 3.00 1.07 15.0 0 3 4 9.0 4.2 0.0
2018Home 2.29 1.19 35.1 2 0 3 9.7 3.8 1.0
2018Away 2.06 0.89 35.0 2 3 1 10.3 3.3 0.3
2017Home 3.12 0.96 26.0 2 2 1 9.0 3.1 1.0
2017Away 0.48 0.80 18.2 1 0 0 7.2 2.4 0.0
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Stat Review
How does Steve Cishek compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 20 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
90.5 mph
Left On Base
Exit Velocity
82.5 mph
Spin Rate
2328 rpm
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
Swinging Strike
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Steve Cishek
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Cishek's 2017 was delayed after he underwent hip labrum surgery involving a microfracture procedure in October 2016. After returning in mid-May, the side-winding righty spun a 3.15 ERA and 1.00 WHIP until the Mariners dealt Cishek to the Rays at the July trade deadline, marking his fifth organization since the start of 2015. Cishek was effective for the Rays over the final two months, sporting a 1.09 ERA and 0.81 WHIP with 26 strikeouts in 24.2 frames. Though he's known for his ability to handle right-handers, Cishek can hold his own versus lefty swingers, so be can be used for multi-inning stints, as he was five times last season. Throwing nearly equal numbers of fastballs and sliders, Cishek relies on deception in lieu of velocity, inducing a lot of weak contact, mostly of the groundball variety. After signing with Cubs, Cishek is likely ticketed for setup duty, but he could plausibly work himself into the closer role, where he's had success in the past (73 saves with the Marlins from 2013-14).
On July 30, Cishek sat with 25 saves and a 2.74 ERA -- great numbers following a poor 2015 season. He brought his strikeout rate back up to the excellent levels of previous years and restored his control to spin his lowest ERA since 2013. Unfortunately, after Cishek endured a few bad games and a trip to the disabled list, Edwin Diaz took the closer job for the rest of the year. The M's will almost certainly stick with Diaz heading into 2017 especially after Cishek underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip, which jeopardizes his availability for spring training and even Opening Day. Still, in deep fantasy drafts, it may not be a bad idea to use a throwaway pick on Cishek for at least helpful reliever stats -- and for the remote possibility that the talented but raw Diaz pitches himself out of closer opportunities.
Cishek was acquired in mid-July from Miami and provided another setup option out of the bullpen for the Cardinals. He only recorded one save with St. Louis as he mostly worked the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, posting a 2.31 ERA in 23.1 frames for the Cardinals while striking out 20 and walking 13. Despite posting a higher ERA in his three-plus months with Miami (4.50) his FIP indicated that he pitched almost a full run better prior to being traded (3.51 with MIA, 4.33 with STL). At 29, Cishek has recorded 95 career saves and his skills haven't changed all that much, so it makes sense that a team like the Mariners would want to give him a look in the closer role. The team also traded for veteran Joaquin Benoit from San Diego, but general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed in December that Cishek will open the season as the closer.
How does one of the most consistent relief pitchers in the league top his first full season as closer in which he converted 34-of-36 saves with a 2.33 ERA and 1.08 WHIP? By improving his strikeout rate during a stellar 2014 campaign. Cishek broke out in a big way in 2013, and continued to provide rock solid numbers in the back of the Marlins' bullpen -- 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP with 39 saves in 43 chances -- over 65.1 innings in 2014. Despite posting an ERA over 3.00 for the first time in his career, Cishek also registered the lowest FIP (2.17) and xFIP (2.54) of his four seasons in the majors. The 28-year-old stopper leans heavily on a sinker-slider combination which has proven effective at producing swings and misses (30.6 K% in 2014) and generating plenty of groundballs (51.1 GB% for his career). Cishek will once-again be locked in at the back end of the Marlins’ bullpen and he remains one of the game’s most reliable closers.
Cishek hit a stride down the stretch last season following a shaky start that left him with a 5.40 ERA on May 18 (16 appearances). From that point on, however, the Marlins' stopper was among the most automatic relief arms in the game, allowing just eight earned runs over his final 53.0 innings pitched (1.36 ERA) and striking out over a batter per inning. All told, Cishek cashed in 34-of-36 save opportunities to go along with a sparkling 2.33 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. Cishek bumped his strikeout rate up for a third straight season to a career best 26.3% in 2013 while also inducing groundballs at a 53.1% clip -- the second best rate among pitchers who recorded 20 or more saves. The 6-foot-6 righty capitalizes on a side-arm delivery to work with a 92-mph sinker that continues to get the job done in the ninth. Cishek will enter the season locked in at the back end of the Miami bullpen.
Though he didn't see back-to-back save chances until late July, Cishek took the Marlins' closer role and ran with it, converting 13-of-14 opportunities over the season's final three months. Overall, the side-arm slinging right-hander dominated to the tune of a 2.69 ERA while registering 9.6 K/9. Cishek's walk rate is a touch higher than you would like out of a ninth-inning reliever (4.1 BB/9) and it's also moving in the wrong direction (3.1 BB/9 in 2011); still, Cishek got the job done in the endgame role and with Heath Bell now out of the picture, he remains the favorite for saves in South Florida heading into 2013.
Cishek had a good spring training in 2011 and never looked back, finishing the year as the Marlins closer by default. He's got a solid, but not exceptional, fastball/slider combo, and that led to a strong 9.05 K/9IP over 45 appearances in the big leagues. Unfortunately for those who grabbed him as a potential cheap keeper and sources of saves, he should settle in as one of the Marlins' primary setup men with Heath Bell in town.
More Fantasy News
Takes loss Sunday
PChicago Cubs
June 16, 2019
Cishek (1-4) allowed one run over 1.1 innings to take the loss Sunday against the Dodgers. He gave up one hit and a walk, while striking out one.
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Available Friday
PChicago Cubs
June 14, 2019
Cishek (knee) is available to pitch Friday against the Dodgers if needed, Jesse Rogers of reports.
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Testing knee Thursday
PChicago Cubs
June 13, 2019
Cishek will test his knee before Thursday's game against the Dodgers to determine his availability, Patrick Mooney of The Athletic reports.
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Downplays knee bruise
PChicago Cubs
June 12, 2019
Cishek (knee) said after Wednesday's win over the Rockies he should be good to go in a day or two, Jesse Rogers of reports.
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Dealing with bruised knee
PChicago Cubs
June 12, 2019
Cishek was diagnosed with a right knee bone bruise, Jesse Rogers of reports.
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