It’s been a busy week for SAGNOF (Steals/Saves Ain’t Got No Face) as we’ve seen the demotion of one closer (Miguel Castro), the injury of another (Adam Ottavino) and we’ve had some demotions and call-ups of base stealing prospects. Firstly, I just want to brag a little bit because I told you to pick up Jake Marisnick. Okay, so I called him Jake Marsinick at first, but hey, let’s not be picky here. The fact is, I first recommended Jake Marsinick, or whatever his name is, three weeks ago here. That was back when he had one home run and two stolen bases. Since then, he’s basically gone one to destroy MLB pitching. Well anyway, hopefully this will help make up for any calls I’ve gotten wrong over the past few weeks… (and truthfully, I would consider Marisnick a good sell high right now, maybe you can get Brandon Moss in return if you need power).
Billy Burns is back up with the big club and he comes with a 50 stolen bases type of ceiling. He has started two games in a row, batting leadoff in both of them. Right now it looks like he will in fact be playing most days because Craig Gentry hasn’t hit at all and Cody Ross was sent to the minors. Michael Taylor is back as well and if you want a player that is similar to Marisnick have at him.
Dalton Pompey was recently sent down and this gives Kevin Pillar a slight boost in the form of a near guarantee for playing time. I thought Pompey would be fine. I liked him a lot this year but sometimes it just doesn’t work out. “It” being batting average on balls in play (BABIP). In other words, death by BABIP. I’ve written about Kevin Pillar already and he was a recommended addition for those in need of more stolen bases for two weeks prior to this.
Jung Ho Kang is a player with some power and some speed and he’s been given some starts at third base with the return of Jordy Mercer to shorstop. He’s a tough guy to get a read on projections wise because he’s the first position player to come over from Korea, but think 20/15ish if given a full season, which is to say there’s a ton of potential in that bat.
Prospecting for base stealers: Here’s some minor league speedsters (and Billy Burns) ranked by rest of season value and I’ve also provided a best guess at their HR/SB/AVG production based on a full season worth of stats and using Steamer projections to guide me: Rusney Castillo (18/20/.275), Billy Burns (2/36/.240), Carlos Correa (15/22/.250), Francisco Lindor (10/23/.240), Jose Peraza (1/40/.250), Byron Buxton (10/30/.245). That said, by far the best base stealers of the group are Burns, Buxton and Peraza. I’m not trying to say Carlos Correa is anywhere near being called up, I just happen to think he is so good that if he were called up he might just be the most valuable player on this list because he can do it all (power, speed, average) and plays shortstop. When he is fully developed he’s thought to be more of a power and average guy than speed but he stole 20 bases in MiLB last year in only 62 games. Lindor and Peraza might only barely be better than Odubel Herrera right now so why stash them if you could have him? See Mike’s weekly prospects rankings columns for better rankings than I’ve provided.
SAGNOF Speed recommendations in the order I would own them, with those from previous weeks included: Odubel Herrera, Kevin Pillar, Billy Burns, Ender Inciarte and Michael Taylor. Keep your eye on Jung Ho Kang or pick him, Rajai Davis or Anythony Gose up if you don’t mind that they’re part time. If you want to stash a prospect, it’s definitely Castillo first, everyone else a distant second. The prospect situations I’d monitor the most closely are Jace Peterson/Peraza in Atlanta because it’s possible they turn to Peraza in a month or so and also lend your ear to what the Astros are doing with Marwin Gonzalez and Joathan Villar because speculation has begun that we could see Correa this year. The previously recommended Angel Pagan, Nori Aoki and Marisnick are off the list of recommendations… because they’ve been added nearly everywhere already.
Onto the arms: Brett Cecil has claimed the closer role back from Miguel Castro which is something I thought was likely to happen from the start, but if I would have known it would have happened so quickly I would have given a number higher than “5” for Cecil’s “situation rating” last week. Cecil hasn’t been very good but Castro had become unbearable. Looking at how many hits he has allowed I can see Castro’s been killed by BABIP but he could have helped himself out with more Ks and less BBs. Going forward, I really don’t trust Cecil to keep the job the entire season but that’s not to say it can’t happen. Roberto Osuna is the most ownable player in that bullpen other than Cecil but it’s a situation you need to monitor if you are desperate for saves because it could instead be Aaron Loup if Cecil falters.
Earlier in the week John Axford claimed the closer role from Adam Ottavino due to injury, an injury we know very little about at this point. I think Axford will have the job for at least 3 more weeks but it’s really hard to tell how much longer than that it might be because the information related to the injury is simply not out there at this time. It could easily turn out to be 3 months. On the one hand Axford barely possesses the skill to keep the role but on the other hand no one else in Colorado is better.
Eventually a team will sign Rafael Soriano and it will most likely be as a closer. Holding Soriano isn’t the worse thing to do right now. At least he’s not hurting your ERA and WHIP as many of these lower ranked players will. Of course his “5” in skills rating below isn’t helping you at all until he gets a job but who’s more likely to end up with 15+ saves this year, Soriano or a random set up man? With Greg Holland‘s return imminent Wade Davis will be resuming his setup duties very soon and the same could go for Jake McGee/Brandon Boxberger but that situation might be more of a time share.
Joel Peralta and Joaquin Benoit have joined the ungrateful dead arms. Seriously, both are suffering from cases of “dead arm”. I’m certain Peralta has been dropped in most leagues by now, as he should be. Until Kenley Jansen comes back it will probably be closer by committee between Chris Hatcher and Yimi Garcia. Benoit should be dropped as well, at least for the short term. Who wants a setup man with a dead arm? Oh, and I guess this puts Kevin Quackenbush back on the map, something many of you may be pleased about.
And speaking of dead arms, Steve Cishek and Mark Melancon are having velocity issues. Of the two I’m more worried about Melancon and he also has the more clear cut next in line player in the form of Tony Watson. A.J. Ramos figures to be the next in line for Cishek and he’s been stellar but I’m not convinced of his reduced walk rate yet. Of the two Ramos is the one that’s not 100% owned in RCLs so he’s the one I recommend you take a look at right now. Go get him if you are in need of saves. Shawn Tolleson owns 5.40 ERA to go with a 14:2 K:BB which doesn’t quite add up. Oh and he’s probably the next in line behind struggling Neftali Feliz. He’s my next recommendation if Ramos isn’t available and I think he might have just enough skill to hold down the role should the opportunity arise.
Now here’s the updated next in line rankings. I’ve included the interim closers that won’t have the closing job for much longer because some are very much worth owning after the incumbent returns and I’ve also included some players that aren’t exactly next in line but might be worth owning in deeper leagues. The number before the slash represents the player’s (heavily projections based) skill level and the number after the slash represents the player’s situation. I take into account the quality and durability of the closer, and the amount of competition for the closer job, for example, when applying the situation rating. Or just simply view the situation rating as the likelihood of getting future saves. The more desperate you are for saves the more weight you should give to the situation rating. For the temporary closers I’ve ranked them as if they no longer have the job. Think of it as how valuable they’ll be once the closer returns to health.
- Brad Boxberger TB (current closer for injured Jake McGee) 9/5
- Wade Davis KC (current closer for injured Greg Holland) 9/4
- Tony Watson PIT (Mark Melancon) 7/6
- Dellin Betances NYA (Andrew Miller) 8/4
- AJ Ramos MIA (Steve Cishek) 5/6
- Ken Giles PHI (Jonathan Papelbon) 7/4
- Jordan Walden STL (Trevor Rosenthal) 6/5
- Chris Hatcher LAD (current committee for injured Kenley Jansen) 5/5
- Joe Smith LAA (Huston Street) 5/5
- Sergio Romo SF (Santiago Casilla) 6/4
- Pedro Strop CHC (Hector Rondon) 6/4
- Danny Farquhar SEA (Fernando Rodney) 7/3
- Yimi Garcia LAD (current committee for injured Kenley Jansen) 6/3
- Shawn Tolleson TEX (Neftali Feliz) 4/5
- Darren O’Day BAL (Zach Britton) 6/3
- Carlos Torres NYM (Jeurys Familia) 6/2
- Kelvin Herrera KC (Wade Davis) 7/1
- Junichi Tazawa BOS (Koji Uehara) 6/2
- Roberto Osuna TOR (Brett Cecil) 4/4
- Rafael Soriano FA 5/7 <–IMO no one below here should be owned in most 12 team leagues–>
- Will Smith MIL (Francisco Rodriguez) 5/2
- Kevin Quackenbush SD (Craig Kimbrel) 4/3
- Joaquin Benoit (injured) SD (Craig Kimbrel) 7/4 (at full health)
- Casey Fien MIN (Glen Perkins) 4/3
- Jumbo Diaz CIN (Aroldis Chapman) 4/3
- JJ Hoover CIN (Aroldis Chapman) 6/1
- Evan Scribner OAK (Tyler Clippard) 5/1
- Bryan Shaw CLE (Cody Allen) 2/4
- Aaron Barrett WAS (Drew Storen) 3/3
- David Carpenter NYA (Andrew Miller) 4/2
- Brad Ziegler ARI (Addison Reed) 2/3
- Zach Duke CHI (David Robertson) 3/2
- Pat Neshek HOU (Luke Gregorson) 4/1
- Aaron Loup TOR (Brett Cecil) 2/2
- Rafael Betancourt COL (Adam Ottavino) 2/2
- Chad Qualls HOU (Luke Gregerson) 1/2
- Edward Mujica BOS (Koji Uehara) 1/2
- Jim Johnson ATL (Jason Grilli) 1/2
- Jonathan Broxton MIL (Francisco Rodriguez) 1/2
SAGNOF (Saves Ain’t Got No Face edition) recommendations: A.J. Ramos, Shawn Tolleson.