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March 28, 2014

The Darkhorses

Saves

by BP Fantasy Staff


One of the fun ways we all try to outsmart our opponents in fantasy is by searching for hidden value in players who, for one reason or another, we suspect have the ability to outpace their projections (and, relatedly, their draft cost). Our Darkhorses series features staff picks for players who could very well outpace their PECOTA projections for the year and provide the top overall production in one of the standard five-by-five categories. We’ve all picked one player currently projected by PECOTA to fall outside of the top 10 and one longer-shot player currently projected outside of the top 25. We’re taking a look at pitching this week, following our run on offense a week ago. To read the earlier editions in this series, click below:

We've made it all series without a Katy Perry reference, so… shorty's heart may be on steroids, but let's hope the following players aren't! Let's close out darkhorses with players who close out games. Nailed it.

OUTSIDE THE TOP 10

Steve Cishek, Marlins
Sure, you can look at Craig Kimbrel and imagine the colossus his stat line inspires. It’s an overwhelming monolith built as a testament to the short reliever by those who worship at the altar of the fastball-slider short-burst pitcher altar. I won’t argue with the assessment that Kimbrel is the best bet to lead the league in saves again and all the tributes we throw out in this section are seemingly inadequate replacements who ultimately leave us empty on the inside in comparison. Enter Steve Cishek, closer for the much-maligned Miami Marlins. Making the leaps necessary to envision Cishek to lead the league in saves requires that we either believe that the Marlins will also be a surprise team that wins more than it should or that Cishek gets traded to a contender at the deadline and closes the door, locks the windows and draws the blinds on all sorts of games down the stretch. I believe in the latter possibility, and I believe in Steve Cishek. —Mauricio Rubio

Ernesto Frieri, Angels
For starters, he has a great name. He saved 37 games in 40 opportunities. The pitching staff should be improved over last season. The offense should be improved over last season. The bullpen, well who knows, but at least there is no clear-cut relief stud that is chomping at the bit to replace him. With 10-20 more opportunities, Frieri has the stuff to capture the saves crown. —Jeff Quinton

Ernesto Frieri, Angels
In some ways, if you thought some of these other exercises were silly, you're probably going to think this one is really silly, as PECOTA projects pretty much all of the closers with active jobs between 25 and 35 saves with no great discernible difference between them. However, I really like Frieri to clear the 30 that he's projected for, and potentially get deep into the 40s, given my thoughts on the Angels (I think they'll be good) and Frieri (I think he'll be very good). The walk rate is a little too high to make you super comfortable, but his career strikeout rate of 32.4 percent is excellent and can cover up many mistakes. And despite a rough patch which saw him lose his job for a couple of weeks, he returned to the role in mid-August and had a 1.66 ERA and 29-to-4 K:BB ratio in just 21 1/3 innings. —Bret Sayre

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: We... (03/28)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: Strike... (03/27)
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Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Auction Values... (03/28)

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