In case you haven’t caught on yet, the way I approach SAGNOF is one week I’ll cover the ‘saves’ portion of “Saves/Steals Ain’t Got No Face” and the next week I’ll cover the “steals.” Last week I highlighted a few very under-owned hitters who are getting SBs that are available in most leagues. Allow me a moment to flex by pointing out how the players from last week’s article have performed since I wrote about them:
Now back to the ‘saves’ portion of today’s program. On April 28th I wrote about some closers I was concerned about. Revisiting that list of players we’ve got a mixed bag of performances. Some have assuaged my fears, some that have exacerbated them. Oh, you didn’t hear? This is an SAT blog now. How serendipitous and fortuitous for our high school readers.
- Liam Hendriks: 3 IP, 5 K, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA: that’s more like it, Kohl’s!
- Raisel Iglesias: 5 IP, 5 K, 3 SV, 3.60 ERA: The 2 ERs he allowed came in one game which means 4 other clean performances, however, the 5 hits and 2 walks have me a little shook. A little slang there for our high school readers. Trying to reach a new demo.
- Alex Colome: 4 IP, 3 K, 0 SV, 5.79 ERA: Better, closer, warmer. He’s lost his exclusivity deal with the 9th inning, but this is a step forward so far. His replacement, Taylor Rogers, has allowed 2 ERs in 2 of his 3 appearances in May. It’s just a mess in Minnesota. Messesota.
- Jake McGee: 2.2 IP, 5 K, 2 SV, 13.50 ERA: Don’t worry about that bloated ERA — it came in a 0.2 IP, 4 ER disaster. He bounced back with 2 saves in his subsequent appearances. (These high schoolers are going to CRUSH these SATs.)
- Amir Garrett: 3 IP, 6 K, 0 SV, 0.00 ERA: Yeaaaa buddy! That’s what I like to see. And he only allowed 1 hit and 2 walks. Maybe he just needs to fight an entire team each year to get himself going. Opening Day next year — he just needs to hit the first batter he faces with a fastball and dive right into the opposing team’s dugout.
- Jordan Romano: 4 IP, 3 K, 0 SV, 2.25 ERA: No saves, but two wins and a hold. His last two appearances have come in the 7th and 8th innings. I think he’ll work his way back into the end game conversation soon enough especially considering he was brought in to face the heart of the Astros order in his most recent appearance showing the faith Charlie Montoyo has in him.
- Daniel Bard: 2.1 IP, 3 K, 1 SV, 15.43 ERA: The fact that he still got a save is more of a testament to the other guys sitting out in the bullpen with him. The Rockies are going to stick with their guy until the wheels fall off. Don’t be like the Rockies.
- Stefan Crichton: 3.1 IP, 3 K, 2 SV, 0.00 ERA: Here’s your closer in Arizona bee-tee-dubz. He’s gotten the final outs in 7 of his last 8 appearances. Joakim Soria is looming, but he’s allowed two ERs in two of his last appearances since returning from injury. Something ain’t right yet.
Three Cat Studs
I want to end this week’s article with something entirely for me, but who knows, it might help you too. One of my leagues is a 14-team SV+HLD league. All the known closers and top big-name relievers are gone baby gone. So I’m hunting for relievers who might not be close to the closer role (yet!) but will still contribute positively in three other categories: Ks, ERA, & WHIP. If they keep up their current performance could push for 9th inning opportunities if they present themselves.
- Cole Sulser: Two good things about Sulser: He’s top 2% in the league in K% and top 3% in the league in BB%. A 20:1 K:BB ratio in 12.2 innings? Money. Here’s the scary news — he’s bottom 1% in hard contact rate and barrel rate for opposing hitters. So when he’s getting hit, he’s getting HIIIIIIIIT. The other scary thing is he plays for the Orioles.
- Caleb Thielbar: See: Cole Sulser. Thielbar is in the top 2% in K% and top 8% in BB% — but among pitchers with at least 25 BBE — he’s got the 4th worst barrel rate. Zounds. Here’s the thing though — hold over Tyler Duffey has an ERA over 5, presumptive closer Alex Colome has an ERA over 5, Taylor Rogers was spotless throughout April, but allowed 2 ER in each of his first two appearances in April. If Rogers, Duffey, and Colome all don’t improve — there’s a chance for Thielbar.
- Austin Adams: You know who is just crushing it across the board? Austin Adams. He’s got the high K% of Thielbar and Sulser — an admittedly average BB%, but he’s not getting hit anywhere close to as hard as those two jabronis above. He’s in the top 4% in average exit velocity allowed. Like I said in the intro to this section though — Adams is pretty far from the money-making inning. He’s mainly been brought in in the 5th to 8th innings. Plus, the Padres bullpen has the second-best ERA in all of baseball so the other guys are doing well too.
- John Curtiss: See also: Sulser and Thielbar. Lots of Ks, nary a walks, lots of hard contact (3 HRs allowed in 15.2 IP.) So far this year he has 20 Ks and a whopping 0 BBs to be exact. However, two of the HRs he allowed happened way back on April 2nd and April 5th — his first two appearances of the year. I looked into the HRs he’s allowed so far to see if they were against Bryce Harper or some other slugger so I could maybe explain them away, but the first one was against Manuel Margot (88.6 mph average exit velocity) and Tommy Edman (86.8 mph.) Everybody gets one, right Spiderman?
- Rex Brothers: The eighth time’s the charm for the Rex Brothers comeback tour. Brothers has the same big K numbers as everyone else on the list but also has big BB numbers (career 5.2 BB/9.) I’ll give Brothers his roses though — he hasn’t allowed a walk in his last 5 appearances. He was even entrusted with and converted a save in his last appearance on May 7th after Craig Kimbrel pitched in 4 out of 5 previous games. Maybe he takes a step up in the pecking order.
- Ryne Stanek: You know the drill, top 4% in the league in K%, blah blah blah, but you knew that already from his breakout 2018 when he was top-10 in K%. I think people sort of forgot about him after his step backward in 2019 and 8 ER in 10 IP debacle in 2020. Stanek has a career-high K/9 and career-low BB/9 so far this year. Looking at that Astros bullpen, he is the clear next-best option after Ryan Pressly and even locked down a save at the end of April with Pressly unavailable. Anything happens to Pressly — Stanek is the dude.