September 5, 2012
Relievers for 9/5/12
Belisario earned the first save for the post-Jansen Dodgers, making him the trendy pick for the hair-trigger types. Manager Don Mattingly said he’d be relying on a trusty closer platoon, however, and sure enough, the recent patterns point toward the more widely owned League getting the bulk of the save chances. The one-week sample is small enough that I’m not ready to write off Belisario entirely, so if you’re trolling for every last save you can get, he’s an option. He generates lots of ground balls and misses enough bats to compensate for a pedestrian walk rate, so he shouldn’t hurt you while you wait to see what shakes out with the platoon. In the meantime, Jansen’s owners should hang on.
Javier Lopez (Yahoo! 19%, ESPN 32%, CBS 12%) continues to make the most of the chances the Giants give him, converting all five saves since the Lads shifted over to a closer committee. In fact, since Clay Hensley nabbed a save on August 18, no Giant other than Lopez (five) and Sergio Romo (four) has earned one. Lopez is a lefty specialist, so don’t expect a ton of innings out of him, but the saves should be there for the rest of the season.
Since taking over as Houston’s closer, Wilton Lopez (Yahoo! 12%, ESPN 10%, CBS 14%) has seen only four save chances through Monday night. Compounding that problem, Wil-Lo has converted just two of them (at least he’s earned three wins, though, which is a small silver lining for his owners). Very few owners are moving on this guy, presumably because he’s just not racking up saves, but that presents a heck of a value opportunity for those who think he’s due a few. Anyone who owns Greg Holland can tell you that a closer doesn’t have to be on a good team to earn a bunch of saves in a short period of time.
This is your weekly reminder that while Mariano Rivera (Yahoo! 19%, ESPN 15%, CBS 19%) hasn’t officially been ruled out for the season, his return remains highly unlikely. He’s a Hail-Mary stash only.
After performing brilliantly in the first half, Scott Downs (Yahoo! 14%, ESPN 10%, CBS 13%) has endured a second half marred by a slump and a couple stretches away from the team, all of which has conspired to see him lose his share of ninth-inning chores. Like Burton, Downs is still seeing high-leverage, late-inning work, so it’s feasible he could stumble into another save chance or two, but that seems like more of a contingency plan than a regular strategy (as it once was) for the Angels at this point.
It’s time to bid farewell to Giants left-hander Jeremy Affeldt (Yahoo! 6%, ESPN 4%, CBS 5%), who is the odd man out of San Francisco’s aforementioned platoon, handled by the righty Sergio Romo and the lefty Javier Lopez. Affeldt is a good, useful pitcher, but ironically, that may have worked against him in his bid to claim the ninth inning; Romo and Lopez are best used in the confines of their very specific roles. There may be more to it than that—Affeldt was the first to get a save chance after Santiago Casilla’s demotion, after all—but we might never know for sure. In any event, Affeldt can be safely cut in mixed leagues.