August 8, 2012
Relievers for 8/8/12
What is surprising, though, is that Texas’ two save chances in Nathan’s absence went to right-hander Alexi Ogando (Yahoo! 33%, ESPN 7%, CBS 24%) rather than setup man Mike Adams, who has 19 holds this season and literally has not appeared in any innings other than the eighth or ninth. Not to mention, Adams had established himself as a lethal late-innings reliever with the Padres before arriving in Texas at last season’s trade deadline.
In any event, the Rangers’ decision to defer to Ogando worked out; he converted both saves, the first one easily and the second with a bit of trouble. Nathan, meanwhile, said he received a cortisone shot in his right shoulder, which is fairly alarming. I’m not saying he won’t return soon, but until we see him back on the mound and pitching effectively, Ogando is definitely worth an add in all formats.
Are you familiar with Al Alburquerque (Yahoo! 1%, ESPN 0%, CBS 0%)? If not, no worries; even some of the most successful sports pundits aren’t. The Tigers’ right-hander came out of nowhere last season to post a strikeout rate as cartoonish as his name: 13.92 K/9. But just as quickly as he burst onto the scene, he rescinded into obscurity, undergoing major surgery in the offseason and missing the entire season to date as a result.
Now, Al-Al is on minor league rehab assignment and nearing a return to Detroit’s bullpen; he could be a strong value play if you’re looking for a one-trick pony to fill your final roster spot. Alburquerque walks a lot of batters, and his arm could explode again at any minute because of how hard he throws and how much he leans on his slider, but the strikeouts should be there (and he could stumble into some holds too). Between his ability to miss bats and induce weak contact—.250 BABIP and 57 percent groundball rate in 2011—the guy was basically unhittable last season.