August 29, 2012
Relievers for 8/29/12
Oftentimes, when a team says it’s going with a closer committee, it changes course before long. The Giants have proven in consecutive years, however, that they’re not shy about going forth with flexible roles. Since Santiago Casilla relinquished his dead-fish grip on the gig, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Clay Hensley, and now Javier Lopez (Yahoo! 13%, ESPN 19%, CBS 7%) have all gotten a piece of the action. In a mild surprise, Lopez has collected three of the Giants’ past four saves entering Tuesday night’s action. The final man on the mound is usually dictated by matchups, but that means the lefty specialist Lopez could be there just as often as Romo, the righty killer. This is an extreme measure, but if you’re still digging for saves at this juncture of the season, that means you’re probably still in contention and thus willing to shake the heavens for whatever help you can find.
Wilton Lopez (Yahoo! 13%, ESPN 14%, CBS 16%) finally earned another save last week, his first in nearly three weeks. Owners took note, as Wil-Lo’s ownership rates subsequently saw modest increases (they must not have noticed his non-save-situation loss two days later). If only the Astros could play the Mets more often! It’s been shown that there’s little disparity between the number of save chances encountered by good and bad teams, but if any squad could be an outlier on the wrong side of that, it’d have to be these Astros, right? Lopez needs to be the lowest-ranked entrenched closer for that reason, but on the plus side, he’s good enough that he’s not going to burn your ratios every other outing.
Jeremy Affeldt (Yahoo! 10%, ESPN 7%, CBS 6%) looks to be the odd man out of the Giants’ closer committee; the lefty-righty pairing of Lopez and Romo theoretically leaves little room for a solid but unspectacular lefty who’s capable of throwing multiple innings at a clip. That said, Bochy maintains that Affeldt is in the mix, so ... yeah, it’s frustrating. Still, I’d prioritize Affeldt behind both of them if you have a choice.
Since Matt Capps bowed ungracefully out of the closing picture, neither Glen Perkins (Yahoo! 22%, ESPN 28%, CBS 23%) nor Jared Burton (Yahoo! 11%, ESPN 10%, CBS 8%) has converted more than two consecutive saves for the Twins. That nugget could mean absolutely nothing, but my guess is Burton will save at least a couple more before the season’s out. So while I understand why Perkins is more widely owned, don’t completely write off J-Burt.
With Mariano Rivera (Yahoo! 19%, ESPN 15%, CBS 19%) refusing to concede that his season is fully over, I’d expect to hear one way or the other whether he’ll attempt to comeback this month. As always, I caution that it’s highly unlikely, so consider Mo a luxury DL stash.
It wouldn’t be Value Picks without a Brewers closer update, and so it goes for stopgap stopper Jim Henderson (Yahoo! 6%, ESPN 6%, CBS 15%), whose emergence from career-long obscurity in the minor leagues ended with an unexpected, albeit brief, promotion to top dog. The Crew is intent on forcing John Axford back into that role, though, and Henderson’s early success has yielded to some struggles. It was great while it lasted.