CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Tout Wars Recap (03/27)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: My ... (03/26)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Now... (04/02)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: Strike... (03/27)

March 27, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Three Murky Closer Situations

by Mauricio Rubio

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Closers are the most fungible commodity in fantasy baseball. Predicting saves is a quixotic quest that frequently ends in heartbreak and confusion.

You don’t need to search long to find examples of how volatile the saves market can be. Kevin Gregg was a discarded reliever when the Cubs reached out for his services in the ultimate act of desperation. Carlos Marmol had imploded and their in house options were either hurt or ineffective. Gregg, who was unable to survive spring training with the Dodgers, ended up accruing 33 saves before being released in a much-publicized spat with management.

So if you have Chapman on the DL or you were just caught off guard ahead of a massive closer run and are in need of saves don’t fret. I’m here for you, friends.

Let’s take a look at three situations in which a closer could emerge from the shadows.

Houston Astros
Bad teams play close games as well. Jesse Crain is currently on the shelf as he tries to come back from biceps surgery. He’s slated to throw his first bullpen today (March 27) and he could be back very early in the season. He’s owned in 19% of Yahoo leagues and only 1.8 percent of ESPN leagues. Crain is a solid stash option as he’s done well in high-leverage situations:

Split

G

PA

R

H

2B

3B

HR

SO/BB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

BAbip

tOPS+

High Lvrge

268

754

132

152

29

6

14

2.00

0.234

0.318

0.362

0.679

0.285

108

In limited innings the past two years, Crain struck batters out at a 30 percent clip. I would wait on positive news regarding his health before snatching him up, but I think he’s worth keeping an eye on if you’re hurting for saves. Chad Qualls and Josh Fields are two other names in this ‘pen to keep an eye on. Fields has the velocity but his 2013 walk and homerun rates are concerning to say the least. Qualls might be a decent stopgap/handcuff option if you’re intent on Crain.

Cincinnati Reds
“From the fun-stat department, (Hoover) has yet to allow a run during his 21 career ninth-inning appearances—so if anything happens to Aroldis Chapman, he’s got this.” —BP Annual

These two options are stopgaps to be sure as I do expect Chapman to come back in good form, so keep that in mind.

In Aroldis Chapman’s absence, the Reds might be leaning toward Hoover to start the year as the closer. Jonathan Broxton and Sean Marshall will both start the year on the disabled list. Hoover is owned in 11 percent of ESPN leagues and 37 percent of Yahoo leagues, so there’s a pretty good chance he’s available in yours. Over his young career, Hoover has paired a .182OAV with a 25% strikeout rate. I’d also keep an eye on Sam LeCure, who has a tremendous curveball and might earn some time as the closer if Hoover falters early.

Cleveland Indians
How much do you trust John Axford? The famously mustachioed closer has the stuff to succeed and he found some consistent success with the Cardinals last year (who didn’t?), but that was done in a very limited sample. Axford still has control issues no matter what the 10-inning St. Louis sample tells you. I believe that the 9.4 percent walk rate in 60-plus innings falls more in line with what Axford is, and I firmly believe he’s a borderline double-digit walk-rate closer who is homer -rone. Perhaps the worst-kept secret in fantasy baseball is Cody Allen, as he is owned in 55 percent of ESPN leagues and 16 percent of Yahoo Leagues despite not having the big C attached to his name. Allen posted a nearly-30 percent strikeout rate in 70 innings last year. He has the stuff; Allen uses a mid-to-high-90s fastball with a good breaking ball. Now he just needs the opportunity.

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

6 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Tout Wars Recap (03/27)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: My ... (03/26)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Now... (04/02)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: Strike... (03/27)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Some Projection Left: Say Something, I'm Giv...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: September 1, 2015
Fantasy Rounders: Riding High on Madison Ave...
BP Wrigleyville
BP Boston
BP Wrigleyville
Expert FAAB Review: Week 22

MORE FROM MARCH 27, 2014
Premium Article Skewed Left: PECOTA vs. Vegas
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Advances in Chemistry?
Premium Article Minor League Update: Spring Training Games o...
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: Strikeouts
Fantasy Article Tout Wars Recap
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: Hopefully, No Scrubs
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: The Wright Guys

MORE BY MAURICIO RUBIO
2014-04-01 - Fantasy Article Closer Report: Week One
2014-04-01 - Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 13
2014-03-29 - TINO (There Is No Offseason): Ep. 11: Bret's...
2014-03-27 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Three Murky Closer Situat...
2014-03-27 - Flags Fly Forever Podcast: Ep. 12
2014-03-26 - Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: High Risk, High Reward
2014-03-22 - TINO (There Is No Offseason): Ep. 10: I'm So...
More...

MORE FANTASY FREESTYLE
2014-04-07 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Home Cooking
2014-04-02 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Strategic Agility on Auct...
2014-04-02 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Now is the Season of My D...
2014-03-27 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Three Murky Closer Situat...
2014-03-26 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: My Favorite Endgame Targe...
2014-03-24 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Two Deep-League Lessons F...
2014-03-24 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Early-Season Strategic De...
More...