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June 16, 2011

Value Picks

Relievers

by Mike Petriello

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Saying goodbye:

Eduardo Sanchez, Cardinals (Yahoo! 22%, ESPN11.1%, CBS 14%)

Sanchez has been excellent lately, if no longer getting saves, but that’s all on hold: he’s dealing with tightness in his shoulder, which will keep him out for at least a few days with a disabled list stint a possibility. Until he’s healthy, he’s off the list.

Vinnie Pestano, Indians (Yahoo! 1%, ESPN0.1%, CBS 2%)

Pestano was originally supposed to be the Deep Value Pick last week, and so we’ll remove him after just one week. Chris Perez has perked up over his last few outings, though he’ll need more than just that to get his strikeout rates up to previous levels.
 

Joining the party:

Kenley Jansen, Dodgers (Yahoo! 5%, ESPN0.7%, CBS 11%)

Don Mattingly can say all of the flattering things about Javy Guerra he wants, I’m not buying that Guerra – who has two strikeouts in his last 6 2/3 innings and lucked into one May save when others were unavailable – is really the ninth inning guy in Los Angeles. The May 24 save was the only such opportunity he’s received all season, and that’s saying something considering that the Dodgers have been essentially without a closer for the last three weeks.

Instead, I’m putting my money on young Kenley Jansen, who is expected to be activated from the disabled list in time for Friday’s game. Jansen’s been on the DL for a few weeks due to shoulder inflammation, and his 6.43 ERA might not inspire confidence. However, the four earned runs he gave up in his last two outings before getting shelved could easily be chalked up to the first signs of injury, particularly when he had allowed just three hits (and an 18/5 K/BB) over ten consecutive scoreless outings previous to that. It may not happen immediately, but look for Jansen to get save chances sooner rather than later.

Matt Thornton, White Sox (Yahoo! 33%, ESPN19.5%, CBS 19%)

After all of the late inning heartburn White Sox fans had to suffer through during the first month of the season, the situation had seemingly settled down as young Sergio Santos claimed the job as his own. That’ll happen when you start a season with 16 straight scoreless games and 22 of 23. Unfortunately for Santos, he’s lost the magic in the last week; in his last three games entering Wednesday, he’d blown two saves and allowed 13 baserunners and eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings.

That’s probably not enough to cost him his job just yet, but if the issues continue, the usual crew of Thornton, Jesse Crain, and Chris Sale will be around to pick up the slack. It’d likely be some combination of the group, but I’ll go with Thornton as the likely next-in-line since he’s righted the ship since his brutal April. He’s allowed just four earned runs since the calendar flipped to May, holding opponents to a .306 OBP. Don’t go rush to pick him up just yet, but do watch Santos very closely over the next week.

Glen Perkins, Twins (Yahoo! 1%, ESPN0.0%, CBS 1%)

Perkins was my “deep value” pick last week despite being on the disabled list. (He’s due to be activated on Friday, after having a successful rehab stint.) Entering Wednesday, Matt Capps hadn’t pitched since blowing a save on June 8–ostensibly due to a wrist injury–though he’d had more than his share of bumpy moments before that anyway. As I said last week, Perkins isn’t the perfect solution, but he was effective before being hurt. Keep an eye on his return and that of Capps to see how this shakes out.
 

Sticking around:

Daniel Bard, Red Sox (Yahoo! 38%, ESPN23.0%, CBS 24%)

Last week, Bard made this list for three reasons: Jonathan Papelbon was struggling, Pap was facing a suspension, and Bard was doing well. Papelbon’s suspension is still looming as he awaits his appeal, but both pitchers threw just one inning since then, making further evaluation difficult.  We’ll let Bard stick around for another week until we know more.

Koji Uehara, Orioles (Yahoo! 22%, ESPN3.6%, CBS 19%)

Kevin Gregg blew another save on Saturday. Uehara did allow a walkoff to Adam Lind, so he’s not without his warts, but still. No reason to remove Uehara from the list.
 

AL-only Value Pick

Greg Holland, Royals (Yahoo!  1%, ESPN 0.3%, CBS 1%)

A reader–apologies, I don’t remember who–suggested Holland a few weeks ago, and while he’s not likely to be in line for saves any time soon, that doesn’t mean that he can’t be useful in deep leagues. Holland spent parts of five seasons in the minors striking people out (270 in 250 innings), and in ten MLB games so far he’s got an 18/5 K/BB mark. Again, don’t go looking for saves from him, but anyone who can miss bats like that without walking half the league is worth noting.
 

NL-only Value Pick

David Hernandez, Diamondbacks (Yahoo! 5%, ESPN 1%, CBS 8%)

I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve mentioned an Arizona reliever this year, which is notable if you remember how many different guys we talked about from the desert last year. Hernandez was also a regular in this space, though as a member of the Orioles after he went from subpar starter to underrated reliever. Though walks are still a concern, Hernandez’s strikeout rate has increased to over 10 per nine, and he’s stolen a save here and there when J.J. Putz has been unavailable.

Mike Petriello is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mike's other articles. You can contact Mike by clicking here

Related Content:  Greg Holland

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