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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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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Dynasty Dynamics: NL W... (04/01)
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Fantasy Article Closer to Me: Attritio... (04/08)
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