Not everyone loves the buy-early and coast theory of closers. I am not a full on component of it, but I don’t like to be left without, at worst, a top-12 option to anchor my save chase. So for those that procrastinate, there is nothing wrong with y’all. Every theory has a proven outcome, whether it be wrong, backwards, or completely made up by several fortune cookies. The wait game for saves can still be fortuitous, the only problem is being right when it matters most. The last rounds of relievers needs to be decisive. After all, we don’t have 4-5 rosters spots designated for save speculation. Lucky for you, your ole’ pal Smokey is here to give you several options for late game options that you can try and strike it rich with late in your drafts. These guys are in situations that are either committee based, the closer is in jeopardy (yeah already), or I can just foresee a change of the imminent. So hold tight my fellow SAGNOF’ers and cast your fishing pole into the deep waters that I reside. Just for the people that skimmed this whole intro, this post is about the guys who aren’t closing currently and could net you saves on cheap.
Carter Capps – By the time your draft rolls out, he will unfortunately be breathing in the Raisel Iglesias-type helium. Early indications from the Marlins hierarchy is saying that it is an open competition for the closers role. A.J. Ramos had to do something wrong. Date the GM’s daughter/son, didn’t pay his portion of the bill at Sonic, or can it be that Capps is that good that they feel the need to push him? Capps has a sick and maybe repeatable 16 plus K/9 rate and a tiny .165 BAA that make him like a shiny new wheat-penny. If the Marlins stumble out the gate, they could capitalize on Ramos value and net a handsome return.
Zack Weiss – In the NL Central, it is the haves and the Brewers and Reds. Both clubs seem to be trying to go rebuild. Last season the Reds broke the record for starts made by rookies, that alone should tell you that it’s looking very young again. The remaining pen pieces of J.J. Hoover and Jumbo Diaz lead me to believe that it is a temporary at best situation, and they need to tinker with the same effect that they did with the starters last season. Weiss in the minors posted 31 saves and 101 k’s in 72 innings. Best part is; he is basically not being discussed… until now.
John Axford – If I gave you 10/1 odds that Sean Doolittle stayed healthy all year, how fast would you reach in your wallet for a double sawbuck? Shoulder injuries are a scary business, and granted, he was peaking velocity wise at mid-90’s near the end of the season I am still skeptical. Axford was brought in to Oakland as a in-case-of-emergency-break-glass-type reliever. Madson got the loot, but Axe is going to net the saves if Doolittle inevitable falters. His way early ADP is non-existent.
Jon Edwards – While everyone else is speculating on the Padres closer (after Fernando goes all typical Fernando) in Maurer and maybe Pomeranz, grab the guy who is like the post-hype sleeper of closers this year. Old, but not used up. He got a late start after being drafted in 2006, and bounced around three different clubs and Indy ball. His K-rate and four consecutive seasons over a 11 K/9 rate in the minors lead me to believe that a bad team is exactly where he needs to make a name for himself.
Corey Knebel – Who doesn’t like high K relievers on losing teams? Nobody’s hand should be raised. Saves are saves. Once the Brew-haha’s relieve themselves of the more expensive save options, Corey with one “E” is the man for the job. Constant K-rates in the minors, and last year, in a brief stint, he was over the reliever magical line of 10. If you can stomach the 50 games of just a reliever and not closer, then he is your guy.
Silvino Bracho – Quick question; would you rather gamble on drafting Brad Ziegler or gamble on him failing? I am normally not a mean person when it comes to closers, but honestly, I hate B-rad. The snakes, in all honesty, and for anyone that pays attention to deeper closers have the deepest bullpen prospects in baseball. They are a few years away except the guy who sounds like a gondola driver at the Venician hotel in Vegas. He has closed at every level and early indications in limited showing shows it may not be a smoke and mirror show
- Phil Maton, SD
- Carlos Estevez, Col
- Zac Curtis, Ari
- Brendan McCurry, Hou
- Ray Black, SF
- Nick Burdi, Minn
- Brad Schreiber, TB
- Ryan Burr, Ari
- Jon Olczak, Mil
- Jimmy Cordero, Phi
- Danny Dopico, CHW
- Brandon Koch, TB
- Bobby Wahl, Oak