My pain is self-chosen
At least, so the prophet says
I could either burn
Or cut off my pride and buy some time
A head full of lies is the weight, tied to my waist

That is quite the downer, isn’t it? Makes you want to jump out of the nearest window. Welcome to the saves game! It is the river of deceit. I can’t believe I went with a “grunge” title today, but I missed Sky this offseason. [Jay’s Note: The Emo King, to rule them all!] Mad Season is the inspiration today, as the saves game is the most emotionally painful part of the fantasy season. Well maybe “can be” the most painful would be more apt for this discussion. So in the spirit of classic me and using the song titles of Mad Season’s other bands, I will say this in hyper link glory. The closer game in the shadow of the season is a state of love and trust that hopefully signals it’s over now… in a good way. I went almost full unplugged there. So friggin’ 90’s. Enough of that decade, let’s move into today.

I’ve tried this crazy little saves game every possible way. I’ve gone all elite closers, I’ve gone the mixed bag route, and once I drafted only one brain freeze. Either way, it usually worked out as long as I constructed a proper roster. The conclusion I have come to is there is no right way to go about this. Every year is different and sometimes you hit it and sometimes you don’t. The best way to not miss it, depending on format, is holding some strong high K/9 cuffs with opportunities from the get go and wait it out. Trust me it pays off. Last year I had Wade Davis all over the place from wire to wire and so far this year I’ve got saves from Darren O’Day and Ryan Madson as well as vulture wins from Nate Jones and Kevin Siegrist. With that said, let’s get to the title already.

Ryan Madson

This is where real baseball decisions crush fantasy dreams… sorta. Mad Season leads the A’s in saves by two and he’s not “the closer”. Don’t worry Doolittle owners, this is just circumstantial. Madson’s first opp came after Doolittle had pitched the previous two days and the second was against the Mariners when Bob Melvin decided to have Doolittle face the top of the order in the 8th. Smart play that paid off as he shut them down and then handed the ball off to Madson to close it out. Does this mean Madson will get regular opps? Maybe. Doolittle is coming off an injury year and they will need him if they are to make the wildcard this year (I doubt they win the division). I like Madson, in the re-season I disagreed with Smokey and resident A’s expert Oaktown Steve that Madson was going to be the cuff over Axford. Closer points for Jack! Madson is a high K/9 MR who has a high SwStr percentage and if last year is any indication will induce a lot of groundballs. Own him like Wade Davis last year and enjoy the ride.

Jenmar Gomez

This is redundant at this point but in case you missed it or you only read me on the sight, which by the way, is totally reasonable, Jenmar converted the first save in Philly. Does this mean he has the job and will run with it for the long haul? No clue. His advanced numbers have never been great, low K-rate, blah walk rate, doesn’t throw hard, but he has the job. Use him while he has it but don’t be surprised if he’s out of a job by May.

SAGNOF Strategy

In an attempt to teach you all how to fish for steals I’m going to do something different this week. Below are two lists. The first are some of the top pitchers for giving up steals. The other are the worst teams for throwing out runners from 2015. When you batty call bags keep these in mind.

Top Pitchers to Steal Bases Against – 2015

Pitcher Team 2014 2014 2013
Jon Lester CHC 44 16 12
Tyson Ross SD 37 31 11
Jake Arrieta CHC 27 24 7
Edinson Volquez KC 18 9 24
Chris Young KC 18 13 N/A
Scott Feldman HOU 11 35 30
Jered Weaver ANA 22 25 13
  • Tyson Ross’s 11 steal in 2013 came in 125 innings.
  • Like Mr. Ross, Scott Feldman stinks too. Last year he gave up 11 in only 108.1 innings.
  • It might be hard to get on base against Jake Arrieta but don’t let that fool you. The Cubs are one of the worst in allowing steals. Jake’s 7 steals in 2013 came in only 75 innings.
  • Not surprising to see that Volquez’s 2013 numbers happened when he pitched 142 innings for the Padres.
  • Taylor Jungmann didn’t make the list but last year in his rookie season he gave up 18 in 119.1 innings. Keep an eye on his starts for batty calling bags

2015 Teams with Most Stolen Bases Allowed

Team Total SB’s SB’s Per Game
Pirates 144 0.89
Cubs 137 0.85
Padres 122 0.75
Brewers 104 0.64
Reds 100 0.62
  • The Cubs were the 3rd worst in 2014 and top ten worst in 2013. This is the norm for the Northsiders so steal away Razzballers.
  • The Padres were the worst team in 2014 and like the Cubs, a top ten worst team in 2013.
  • The Pirates doesn’t feel like a fluke. I wonder if they are so focused on pitching that they pay no mind to the base runners. In 2014 they were 7th worst and 11th in 2013.



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  1. Gregjeffries says:

    Awesome stuff J-FOH! Thanks!

    I’m in a 15 teamer where saves are super hard to come by. My last bench SP is Conley. Would you drop Conley for Jepsen right now?

    Thanks again!

    • J-FOH says:

      @Gregjeffries: tough call,and I love me some Conley this year but if you are starving then it makes sense. Just curious, what does the rest of your staff look like? Who are your bottom hitters and is this a standard 5×5?

  2. Gregjeffries says:

    I’m running with:

    T. Walker

    Also have Familia, Casilla, Ziegler, and Viscaino… but Closers are so valuable, I could probably flip him for a better SP or hitter if Jepsen becomes closer

  3. Gregjeffries says:

    Oh yeah, and standard 5×5 rotiss

  4. Gregjeffries says:

    Damn, Jepsen just got scooped up. Oh well, I’m pretty high on Conley too. Definitely could use some high upside SPs…

    • J-FOH says:

      @Gregjeffries: sorry I was out of the office most the day. Your closers look fine for now

  5. Knucks says:

    Good call on jungmann, even yadier getting a slice of that sweet SAGNOF off him today hah

    • J-FOH says:

      @Knucks: Jungmann is a dream maker

  6. Teddy Heater says:

    I feel your pain.

    • J-FOH says:

      @Teddy Heater: which one? I have so many

  7. de nachos says:

    Bedsides two closers I’m rostering Joe Smith and Farquar. Is Grilli still a solid hold? Also got Daniel Hudson and Strop but gets hard to spec these guys when bench bats can be used on the light game days/rest days.

    • J-FOH says:

      @de nachos: holg Grilli and you can dump Hudson for a batty call. Strop is a maybe

  8. SheriffMcRawDawg says:

    This is really helpful mang.

    Rapid fire h2h OPS league (have Delino at Util, but would be dropping Giles ((I have 3 other closers))) – pick 1, and maybe rank? (could possibly be kept too):

    Khris Davis
    Carlos Santana

    Thanks man

      • SheriffMcRawDawg says:

        @J-FOH: thanks man!
        and what about dropping Khris Davis for David peralta?

  9. Cooper says:


    • J-FOH says:

      @Cooper: $

      • RotoLance

        RotoLance says:

        @J-FOH: Money’s always the answer…

  10. Crapshoot Kershaw says:

    have no idea why anybody would pick axford over either of madson or l.hendricks (who was awesome last year)

  11. Crapshoot Kershaw says:

    wow, matheny REALLY doesn’t let anybody run if 4/5th of that division are the worst at steals against %.

Comments are closed.