It’s SAGNOF speed week! That means saves are the thing that need to have no faces. We’ll talk a few runners and a few catchers. I’ve included a chart of the catchers yielding the most stolen bases thus far. I find people often forget that half of the equation when trying to find a hitter to stream as a speed spec play. We’re looking for both a volume of steals given up and poor defense throwing runners out.

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As the weather turns hot so do the seats of shaky relievers. It can be risky to jump ship early on someone that’s been good to you but a shrewd move can pay off big time in the summer. I often tell myself, “Carl, live in the future, dammit!” Don’t ask me why “Carl” is how I refer to myself in the third person.

  • Mark Melancon remains a step ahead of the league. He ditched spider tack weeks ago and is now using beetle spunk. It’s the only explanation for a guy that projected to be mediocre, yet leads the league in saves. In actuality, he’s likely locating his stuff as well as ever with a near career high in GB% and career low in FB%.
  • The Reds are optimizing the adage if you many of something you really have none. Their bullpen is filled with quality arms. Without that clear-cut go-to closer, things have been messy. Lucas Sims is starting to show the strain of the role. Tejay Antone just returned from the IL but also blew a save (and poached a win).
  • Tampa Bay can’t catch a break in their back end either. Name a reliever for them and they’ve blown a save or took a loss in the past week. Nothing like some extra ambiguity in the murkiest of bullpens.
  • Richard Rodriguez continues to be a sharp closer. That almost certainly means he’ll be relocating prior to the trade deadline. Two possible paths exist here. He could go to a contender that needs a clear closer and earn many more save opps. He could also go to a team with an already strong closer and become a setup man, which seems the more natural fit for him.
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Allow myself to reintroduce myself: I’m Roto-Wan. Long-time saves chaser, non-pricey pick payer, part-time closer ranker. You may remember from such columns as this one, last season. Grey kidnapped my dog and is forcing me to write about saves with masks or something. Contact the authorities if you’re reading this. All kidding aside, I enjoyed my hiatus and look forward to helping valued readers like you navigate the treacherous waters of saves in the MLB. I’ve dusted off Grey’s original tiers, as I like to do in the early going. It’s important to remind us of the jerks we’ve been to help us know the jerks we can become.

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When I decided to name this piece the RP Thrift Shop I couldn’t get the Macklemore jam by the same name out of my head. So here I sit, wearing a fake mink coat, shaving the sides of my head. Like Mack I’m not looking to spend $50 on a t-shirt. I’ll take the 99 cent stuff that smells like R-Kelly’s sheets. Thus, the framework is laid. Let’s talk relievers. Maybe Ryan Lewis will drop a bomb chorus for us.

 

The Gucci shirt: Edwin Diaz

If you just look at Diaz’s 2020 surface numbers when you’re in the draft room you might click his name when it’s your pick. What those numbers leave out is how the Mets protected him from his Molotov throwing self for an entire month of a two-month season. Sounds exactly like someone you want to invest a top 100 pick on.

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This has been a peculiar season to say the least. Hot streaks, injuries, and canceled games have shifted mountains. Hopefully you’re grinding the final week for a finishing place. Best of luck to your fake teams my fake friends.

  • When mining for steals it’s best to target the Mets. They’ll face the Rays and Nationals this week. Manny Margot or Josh Harrison are a couple of names to look up.
  • Roman Quinn leads the Phillies in steals and plays most days. He’s not giving you much anywhere else but if it’s speed you need go get him.
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Am I recycling a headline pun? Yes. We have two weeks left in the baseball season, are you going to hold it against me? Oh, you are? Fine. I don’t blame you. Just as long as you don’t hold it against me when the closers I offer up gash your ratios. The 2020 season has been very, well 2020-ish in regards to bullpens.

  • Stefan Crichton was the reliever that made sense to get the Diamondbacks closer gig based on performance so of course, they handed it to the struggling Kevin Ginkel. That experiment turned bad quickly enough. Crichton has gotten the call since to earn three straight saves.
  • Ken Giles goes back to the IL just as quickly as he returned from it. That does it for his 2020. Rafael Dolis should stay firmly atop that pen.
  • It appears more is going on with Brandon Workman than Joe Girardi just trying out all his closer options. He came in to a tie game last night and served up a homer and RBI triple. Workman had last appeared in the seventh (of a nine-inning game) and walked two while giving up three hits. Hector Neris has moved back into the closer role but literally dropped the ball in his last appearance, resulting in a balk that led to that runner scoring from second. Something is barking in his kinetic chain if I had to guess.
  • Just when we thought it was safe to go back into the San Francisco waters Gabe Kapler starts getting all Gabe Kaplery. He used Tony Watson to face the bottom of the order in the seventh and went with Sam Selman for the ninth. G’abe la vie.
  • There’s no lack of blown saves for the Cardinals back end options. I really can’t tell you who gets the next crack it. Maybe the just say yolo and try to let Alex Reyes cook in the ninth.
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Kudos to you for reading a baseball article with NFL action dominating the airwaves. We haven’t had quite as wide of an NFL distraction window without its preseason. These next couple of weeks will have to make due for easy FAAB times. Finish strong my friends.

  • The Angels closer is now *spins wheel of random mediocre reliever* Matt Andriese? The internet is telling me that is correct. Not really since they came in somewhat unique situations but also maybe with how bad the rest of the pen has been lately.
  • The Arizona pen is turning into an open competition. Stefan Crichton is maybe the best to speculate on. There are probably too many cooks in this kitchen with no enough ingredients. Save opps and wins being the ingredients here.
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Are you tired of me complaining about how drastically so many bullpens are changing week to week yet? WELL GUESS WHAT? I’m gonna do it again. And probably again next week. Just assume I do it until Grey agrees to kick me a bonus for every change to the closer board. Even with the upheaval, most of it’s at the lower rungs. Which is nice at least. Tiers are football slate themes with the NFL kicking off last night (all you baseball purists making a face at the mention of football can go watch a Colts-Jaguars TNF game).

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Take the opportunity this week to sneak some adds by your leaguemates who could very well be distracted by the impending start of the NFL season. Things are happening around the league on the waiver front. The last crop of rookies are getting their shots. Some IL returns are happening. Time to push your chips in.

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All in all, the MLB trade deadline wasn’t an all out bullen nuke. We have some spots that need updating but nothing more than 2020 has been throwing at us. If you’re falling behind in a category you need to attack it with an all out assault from multiple angles. See if some of these cheap sources can help you out.

  • After trading away Archie Bradley we have an opening for the Diamondbacks closer. Two young names with a shot are Stefan Crichton and Kevin Ginkel. I’d have bet good money Ginkel was the guy prior to the season. He’s had lackluster results, however. Crichton has been solid on the other hand and building trust. Junior Guerra and Hector Rondon probably get the first opps but they should be moved aside fairly quickly.
  • Aroldis Chapman has been suspended three games for throwing at Mike Brosseau. Zach Britton gets a little extra life if you were holding him on the chance Chapman stumbled.
  • We’re still trying to figure out the Cubs bullpen. Jeremy Jeffress seems to be the flavor of the week after Rowan Wick had some hiccups and Craig Kimbrel is still serving meatballs. I’m still holding out hope that Wick can rise to the top of this foul brew.
  • The Padres trading for Trevor Rosenthal makes more sense with them sending Emilio Pagan to the IL. They want a RHP compliment in the ninth for Drew Pomeranz. Pagan’s shoulder fatigue isn’t a great sign for his 2020 prospects.
  • Two relievers are getting close to return from the IL and may be worth a stash where available in Nick Anderson and Wade Davis. Anderson is less likely to be out there and may not get saves even upon return. Davis will almost definitely get back into the ninth but may not have great results aside from saves. Pick your poison.
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