Steve Cishek
Steve Cishek
32-Year-Old PitcherRP
Chicago Cubs
2018 Fantasy Outlook
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). Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a two-year, $13 million deal with the Cubs in December 2017.
Records one-out save
PChicago Cubs
September 15, 2018
Cishek retired the only batter he faced to pick up his fourth save of the season Saturday against the Reds.
Manager Joe Maddon played matchups in the ninth inning, with Jesse Chavez and Randy Rosario picking up the first two outs before Cishek was called upon to face Eugenio Suarez. The sidewinder needed just one pitch to get Suarez to groundout to end the game. He now owns a shiny 2.32 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 75:25 K:BB across 66 innings this season and looks to be one of the top candidates to step into the ninth inning for the time being with Pedro Strop (hamstring) and Brandon Morrow (biceps) both sidelined.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .218 265 71 33 49 8 1 9
Since 2016vs Right .159 435 121 27 63 12 3 7
2018vs Left .227 93 25 15 17 2 1 2
2018vs Right .159 175 50 10 25 6 3 3
2017vs Left .208 55 11 6 10 1 0 2
2017vs Right .148 119 30 8 16 2 0 1
2016vs Left .216 117 35 12 22 5 0 5
2016vs Right .169 141 41 9 22 4 0 3
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
Since 2016Home 2.70 1.06 90.0 6 6 14 9.3 3.0 1.2
Since 2016Away 2.13 0.91 84.2 5 5 16 10.5 3.2 0.4
2018Home 2.53 1.13 32.0 2 0 3 9.8 3.4 1.1
2018Away 2.12 0.91 34.0 2 3 1 10.6 3.4 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
2016Home 2.53 1.06 32.0 2 4 10 9.0 2.5 1.4
2016Away 3.09 0.97 32.0 2 2 15 12.4 3.4 0.8
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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.
90.4 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
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
Candidate to see saves
PChicago Cubs
September 14, 2018
Cishek picked up his 23rd hold of the season by recording the final out of the sixth inning Thursday against the Nationals.
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Allows run but picks up win against Mets
PChicago Cubs
August 27, 2018
CIshek (4-1) picked up the win Monday against the Mets despite allowing a solo home run in his inning of work. He struck out one.
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Records ninth-inning hold
PChicago Cubs
August 18, 2018
Cishek recorded one out via strikeout and picked up his 19th hold of the season in Friday's 1-0 win over the Pirates.
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Snags hold with scoreless inning
PChicago Cubs
August 16, 2018
Cishek pitched a scoreless seventh inning in Thursday's 1-0 win over the Pirates to record his 18th hold of the season.
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Grabs third save
PChicago Cubs
July 11, 2018
Cishek earned the save Tuesday, firing a scoreless inning against the Giants.
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