Why does it seem like there’s always more closer situations in flux in the first week than at any other time? Well, whether that’s true or not, this year was no different. Don’t even try to think about what that actually means. Here’s your sumary: By Thursday there were already three new closers, then Sunday we had two old guys getting worked like speed bags at your local gym.
Sunday Blowups: Part 1, Fernando Rodney. He pitched one inning and allowed 4 earned runs, 4 hits and 2 walks in a non save situation. Danny Farquhar is the next in line and he should be owned in most 12 team leagues already, but if he isn’t, go get him. Part 2, LaTroy Hawkins: He has had two minor blowups (5 earned runs between the two) in the past week, both in save situations. Adam Ottavino might be available in your league and he’s an immediate add if you can spare the roster spot although there is no guarantee he will be the next closer.
And here’s the relatively old news. Jenrry Mejia first got injured then got suspended leaving Jeurys Familia as the closer. Familia might only have the job while Bobby Parnell is out which might only be another week or two. Miguel Castro has taken over for Brett Cecil, at least temporarily. Cecil is worth holding on to. Joe Nathan was placed on the 15 day disabled list and he could be out for precisely that length or slightly longer. Joakim Soria is the interim closer. Had Nathan been demoted due to performance, Soria’s transcendence might be more permanent but as is it looks like he’ll only be the guy for as long as Nathan is injured. Chris Hatcher was supposed to be part of a closer by committee for Los Angeles. He got the Dodgers first save of the year then blew his second attempt. Then on Sunday he gave up 3 runs in mop up duty. That leaves Joel Peralta to get the bulk of the 9th inning work until Kenley Jansen comes back from his foot injury in about 4 weeks.
Three of the four next in line pitchers that I rated at “6” or better for their situation score in last week’s SAGNOF Special have seen their fortunes improved already. Those three are Farquhar, Soria, and Ottavino. The fourth is Joe Smith who is the next in line behind oft-injured Huston Street. Let my system work for you. Summarizing, the top setup men (based on pitcher skill plus situation/opportunity to step in as closer), in rough order, are now: Danny Farquhar, Wade Davis, Ken Giles, Adam Ottavino, Joe Smith, Sergio Romo, Tony Watson, Jordan Walden, Darren O’Day, and Pedro Strop.
It was a relatively boring week on the speedsters front. Micah Johnson started in all but one game so far and the one he missed was due to a lefty being on the mound. Later in the week he started a game against a lefty. Going forward I actually expect him to sit most of the time versus lefties. He is the owner of ZERO stolen bases, having once been caught because he took off too early and having once been picked off. So both times it was the pitcher who dealt with him. According to my amateur eye he’s looked ok at the plate. He’s worth holding onto but he’s not a must own, it all depends on how strongly you feel and what else is available in your league.
Jace Peterson‘s situation and prospects are similar to Micah Johnson’s with the differences being Micah Johnson brings a little more batting average skill but Peterson is batting second as opposed to ninth for Micah. He managed to steal one base while starting in all but one game for the Braves. Jose Ramirez is the slightly more established of the two shortstops (though Jace is also 2B eligible) and I prefer him to Jace.
Michael Taylor has been playing every day and he could still 25+ bases and he has a bit of power. He’s off to a good start production wise but the peripherals tell another story because he’s striking out way too much; the strikeouts are why Steamer only projects him for a .225 AVG. Be wary.
Rajai Davis has not been playing enough and that’s all Anthony Gose‘s fault. Gose is, of course, a bit of a speedster himself and between the two you would almost have to own Gose at this point because he’s starting twice as often.
Billy Burns was sent down to the minors to make room for newly acquired Cody Ross. Eric Young Jr started in 4 of the 6 games played so far by the Braves and I would expect that to continue. He’s certainly not very own-able, but he is very stream-able for leagues with daily changes.
Jake Marsinick just might be the least sexy name on this list. He’s stolen two bases already although he doesn’t play everyday. He projects as something like a 12 home run 25 stolen base player if he were to get full playing time and his average will only make you cringe slightly, think .240 or so.