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?

 

  1. Rubik's Pube says:
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    Hey Smokey, nice work. A couple of questions for you, do you think the Yanks are leaning in either direction between Betances or Miller or do you think they are just seeing which one leaves more skid marks in their drawers during ST? I get that when in doubt, go with the righty, but Miller’s platoons splits are almost non-existent. Who the hell pays a dude 9 mil a year to be s set up man? The Yanks!(?). Also, what about Clippard? I don’t care what Oakland says, if Doolittle has a partially torn labrum, he is going to be out of commission for a hot minute. Finally, I have a BOB (big ol boner) for Boxberger. I think he’ll be the next elite closer. You think he is going to hold on to the closer job if he takes over full time, even after McGee comes back? Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Rubik’s Pube: It’s Betances with a sprinkling of Miller figure 8-12 saves for Andrew Like Clippard but all indications are thar Doolittle is progressing well, he is great insurance and a draft luxury right now he is basically the 25th closer off the board. Love Boxberger stuff has elite potential for sure, I think if and when McGee comes back he at least gets a shot to regain the title..

    • zeus says:
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      @Rubik’s Pube: I also would like to put my BOB in the BOXberger. Which sounds like a Mr Skin term.

  2. Mostsuckass says:
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    Smokey, thanks for your analyses of relievers, especially of middle relievers. The landscape changes for middle relievers changes so rapidly, it’s incredibly helpful for you to provide regular updates. I play in a league that counts holds, so I’m especially keen on finding relievers who can provide holds without killing my ratios. I’ll keep looking forward to your columns!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Mostsuckass: Thanks man. Every week I flip flop, set-up and closers. But if you’re on twitter and need me in a pinch don’t hesitate to hit me up @smokey_loogy

  3. mark says:
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    Sorry if this is obvious but what about soria? He has to get saves this year right?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @mark: Yea he will Nathan is about seen the sunlight, but would it surprise anyone if he had 2 months for us to buy back faith and then take a steaming pile on ya. Soria is a top 4 cuff guy for me and I was trying to go with guys who are under the draft radar a little. In one league someone drafted Soria before Nathan that I was participating.

      • Chuzwozza says:
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        @Smokey: As someone who left a draft drastically short on saves (and very new to fantasy) can I check which Soria you are referring to? A J Soria appears available in my league. Should I grab him? (Or Farquhar? Or Quack?)
        Thanks!

        • Chuzwozza says:
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          @Chuzwozza: If it helps, 12 team, standard 5X5 roto.

          • Smokey

            Smokey says:
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            @Chuzwozza: Joakim Soria

            • Chuzwozza says:
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              @Smokey: Thank you! Would you pick Soria above Romo or Qualls?

              • Chuzwozza says:
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                @Chuzwozza: Or indeed Fareham? Sorry for needing it spelled out! @Chuzwozza: Or indeed Fareham? Sorry for needing it spelled out!

                • Chuzwozza says:
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                  @Chuzwozza: Farquhar, obviously, not Farnham. Golly, what an ugly post!

  4. Josh Godorn says:
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    Do yu think Holland will start the year in the bullpen or closer all year? Thanks.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Josh Godorn: Greg? Greg is a top 4 closer option. Derek is a sleepy type sp and a great get as a 6th starter IMO. Holland is known for tulips and windmills. Choose which one you mean….I am assuming you mean Greg so go with first sentence.

      • Josh Godorn says:
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        @Smokey: Gr8 thnaks Gray!

          • Yescheese says:
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            @Smokey: this exchange is hilarious

  5. King Yas says:
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    So Miller, Davis, Quack in that order eh? Cecil, Gregerson, Soria, Walden in the next tier?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @King Yas: Cecil is the closer as of now, Soria is in first group for cuffs if you are chasing saves. Walden is the first guy in next tier with Gregerson, who I don’t see closing as some other people are predicting.

  6. joeg414 says:
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    If you had to chose one : A.Miller , W.Davis or Boxberger ? 6×6 (no holds) deep league.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @joeg414: Miller

  7. MB says:
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    If you owned Wade Davis, Greg Holland, Brad Boxberger, Soria, Doolittle and Neshek in 5×5 roto 15 team dynasty, would you trade Boxberger or Davis to get Clippard? Thanks

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @MB: I wouldn’t no, the only intriguing thing that may sway my answer there is that Clippard is a free agent at years end and someone may give him the keys to the closing van. I think you hold out hope that you have 2 total closers with Doolittle and Boxberger forming the second and the wild card in Soria eventually taking over for Joe what’s his face.

  8. Thirsty fo' Ayahuasca says:
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    Great article, Smokey. Appreciate the work.

    In a head to head with holds, Please rank:
    Zach Duke, Jason Motte, and Bobby Parnell

    Thank you

  9. Yescheese says:
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    Hey smokes who of this group do you project to provide the best ratio/MR help this season? Josh Fields, Hunter Strickland, Jake Diekman, Jeremy Jeffress, Justin Grimm?

    There’s a deep league for everybody!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Yescheese: Diekman, Strickland, Fields

  10. Mike says:
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    Smokey you had a LEEDS draft the other night would you show the players you took and why you took them. If you could show the the results of each round that would be great.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Mike: Ill see if they want me to write it up, I punted MI in the draft completely. but here’s my team:
      11 Anthony Rizzo, ChC 1B
      20 Justin Upton, SD OF
      41 Nolan Arenado, Col 3B
      50 Evan Longoria, TB 3B
      71 Christian Yelich, Mia OF
      80 Gerrit Cole, Pit SP
      101 Gio Gonzalez, Wsh SP
      110 Cody Allen, Cle RP
      131 Drew Storen, Wsh RP
      140 Brett Gardner, NYY OF
      161 Lucas Duda, NYM 1B
      170 Mat Latos, Mia SP
      191 Erick Aybar, LAA SS
      200 Hector Rondon, ChC RP
      221 Adam Eaton, CWS OF
      230 Michael Pineda, NYY SP
      251 Jake Odorizzi, TB SP
      260 Andrelton Simmons, Atl SS
      281 Derek Holland, Tex SP
      290 Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mia C
      311 Colby Rasmus, Hou OF
      320 Kurt Suzuki, Min C
      341 Danny Farquhar, Sea RP
      350 Jordan Walden, StL RP
      371 Chris Iannetta, LAA C
      380 DJ LeMahieu, Col 2B
      401 Jed Lowrie, Hou SS
      410 Joe Panik, SF 2B
      431 Jason Vargas, KC SP
      440 Jason Motte, ChC RP

  11. Alex says:
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    How about Josh Fields? Dude K’d almost 12 per and was super unlucky. Tho he is a super flyball pitcher but is still under 30 and could figure it out in case qualls fails or when he does…

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Alex: I loved Josh Fields coming into this year before they signed Gregerson and Neshek. Just feel he is at best the 3rd option there now.

  12. Kiss a Bum says:
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    Is Ottavino not an obvios handcuff in Colorado?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Kiss a Bum: I wouldn’t trust any pitcher in Colorado and wouldn’t recommend drafting a single one.

  13. David Niven says:
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    Good stuff bro. Have a great weekend.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @David Niven: Thanks David you too

  14. danny almonte says:
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    Thanks for the write up!
    I’m interested in kind of the opposite… I’m planning to punt saves in a 10×10 so ill be hunting for lights out MR’s with great K’s and ratios who will get a ton of holds but no saves. I’m thinking about Wade Davis types, pitching behind Holland. Can you give me some guys to target, including some who wont be Davis-expensive on draft day?

  15. Steve Stevenson says:
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    You said above you don’t think Gregerson closes, and also that you see Fields as 3rd option at best, so who do you think Hinch names–Qualls, Neshek or other? I’ve gotten value out of Astros closers for years because nobody pays attention to them.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Steve Stevenson: Qualls I think at least starts the year there followed by Gregerson, Neshek and then Fields. If Qualls holds it remains to be seen, but he really didn’t hurt himself by the end of last year til now.

  16. Alex says:
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    So if you owned doo little would you roster ryan cook or not bother and grab walden or farqhuar? 5×5 roto dynasty. Other closers are benoit, qualls and red sox pen (own koji, tazawa and mujica)

    This was a great article and im not just trying to kiss your ass.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Alex: you can kiss my ass it does work. I appreciate the kind words. Go walden or Farquhar over cook

  17. Matt says:
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    Is it worth trying to roster quackenbush in my minor leagues if I am a Benoit owner? Maurer is already owned and shawn kelley is in FA pool. Thanks for your time

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Matt: yes absolutely. I don’t necessarily see the Maurer love. Great arm can’t stay healthy.

  18. Regan says:
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    Nice commentary Smokey. I wish you would do a individual writeup on the closers. With so much turnover in the rankings any extra info can be very helpful in determining the right player to chose for your team. Especially for the last tier which is where i buy my closers from. The list just doesn’t do much for me. Just my 2 cents.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Regan: well I am at your willing here if you want me to compare two guys or three. I can do that

  19. McSmitty says:
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    Smokey! This was good stuff thanks. Wondering why Davis is ranked so highly for you. Is it because you think something will happen to Holland and Davis gets the closer role? Or just because of his holds potential? Miller and Quack are high because of questions about the closers ahead of them but wasn’t clear on Davis. Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @McSmitty: I well there’s if Holland gets hurt Davis is def first man up. But his numbers were elite last year, take his numbers add them to any starter outside Greys top 100 and he turns them into a top 30 pitcher. The power of combining.

  20. Joeg414 says:
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    I read Marshall from AZ might start out as their closer . A sleeper for Saves?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Joeg414: Well with Ziegler and Reed both on the mend I can see him getting an early look

  21. Don says:
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    Any love for Tim Hudson this year? Anything left as 8th starter? Or just grab a Rubby or Gibson?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Don: Seems like a match-up type waiver wire fodder guy to me

Comments are closed.