Dan looks at the Nationals' bullpen situation following the surprising signing of Rafael Soriano.
Rafael Soriano| Nationals Shallow (30 Keepers): No Medium (60 Keepers): No Deep (90 Keepers): Fringe NL-only (60 Keepers): Fringe Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes
The Nationals aren’t shy about padding an area of the roster that’s already deep, apparently. To the surprise of many, yours truly included, the Nats inked Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million deal last week despite the presence of high-leverage relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard. Interestingly, General Manager Mike Rizzo wasn’t coy about Soriano’s role: the right-hander, who spent the past two years with the Yankees, was named Washington’s closer, presumably leaving Storen and Clippard to duke it out for the seventh and eighth innings.
Speedy mid-tier outfielders are on this week's Reaper menu.
Ben Revere| Philadelphia Phillies
Shallow (30 Keepers): No Medium (60 Keepers): No Deep (90 Keepers): No NL-only (60 Keepers): Yes Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes
As a fantasy asset, it’s quite clear where Revere will help your team and where he won’t. The young, speedy centerfielder can provide runs, hits, and steals in bunches but won’t offer much in the way of RBIs or homers. In fact, in just over 1,000 major league trips to the plate, Revere has yet to hit a single home run, though he did once come oh-so-close to the inside-the-park variety.
Lawrie had an excellent 2011 major-league debut (albeit one tempered by two separate hand injuries that cost him more than a month’s worth of games), posting a .293/.373/.580 line with nine homers and seven steals in 171 plate appearances. Fantasy owners gobbled him up in the early rounds of the 2012 draft—even in expert leagues—and Lawrie seemed to be paying them off over the first half of the season. Through the end of June, he was hitting .293/.341/.438 with eight longballs and 11 steals in 320 plate appearances.
Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton, and J.J. Putz are examined by the Reaper this week.
Aroldis Chapman| Reds Shallow (30 Keepers): No Medium (60 Keepers): Fringe Deep (90 Keepers): Yes NL-only (60 Keepers): Yes Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes
Sure, the Reds are saying Chapman will transition from the bullpen (where he was a dominant closer last season) to the starting rotation in 2013. For fantasy purposes, however, it’s hardly that simple. As my colleague Paul Sporerexplains, the jump from the ‘pen to the rotation can be a sticky wicket. In Chapman’s case, one has to wonder how his stuff will translate—diminished velocity is likely, as is a loss of some of the all-important control he discovered last season. Not to mention, we don’t know whether his golden left arm can handle the spike in workload; remember that he missed a couple weeks late in 2012 due to a tired pitching shoulder.
Sal Perez, Rickie Weeks, and Ben Zobrist go under the keeper microscope this week
Salvador Perez| Kansas City Royals Shallow (30 Keepers): No Medium (60 Keepers): No Deep (90 Keepers): Yes AL-Only (60 Keepers): Yes Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes
Owners that patiently sat on an injured Perez or were lucky enough to scoop him off the waiver wire when he was activated from the disabled list were rewarded with approximately half a season's worth of very good offensive production in 2012. It was an impressive follow-up to his eye-catching debut. The 22-year-old catcher has 463 career plate appearances under his belt, and while that's not enough to definitively call him an offensive star at his position, it's a good starting point.
Rios, Ross, and Cuddyer highlight this week's Keeper list.
Alex Rios| Chicago White Sox
Shallow (30 Keepers): No Medium (60 Keepers): No Deep (90 Keepers): Yes AL-only (60 Keepers): Yes Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes
While Adam Dunn was struggling through his historically bad 2011 season on the White Sox, teammate Alex Rios was putting together a fairly disastrous season of his own. Overall, he batted .227 with just 13 homers and 11 steals—a far cry from the 21 homers and 34 steals of the year prior. Many fantasy owners gave up on him as a result, but Rios wasn’t done yet, rebounding to hit .304 with 25 home runs and 23 steals in 2012. Add in just over 90 runs and RBI and you get the 12th most valuable line as ranked by our PFM.
The Minnesota and Milwaukee bullpens are examined in this week's Reaper.
Glen Perkins| Twins Shallow (30 Keepers): No Medium (60 Keepers): No Deep (90 Keepers): Fringe AL-only (60 Keepers): Yes Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes
Twins lefty Glen Perkins isn’t one of the first closers who comes to mind when thinking of keeper candidates, but he probably should be. After bouncing between the bullpen and rotation during his first few seasons in the majors, Perkins has settled in nicely as a high-leverage reliever over the past couple years. He got a shot at closing in 2012 and, in news that could only draw the attention of dorks, by season’s end had eventually earned the confidence of his manager and GM to be the team’s long-term answer in the ninth inning.
Surely the switch-hitting first baseman and middle-of-the-order slugger for the Evil Empire is a top-notch fantasy pick, right? Wrong. True, he was once such a hot commodity that he was part of a deadline deal in successive years. And one year later, the Yankees signed him to an eight-year, $180-million deal that Christina Kahrlcalled “a huge bit of overpayment to keep a guy who should probably be okay over the lifetime of the deal.”
It was a tough year to simply have a great rookie year in both baseball and football. If you didn’t have a transcendent rookie season, then hardware wasn’t in the cards. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper dominated the baseball landscaped while Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin dominated the gridiron. The 25-year-old Miley did make the All-Star team and finished second to Bryce Harper in the Rookie of the Year voting, so it’s not like his season was entirely overlooked, but generally a 195-inning season that strong from a rookie southpaw would get more attention.