September 14, 2012
Resident Fantasy Genius
Where to Find a Save (or Two)
As the season has progressed, I’ve discussed what I believe to be proper strategy when it comes to active roster construction, whether it be via trade, free agency, or your bench. At this point in the season—that is to say, with a mere 19 days left—it shouldn’t be going out on too much of a limb to say that categorical stratification trumps all. If you haven’t yet, take raw “value” and Old Yeller it (or White Fang it, depending on your preferred fictional canine reference). Whether you chase it away or pull out all the stops and take it out back and shoot it, just get rid of the notion of “value in a vacuum” so you’re not tempted to play with it and catch rabies (or whatever threat White Fang posed—I never claimed to be an expert).
At this juncture, it doesn’t matter that Michael Bourn is one of the top-ranked players in the PFM if you have no room to move up or down in steals. There’s precious little time left, and guys that are still left on the waiver wire aren’t likely to be especially valuable overall. But if you can uncover a couple of one-category gems, that could be all you need to propel your team a few points in the standings. It doesn’t matter if Anthony Gose strikes out nearly as much as Adam Dunn; if you need steals, he might as well be Albert Pujols to your team. Because of this dynamic, I’ll be spending today and Monday discussing some players who surely have flaws but who can provide a serious jolt if you need what they provide.
The first is to watch for closers with high usage over a short period of time. If a closer goes three days in a row, there’s a good chance his manager’s second choice will be getting the ball the next day. In leagues that allow daily transactions and rosters, you absolutely must capitalize on these chances. Joe Nathan, for instance, has gone three days in a row, so if a save opportunity arises tonight, look for Alexi Ogando to potentially nab a save. (Mike Adams is used in higher-leverage situations, but Ogando has filled in when Nathan was unavailable in the past, so he is likely the top choice tonight). If faced with the decision between two such options, go with the one on the road; they get a slight boost with a guaranteed ninth frame.
The second option is to speculate long-term (or as long-term as is possible in the middle of September) on a guy or two in slightly murky ninth-inning situations. Dan Mennella does an excellent job of going over these kinds of guys every Wednesday with Value Picks, but here are a few more to consider:
Jonathan Broxton | Reds | RP
Javier Lopez | Giants | RP
Tom Layne | Padres | RP
Ronald Belisario | Dodgers | RP
Kameron Loe | Brewers | RP