October 1, 2012
Analyzing fantasy relievers is a strange proposition. I’ve done it for a couple seasons now, and it’s been my experience that no matter how much I think I know, there’s always an interesting plot twist that makes me rethink my understanding of how relievers are handled and how save opportunities are divvied up. It’s an inexact science, to be sure, but that’s what makes it challenging and fun… and sometimes frustrating. In that spirit, here’s a look back at some of my good and bad touts and what we might be able to learn from them with an eye toward 2013.
The primary candidates for the vacancy were Holland and Aaron Crow. I was in Camp Holland, only because I know the Royals have vacillated on finding a role for Crow (a starter in college and in his year in an independent league) since they drafted him. Sure enough, Holland got the job when Brox was flipped to the Reds, and fantasy owners who scooped him up have turned a nice profit (15 saves, 2.05 ERA through Sunday). Holland has knockout stuff and has proven quite capable of closing, but he’ll probably return to a setup role next season unless Soria is no longer with the team or doesn’t rebound from his surgery.
I don’t mean to make light of an injury, but when Twins closer Matt Capps was sidelined for the bulk of the summer due to a bum shoulder, it spared his owners the agony of absorbing Capps’ inevitable slump after his surprisingly clean start to the season. Hopefully those owners nabbed his replacement, Glen Perkins… or should I say co-replacement. It took a little while for Perkins to wrestle away sole possession of the job; he and Jared Burton were initially mired in a platoon, but manager Ron Gardenhire eventually ended the madness and made things easier on us fantasy types.
A former starter, Perkins first elbowed his way into closer consideration in 2011 when Joe Nathan was still feeling the effects of 2010 Tommy John surgery and Capps was, well, Capps. Perkins pitched well then and did so again this year. After bringing stability to the ninth inning in back-to-back seasons, Perkins seems to have earned the right to own the job heading into 2013, although I’m not 100 percent confident the Twins will see it that way. Teams can be funny about using lefty closers, and of course an offseason of potential transactions sits between the end of another brutal campaign in Minnesota and the start of spring training. If the Twins are building shrewdly, however, they can pass on acquiring a new closer because they already have a good one in Perkins. There’s a good chance fantasy owners will be able to target Perkins as one of those under-the-radar, late-round value closers next spring.