If we take a look at the BS meter, we see Heath Bell still owns the pole position. It still appears that three BS this early in the season is the indicator of a closer losing his job. This means Henry Rodriguez is in some tough straights, word.

Otherwise, aside from health, most relievers are “settling down.” The oddest thing on this chart: Chris Perez. The oddest thing not on this chart: Jim Johnson and Fernando Rodney (no jinx, jinx?).

Washington Nationals: As noted, Rodriguez is creeping up the BS meter and in rather spectacular fashion: in five appearances since May 8, Rodriguez has pitched 3.2 IPs, allowed nine base runners and posted a 14.37 ERA. He has blown two saves, saved two games and recorded a hold. In the hold, his latest outing, Rodriguez threw 21 pitches, just eight for strikes. Sean Burnett had to come in and clean up the mess for the save. Rodriguez has one more blown save in him before an outright demotion. Given his lack of control, when he blows his next one is anyone’s guess. That said, it’s time to kick the tires on Burnett. When it’s all said and done, Rodriguez will have fine numbers, they will just include masterful and disastrous outings. There is no in between with him and his control. Both Brad Lidge and Drew Storen have just begun throwing following surgeries, with Storen targeting the All-star break.

Detroit Tigers: Jose Valverde, with one of the longer leashes in MLB, would have to get injured to lose the closer role. So, what did he do? He went and hurt his lower back. At the moment, there is absolutely no clarity on the type of injury. Whether Octavio Dotel or Joaquin Benoit get saves during the upheaval is also up in the air. Given how possible it is this situation bears no saves, if I’m speculating, I’ll go Benoit. He’s a good pitcher, whereas Dotel really can’t get lefties out. ROTW for Benoit: 2.89 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 11.5 K/9 rate. He has been walking guys a bit more and throwing his fastball a lot less, but expect him to get the location under control.

Chicago White Sox: After earning the save Monday night and being, ya know, good at pitching, I fully expect Addison Reed to be the closer ROTW. He’ll put up fine numbers (3.25 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 11.9 K /9 rate). If he’s somehow available, go get him now. This carousel stops here (god I wish I could be comfortable typing that).

New York Mets: Frank Francisco is also jumping up the BS meter, but has received a vote of confidence from his manager and might be tipping his pitches, so there’s optimism he can turn it around. It’s amazing what counts for optimism these days. He did secure his most recent save opportunity, but has also allowed at least one run in his last three outings. For the year, he’s getting a bit jobbed by a pitiful strand rate and enlarged BABIP. He’s still getting a ton of swinging strikes and maintaining his velocity. For some reason, he is throwing his splitter a bit more which could be partly to blame for his walk rate. Or it could be that it’s just 14.2 IPs. With relievers, though, we can’t really make the small sample size argument, as they are judged on SSS all year long. If healthy, I expect Francisco to be fine, posting a 3.15 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 9.75 K/9 rate ROTW. In fact, I also think Bobby Parnell will end up with the second most saves on the squad, believing there’s a chance both Francisco and Jon Rauch get injured/traded.

Miami Marlins: The Marlins keep winning despite an unreliable bullpen. Since May 1, Heath Bell has two wins, a save and a blown save. During that span, he has pitched five innings, allowed 12 base runners and posted a 9.00 ERA. Meanwhile, Steve Cishek has two wins and two blown saves in May, but has pitched solid and Edward Mujica has three holds, two saves and a blown save. Again, I’d totally avoid this situation if possible. I do think, as commenter @Jack predicted, Cishek will be first in line for saves if this situation ever stabilizes. However, I give him a 55% chance of having the most non-Bell saves with Mujica having a 43% chance and a 2% chance the world ends because of this. ROTW, Bell probably gets the most saves, but it’s going to be ugly.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Scott Downs has been fantastic all year, yet Ernesto Frieri, aka Padres closer of the future, got the final out in a non-save chance Tuesday night. This is likely nothing, but is a bit confusing. I suppose Downs giving up a hit to Daric Barton would make sense to go righty-righty on Kurt Suzuki, but if that’s the case wouldn’t it make sense to give Frieri the bulk of the save opportunities? For the moment, I think Frieri is a sneaky and worthwhile add, even though I’m dubious on whether he can maintain this success away from San Diego. In addition, Jordan Walden has been good lately and really only had two bad outings. ROTW, Walden will post a 3.80 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 9.90 K/9 rate. I think he gets the most saves rest of the way, but it’s a toss up with Downs and Frieri performing so well. Don’t rock the boat and all that.

Arizona Diamondbacks: With all the closer disasters, J.J. Putz has somewhat flown under the radar. However, he has allowed runs in five of his 12 appearances. The bulk of the damage came on May 9 when he allowed four runs starting with the bottom of the Cardinals batting order. The Diamondbacks were losing, so it wasn’t a save opportunity, but he made a winnable game totally unwinnable. Still, he pitched a relatively clean frame in his last outing. So far, on the year, he hasn’t walked anyone, is striking out a good number and getting as many ground balls as ever. He has just decided to give up all his HRs early on. He’ll be fine the rest of the season. However, he’s usually good for a DL trip a year and might be traded if the Diamondbacks find themselves out of the race, making David Hernandez a worthy pick-up.

New York Yankees: Of course, David Robertson is injured; it’s that kind of year. The strained oblique will prohibit Robertson from throwing for a week or so. While he believes he can be back in 15 days, don’t most foolish ball players? Enter Rafael Soriano. Soriano has been pretty good this year, only benefiting from allowing no HRs. ROTW, Soriano should be fine, if unspectacular: 3.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 8.5 K /9 rate. Robertson is worth a stash based on skills alone, but Soriano has the repertoire to take the job and keep it all year.

Name BS Opps Name BS Opps
Heath Bell 4 7 Chris Perez 1 13
Francisco Cordero 3 9 Chris Sale 1 1
Henry Rodriguez 3 12 Clay Hensley 1 5
Javy Guerra 3 11 Craig Kimbrel 1 12
Matt Belisle 3 6 David Carpenter 1 2
Rex Brothers 3 7 David Robertson 1 6
Alfredo Aceves 2 9 Francisco Rodriguez 1 9
Brad Lidge 2 4 Glen Perkins 1 5
Brandon League 2 10 Greg Holland 1 2
Carlos Marmol 2 6 Hisanori Takahashi 1 3
David Hernandez 2 8 Jason Grilli 1 9
Edward Mujica 2 11 Joaquin Benoit 1 11
Frank Francisco 2 12 Joe Nathan 1 8
Grant Balfour 2 9 Joel Hanrahan 1 8
Hector Santiago 2 8 John Axford 1 7
J.J. Putz 2 8 Jonathan Broxton 1 9
Jason Motte 2 8 Jonny Venters 1 7
Javier Lopez 2 6 Jordan Walden 1 4
Joel Peralta 2 12 Kenley Jansen 1 12
Jon Rauch 2 6 Kyle Kendrick 1 2
Jose Valverde 2 9 Logan Ondrusek 1 5
Kerry Wood 2 5 Luke Gregerson 1 6
Matt Thornton 2 9 Matt Lindstrom 1 3
Pedro Strop 2 9 Michael Bowden 1 1
Rafael Dolis 2 9 Mike Adams 1 8
Ramon Ramirez 2 4 Mike Dunn 1 3
Scott Downs 2 11 Octavio Dotel 1 6
Sergio Santos 2 4 Rafael Betancourt 1 8
Steve Cishek 2 5 Santiago Casilla 1 9
Alexi Ogando 1 8 Sean Marshall 1 8
Andrew Cashner 1 5 Tom Wilhelmsen 1 7
Brett Myers 1 10 Tyler Clippard 1 10
Brian Fuentes 1 5 Vicente Padilla 1 7
Casey Janssen 1 4 Vinnie Pestano 1 10
Wilton Lopez 1 4



  1. Ha, let’s have at it. No, i’m, not concerned about Broxton’s blown save…

    • OaktownSteve says:

      @Albert, I’m a Broxton owner. Hard to figure who the handcuff is there. Crow, Holland and Collins all have closer stuff.

      • @OaktownSteve, I think by the time Broxton is removed from the role or traded, it will be Holland. I do think Broxton is fine (and hopefully the Royals are positioning him for a trade). ROTW for Brox: 3.35 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 9.25 K/9 rate. He has good velocity, but isnt getting the swings and misses (and consequently Ks) that we’d think. Now he isnt throwing his FB a ton, but working in the slider shouldnt cause any problems (and indeed we’re seeing more GBs).

        In leagues where I own Broxton, I own Holland.

  2. Slappy says:

    What does Frieri’s K rate have to do with PETCO?

    By the way, Frieri came in for two reasons: (1) give him some work (hadn’t pitched since the 12th), and (2) the more Downs pitches per game, the more he becomes available for future games (so keep Downs at 1 IP and give Frieri some work).

    • @Slappy, I cant imagine one batter and 3-12 pitches is a big deal for relievers. It was an odd move.

      The big concern with Frieri out of Petco is he allows 55%+ of his balls in play as fly balls. In the AL west, he can survive with that an a misicule HR/FB rate. That wont work in the AL. In addition, he walks a lot of batters, his BB/9 rate since 2010 is the 25th worst among pitchers with at least 80 innings. Ask heath Bell how Petco helped mask a poor K:BB rate…

      • Slappy says:

        @Albert, So now we’re comparing Heath Bell to Ernesto Frieri. Ernesto’s K/BB over the period in question is 2.5. Jim Johnson’s K/BB is rather lower (2.09), yet his career ERA is 3.1something. Frieri has otherwise surrendered 7 HR in 113 IP, 2 at PETCO and 5 on the road. The HR were surrendered to Braun 2x, Kemp, Ethier, Justin Upton, Panda and Blake DeWitt. So with the exception of DeWitt, not like he’s surrendering the HR to nobodies on the road. And his career home/road split is:

        H: .195/.306/.314
        R: .190/.319/.318

        That rather seems to belie the notion that he’s Heath Bell in disguise and protected by PETCO.

        • @Slappy, At no point did i compare Frieri to Bell, just how Petco can make otherwise pedestrian pitchers look great. Fact: Frieri pitched the majority of his innings in pitcher parks. Fact:the AL is a far better hitting league. Any pitcher switching from the NL to the AL is expected to post worst ratios.

          FB% doesnt include IFFB%, so your point about Hellickson is moot. He’s also getting an ungodly amount of IFFB this year, which seems unlikely to continue. In addition, I wouldnt compare any starter to reliever. the sample sizes arent even remotely close to draw an accurate picture.

          FBs, in and of themselves are generally fine. However, traditionally 10% of one’s FBs leave the park. Last year Frieri had a 3.6% rate, which was largely aided by Petco. Of course he gave up more HRs on the road than at Petco, that’s my point, take him out of Petco and he gives up more HRs, he gives up more HRs, he blow saves, posts worse ERAs/WHIPs, etc.

          Comparing Jim Johnson to Frieri is also worthless. They’re different pitchers. Freiri a K/FB guy and Johnson a ground ball guy. They are as different relievers as there are.

          Frier has a career 4.70 BB/9 rate. I expect it to be lower this year, but not demonstrably, as he’ll post a 4.25 BB/9 rate. He’s a fine pitcher, but he’s not a lights out reliever unless he’s posting 3.6% HR/FB rates which is near impossible in his current environment.

          Basically he’s the same as Jordan Walden, who lost his job after a few bad outings. If you like Frieri wont have similar blow-ups and get a quick trigger if he ever gets the closer role, we’re just analyzing the situation differently.

  3. chata says:

    nice article and analysis .
    you’ve obviously done your homework .
    but , “reeding” (?) is fundamental , albert .

    p.s. unless broxton gets hurt , he ain’t going anywhere .
    release those handcuffs .

    • @chata, It was a horrible pun on Addison Reed….really was bad, but if not horrible what would a pun be?

      I still think there’s a 60% chance if healthy and thriving the Royals trade him…

      • chata says:


        man .
        never “got” it .
        how ignent i is .

        • @chata, Ha! no worries at’all

  4. dingbat says:

    Putz’s job security is looking a bit better right now, I gotta say.

    • Albert Lang

      albert says:

      @dingbat, ha, yeah, I think he’s safe aside fomr potential DL stint(s) here or there.

  5. wakeNbake says:

    any interest in Drew Hutchison for this year? and for keeper/dynasty leagues? He pitched well against Yanks yesterday.

    • Albert Lang

      albert says:

      @wakeNbake, I like Drew Hutchinson for deep leagues and certainly every keeper/dynasty. He’s a match-ups type at best this year but has good potential

  6. Poo Holes says:

    So right now, I’m rolling with Motte, Broxton, and Dolis as my closers. However, there are plenty of guys available: Marshall, Capps, HanK Rod, Frank Frank, Fuentes, Reed, Janssen, Walden, and Downs…plus Storen, Street, Santos, Marmol, and Bailey on the DL. This is an 8 team h2h league and my two DL spots are occupied by Gardner and Daniel Hudson. Pick up a Storen or Street and drop Hudson? Go with one of the many options available? Or just keep rolling with what I got? Damn this closepocalypse is messy.

    • Albert Lang

      albert says:

      @Poo Holes, drop broxton and dolis for marshall and reed. They’re far better pitchers

  7. jack says:

    @Jack is here to get all over you again Mr Lang. I’m now interested in Fieri so I checked in on what you are saying. I hear you on the 3.6% HR/FB rate, but did you bother to check what company that puts him in? 2011, closer/set up types with LOWER rates include Madson, Hanrahan, Marshall, Casilla, CISHEK, DRob, Hrod, and Javy Lopez. Ramp that criteria up to 5.6% and you get Wilson, Paps, Feliz, Kimbrel, Walden. Mo was 5.7%. You simply cannot take the 10% norm for starters and apply it to closers and say they are all likely to regress to that …. that sub 5 or 4 rates are untenable/highly unlikely. I agree that it’s likely to rise for Fieri out of the NL and Petco, but that’s more hunch than statistical prognostication. Maybe it goes to 5%?

    Where do you get your ROTW projections? Pull them out of your hat? How do you know Fieri will walk 3.25 per 9, not 2.7? The difference between a 1.33 and 1.22 WHIP for a closer what, less than a dozen walks/hits, yet you are so sure you know where the balls will land? Why should we trust what you say? How have your projections stacked up against the known predictive engines? You do realize that even guys with the top rated predictive engines don’t dare to proffer ROTW projections with the hubris you do? Mr. Lang, sorry to get on your case again, but you’re asking for it.

    • @jack, Yes I did bother to check what company that puts him in. Do you assume I just come up with things and type them? You got me, I’m just guessing and making things up, I dont do any work on this, I just want all the money and fame that go along with it.

      Also, you totally found out my goal, to be the Odysseus of the fantasy community and totally piss off Poseidon, who I assume is you….


      Of the guys you’ve selected with low HR/FB rates, the lowest GB rate is 40%, that is for Joel Hanrahan, who has changed his approach a bit of late and gotten more grounders. I’ll dismiss Cishek as he has 77 IPs and pitches in a HR squelching park. In addition, none of these guys have career HR/FB rates lower than Rodriguez’s 4.7%. It seems when they get more innings, the HR/Fb rates go to at least 7% and with Frieri giving up way more FBs than your list, that’s a lot more HRs for him. Is it possible for a reliever to throw a season with a 1% HR/Fb rate? Sure. Can he do it consecutively? Sure. Will he consistently do it, no. As Frieri gets more IPs, his HR/Fb rate will climb up, it’s happened for every pitcher you mention. I fail to see anything useful in the relievers you’ve selected and how they pertain to Frieri. Again, the GB and FB rates are vastly different and aside from cherry picking one year of their careers, none had HR/FB rates demonstrably below your 5% hunch when given a lot of innings.

      I suppose this falls on me, because i didnt underscore my Frieri point enough: he won’t maintain a 3.6% or 4.8% HR/FB rate in his new situation, he will be worse. I don’t believe I’m in the minority on this. Why do pitchers do better going from the AL to the NL?

      Last pt on Frieri: Since 1999, of relievers with at least 80 IPs, Freiri has the highest FB%. Of the pitchers within 10% of his mark, only Bastardo (6.1% HR/FB), Marmol (5.8%), Romo (5.9%), and Jansen (6.4%) have HR/Fb rates anywhere near 5%. In this group of relievers since 99, there are only 22 pitchers with sub 5% Hr/FB rates. That’s 22 out of 633 pitchers. They include Derek Lowe, Joey Devine, clay Hensely, Kimbrell, Axford, Chapman, Medlen, and HRod and then a bunch of guys who barely got to 80 IPs in this span. In short, it’s almost all small sample or extreme GB guys. Yep, it’s all hunches, there’s no data behind anything.

      If you care about my track record go and check yourself. I did a number of ROTW on my series for razzball last year and I think they panned out pretty well. In addition, do you not want numbers to back up what I’m saying? You just want nebulous vague words, i.e. hunches? I say Freiri won’t be good, to a reader that might mean a 4.50 ERA, while to me it just means he won’t be Padres good. In addition, a number of web sites and fantasy writers have the “hubris” to provide ROTW projections, its by no means bizarre. Also what makes ROTW projections different from beginning of the year projections? Did you ask Grey how he arrived at his season projections? Or his track record against others?

      I do all my projections by hand using some formulas I’ve developed, also a standard practice.

      Listen, either you follow my advice and believe it or you don’t. Its a personal decision, but no one is forcing you to. I’ve written for a very long time, I’ve made good and bad calls. So has everyone. What’s your track record of comment predictions? Have you tracked them? Are you pulling them out of thin air?

      Do you want “hunch” or statistical prognostication? Seems like you want neither….You say: How do you know Frieri will walk 3.25 per 9, not 2.7? Well how do you know that Pujols is going to be good? How do you know anything? Obviously there’s nothing we know in fantasy 100% but if we cant make predictions or projections, what’s the point?

      Again, I’ll ask do you fact check Grey or other fantasy writers in this manner? Or do you just like picking fights and taking one point out of a column and beating it to death. I don’t just write columns in five minutes, I take a lot of time to do it. I’m not “guessing” and pulling things out of the air and you don’t see all the work I put into these. Who would read.edit an 8,000 word column on bullpens? Why you feel the need to insinuate that I’m somehow lackadaisically offering advice is beyond me. It’s insulting and absurd. What do I get out of deciding to work hard for a few years, get to the point where i can write a razzball column and then decide i’m just going to mail it in and give horrible uneducated and unresearched advice? I’m on a long con, you’ve found me out…

      Since when is fantasy writing held up to some ridiculous standard that doesnt include “hunches” or projections/predictions? Do you want me to just regurgitate news? What exactly do you want in a fantasy column?

  8. jack says:

    One of my points is you have to know what a particular stat category really means before you deduce future performance from it. Many stat categories are unstable, particularly FB rates, which don’t stabilize till >200 batters faced for pitchers, if then. Last year 176 or so batters put in the ball in play vs Fieri, so you can’t really trust that FB rate. You can make a leap and say it is a cumulative thing over a career, but Frieri’s youth and short MLB experience argue against doing that at this point. I would give some weight to the FB rate he has shown, but not make an emphatic deduction/projection like you do.

    And we are talking about how Frieri will do THIS YEAR, not over the course of his career. If you narrow down FB% and HR/FB to two years, you will find many more short work relievers who come close to matching his batted ball profile (near 50%), and were able to sustain low (under 6%) HR/FB rates for two years straight. Feliz, Chris Perez, RSoriano, Marmol, Madson, KRodetc. Why is KRod not a comparable? both rely on deceptive deliveries … I think you will find a good comp among that group. And if you are forecasting closing ability, you have to take into account how good guys in that group have been.

    My big worry with Freiri is his control. My big worry with picking him up is that he will have a very short leash. He fuks up once before racking up 10 saves, it’s back to Walden or Downs.

    I have no problem with projections, it’s all a matter of how you qualify them. You don’t qualify yours at all. You state them emphatically. There’s no “I think” or “I’ve misjudged before but here’s how I see it playing it,” or “maybes” or cavaet empors, etc. That would help, especially because you are focused on closers where small sample sizes make stat categories unstable sometimes for the ENTIRE SEASON. You are brave to tackle the Closer Beat, I respect that, but some awareness of the necessity of guess work in forming your opinions would go a long way in my book.

    But if you really think you can do this without guesses or hunches, then you may be beyond repair (in my eyes).

    • Albert Lang

      Albert says:

      @jack, You honestly want me to qualify every sentence in this article? I’m almost positive the great majority of readers realize this is conjecture. No projection system is 100% accurate, otherwise we’d just follow those.
      If you think it’s necessary to say I think before everything, that’s just silly. Of course it’s something I think. No one including myself thinks I’m infallible. If any readers do, I’d be surprised.
      Whats the need to lesson a statement by qualifying it and coaching it in uncertainty? What I write I believe to be most likely to occur, consequently, why would I need to constantly say that? Readers know that. You’re silly and beyond repair.

      • jack says:

        @Albert, yeah just ignore your faulty use of FB rates as a prognosticator. Just ignore it. And do you troll thing warping what I say: I said qualify your projections once in a while, not every sentence, you miser. You are a troll, not a writer, and should lose your column here.

        Frieri’s HR/FB rate is 12% right now and he is doing just fine btw … idiot.

        • Albert Lang

          albert says:

          @jack, man, you’re quite the petty person.

          If you don’t think Frieri can look fine with any number of weird peripheral stats in 12 IPs, then I don’t know what to say to you. If I’m evaluating Frier the pitcher going forward, I’ll use his relevant career line, not just this years stats, or 2011’s stats.

          Further unless you can be polite and comment rationally, I’m not going to address you further. I’ll forward your comment to Grey and if he wants to replace me he can.

          Thanks for reading. I do wish you could act mature.

        • Grey

          Grey says:

          @Jack, Hey, I wanted to personally apologize for how Albert’s been commenting to you. As you know from Razzball, it’s not okay for us, the writers, to be speaking in that tone. Everyone’s passionate about fantasy baseball. That’s why we’re here. But respect without name calling should be our first and foremost guidance. A writer should be able to get that across without any problems. Again, for Albert, I apologize.

          • jack says:

            I appreciate that Grey. I’m partly at fault in that I don’t back down from conflict and if someone gets nasty with me I get nasty back. Lang basically tries to smash any critique, refusing to learn. I have a hard time countenancing that and I think it behooves a blogger/author to play fair with the commenters. He seems to want to crush dissent. A good expert/blogger encourages it.

            LOVE this site. Look forward to reading it every morning. I tell everyone about it except for my leaguemates (razzball is my proprietary IP in that context). Sorry for the problems.

        • jack says:

          @jack, You have a serious problem Lang. If you are like this in real life you would qualify as a sociopath. On the internet you are definitely a troll. Look what you wrote to me: “You’re silly and beyond repair.” You resorted to spite rather than take on the major problems with your use of statistical categories. You expect me to take that lying down?

          And I mentioned his SSS FB/HR rate as evidence that he can still perform well while giving up home runs at a high rate. His strikeout ability is elite, his swinging strike rate superlative, so he can get away with an elevated FB and HR rate. You lack the depth to be doing this and your personality is yuck. Stick to the comments section, troll.

  9. TheNewGuy says:

    Does BS meter stand for bulls**t meter! Might aswell do the way closers stink these days.

    So can we afford to still hold onto Jordan Walden? I drafted him expecting a no2 closer, so am very wary of dropping him to my league-mate vultures too early, and Walden hadnt even blown the 3 saves required to lose your job these days. He’s really not been that bad, so is there much chance he gets the gig back soon?

  10. TheNewGuy says:

    One other point though wouldnt it be better to use just ‘closer blown saves’? That way the table would be full of just closers, and whos blown the most, which is want we want to know really.

    • TheNewGuy says:

      @TheNewGuy, Didnt notice the conflicts above, if this thread is meant to be closed for now I apologise and ignore my posts.

  11. beau says:

    10team Auction keeper league I need help pretty much everywhere…would you trade Trout and Youk for Bautista and Moreland? I have Trout for $6 next year and Bautista would be $27 next year. Other two are negligible. Im in dead last…maybe its not worth it and I should play for next year already? He also has McCutch.

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