You shouldn’t have to read tea leaves or do a sneaky scroll down to see who I am talking about in this week’s closer report. If you are new to this guessing game and word association type stuff, it is Brad Hand. Why Brad Hand, I say why not? I hear what you are all saying closers on losing teams are not that fantastic fantasy options, and for the most part you are right. Because the stats behind that prove that… mostly, But we can get into that a little later with handy-dandy stats and percentages and such. So all Brad Hand did last year is basically his job, which in most instances gets you paid. Which he just did by inking an extension this offseason. The stats are all there for him to be a legit closer numero uno, with flair. The flair that I am talking about is kinda like the buttons worn on suspenders at Shenanigans, but only with fantasy intrigue. He boasted a 11.8 K/9 rate last year, amassed 21 saves and 16 holds. All stuff we can read on any fantasy bio sheet. Dig deeper though, and he does have a few kinks in the armor, namely a HR/FB rate that is not what you are looking for in a an elite closer, but he’s being drafted as a number two. He falls just outside the elite though, because he is capped by being on the Padres and their expected win totals… or is he?
What I love about B-rad is that he is left-handed. Did you know that 6 of the last 12 presidents were lefties? Now how were they with runners on and nobody out? Am I right? Back to the lecture at Hand, because of the misconception of LH not being good closers and such, he gets knocked down a peg, then add in the Padres thing and the new closer thing and he basically has three proverbial strikes against him.
I disagree with all three of those factors.
Win expectancy and closers only correlate if the team doesn’t score either enough or too many runs to create save opportunities. Secondly, left handed stuff is just ludicrous as the neutralization of a pitcher’s effectiveness versus RH/LH batters is what dictates their own success as pitchers. Hand versus RH batters? .206 BAA, league average for left-handed relievers against right-handed batters is .252. Just for matters sake, he ranked in the top-15 of all relievers against opposite handed batters. Don’t even get me started on LH versus LH because he is even better, try top-7. That is in all of baseball for relievers.
Lastly, the win expectancy. The Padres won 71 games last year, and their save-to-win percentage varies only slightly from year-to-year and usually hovers between 50.5 and 52% of saves/wins. So out of that 71 wins, the Padres should have saved 36 games. Surprise, surprise, they saved 45 games last year. That percentage is the second best for saves/win in MLB last year only the Rays, under the likes of an established closer like Alex Colome can boast as better. Every year their are 2-3 closers on win-retardant teams that outdo the projections as it relates to saves and team success. In 2017, it was the Padres duo of Brandon Maurer and Brad Hand with 41 saves combined. The year before it was Alex Colome again with 37 saves for a 68 win Rays team. In 2015, it was Aroldis Chapman, Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford all over the 25 save plateau yet their teams never won more than 70 games. The list of guys that achieve success in the end-game of savedom happens every year. So don’t turn a blind eye to the Padres possible bullpen success…
I love the possibilities that could evolve for Hand as the day one closer for a team that is expected to win a few more games this year and grow into their youth. He is borderline top-8 closer for me right now and can say that I fully expect him to maintain his 11+ K/9 rate and give you a 34-38 save season. Cheers!
|BAL||Brad Brach||Darren O’Day||Mychal Givens|
|BOS||Craig Kimbrel||Matt Barnes||Carson Smith|
|CLE||Cody Allen||Andrew Miller||Tyler Olson|
|CWS||Juan Minaya||Joakim Soria||Nate Jones|
|DET||Shane Greene||Alex Wilson||Daniel Stumpf|
|HOU||Ken Giles||Will Harris||Chris Devenski|
|KC||Kelvin Herrera||Brandon Maurer||Wily Peralta|
|LAA||Blake Parker||Cam Bedrosian||Keynan Middleton|
|MIN||Fernando Rodney||Addison Reed||Gabriel Moya|
|NYY||Aroldis Chapman||David Robertson||Chad Green|
|OAK||Blake Treinen||Liam Hendriks||Chris Hatcher|
|SEA||Edwin Diaz||Juan Nicasio||David Phelps|
|TB||Alex Colome||Dan Jennings||Andrew Kittredge|
|TEX||Alex Claudio||Keone Kela||José Leclerc|
|TOR||Roberto Osuna||Ryan Tepera||Carlos Ramirez|