So, you may have missed out on Cesar Hernandez and I am partially to blame. (But don’t worry because according to Rotowire “Unfortunately, he lacks both power and speed, assets he would need to be fantasy relevant in all but the deepest fantasy leagues.” On the other hand there is also: “Cesar, basically the awesomest guy in the world.“). Uhhh, anyway, he stole 6 bases in a three game span and I haven’t even written about him yet. If you are wondering how that happens, it’s in large part a timing thing, although I definitely should have looked into him as soon as he started playing more often because I would have seen he did show decent speed in the minors. So what can we expect going forward? Well, prior to an injury to Chase Utley, Hernandez was starting less than half the time. Despite being outfield eligible he has yet to play there this year. Upon Utley’s return he could steal (pun intended) games from Freddy Galvis in addition to occasional starts at second base so maybe he sees 5 starts each week. He has a pretty good track record of stealing bases in the minors but prior to this year he only stole one base in 100 games and 256 plate appearances in MLB. I think that if you picked up Hernandez you can feel ok about it, but temper your expectations somewhat. And if you missed out you should perhaps start by looking at players that may have been dropped in your league.
In many Razzball Commenter Leagues this year good base stealers have been dropped from teams and hit FA/waivers. In one league I picked up Ben Revere, in another I was able to pick up Denard Span right as he was coming off the disabled list. Leonys Martin (85%) and Delino DeShields Jr. (48%) are players you might see floating around right now but it’s not the best week to own them because they have days off Monday and Thursday. Plus DeShields’ playing time is in question because Josh Hamilton is relatively healthy, although to be fair Martin’s may be as well. Ender Inciarte (58%) should be back within two weeks so keep your eye on him or add him now if you have a DL slot available.
This weeks SAGNOF (Steals Ain’t Got No Face) Speed recommendations: Cesar Hernandez, who is also borderline ownable in 10 team until Utley gets back. Delino DeShields is ownable in a “start him when he starts” fashion but this week is a rough week to own him and Leonys Martin because they don’t play Monday or Thursday. Keep your eyes open for Ender Inciarte’s return. Jose Peraza is one to consider for the “All Star Break stash”. Because most of us have at least one expendable slot for our teams, why not stash someone during the All Star Break in case he’s called up during or just after the break?
Last week for Saves Ain’t Got No Face I made you aware of some players who were on the good side of the lady luck coin flip. These players were the Jurrjy Award nominees for the “rising ERA” category. For completeness sake it’s now time to name some of the 12 team relevant relief pitchers that have been the unluckiest so far. For this category, sorted by ERA – FIP, we have Rafael Betancourt, middle reliever, Colorado Rockies (6.17 ERA / 3.08 FIP), Jonathan Broxton, middle reliever, Milwaukee Brewers (6.97 ERA / 3.99 FIP), Aaron Barrett, middle reliever, Washington Nationals (5.06 ERA / 2.19 FIP), Sergio Romo, middle reliever, San Francisco Giants (4.32 ERA / 2.20 FIP), and Addison Reed, middle reliever (and former closer), Arizona Diamondbacks (5.92 ERA / 3.86 FIP). Go figure, you aren’t very likely to keep your job as closer if you are on the unluckiest relievers list.
I still think someone in the Colorado Rockies bullpen could eventually replace John Axford and his 22:10 K:BB ratio but that’s not something that’s going to happen soon and it won’t be Rafael Betancourt unless his numbers look right by the time it happens. Last week I fielded a question about Sergio Romo and his struggles. Someone was wondering if his recent bad outings were part of a normal regression to the mean after a pretty good start. While that may have been part of the answer we see now that he has gone the other way and he’s been extremely unlucky to date. Own him with confidence. Aaron Barrett was once considered as a possible next in line to Drew Storen for the Washington Nationals. He’s been out for nearly a month with a biceps strain but he could be back any day now but he won’t be interesting for SAGNOF purposes until something changes because Matt Thornton has pitched in the 8th and acquired holds frequently, including for the last three Drew Storen saves.
SAGNOF recommendations for future Saves: Sergio Romo (68%) is still as ownable as ever. Drew Pomeranz (12%) now looks like the SAGNOF middle reliever to own in Oakland because he’s pitched the 8th in Clippard’s last two save opportunities. Evan Scribner has struggled and that combined with his role (not pitching as much in Holds situations) probably make him un-ownable for now, despite an otherworldly K:BB ratio of 44:3 (!!!). In deeper leagues I would consider Matt Thornton but he’s behind a rock solid Drew Storen so you’d basically just be acquiring him in case of an injury to Storen. Updating on previous recommendations, somehow Will Smith is still only 56% owned!? Jeremy Jeffress has more Holds but I’d still bank on Will Smith, who has pitched like one of the better middle relievers in all of MLB so far. Kevin Siegrist (60%) and Jim Johnson continue to be a next in line players behind closers with limited workloads and/or injury concerns. The order I’d own these players in is: Will Smith, Sergio Romo, Kevin Siegrist, Drew Pomeranz and Jim Johnson, with Matt Thornton only getting deep league consideration.