I’m a value oriented fantasy manager. I’m not a believer in positional scarcity and I take that approach (aka meritocracy) to my draft by relying largely on projections. When evaluating my slumping players I look at their projections and peripherals to see if the slump means anything. When looking at the hot players in the player pool I take the same approach. I am going to make recommendations to you based on these approaches. For the next in line closers it means recommending players with good projections but also considering each players chance to close in the future. For base stealers it means making sure the player won’t destroy your AVG or at least letting you know if he’s going to.
This week in SAGNOF (Saves Ain’t Got No Face) Recap: Early last week Adam Ottavino ascended into the closer role for Colorado and it looks at the very least to be semi-permanent. He was previously my 7th best next in line closer to own. Formerly my 2nd best next in line closer to own, Joakim Soria had ascended due to an injury to Joe Nathan, who should be back soon and will regain his closer role. Jordan Walden notched a save last night but it appears Trevor Rosenthal was being given the night off.
Bobby Parnell should probably be owned right now in all leagues because he could take Jeurys Familia’s job in the next 2-3 weeks. He will probably return to action this week but as of now we can’t be sure how quickly, if at all, he will ascend to the closer role. I’m thinking that if it doesn’t happen in 2-3 weeks it won’t happen at all unless Familia implodes down the line. Now onto this week’s recommendations…
Previously I used a projections based approach to rank the next in line middle relievers by their skill and I combined that with knowledge of their situation (chance to ascend into the closer role) to give an overall ranking. To shed some more light on how this approach works for middle relievers here are two tables with some projections derived values. The first table consists of the best projected players, the second the rest of the next in line closers. To get a value for each player I’ve subtracted $Wins and $Saves from Rudy’s Rest of Season Player Rater Values and you can consider this their “Skill Dollar Value”. That way we are able to view each player’s contribution in a situation neutral context. I’ve included the interim closers because it gives you an idea of how ownable each interim closer after he loses the closer gig upon the return of the incumbent. Finally, below the tables, I’ve ranked the next in line players most worth owning taking into account skill and situation.
The most skilled middle relievers, projections wise:
|Name||Team||Next Up?||$ Value|
|Dellin Betances||NYA||Maybe, he’s been struggling mightily||4.9|
|Brett Cecil||TOR||Deposed, needs to show he’s improved first||0.1|
The rest* of the next in line relievers:
|Name||Team||Next Up?||$ Value|
|Jonathan Broxton||MIL||I Hope Not||-2.3|
|Edward Mujica||BOS||Maybe, has been shaky||-3.5|
|Kyuji Fujikawa||TEX||Currently DL’d||-3.9|
|Keone Kela||TEX||Maybe, at least until Fujikawa is ready||?**|
*I skipped the situation in WAS, for instance, because I can only speculate at who the next in line is.
**Leone’s projections are bad but also aren’t really useful here because he is projected for so few innings pitched.
Dellin Betances has not allowed any earned runs so far this year, despite sporting a WHIP of 2.06. He’s been pretty bad overall, although has only walked one batter in his last 3.2 innings after walking six in his first 3.1 innings. I consider the projections for him to be what he’s capable of, not what he is right now. Rodney still has a grip on the Seattle closer position and I would say it’s tightened slightly since last week.
A.J. Ramos and Brad Ziegler are worth considering if you are desperate for saves. They are pretty much the only guys from the second list I would bother with right now, deeper leagues being the exception. Another name to keep in mind or pick up, especially for deeper leagues is Rafael Soriano who currently does not have a team. He has a better chance than most of the above players to end the season with 15+ saves.
Ranking the the middle relievers that are not 100% owned by considering their skill and situation gives us: Farquhar, Ken Giles, Tony Watson, Joe Smith, Darren O’Day, Sergio Romo, Jordan Walden, Brett Cecil, Pedro Strop, and Will Smith. These are, in my opinion, the middle relievers most worthy of owning.
On the speedster front, some of our favorite prospects seem to be failing us. Micah Johnson and Jace Peterson haven’t performed. Surprisingly (at least to some) their projections are nothing spectacular: Jace is projected for only a .229 AVG and Micah for only .248. Hold them if you are the type to stash rookies otherwise I have no problem with dropping them because with their low OBP it’s going to be hard for them to light it up on the basepaths. Jose Peraza is a better speedster than Jace and he could, eventually, replace him this year. He’s one to keep in mind. Dalton Pompey has underperformed but has still played every day. For him it looks like it’s just a matter of time before he hits more. Preseason sleeper Eric Young Jr is not playing enough and Michael Taylor has been sent back to AAA because Denard Span came back (sooner than expected, no less).
One prospect who has lit up the box score is Odubel Herrera and he’s eligible at both SS and OF. Steamer projects him for a .241 AVG but ZiPS, for instance, projects him for .276. The reason for the big difference in the AVG projections is the big difference in their BABIP projections. His speed is not great but he should be able to manage approximately 15 or more stolen bases from here on out given regular playing time. He has 3 already.
I know Denard Span is available in a few leagues (although perhaps not by the time this is published) and he’s an immediate add. Ender Inciarte is a player that could steal 20 or so bases while starting only against righties and also brings decent batting average to the table. Sorry I missed him last week, I think if I had mentioned him last Monday you would have had a chance to snag him as I think he was picked up in many leagues around Tuesday or so. While that was an outright mistake, many times I won’t have a chance to give an update in time simply because the SAGNOF Special is weekly. So here’s what to do if you are wondering if a player will produce: Whenever you see a player that you aren’t familiar with getting playing time always check his projections. Try to imagine what a full season based on those projections would look like. Early in the season it’s usually safer to trust the projections over the SSS (small sample size) of stats we have to work with.
If you missed out on Inciarte, hopefully Jake Marisnick is still available. Marisnick projects as a player that can steal nearly as many bases as Inciarte but he brings less AVG and slightly more power. Kevin Pillar has been pretty good and could steal 20 bases with a full time gig but figures to lose playing time with Michael Saunders set to return soon. I still consider Jose Ramirez a buy low, although he barely projects better than Micah Johnson. He’s been slumping quite badly but has still managed to steal 3 bases and hit one home run. Everth Cabrera is off to a slow start but is worthy of an add if you need short term help at shortstop.
Angel Pagan and Nori Aoki are both owned at 89% in RCLs but if you see them dropped and need a little bit of speed (and a little is all they offer at this point in their careers) their overall value is good and Pagan, for instance, will almost certainly be a plus to your team’s AVG.
Without consideration of playing time I would rank these players: Span, Inciarte, Pagan, Aoki, Pillar, Marisnick, Cabrera, Herrera, Ramirez, Johnson, Peterson. In consideration of current playing time it would be: Span, Pagan, Aoki, Herrera, Pillar, Inciarte, Cabrera, Marisnick, Ramirez, Johnson, Peterson.
Always keep in mind: It’s not what a player has done, it’s what he’s going to do. That’s something to keep in mind for those of you that like streaming players or if you play DFS. And Razzball Tools can help you excel at that.
Thanks if you stuck it out and read the whole thing and thanks to all those who have commented previously. Thanks in advance to those who comment on this one. I like a good back and forth.