Updates on all of the notable ninth-inning situations around the league.
New York Mets
We’re all guilty of trying to hold on for too long at some point in our lives. Maybe it was a relationship that should have ended but instead lingered—even though we knew the process and personnel would yield obvious and painful results.
Enter the Mets and Jose Valverde, who finally lost his job after a particularly bad series of meltdowns that led Terry Collins to go in a different direction. I picked up Valverde in a few leagues, so I know the pain some of you are feeling. If we’re being honest, however, we all knew this was coming.
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Baseball's back, which means: PITCHES! Literally. Without the pitches, we'd still be waiting for the season to start. Thank heavens for pitches!
3. Jose Fernandez’s changeup In his remarkable Opening Day start, Fernandez threw just seven changeups. This isn’t an entirely insignificant thing to note; late last year I tracked Fernandez’s emergence as an ace to Jeff Mathis’ emergence as his personal catcher. Mathis generally calls fewer changeups than his teammates, and Mathis often pocketed Fernandez’s changeup completely for entire starts at a time. Overall, Fernandez cut his changeup usage nearly in half as he worked with Mathis, and in his first start throwing to Jarrod Saltalamacchia he maintained the reduced changeup usage. By the way, this is what that changeup looked like on Monday, and what a batter swinging at that changeup looked like:
The Red Sox bullpen put up yet another horrific performance yesterday.
The Tuesday Takeaway
In yesterday’sWhat You Need to Know, I wrote about the stellar performance by the Rangers bullpen over the first 10 games of the season. The Red Sox relief corps, on the other hand, has been as shaky as it was during the team’s September collapse, and its weaknesses were thoroughly exposed in last night’s 18-3 rout.
After Jon Lester was knocked around for seven runs in two awful innings, manager Bobby Valentine asked Scott Atchison to eat some frames in a game almost certain to end in defeat. Atchison did his job for four innings, and Matt Albers chipped in a solid seventh, but then Mark Melancon—who entered with a 22.50 ERA—decided to turn the eighth into a home-run derby.
A look at three middle relievers who could be poised to take a big step forward in 2012.
Those of you who play in mixed leagues rarely have to look at middle relievers for anything more than reserve roster filler, if that. Those who play in AL- or NL-only leagues, however, are well aware of how endgame relief picks in March can play a difference within a season, and nailing the right ones can often turn huge profits. Some relievers, like David Robertson, can be valuable assets even while not getting any saves while others can perform well and then step in for a closer when the closer is injured or ineffective.
Ronnie Belliard and Luis Hernandez head for Triple-A, Brandon Belt breaks camp with the big squad, and Matt Holliday loses an appendix but keeps a roster spot.
By my count (or more accurately, Rob McQuown’s), Christina Kahrl has devoted 952 articles to analyzing transactions, and that’s probably selling her short, since our database doesn’t go back quite as far as her byline. In the first Transaction Analysis entry that I could find, Ozzie Guillen appears not as a manager, but as a shortstop and the owner of an exceedingly low OBP; given that Guillen has just entered his eighth season at the helm of the White Sox, it’s clear that Christina has been at this for some time, and unlike Guillen, she didn’t overstay her welcome before shifting to a new role.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 14 American League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. National League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.