June 27, 2012
Relievers for 6/27/12
Diamondbacks setup man David Hernandez (Yahoo! 11%, ESPN 3%, CBS 12%) is probably long gone in most holds leagues worth their salt, but if you’re looking to add a pitcher in a standard league, you could do worse than to snatch up the right-hander, who is only a J.J. Putz injury away from closing at a moment’s notice. D-Hern, you may recall, converted a handful of save chances during his breakout 2011 while Putz was on the DL and has picked up in 2012 where he left off last season. Hernandez fanned an impressive 45 batters in just 31 innings to go along with 10 holds through Monday, and his 2.90 ERA was probably a half-run higher than where it “should” be (2.42 FIP). Again, considering Putz’s age (35) and lengthy injury history, it’s not unreasonable to hedge a bit here; for what it’s worth, Arizona has done just that, buying out a couple of Hernandez’s arbitration-eligible seasons in the event that he should assume closing duties and position himself for a salary-spike windfall through the courts.
Leave it to the Twins to complicate things. Glen Perkins (Yahoo! 16%, ESPN 16%, CBS 21%) is the guy I recommended in this space last week, but after the lefty earned each of Minnesota’s first two save opps in the post-Matt Capps world, right-hander Jared Burton (Yahoo! 9%, ESPN 5%, CBS 8%) saw the next two. Sigh. The Twins can only be happy with the results so far, as both Perkins and Burton went 2-for-2, but that doesn’t make things any easier or clearer for fantasy owners. Perkins has the stronger strikeout rate right now (11.7 K/9 to Burton’s not-shabby 8.4), but Burton is flashing finer control and a higher groundball rate, making this one about an even tossup based on the peripherals. It looks like the Twins will allow matchups and rest to dictate who gets the call on any given night, and while that makes perfect sense in, you know, actually trying to win baseball games, a straight platoon can be frustrating for those of us trying to capture fantasy titles. To that end, I hate to give a noncommittal recommendation, but I think both pitchers are worth rostering at this point, depending on your roster flexibility and need for saves. Capps, meanwhile, is shelved with shoulder inflammation, and there’s no telling how long he could be out, although the reports at the time of the injury didn’t sound good. His return could further muck things up—or be an easy solution—but let’s stick with the bird(s) in hand for now.
The long-men experiment has seen far better results the past couple weeks now that we’ve booted sometimes-starter Brad Lincoln while holding onto Craig Stammen (Yahoo! 6%, ESPN 1%, CBS 5%) and Matt Belisle (Yahoo! 2%, ESPN 0%, CBS 2%). We’ll probably bid farewell to these right-handers—both fine pitchers mired in fantasy purgatory—in the coming weeks as likely closer upheaval arrives with the approaching trade deadline. In the meantime, though, they continue to put up solid numbers. Over the last week, Stammen posted 2 2/3 scoreless innings and picked up two holds, while Belisle tossed four scoreless and also earned two holds.