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April 1, 2014

Closer to Me

Week One

by Mauricio Rubio


Relievers are a tough commodity to value in fantasy. Their volatility and main carrying stat, saves, make it difficult to project accurate value at the season’s outset. You never quite know where a big-time reliever season will come from in a given year. Koji Uehara was given the job after Andrew Bailey was felled by injury. Kevin Gregg emerged after Carlos Marmol was undone by the Upton brothers. So what I will be doing throughout the season is keeping an eye on the reliever situations around the league and offer my thoughts on guys who are worth targeting/keeping an eye on as the season progresses.

PADRES
Huston Street – This was pointed out on Twitter but Street’s strand rate last year was 99.5 percent. It goes a long way in explaining how Street was able to maintain a decent ERA despite giving up 12 HR in 56 2/3 innings. Street is effective when healthy, but the “when healthy” part is kind of the main concern with him. He’s made four DL trips since 2011, and he already had a groin issue in camp this year.

Street is a good bet to miss some games, giving an opportunity to guys like Joaquin Benoit and Alex Torres. If you have Street and you missed out on handcuffing him with Benoit, then I suggest looking at Alex Torres, who found consistency in the bullpen. The suspect control still lingers, but his strikeout rate held at 27 percent last year for the Rays.

WHITE SOX
A few of you have asked about the White Sox' situation, as manager Robin Ventura has been a bit cagey regarding who will be the Sox closer. Matt Lindstrom got the nod on Monday.

This isn’t an option I’m particularly fond of, as I think Lindstrom functions well as a middle-relief type but leaves something to be desired as a high-leverage reliever. He doesn’t miss enough bats (17.7 percent strikeout rate last year, 18.4 percent for his career) and works primarily off his sinker, which he uses to generate ground balls (55.6 percent grounder rate in 2013). Lindstrom is a decent stopgap, but he doesn’t present the same upside as Jones.

Ronald Belisario is another name that gets brought up regarding the closer job. He has a similar profile to Lindstrom, and while his walk rate from last year is inflated from an unusually high number of intentional walks, his strikeout rate has never been impressive enough for me to seriously consider him as a long-term solution at closer.

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22 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

kenneff

Cincinnati?

Apr 01, 2014 04:49 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23141

There's not too much to update on Cincy

Apr 01, 2014 06:22 AM
 
Sharky

Mets?

Apr 01, 2014 05:54 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

Next week

Apr 01, 2014 06:22 AM
 
misterjohnny
(925)

Next week is too late for most of us. The Parnell replacement will be gone. Can Valverde hold the job?

Apr 01, 2014 10:36 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

the Parnell news broke after I said next week fwiw.

I doubt Valverde sticks, they'll likely have to go to either Farnsworth (who is in Las Vegas right now) or outside the org to solve their closer issue.

Apr 01, 2014 10:38 AM
 
misterjohnny
(925)

Thanks

Apr 01, 2014 11:11 AM
rating: 0
 
Nojsztat

No chance Jeurys Familia can make a run at it?

Apr 01, 2014 12:10 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

There's always a chance, but I wouldn't bet on it quite yet.

Apr 01, 2014 12:12 PM
 
BP staff member Ben Carsley
BP staff

Gerndt?

Apr 01, 2014 06:11 AM
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

Always

Apr 01, 2014 06:22 AM
 
BrianG

I have Henderson in a 12 team mixed, should I cut him loose, or wait a few weeks and see if he gets the job back. K-rod has already been scooped up.

Apr 01, 2014 07:20 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

I'm waiting a couple of weeks but the Brewers previous history with K Rod does concern me.

Apr 01, 2014 07:24 AM
 
jonathanaustin

Assuming FRod does ok, the Brewers have no real reason to switch back. Its not like Henderson is the closer of the future and they're stunting his "development" as he's nearly as old as FRod. Add in FRod's "proven closer" status and I think he has some job security.

Apr 01, 2014 11:17 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

Yep that's the mitigating factor in all of this. The term "ok" is relative though, as I think my definition and the Brewers' definition does differ. They only care that the Sv is recorded, I still think Henderson is the better arm and by that function the better option. Might be a Borowski year for K Rod.

Apr 01, 2014 11:20 AM
 
organizedfamine

I'm in a 16 team league and I think I'll hold on to Henderson for at least another week. Roenicke said that he wants to "give [Henderson] a couple of outings to get his stuff back and his confidence going". That makes this sound temporary, but that could change if Henderson blows up his next time out.

Apr 01, 2014 07:59 AM
rating: 0
 
jrbdmb

"Now would be the time to pick up Sergio Santos." Just realize that in competitive saves leagues Santos was probably scooped up 15 minutes after the Janssen news came out. You are probably better served concentrating on potential closer changes on the horizon.

Apr 01, 2014 08:34 AM
rating: 0
 
MaineSkin

Nate Jones had the 9th highest fWAR among all qualifying RPs behind only those who were their ninth inning reliever. In ST, I understand results are void, but situations are not. Jones strikes out the first batter, walks the next, gives up a hit, but then induces a tailor made double play. Lindstrom has the GB rate above, but Jones had a 51% GB% w/his absolute elite K%.
Jim Leyland went with Phil Cole last year. Mattingly went with, uh....Ventura is an old skool manager and all of us should of predicted this stupid deceision. Konerko had to talk Ventura out of starting him at 1B over Abreu yesterday. The largest issue now is that Lindstrom is not Phil Coke, he's actually capable of putting together a full year of SV with a bottom 10 SV%, but spread out over 70 appearences. All of us who selected Jones as the next Holland '13 are now screwed and the only value is in deep leagues.

Apr 01, 2014 10:57 AM
rating: 0
 
joshzd1

What about Houston? They signed Qualls and he was immediately named closer by the media, but after ST now it's up for grabs. I personally like Fields today, with an eye on Zeid or Foltynewisz down the road. What do you think?

Apr 01, 2014 11:14 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=23141

I think it ends up being Crain in the end as I outlined in the article. They're slated to do closer by committee in the interim.

Apr 01, 2014 11:16 AM
 
eskimoQball

Mau, ever feel like you're living the story 'If You Give A Mouse A Cookie'?

Apr 01, 2014 14:12 PM
rating: 0
 
ironcurtin

Agree with Farquhar over Rodney. Better numbers and passes my eye test. Very happy the M's "tacked on" 5 runs in the 9th so I didn't have to hang on with Rodney on opening day. 12 team mixed league, LaTroy Hawkins or Valverde?

Apr 01, 2014 14:32 PM
rating: 0
 
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