Here’s what I don’t like about SAGNOF.  Writing about crappy relief pitchers is a large part of what the SAGNOF Special is about, because Saves Ain’t Got No Face sometimes means there are a lot of terrible relievers in a position to get saves.  The past week or so has been rough as we’ve seen Tommy Kahnle and Edward Mujica get pounded.  For that matter, the performance of the entire Rockies bullpen is making us long for the good ol’ days of LaTroy Hawkins.  The situation in Boston (Junichi Tazawa vs Jean Machi) has little clarity and there was not a single save for Boston, Oakland or Colorado in the past week.  It’s been brutal out there for those scrambling for saves and it’s made me yearn for that time when I could recommend A.J. Ramos and Shawn Tolleson and legitimately feel good about it.  Because of the nature of SAGNOF in 12 team or deeper leagues, this late in the season, I’ve no choice but to recommend these at best mediocre relievers because there is literally no where else to turn for saves right now. (Fortunately in 10 team leagues it’s more obvious that these types don’t need to be rostered).  There just isn’t enough time in the season right now for the Joe Smith’s of the reliever world to have any real chance to see saves this year due to injury or failure of the current closer.

The skills versus opportunity conundrum has been one of the most difficult parts of writing the SAGNOF Special.  If I choose not to recommend a player like Mujica and he gets lucky enough to last as the closer for over a month with a 3.00ish ERA then I look bad.  But if I recommend him and he only lasts a week as the closer.. then I still look bad.  And for that quality of player it really is just a matter of time before the inevitable loss of role happens.

The sad truth is, if you are scrambling for saves this late in the season it may already be too late to do very much.  But in case you want to make the most of it..

Bruce Rondon looks like the player the Tigers have decided to go with for saves.  Two weeks ago I would have been very surprised with this news because at that time all the talk was Alex Wilson and Blaine Hardy.  These days it’s also become surprising when a team with a 9th inning question mark decides to go with their best reliever as closer.  Rondon’s 2015 stat line is ugly but it can easily improve and finally here’s a player I can make a hearty recommendation for.

Other than that, it’s pretty ugly out there.  Drew Pomeranz would make a good closer for Oakland but I’m not certain if he’ll get the chance and even if he does I’m not sure if it will last more than 2 weeks because Sean Doolittle is nearing a return.

The Colorado situation is a fantasy nightmare right now because of the recent performance of their best relievers.  Tommy Kahnle should probably be out of a job right now, but I’m not certain he will be.  Here’s the WHIP for the Rockies relievers that have been used with leads this year:  Tommy Kahnle, 1.55, John Axford 1.63, Rafael Betancourt 1.40 and Justin Miller 0.98.  One of these WHIPs is not like the other.  It’s also fair to note that Miller’s sample size is even smaller than the rest of them, only 16.1 innings, but that’s a decisive advantage.  One player has been pretty good, the rest have allowed an almost unfathomable amount of base runners.

Junichi Tazawa appears to be the closer for the Red Sox.  He got an opportunity last Tuesday and blew it but recent usage still suggests he’s the closer.  All of this despite strong suggestions having come last Monday that Jean Machi would close.

Saves Ain’t Got No Face recommendationsBruce Rondon, Sean Doolittle, Drew Pomeranz, Junichi Tazawa.  Rondon should be owned everywhere, even probably 10 team leagues.  Doolittle might be out there in some shallower leagues, snatch him up soon.  Drew Pomeranz is the only other reliever I’d own in Oakland, I think he has a shot to get a few saves while they wait for Doolittle but it’s also possible they’ll use him in high leverage situations other than the 9th inning.  On a slightly SAGNOF-ian note, the Nationals season might have just gone down the drain, not long after they acquired Jonathan Papelbon.  I’m just putting that out there.

 

Here’s your weekly Steals Ain’t Got No Face reminder that the best way to inch yourself up in the stolen base standings is to stream (not steam, as I said last week) base stealers using our SAGNOF base stealing vs starting pitchers tool.  It’s also available from the Tools pull down menu.  I’d also just like to throw a few names out there, not really recommendations, but guys to keep an eye on: Byron Buxton, Jose Peraza and Josh Harrison.  What they have in common is that they aren’t playing right now but they might be by September.  I’ll find some more names to add to the list next week as well as giving an idea on which September call ups are likely to be the most useful (likely whichever ones start the most).

 

  1. Knucks says:
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    Just mentioned this in grey’s comments…

    Gose/rajai on weds vs Lester….

    Screaming streaming!!!

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Knucks: Great matchup to point out.

  2. Sam says:
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    Think Sergio Romo gets a shot soon? or dump him for McCullers (who was dropped this AM) ??

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Sam: Romo is definitely own of the more ownable next in lines behind an established closer. Casilla’s WHIP has been ugly this year too.. I really don’t know if Romo is going to get a shot soon. He’s not on the verge right now but it could certainly happen at some point.

      I like McCullers a lot so if a SP is what you need I have no problem with it. Bottom line, both Romo and McCullers should probably be rostered in 12 team.

  3. Steve Stevenson says:
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    Who gets the most September SV: Doolittle, Clippard or McGee?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Steve Stevenson: Doolittle >> McGee > Clippard I’d have to say.

  4. Hoss says:
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    Looking for a 4th cl come playoff time. Kahnle, W. Davis, Doolittle, or Romo? I currently have Kahnle.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Hoss: In head to head I’m a little less worried about ERA and WHIP because those are so volatile anyway on a week to week basis, so Kahnle doesn’t worry me quite as much for that format. Still, I’d probably rather have Doolittle, depending on when playoffs start. It also depends on how badly you need saves depending on who you think you’ll be matched up against, like when deciding between W. Davis and Kahnle for instance.

  5. Scott says:
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    When you have a “fill-in” manager choosing “fill-in” closers, it’s a recipe for disaster.

    • Scott says:
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      Spin: Since it was announced that Koji Uehara (wrist) was lost for the season, the identity of Boston’s fill-in closer has been closely watched. Manager John Farrell hasn’t named one reliever as the fill-in, but he did mention Machi and Tazawa as candidates. Tazawa was given the opportunity Tuesday night based on the matchups, according to fill-in manager Torey Lovullo.

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Scott: Right. Thanks for reading.

  6. Johnny says:
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    Let’s say you had one closer to pick for the following schedule of games. Before you say, no brainer – Robertson – take a closer look at the schedule. Even though Robertson has 15 games, don’t you think the Nats have more chances to win (Saves)?

    Robertson (4vOAK, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected])
    Papelbon ([email protected], 4vMIA, 3vBAL, 3vPHI)

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Johnny: That’s a good point you raise, I’m not really sure how much more 2 games means relative to schedule. Another way of looking at is 15 games is 15% more than 13 games. You could combine Storen’s saves + Papelbon’s with the Nats and see if that’s 15% more than Robertson’s saves, for instance. And sure enough, I get 31 vs 24 when I do just that. So not even considering schedule, according to that line of thinking, Papelbon should be the one you choose.

      • Johnny says:
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        @RotoLance: Very smart way to look at it! What are then chance Papelbon loses the closing role by mid September?

        • RotoLance

          RotoLance says:
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          @Johnny: Pretty small, not that he’s injury prone but just as likely to happen due to injury as performance, I’d say. 14%.

  7. Scott says:
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    This reminds me of the comm operator in We Were Soldiers. You might burn your own guys, but at least you’re keeping the bad guys away. Keep it coming!

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