Does anything feel as comforting, yet restricting as a pair of fuzzy handcuffs? They just lack the masculinity that a normal grown man would like to admit…But you sprinkle in the testosterone laced excitement of fantasy baseball, and BOOM. The fellas that we will be examining this week should be drafted in all leagues that speculate in the save department. Note to you, that is every league. You are basically looking for these few outliers to light your path to save endearment. First, pick a closer situation that has one clear cut guy as the fall back option. Second, find a team that looks to be on the right side of standings, which in theory is the left side, because that’s where wins go. Third, you want a team that utilizes a keen sense of relief inevitability, vis-à-vis a manager that likes guys in certain situations; for us, that’s the guys that will be the best shut down reliever not named “closer” in the bullpen. It’s pretty simple math there, no helmet needed or safety strapping cabinets, so you don’t pinch your digits. So let’s have at some of Smokey’s smorgasbord of top guys you should wanna be sniping from other purveyors of the save. Oh and by the way, I am ignoring guys like Wade Davis, Andrew Miller , and Ken Giles because if your league doesn’t draft them, then you should skip baseball and focus on Fantasy Soccer.
Danny Farquhar – In my mind, it’s not a matter of if but when the arrow thrower runs out of bullets in his quiver. Fernando Rodney makes me feel about as easy as eating shady mexican food, knowing darn well I am out of toilet paper. It’s funny if you look at Danny’s stats, because next to Rodney’s, they are basically the same, just without the saves. For any doubting me on Fernando’s decline, his last last 13 games BB/9 rate stands at 5, and he allowed an earned run in 7 of the 13. Danny by himself clicks all the must have reliever boxes on his own to make him rosterable. He’s over 10 K/9, under 3 K/BB, so he won’t be a complete roster drain for you week in and week out.
Jordan Walden – While I am more of a believer in Rosenthal than most, it’s better to be safe then sorry. I am calling Walden the full body condom. Because no one wants a burner coming out of the draft. Since he was demoted from closer with the angels then traded, he has built himself back into the pitcher more resembling the closer we saw in 2011. If one thing holds true, the Cardinals always have a usable set piece in the back innings of games. It started with LaRussa and continues with Matheny.
Jason Motte – With relievers, I have found that the second year back from Tommy Bahama surgery is the year we start seeing the goods return. Expect the velocity, that made him elite and the ability to actually throw his slider this year to return. Rondon is a great value to me right now, as the Cubs project to win 84 games by betting sources, because if you follow me, you will now know that the last 10 years, 54% of a teams win total result in saves. Motte will be very useful, as they will probably string him along in some mid-leverage situations before he’s the primary 8th inning guy. He is a one of a hand few of guys who I could see going 15/15 (holds/saves) on the year, which is the gold standard in any holds category league.
Joe Smith – In the event of travesty, call the most generic named reliever know to man. He did well after Ernesto puked all over himself last year and before the Angels went closer shopping, landing Huston Street. He did nothing wrong to lose the job, he just wasn’t the closer with experience they were counting on. In NSVH leagues, he is a top-20 option based on sheer volume that he will receive and the fact that he is maybe one of the best RH pitchers to RH batters, limiting them to tiny slash line of .133/.169/.216. If you have no idea what that means, then skip to comments and leave a funny anecdote about J-FOH’s beard.
Kevin Quackenbush – If I had the first pick this year in a relief pitcher draft that doesn’t have a closer job right now, I would take Andrew Miller, then Wade Davis, and then Quackenbush. Joaquin Benoit is about two blown saves away early in the year to be completely fizzled out in the land of the Fathers. They are in a completely win-now mode, and they play the Dodgers six times in first three weeks. You think he stands a chance to remain there when they lose to the enemy? Over the years, has there been a better factory of relief pitchers produced than in SD? The answer is no.
Brad Boxberger – He is basically the closer du jour by choice right now until Jake McGee gets all the way back. Brad has the strikeout ability to be the next Tampa Bay reliever to be transfused into fantasy useful. It may also take a hit because Joe Maddon is no longer present, but alas, Jim Hickey is still there and I think he has an uncanny ability to turn oranges into screwdrivers. The Rays have a lot of retread bounce back candidates, but do you really wanna trust Ernesto Frieri to do anything but be a security guard for the waiver wire?