Analyzing the Jefe’s work in the top-500 and finding things you disagree with is difficult business. Not many come at the king, unless summoned to do so, and survive the fall.  I almost feel like some kind of twilight zone GOT episode where instead of medieval type barbs, we argue over swinging strike percentage and spin rate.  Loser walks down Second Avenue to get the freshest matzo ball soup.  No matter, here I sit looking over Razzball Top-500 for 2018 to see where rankings may be off for the good and the bad.  For other positions it may be an easier exercise, as the rule of thumb with relievers and closers is SAGNOF and Grey’s rankings show that his approach to that acronym hold true.  Drafting closers to me is always a value-type drafting situation.  Don’t be last, but don’t be first scenario.  Unless the value is too deeming and obvious that when it’s time to jump, you ask how high.  The second rule of the reliever fight club is don’t get sucked into a run on closers.  Wait your turn and get value at other positions and than if you get stuck, SAGNOF is always in your back pocket. Every year the closer market is a fluctuating beast that tempts you with fruit and flowers to jump on the next hot waiver wire add.  So be patient in your closer endeavors and the stat will run its course as long as you stay proactive on the free agent market.  So here is my stab at the King and who is underrated and overrated in his eyes.

Underrated:

Kenley Jansen – If you can draft Kenley at Grey’s 66th overall rank, you damn well better do it.  His current ADP is in the top-40.  He has finished ninth overall in some site that won’t be named player rater last year.  Now that we are on the Trax this year, I wonder how his rating will go?  If you read the intro, you don’t wanna be first especially with closers of Kenley’s magnitude.  You can find try to find similarity three-round slater, but there is only one “goods”.

Roberto Osuna – In my own Top-50 Relievers Rankings, I said that he would be the first closer I would target based on merit and value.   Ranked 104 by Grey and ADP of 77 in NFBC. Sported a stunning 9.22 K/BB rate last year that only trailed Sir Kenley.  Alson finished top 10 in K/9 rate for closers with 11.67.  He basically checks all the closer boxes, K’s, limits walks, limits home runs and limits wOBA.

Blake Treinen – Getting a little bit excited by the news that he was named the closer on the first day of Spring.  It was a no-brainer anyways, and I think he stock will continue to rise in front of a very sleepy good bullpen that was second in wOBA for a bullpen last year.  Trailing only the Yankees.  Started the year as the Nationals closer getting 3 saves, than cast aside from the closer role and eventually traded to Oakland.  He went almost 90 games, 40 appearances before getting his first save for the A’s.  Ended the year strong with a K/9 over 10 in the last 28 games pitched and 13 saves in 14 chances.  Ranked 272 and an ADP of 194, he is being drafted as the 25th closer off the board and in the vicinity of Fernando Rodney.

Overrated:

Andrew Miller – Top 120 player that doesn’t get a counting stat in saves, barely knocks on the door in wins.  Yea the ratios are nice but K-rate was down slightly from 14.89 per 9 to 13.4 per 9, and walk rate was up last year.  I know I am needling just to needle sake but I picked on the top closer so why not pick on the top set-up option in mixed leagues.  If you own Cody Allen than feel nervous that Miller is floating around, but if you draft Osuna first Allen is someone else’s problem.

Seung-Hwan Oh – Tale of two Oh’s.  The first was a great 2016 version. The second was a 35-year-old former version of himself.  Velocity down, location a mess and basically was a buffet for left handed hitters to feast off of.  I get that Claudio doesn’t have the lite arsenal and is better suited for set-up, but low K-rate LH pitchers have had success, Zach Britton.  The Rangers closing situation is blah squared with too many names involved.  I am drafting none of the Kela, Claudio or Oh (269 Grey) crowd and grabbing Diekman at his last round value.

Brandon Morrow – Wear and tear is a tough beast.  It ruins starting pitchers the following year after a deep playoff run so why not a reliever.  The Cubs bullpen has several quality arms, just no one I trust to watch my baby saves. Morrow may have been signed to be the closer but I think he arguably the second best option there in terms of stuff and save potential behind Carl’s Jr.  Not really a looker at Morrow at his rank of 203 for Grey or 210 in NFBC.  At 200 in the draft my team will or should have two more reliable closers.  As it sits right now, there are three teams I am avoiding and skipping over on draft day for closers, Cubs, Orioles and Rangers.  Think about it would you rather own basically for free Edwards, Givens or Diekman or pay up for maybe closers.

 

 

   
  1. Grey

    Grey says:
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    *old man shakes fist at disagreements* How dare you, Smokey!

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Grey:

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Haha, that’s me and you, thwarted!

        • Jay

          Jay says:
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          @Grey: In the sea of life!

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Haha

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Grey: what no “stay off the lawn”?

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        I’m in the concrete jungle, no lawn

  2. Old School Brother says:
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    Smoak,

    mark my words, Kela will close. Not a bad idea to grab your Diek with the last pick either though

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Old School Brother: I’m hoping so. I’m vested more in KKthan anyone else,but I do like the reports about Diekman

  3. Count de Monetball says:
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    it’s plain to see, you can’t change he(Grey), because he plays SAGNOF for life . Smokey, it seems you have really picked up your game this year. Thank you very much for that. With regards to Kenley, I understand he is awesome and was rated highly last year, but there’s no way I’m taking a closer before the sixth around and probably not till the 10th in a standard redraft 5×5 League. I have to agree with the fantasy master Lothario in that regard. I totally agree with your avoids…

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Count de Monetball: Smokey is the grandfather of fantasy writing. Dude was old when I started.

      Smokey the Bear? More like Smokey the Larry King.

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @Jay: I prefer seasoned jay or maybe it’s pickled

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Count de Monetball: thanks Count, and I understand that draft perspective. Just if the goods is there in rd 6 it’s a tempting beast like a second lap dance

  4. Landisimo3 says:
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    What’s up Smoke… 12 team 5×5 roto .. (Holds+Saves)…. forever keep 10.. they’re due this weekend… here’s my options… Who’d your 10 be? Thank you as always

    Salvy Perez
    Bruce
    Dozier
    Nunez
    Shaw
    Lemahieu
    Longoria
    Cain
    Adam Jones
    Cutch
    Souza
    Hendricks
    Salazar
    A Miller
    Knebel
    Wade Davis

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Landisimo3: dozier
      Lemehieu or Salazar. Last pick
      Cain
      Wade
      Knebel
      Shaw
      Bruce
      Miller
      Souza
      Jones

  5. sport says:
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    Love this write up! I have always been interested in the difference in yours and Grey’s RP options. I have had success in using both theories.

    Looking at Grey’s I’m leaning toward Giles or Allen in round 9 or 10. Are you targeting Osuna in round 7 then?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @sport: I have got him 8th and 9th round but he’s my first foray into the closer game. So 85-95 overall

      • sport says:
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        @Smokey:
        So if Osuna is gone after 7 rounds who is your next target. Would be Giles or Allen according to your rankings. Or would you go to the “Three lefties, a church and a former lover” tier?

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @sport: @sport: depends on how close those two are drafted to Osuna, which should be close or even before in some cases. But yea I would look at the three lefties.

  6. OaktownSteve says:
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    Treinan started throwing his slider a bunch more and that led to more swing and miss on that pitch AND on his Bugs Bunny two seamer. If he looks like he did to finish out last year he’s a great buy.

    A’s bullpen, your stat not withstanding, was poor last year. Casilla’s time as closer was bad, Dull was iffy, Hendricks was bad through June. They made it a priority in the offseason and made some really good adds in Petite, Pagan and Buchter.

    They are going to get a lot of bullpen innings this year. They seem ready to go to the 5 inning starter model. They have a sneaky good line up and are much better defensively than at OD last year. They will play a lot of close, competitive games this year.

    • Sweatpants Nation says:
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      @OaktownSteve: Hey Oaktown, what’s your take on A’s Chapman and Olsen. Grey isn’t too high on either. I had both last year, Chapman was iffy and Olsen was outrageously good of course. I had hopes for both going into this year but Grey threw the old wet blanket on that.

      • OaktownSteve says:
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        @Sweatpants Nation:

        I think Chapman is underrated and in an OBP league he’s a steal. He’s a great character guy, defense will keep him on the field and I think he’ll grow his contact skills and hit .240 with 27/80/90.

        Olson is tougher for me. My biggest concern is that there are some holes that can be exploited in his swing. It’s almost all pullside. I’m really hoping he can be somewhere close. I think it’s possible. There were some great signs. Weird numbers though. 24 HRs and only 2 doubles and 25 singles. I’m off Olson but hoping I’m wrong.

        • Sweatpants Nation says:
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          @OaktownSteve: Thanks. Good to hear about Chapman, I have him in a keeper OBP league and have been on the fence. Olson was a FAAB pickup and helped a great deal.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @OaktownSteve: close games equals holds. I’ll take Petit all day

  7. LenFuego says:
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    It is important to understand the ramifications of the type of league you are in for RP rankings and strategy.

    In leagues where you can do daily pickups and roster changes, you can play daily RP matchups to steal steals (TM) and in that type of league, Grey’s rankings and strategy should be your choice. For leagues where you can only do pickups and make lineup changes on a weekly basis (or less often) Smokey’s rankings and strategy are more applicable (IMHO anyway).

    In my weekly 5×5 auction league, I traded for Jansen in early May last year, and I benefitted from him more than I would have if I had traded for, say, Goldschmidt. He helps not only in saves, but ERA, WHIP, Ks and will even throw in several Ws. He is not a one category guy like most relievers.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @LenFuego: little bit of column A and column B there’s an equal value in taking the SAGNOF approach or my approach in either format. The draft will dictate more than anything, because if you are drafting with 2-3 teams that follow the sagnof theory than values will be had

  8. Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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    In my weekly keeper league, closers go for crazy high prices ($25 for Kenley, $17 for Osuna last year), in part because people are nuts, but also because the $100 FAAB and weekly locks tends to cramp the SAGNOF style a bit, since you can’t churn as much and SAGNOF misses poop all over your ERA for the entire week.

    I SAGNOF’d last year, but blew about 50% of my FAAB on it when all was said and done including, at my lowest, a $19 bid (winning by $1) for Benoit when he was “safe”, that led to nothing but a full point on top of my team ERA.

    In those cases where everyone is overpriced, would you advocate spending marginally more on Kenley, then balancing with Trienen etc. (as opposed to Osuna-types)?

    • LenFuego says:
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      @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: You are absolutely correct that the FAAB and weekly locks cramp the SAGNOF style and that SAGNOF pickups can often be ratio killers. That is why $25 for Kenley and $17 for Osuna were not at all nuts. In our league with the same $100 FAAB and weekly locks, Kenley went for $26.

      I got tired of the SAGNOF churn of picking up disappointing mediocrities week after week, and ended up trading for Kenley, and it made a huge difference on my team. I do not at all mind the spending of auction dollars on truly dependable RPs. The problem is that it can be difficult to know which RPs are truly dependable.

      The other factor in RP spending is that it is really difficult to find the sleeper and breakout RPs because it is incredibly hard to figure out what major league managers are thinking (if anything). There were a lot of RPs that logically would make far better closers than the actual closers on their team, but never sniffed the 9th inning.

      • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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        @LenFuego: good points Len. What you said about Kenley is also what I was toying with….if I do end up spending on a top first or second tier closer, I’d rather spend a few more bucks on Kenley (25/26) than get Giles or Allen at nearly the same cost (20-23).

        • Duda Want to Build a Snowman? says:
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          @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: daily lineup h2h leagues though, i sagnof with reckless abandon!

      • swaggerjackers says:
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        @LenFuego: You make a very good point by saying “The problem is that it can be difficult to know which RPs are truly dependable.” I invested in Britton and Aroldis in a league last season thinking it was set for saves then Britton got hurt and Chapman lost his job at one point. Sadly, it seems no one is reliable. Osuna lost his job and seemed like a head case, Edwin Diaz lost his job, GIles was even a closer in the World Series, the list goes on and on. The position is just so volatile. I think the best bet is to take one closer around 100 overall, another around 150, and two more off the scrap heap after 200.

        • LenFuego says:
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          @swaggerjackers: Absolutely right. Frankly, I am not even sure if I trust Jansen to be truly reliable this year, at least not to the level of $25 or so that he will go for. For one thing, he pitched a lot of innings in the post-season last year. Somehow it just feels like he might be due for a mortal year.

          I like to get two RPs that I feel really confident will be their team’s closer all year, and then another that seems like a good value/risk later in the draft, and I like to scoop up one of the stud middle reliever types to put in to protect my ratios if any of the other three fall apart.

      • swaggerjackers says:
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        @LenFuego: @LenFuego: You make a very good point by saying “The problem is that it can be difficult to know which RPs are truly dependable.” I invested in Britton and Aroldis in a league last season thinking it was set for saves then Britton got hurt and Chapman lost his job at one point. Sadly, it seems no one is reliable. Osuna lost his job and seemed like a head case, Edwin Diaz lost his job, GIles was even a closer in the World Series, the list goes on and on. The position is just so volatile. I think the best bet is to take one closer around 100 overall, another around 150, and two more off the scrap heap after 200.

    • Jay Dee says:
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      @Duda Want to Build a Snowman?: Id recommend you never play a h2h league for starts-Learn to crawl crawl before you walk

  9. Curt C says:
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    colome or doolittle?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Curt C: Colome if he gets traded, Doolittle as it sits. But both are so close in ranking it would be ok to have either.

  10. JJ says:
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    Hey Smokey,
    Wondered if you’d give me your take on my keepers in a 12 team H2H 5X5 keeper league(keep 10). So far my sure things are ARENADO, C.SEAGER, B.DOZIER, M.OZUNA, R.ACUNA, M.BUMGARNER
    The next 4 are much tougher. I have crazy depth. Wish it was a dynasty.
    L.CAIN
    N.MAZARA
    M.CONFORTO
    M.CABRERA
    J.SMOAK
    AJ POLLOCK
    J.PAXTON
    A.CHAPMAN
    MCCULLERS
    G.COLE
    K.GILES
    F.RIVERO
    D.SALAZAR
    J.TAILLON
    Z.GODLEY
    What do you think?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @JJ: Cain, Paxton, Chapman and it’s so tempting to keep a third closer or the Mazara/Conforto as last keeper. But thats what I would lean. So its between Mazara, Conforto, Giles and Rivero for last spot I think.

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @Smokey: second closer, sorry

        • JJ says:
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          @Smokey:
          Thanks for the feedback. Must say Im surprised you didn’t mention Pollock. I thought he was my no brainer #7.

          • Smokey

            Smokey says:
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            @JJ: im down on him, and don’t know why. Maybe injuries

  11. the discarded head of ted williams says:
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    The thing I have found about closers, is that if the rest of your team is real solid you can ALWAYS find a closer in a trade. Teams at the bottom will always have one (often they went too big for Saves and that is why they are at the bottom), and you can send them someone that they can keep next year for their top closer.

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