The term “tool” has multiple meanings around here.  A major league baseball player can have up to five tools.  A fantasy sports writer can be a tool — like when he recommends the wrong next in line to closer for the Rockies (that’s me).  Rudy Gamble makes tools — like the SAGNOF tool I talked up last week that gives you some insight on the best base stealing match-ups and like our DFS (daily fantasy) tools available here.  A commenter pointed out last week that “Using the (SAGNOF) tool, Venable (FA) faces Nelson who ranks #25…pretty stealable. Problem is, Nelson has been in top form lately so tough to get on base. I’m gonna give Venable a shot nevertheless.”  At this point I felt compelled to remind him and the rest of you that by using the tool “You can put the odds in your favor, but a one game result is ultimately a total crapshoot.”  Well, everything with such a small sample size is a crapshoot, so what I meant was that putting the odds in your favor is a good thing and something that you need to try to do consistently when it comes to managing your last few roster spots.  What happened that game?  Venable stole a base against Nelson.

For this week in Steals Ain’t Got No Face, the player I’m most excited about is Byron Buxton.  He is playing rehab games and should be back with the Twins this week.  Remember Buxton?  He’s a top prospect.  We’ve talked about him here before.  He can possibly put up numbers that would pace him for 20 home runs and 40 stolen bases, I think that’s about his ceiling.  It’s a mighty high ceiling.  Speaking more realistically, Steamer has him projected for 3-7-.241 in 36 games, which is a nice and productive 14-32 full season pace.  Looking elsewhere, there are so many options in the outfield.  Michael Bourn and Carl Crawford have taken up thievery recently, turning the clock back 5 years.  Rusney Castillo has been playing well and is a potential 5 category performer.  And speaking of multiple category performers, Michael Taylor is one, (though not a 5 category performer because he doesn’t hit for AVG) and his 10 home runs and 14 stolen bases in 95 games played put him on a 17-24 full season pace.

SAGNOF recommendations for stolen basesByron Buxton, Rusney Castillo, Michael Taylor.  You may also want to look at the MLB standings/schedule as a tiebreaker when making close decisions on who to roster.  Favor players on the teams with the most games still to play.  And with so many options just sitting in free agency you might want to steam them using our SAGNOF tool as a guide.

 

Saves Ain’t Got No Face

The Boston Red Sox have suffered a loss at the closer position where Junichi Tazawa could be poised to take over for the injured Koji Uehara but the Red Sox haven’t let on as to the extent of the injury.  Uehara may only miss another game or two, or he could head to the disabled list.  We should know the answer by Tuesday.  Jean Machi and Alexi Ogando both appear to be candidates to close but it looks like it will be Tazawa, even though, according to the Rotowire news blurb: “Red Sox manager John Farrell said he plans to limit Tazawa’s usage over the final weeks of the season, the Boston Globe reports. “Where we are right now, probably going to bring him in games where we’re either tied or ahead. Not to say we wouldn’t use him down a run, but we’ve got an opportunity to manage his usage a little bit more,” Farrell said.”  Oh and Tazawa and Machi both made appearances in the Red Sox latest win yesterday and both entered when the score was 7-2, Tazawa in the bottom of the 8th and Machi in the bottom of the 9th.  So I don’t know what to take away from that because Tazawa should be the closer, in theory, but he has struggled recently.

Tommy Kahnle is the new Rockies closer and that’s something apparently everyone predicted except me.  If Steamer projections are correct he may not keep his job for very long because his rest of season ERA projection stands at 3.87, which is actually low for a player with a 1.40 WHIP so far this season.  The WHIP will come down, the ERA up.  Fortunately for those hanging onto Justin Miller, he’s one of the more ownable next in line players right now.

The Detroit Tigers’ closer in waiting, Bruce Rondon, notched a save.  He’s waiting, we’re waiting everyone’s been waiting for Rondon to finally arrive as the closer and it doesn’t look like it has happened yet.  Alex Wilson is apparently still the closer but at least Rondon may have moved past Blaine Hardy in the pecking order.  I hope so.

Edward Mujica’s short time as the closer may very well be done after he allowed three runs without recording an out in his most recent outing.  Drew Pomeranz is the Oakland player I’d be taking a chance on right now.  Fernando Rodriguez, Evan Scribner and Dan Otero should be monitored closely as well.  (That’s basically everyone in the A’s pen..)  Remember, Sean Doolittle is looming as he makes his way back from injury.  He may return in late August, whether he closes immediately is a different story.

SAGNOF recommendations for SavesTommy Kahnle, Drew Pomeranz, Junichi Tazawa, Justin Miller, Bruce Rondon.  Sorry for my lack of decisiveness on some of these situations.  I just don’t have enough information as of this writing to make a confident decision on some of these situations.

  1. Scott says:
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    Should I drop Mujica for Pom, or keep both?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Scott: I’m not sure if Pom is the guy to own but I doubt you want to own Mujica either way, so yeah, I’d drop Mujica for Pomeranz.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Wolf: I don’t like Kahnle in general but I think the extra 1-2 games over everyone else has to give him the edge.

      Kahnle, Ramos, Wilson, Vizcaino

  2. Harrison Ford in Air Force One says:
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    Just reported: Koji heading to the DL.

    Drop Alex Wilson for Tazawa? Kahnle is also available, but not sure if this news gives Tazawa a boost over him.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Harrison Ford in Air Force One: No because I’m not even sure it’s Tazawa, because the usage implies otherwise. I’d stick with Wilson. If you can make room for Kahnle you might add him, but again, I’m not sure if I’d do it at Wilson’s expense.

      • Mike says:
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        @RotoLance:

        Sounds like Jean Machi got the closer nod in place of Uehara. Ew.

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @Mike: Ok. Apparently most recent usage trumps everything else, which is not actually surprising. Thanks.

  3. chris says:
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    I’m about to drop Storen…I’m in the middle of a pennant race and he is killing me right now whit his lack of saves and recent bad performances…Who would you pick to replace him? Giles or Vizcanio?
    Thanks

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @chris: Yeah I think I mentioned Storen as a guy to consider holding onto but not with the likes of actual closers available (10 team league?). I favor Giles.

  4. SallyCips says:
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    I grabbed both Rondon and Tazawa for now, but can only have one as one will be riding the bench. I’ll give it a few days unless I need the spot. Team’s been tanking badly lately, and my hold on the final playoff spot is precarious so all hands on deck!

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @SallyCips: So you probably heard it’s looking like Machi is the guy for Boston. There’s some really questionable players with closer gigs right now.

      • SallyCips says:
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        @RotoLance: Unfortunately, I was off the net last night, and missed that. So he’s gone from my leagues already. Oh well.

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @SallyCips: You might be better off without him. He’s been terrible so far as a middle reliever.

  5. RotoLance

    RotoLance says:
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    Koji Uehara to miss rest of season. I’ve heard it could be a committee between Tazawa and Machi. I haven’t heard anything confirmed yet.

  6. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:
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    Like shooting ducks. Venable in my lineup again tonight. Just added Buxton!
    (had 3 team SB two weeks ago. 13 this last week. not all credit goes to the tool, but helped!)
    Thank you!

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Fred Barker: Well considering Buxton was actually sent down I’m glad you get daily moves. You obviously know about Peraza. As far as a player with Buxton’s multi category appeal, I don’t suppose Hicks is lying around in many leagues anymore…

      I’m a bit disappointed in the Twins, I would think Buxton could learn more in the majors. Sano, Hicks, Buxton are some promising young players.

      • Simply Fred

        Fred Barker says:
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        @RotoLance: I picked him up AFTER I heard he was sent down. Give him a couple days and back up!

  7. Scott says:
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    Cut bait on Uehara in a dynasty league?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Scott: I really don’t know, depends on what else is out there. I think he’s 40 years old, so that’s probably what you are thinking? Might not play again?

  8. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:
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    Peraza listed #2 in Dodgers lineup tonight (Baseball Press)

    • @Fred Barker: haha. Yahoo still has him with the Braves and NA.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Fred Barker: Huh. I totally missed that. Now I gotta go check when it was first announced that he was called up.. I guess it’s because Howie Kendrick is dinged/injured?

  9. Breaking news: Buxton optioned to AAA. What do you make of that?

    Also, I guess I was way off a couple weeks ago doubting Rosenthal and thinking Giles wasn’t going to get save chances. That’s why I reside down here in the comments, I suppose.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Hugman: It’s a little surprising. At the very least I didn’t think he’d be removed from the DL this quickly. Also, I don’t think it’s that hard for the Twins to find a spot for him to play everyday.

  10. Miney says:
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    Drop Wilson or viz for kahnle, machi,pomeranz,have Doolittle on dl..

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Miney: I think Wilson is still safer than those, although if Pomeranz was announced on closer you might go that way. Vizcaino certainly safer.. for now. If he doesn’t start walking fewer batters I’d worry a bit and with as many options as you have consider one of them.

  11. SF says:
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    Need someone to replace Uehara. Add Tazawa or go for the guy with the role in Wilson?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @SF: Wilson. It’s looking more and more like it’s Machi in Boston so you could consider him as well.

      • SF says:
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        @RotoLance: Machi’s already been scooped up. So no go there.

        Really sucks that I’m now using a lot of iffy closers like Kahnle and Mujica when I started the year with Grilli, Uehara, Soria, Gregerson.

  12. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    good call on being backwards on COL alignment (actually you weren’t, didn’t you have miller at the end, which i think was right call when you made it), i can’t remember if you had kahnle behind betancourt or miller.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Aubrey Plaza’s Pillow: The call was pretty terrible, whatever, it was. I do know what it was, of course.

      I am probably repeating something I said from my post if I tell you that Kahnle might not hold that job for long. I actually think both Betancourt and Miller might be capable of holding down the role.

      Machi sort of the same deal as Kahnle, but even worse. He’s been terrible. Any idea why he was named closer?

      I’m not even sure what size leagues Machi should be owned in. You’d have to be very desperate in 10 team and I think he’s somewhat questionable in 12 team. Sorta like Mujica was. It’s actually fortunate for Mujica owners that he lost the job right away rather than having to suffer through more bad outings…

      • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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        @RotoLance: no i meant good call on owning up to COL being wrong. yeah, machi’s been trash this year, tazawa only bad lately, it makes no sense there, but machi was named closer. I don’t think Mujica has lost that yet though. yes of course he should. but right as we speak machi being used in 8th in save opp, so who knows. maybe you were right this time, even against news info.

  13. Simply Fred

    Fred Barker says:
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    Excited as you about Buxton up! Should be starting every day at CF!!
    Temper immediate expectations with next four vs. BAL. All four SP rank near 200 in giving up SBs. The next set against TB, starting Tuesday, Karns#25, Archer#75, and Smyly#38.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Fred Barker: Yeah I’d say our excitement is on equal levels. I own Hicks in one league, it’s a FAAB league and I think I should be able to buy Buxton easily and they can put up a similar stat line.

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