Whenever spring training starts to wind down and the closer spot is yet to be determined, it’s never a good thing.  It causes rosters to get fat off the land, and wastes your draft picks on no-news type situations. I will turn my one good lazy eye to the Minute Maid conundrum of “who closes for the Astros?”  Some may ask: “who cares?” But this is the essence of SAGNOF believers. Cheap closers are what makes the fantasy world get on a sit, spin, chug a beer, and scream obscenities at trolley cars.  So from the beginning of the hot-stove baseball season, and even after they signed Luke Gregerson, I believe that it’s still Chad Qualls‘ job.  No news is good news for the incumbent… Even though the news all across the reliever landscape is all speculation, “he said this” and “the beat writer said that”.  Well, the only person who actually knows is the manager, Hinch.  So I am going to do my best to break it down from my ivory soap tower.  Stick around, there may be something fun or edible once you get inside.

So I went number-diving on all three options in Houston.  Because for all intents and purposes, Pat Neshek is in the conversation after last year’s performance, and to be honest, he was the best out of the three most recently.  The thing that jumps out to me as to why people don’t love Qualls is his lack of K potential (7.54 K/9 last year and never above 8.7 in his career).  The no K love makes sense, he ranked outside the top-100 in eligible qualifiers on the year.  The other thing people are knocking him for are his blown saves.  He did have six last year, but if there is a silver lining, four of them were with the A’s.  Now, any blown save is bad, but shift over to Luke Gregerson for a minute and he had eight blown saves in far less-pressure situations as the non-closer in Oakland last year.  Sticking with Gregerson, his K/9 (7.34) was actually less then what Qualls produced!

So digging deeper for Qualls, let’s actually compare him apples-to-apples against another closer.  Qualls is a pitch-to-contact pitcher, as is Zach Britton.  I am not here to say that Qualls is better than Britton, he isn’t, but there are similarities.  Their FIP numbers and xFIP numbers are identical, and of the two, Qualls has the better K-rate and walk rate.  Now he does have veteran preference on his side, and has more career saves than everyone on the roster combined.  I just think he gets shown the keys and says you can drive to the dance, but if you start pitching like you’re drunk, then we have a DD in Luke Gregerson.   So draft accordingly, and bad closer situations always require a cuff.

 

$12 Salads

You know that restaurant your girlfriend/wife/what-have-you likes to go to that charges, like, $12 for a salad? Every time you go there, you have a thoroughly solid meal. No complaints, except you just paid $12 for a salad when you could’ve went to McDonald’s and stuffed you and your woman for ten schmools and had $2 in quarters left over to make the hotel bed vibrate. These closers are $12 salads.

1. Aroldis Chapman – (Jumbo Diaz, Sam LeCure)

2. Craig Kimbrel – (Jason Grilli, Jim Johnson)

3. Greg Holland – (Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera)

4. David Robertson – (Jake Petricka, Zach Putnam, Zach Duke)

 

Donkeycorns

Imagine you’re following a donkey, who’s wearing a wool cap, through a desert for 1700 miles. Why are you following a donkey? Because he promises you something wonderful and you just need to trust him. Does the donkey talk? Yes. Yes, he does talk. So when you and the donkey in the wool cap arrive at his destination, he removes the wool cap to reveal a horn. The donkey is a unicorn and his gift to you for your trust is saves. These closers are Donkeycorns.

5. Cody Allen -(Bryan Shaw, Scott Atchison)

6. Dellin Betances – (Andrew Miller, David Carpenter)

7. Mark Melancon -(Tony Watson, Antonio Bastardo)

8.  Trevor Rosenthal -(Jordan Walden, Seth Maness)

9. Drew Storen – (Casey Janssen, Aaron Barrett)

10. Huston Street – (Joe Smith, Cam Bedrosian)

11. Steve Cishek – (A.J. Ramos, Aaron Crow)

12. Jonathan Papelbon – (Ken Giles, Jake Diekman)

13. Fernando Rodney – (Danny Farquhar, Tom Wilhelmsen)

14. Koji Uehara – (Edward Mujica, Junichi Tazawa)

15. Zach Britton – (Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter)

16. Glen Perkins – (Casey Fien, Caleb Thielbar)

17. Francisco Rodriguez, (Jonathan Broxton, Will Smith)

18. Joaquin Benoit – (Kevin Quackenbush, Dale Thayer)

19. Neftali Feliz – (Kyuji Fujikawa, Shawn Tolleson)

20. Hector Rondon – (Jason Motte, Neil Ramirez)

Brain Freezes

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples, bananas and Carlos Marmol– Wait, he just gave up 12 earned runs and hit Castro in the head with a pick-off throw. Brain freeze! Make it stop! Use the following closers at your own risk.

21. Brad Boxberger – (Jake McGee (INJ), Ernesto Frieri, Grant Balfour)

22. Jenrry Mejia – (Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, Jeurys Familia)

23. Santiago Casilla – (Sergio Romo, Jean Machi)

24. Addison Reed – (Brad Ziegler, Evan Marshall)

25. LaTroy Hawkins – (Adam Ottavino, Rex Brothers)

26. Chad Qualls – (Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek)

27. Tyler Clippard – (Sean Doolittle, Ryan Cook)

28. Brandon League– (Joel Peralta, J.P. Howell)

29. Brett Cecil – (Aaron Sanchez, Steve Delabar)

30. Joe Nathan – (Joakim Soria, Al Alburquerque)

 

103 Comments
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the swinging
the swinging
7 years ago

Hey sir, I read the manager of the rays talking about using Jepsen in the most high leverage situations.

I also read there may be monetary reasons the rays wouldn’t want to have boxberger closing games this season. Not sure how that works or why or if it’s even true. Is there any basis to this?

Rudy Gamble
Reply to  the swinging
7 years ago

i heard rumblings regarding Jepsen. I have McGee/Boxberger in Yahoo! Friends & Family and picked up Jepsen a couple days ago as an additional handcuff.

the swinging
the swinging
Reply to  Rudy Gamble
7 years ago

@Rudy Gamble: thx. What I was reading was that the rays are likely going to try to use Balfour since he’s getting the big $, and to keep boxbergers arbitration number low, it’s unlikely boxberger would close games this year?

EL BURRO
7 years ago

Smokey –

Always appreciate your late inning expertise. 6×6 (holds) 14 team league, 32 man rosters, so it’s deep. We start up to 12 Pitchers, so MR depth becomes critical. Usually, MR is my secret weapon but league is on to my shenanigans, so I didn’t get a lot of the targets I wanted this year… Wanted to get your quick take on these MR FREE AGENTS and see if you would make any add/drops to my current roster. I’m going for skills, high k/9 types,who accumulate holds with decent upside to potentially ‘close’.

Current MR Roster:
Adam Ottavino
AJ Ramos
Neil Ramirez
Dominic Leone
Brandon Maurer
Carlos Martinez (not sure what Cards are doing with him yet)
DL – Doolittle.

FREE AGENTS:
Evan Marshall
Aaron Barrett
Bruce Rondon
Chris Hatcher

If I could roster them all, I would… cause I could make an argument for each, but wanted your take.

Thanks,

EL BURRO
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey:

Thanks for reply- will jump on that. Also, I think Im moving off Maurer, given the Pads pen depth and gonna stash Bruce Rondon, who is throwing 100mph and harnessing the fantasy gods of control. Could see him moving up quickly in DET.

Lastly, adding Barrett too – see big things for him this year. Watched a lot of him last year in WAS. Saw you mentioned him somewhere in an earlier post. Like his stuff.

A Wesley Snipes Life
A Wesley Snipes Life
7 years ago

lost cook to manager and AAA. same league as above
20 man dynasty H2H league with holds/relief appearances/ complete games/ shutouts/double plays/k per 9/ relief wins/ QS for pitchers and we can have either 12 or 13 pitchers, with at starting spots of 5 SP/7 RP
grab loup/d.carpenter/fujikawa (now showing up in 7th on mlbdepthcharts.com, up from being behind tolleson). this has gotta be loup right now right?

A Wesley Snipes Life
A Wesley Snipes Life
Reply to  A Wesley Snipes Life
7 years ago

@A Wesley Snipes Life: yet i plain don’t believe scheppers stays in high leverage for long. even with that though loup might be worth more than TEX’s 8th inning man.

A Wesley Snipes Life
A Wesley Snipes Life
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey: i know, yet he’s still being projected as 8th inning. gross. Are Loup or Fien the first drop for Carpenter or Fuji if either Fuji gets 8th inning or Carp is kicking major ass (even though he’s only 7th inning)? Fien do to low K rate maybe (but his job seems safe, with only Boyer moving up over there, and Gulf of Tonkin getting minor’d)

joeg414
joeg414
7 years ago

Miguel Castro from the Blue Jays. Great for holds this year and could give you WDavis / Betances type numbers.

Scandalous Bob
Scandalous Bob
7 years ago

Hey Smokey. I’ve got my first real draft tonight. For closers in the late rounds, do you prefer to grab a) guys who are injured, but likely to return to closing (McGee, Doolittle), b) guys who are temporarily filling in (Box, League, Clippard), OR c) brain freezes who we aren’t even sure will be closing (Qualls/Gregerson)? Thanks!

A Wesley Snipes Life
A Wesley Snipes Life
7 years ago

20 man dynasty H2H league with holds/relief appearances/ complete games/ shutouts/double plays/k per 9/ relief wins/ QS for pitchers and we can have either 12 or 13 pitchers, with at starting spots of 5 SP/7 RP. i was able to get cook/fien/diekman to fill up spots along with giles/k-rob/melancon/walden.
1. if/when season starts and fujikawa starts hot drop fien or diekman for him, if any? He’s much better than Fien at K/9, but of course was worst roster spot out of these 3 currently. Diekman would seem to move up in value when Papel gets moved, as i’d have top 2 PHI guys. Loup is also an option now, just got dropped.
2. who’s best for 6th starting pitcher (this is probably stream spot in season, we have infinite moves, but 35 min innings per week). i already have liriano/quintana/d.holland/hammel/greene.
options: c.anderson/ house (if he gets job he’s kept)/haren/morton?

Joeg414
Joeg414
7 years ago

Maybe Delabar steps up on Tor? He been pitching good in SP

A Wesley Snipes Life
A Wesley Snipes Life
Reply to  Joeg414
7 years ago

@Joeg414: Loup listed higher pretty much everywhere, but i am trying to waiver him in our one attempt at preseason waivers on april 3rd in a 30 man league, along with atchison. holds in that one, clearly.

SallyCips
SallyCips
7 years ago

Has to be Qualls for now, the GAMERAS! are depending on it. ;)

I think I’m going to put Soriano into one of my NA slots soon. Just have a feeling he’s closing somewhere by June.

tone DEAF!
tone DEAF!
7 years ago

Not as high on Brett Cecil as Grey, huh? He has him right below Papelbon.

12-team H2H custom points league.
I don’t know if I should pick up another closer or see how my staff works out and then backfill with a closer after I see who works? What would you do?

RP – Chapman
RP – Carrasco
P – F-Her
P – Hughes
P – Latos
P – Shoemaker
P – Pineda

BN – Salazar
BN – Peavy
BN – Eovaldi
BN – Gausman

Here’s what’s available: Hawkins, Cecil, Boxberger.

tone DEAF!
tone DEAF!
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey: thanks dude! Probably cut Gausman then?

the swinging
the swinging
7 years ago

Brandon league?? Huh? At least list him 30 out of 30, he will likely get 0 saves on the season.

the swinging
the swinging
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey: cecil is someone I’m looking to draft in the later rounds of a 12 teamer. Brandon League i wouldn’t draft in a 30 team league, prob wouldn’t add him off waivers in a 30 teamer either.

How do u deduct League as the front runner there?

Cafuné
Maxi
7 years ago

Smokey, my relievers right now are Rodney, Sanchez (who sounds like has won a job in the Jay’s rotation), Marshall, Petit (also a candidate to start) and Soriano (not signed yet).

Would you suggest dropping any of those last 3 for Mujica, Parnell, Will Smith or Jepsen? I might have to take the stream RP approach this season til closer roles get shooken up.

Much appreciated!

Cafuné
Maxi
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey: I’m pretty happy with my starters:

Zimmerman
Arrieta
Iwakuma
Shoemaker
Tillman
Kazmir
Shelby Miller

right now I’m leaning towards dropping Petit cuz I really like Sanchez and feel like Petit could suffer more statisically as a starter while eating into my SP total.

gracias!

Cafuné
Maxi
Reply to  Maxi
7 years ago

@Maxi: thoughts?

Cafuné
Maxi
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey: ok, for Parnell, Mujica, Jepsen or Will Smith?

A Wesley Snipes Life
A Wesley Snipes Life
Reply to  Maxi
7 years ago

@Maxi: if you want saves will smith ain’t getting them there. Jepsen 2nd or 3rd option while McGee is hurt (which ain’t supposed to be long), then 3rd or 4th. Parnell probably best bet but you’ll have to wait. Mujica for probably worst stats, and 2nd best save opps by end of year, i would think.

Elwood Blues
Elwood Blues
7 years ago

In a deep NL Only keeper league.. where closers go for $30 papelbon up to $40 for krimbrel $40.. And the only true closer available is Chisek.. and there are limits during the season on who you cam pick up… (Nice run on sentence)
Do I trade Hawkins at $5 for Dom Brown $10 or hold onto him.
My other closer is Reed at $18, so mot trading him would give me two, albeit crappy, closers for $23.

bobbo
bobbo
7 years ago

Kenley Janson not even worth mentioning? For shame, guess I brought in a sucky keeper!

Lance
Lance B
7 years ago

Gotta move 18-20 to brain freezes, no way those guys are the teams closers at the end of the year imo!

Great post otherwise, I might say a Quall-ity post at that!

#puncity

Regan
Regan
7 years ago

Brandon League? Everything i’m hearing is Joel Peralta will be the fill in. As a long time Ms fan let me tell you League just doesn’t have the metal toughness to close. He folds like a cheap chair in pressure situations. Dodgers already booted him once after blowing 4 chances. Just hearing his name makes me cringe..so many bad memories. Or was it the stupid haircut. Either way i hate the dude so i am biased like that.

S>H
S>H
7 years ago

Smoke is there any chance that Jake Barrett gets any save chances in Arizona this season.?

brett
brett
7 years ago

Smokey,

Top Holds guys for this year?

Thanks

BigRedLatrine
BigRedLatrine
7 years ago

How confident are you in Clippard over Doolittle? ESPN has it the other way.

BigRedLatrine
BigRedLatrine
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey:

Oh thats right. Thanks Smokey. Maybe Clip can hang on even after he’s back. Heres hoping.

sport
sport
7 years ago

You have to have one of the hardest fantasy jobs, forecasting closer situations. Thank you for what you do.

12 team yahoo roto so I have innings cap. I own Jansen and McGee. I do have Rodney and Cecil, but while the other two are the shelf should I hold onto Peralta to get saves in LA or just wait til I have my two lame ducks come back and use the 4 of them to catch up on saves? I don’t K ow if using up my innings on the vulture is with it for Peralta.

Thanks for your help and time in research.

sport
sport
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey: thanks smokey! That felt like a slap across the face. You know, the good kind you see in movies that get a panicking lune back into focus.

Another question, I have asked a couple others this question but really trying to learn as I go. I have always been strictly a roto guy but recently was ‘forced’ to take over a yahoo public H2H team. I am somewhat ignorant to the H2H strategy. The team I have has 3 solid closers, but also has Wade Davis and Andrew Miller (rounds 21 and 22). Can they generate enough K’s per week to validate their roster spot? Maximum of 6 moves per week.

MB
MB
7 years ago

One to keep in 7×7 with ops, obp, Qs, holds: Seager, Lester, Ortiz, Soler, Yelich, arrieta, kuma — thanks Grey

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey: Grey, Sky. Razzball where literacy comes to die…

Alan
Alan
7 years ago

I own koji in dynasty and only had room for mujica on my bench, am i safe there?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
7 years ago

What happened to Cusack flicks?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey: can we faDT forward the movie?

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Ralph Lifshitz
7 years ago

@Ralph Lifshitz: *fast…Damn lunch time drinking

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey: My wife does pack like a Druish Princess on vacation.

Nick
Nick
7 years ago

Hi SocMeY

here is the deal,, keepers have been set:
(maybe you remember my team!)
C. Perez 1B. Encarnacion 2B. Altuve 3B. Carpenter SS. Desmond OF Bautista Springer Myers Ut. Wong
SP Gray Shields A.Wood – RP KJansen Allen

so now avalaible, best players , i pick 10th, 20th, 30th so i may need to reach a bit for players i want

Pitchers SP: DeGrom Fister Hugues, Weaver, Archer Cashner, Latos, Kennedy, HBailey, Cain, Liriano Shoemaker, Quintana, Fiers Hutchinson, Smyly, Odorizzi, WPeralta, DUFFY
RP: Melancon, Bettances, Britton Cishek, Rosenthal, Storen , Uehara…Clippard, Reed, BoxB, Miller

Batters: i’d like a 3B to supply Carpenter in case
3B: D.Murphy, Y.Tomas, Bogaerts, P.Alvarez… i may option Gallo or Sano later in the draft
OF: Heyward, A.Gordon, Ozuna, Calhoun, Werth, L.Martin, AJ.Pollock, J.Pederson, K.Davis , O.Arcia, Souza
2B: Murphy, Zobrist, Hendrick, J.Baez
1B: M.Adams, LAroche, Carter,Moss, Duda Pearce
C: Gattis, Y.Gomes, MCCann, Rosario Vogt
SS: Zobrist Bogaerts Baez ,,,,,

as i need to set up my pitching staff
i would target Archer 1st if still avb, then who would you go?
Cashner has been hot,
Weaver?
i also like Britton as 3rd RP
and Duffy (way) later on

LMartin and Bogaerts could be a good complement to my bats
thanks a lot
Nick

Nick
Nick
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey:

SURE Smockey ;)
next wednesday night

sorry couldn’t enter your RCL or Magoo’s
were too late for me …. in France ;)

Nick the French Stick

Nick
Nick
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey:

Results of the draft tonight:
picks #
150 Archer, i’d taken DeGrom , but gone just before
160 Shoemaker
170 Salazar
180 Ozuna OF nice value
190 Y. Tomas 3B
200 K. Davis OF power
210 J.Baez SS
220 B.Cecil all good RP gone last 2 rounds!
230 Buxton NA spot
240 Shaw RP for holds along with Cody Allen in Cle
250 Chase Anderson SP
260 Miguel Sano bench prospect (can be drop for a Pitcher)

i may need more pitching, i’d take Evan Marshall when KJansen ‘ll be on DL
do i need more speed , i would have taken Leonys Martin, but took OF with power instead… Pompey avb

many good avb batters on FA, but not so SP:
?N. Eovaldi looks good in spring!
RP for holds ? nice in SEA? Farquar? Wilhemsen Furbush?

i landed my 3 SP i wanted in Archer Salazar Shoem,
so it’s a nice 6 SP combo + 3closers + 2relief with Marshall

Pretty S

Nick
Nick
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey:

Thanks a lot Buddy

just dropped yesterday Chase Anderson for Eovaldi under Grey’s consideration ;)
can’t wait for KJ to be DL’d on Y!

Goose
Goose
7 years ago

Thoughts on Cingrani as sleeper setup in CIN?

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Goose
7 years ago

@Goose: you read my 2014 mind

Clint
Clint
7 years ago

So, in my 12 team roto league where we keep 8 I just received a keeper trade offer from a fellow manager. My current keepers look like this:

Ian Desmond, Rizzo, Adam Jones, Bryce Harper, CarGo of Colorado, Frazier, Machado, & Scherzer

I’ve been offered Matt Harvey for Machado straight up. Machado costs me a 10th rounder while Harvey’s a 6th rounder if that factors in at all. I initially said no but he’s leaving it on the table if I’m interested. Based on what Grey said re Harvey’s inning limits it didn’t sound like a good deal but I know JB likes Harvey a lot. What say you, Smokey?

noah
noah
7 years ago

Seems generous to Neftali Feliz.

mauledbypandas
mauledbypandas
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey: Scheppers maybe but the organization wants Feliz to succeed there.

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Smokey
7 years ago

@Smokey: Yeah it’s all about Feliz until Keone Kela is ready. But Smoke you know that you put me onto Kela in the first place. Straight Gas Homie!

Joeg414
Joeg414
7 years ago

Keep both eyes on Chris Hatcher from the Dodgers.

J-FOH
J-FOH
Reply to  Joeg414
7 years ago

@Joeg414: dude, keep it down over there

joeg414
joeg414
Reply to  J-FOH
7 years ago

@J-FOH:
His last the games, including today: 3.1 , 6h , 6r, 2bb, 3k. Not good.

zmonny
zmonny
7 years ago

Any chance Jepsen closes for TB until McGee is back?

J-FOH
J-FOH
7 years ago

I know its not a measurable thing but the mental make-up plays such a huge role in determining the closer for any squad and is something we can’t study by looking at numbers. Or at least numbers over a season. I would love to see how certain players perform, not in the ninth, but in one run ballgames and the heart of the order coming up. Or to better put it, when faces a difficult trio how does one handle the pressure. To go a step further, how one handles high pressure on the road vs home or within the division or not. Just some thoughts about why speculating on who is next in line can be a difficult task when its not clear cut.

GhostTownSteve
GhostTownSteve
7 years ago

AJ Hinch managing in HOU now, Smoke.