Eno Sarris

Saves and Steals

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Can't Blame the Midges

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tier 5: Rollercoaster rides (7) (AKA: The "Jason Schmidt for Ryan Vogelsong and Armando Rios in 2001" Tier.)

1st Chair: Kyle Farnsworth, 2nd Chair: Jake McGee, Tampa Bay Rays
1st Chair: Neftali Feliz, 2nd Chair: TBD, Texas Rangers
1st Chair: Mark Melancon, 2nd Chair: Wilton Lopez, Houston Astros
1st Chair: Javy Guerra, 2nd Chair: Blake Hawksworth, Los Angeles Dodgers
1st Chair: Ryan Madson, 2nd Chair: Antonio Bastardo, Philadelphia Phillies
1st Chair: Jason Isringhausen, 2nd Chair: Bobby Parnell, New York Mets
1st Chair: Jon Rauch, 2nd Chair: Frank Francisco, Toronto Blue Jays

  • Jason Schmidt had some good years for the Giants after they acquired him. And he won seven games with them in 2001. But the Giants fell two games short of the post season, and Schmidt also walked four and a half per nine. Oh, and Ryan Vogelsong might have been better than we thought, eh?

  • Kyle Farnsworth is in a rough stretch and suddenly there are rumors the Rays might unload him. He's blown three of his last six save chances, and after walking only two batters all year before July, he now has six walks in his last seven outings. Rookie Jake McGee suddenly looks great again, and Joel Peralta has been good enough against righties that the two could make a decent closer together if the professor leaves town. It's not probable, but it's possible.

  • Is there any way that, after all these rumors, Neftali Feliz stays in the closer's role after the trade deadline? He's just not his dominant self and the team has just been too obviously looking for help in the bullpen. It's not like his six strikeouts against five walks in his last ten innings are a definitive argument against a change. Oh and that blown save Tuesday night probably sealed his fate.

  • No, Mark Melancon and Javy Guerra are definitely not better pitchers than Ryan Madson or Antonio Bastardo. In fact, they're demonstrably worse, and owning them is enough of a high-wire act that the two have to remain in this tier despite having fairly long leashes as closers. The problem is that while they are just not-terrible enough to keep their jobs in terrible pens, Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo are both great relievers in the same pen. Their manager still says Madson will get his job back, and their manager still keeps putting Bastardo out there in save chances.

  • Jason Isringhausen is still the closer in New York, but most of his save chances have had a little fear in them. Good plays by his defense have kept him in it, though, and he hasn't allowed a run since his first appearance in July. Bobby Parnell is still getting groomed for the role, but since he's stepped into the more difficult innings, his control problems have resurfaced. He has four walks in his last six innings, and he's blown a game open too. Maybe Parnell is more of a deeper, dynasty reliever until Isringhausen is traded or the team decides they really need to see if Parnell can close next year. Oh, and then Tuesday night Pedro Beato was a batter away from his first save when the team decided to go with LOOGY Tim Byrdak for the final out.

  • The sudden trade rumor that links the Braves to Jon Rauch might be the best thing for this Toronto pen. Ostensibly, Rauch is the closer right now, but he doesn't have a save in July. Maybe it's Frank Francisco, who got a save on July fourth. Then again, Frankie Frank has been blown up twice since then and Rauch's bad innings have all been the one-run variety. If Rauch leaves, it's definitely Francisco. With the possibility that Nunez doesn't leave town and that Mike Adams is the one leaving San Diego, Francisco is the most likely waiver wire reliever to return saves… if he's on your waiver wire. Especially now that Jason Frasor is in Chicago. I'm happy to discuss these situations on twitter any time.

  • * * * * * * * * * *


    Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers (elbow)

  • Boy this list cleared out quickly. The Phillies' boys are up in the major leagues, J.J. Putz is putzing about in Arizona, and David Aardsma had season-ending surgery. Jonathan Broxton? He did arm exercises a week ago and hasn't been heard from since. Sigh.

  • The Deposed:
    Fernando Rodney, Los Angeles
    Ryan Franklin, St. Louis
    Brandon Lyon, Houston
    Matt Thornton, Chicago A.L.
    Vicente Padilla, Los Angeles Dodgers
    Francisco Rodriguez, Milwaukee
    David Aardsma, Seattle

  • Aardsma joins this list, but it seems that some owners disagree about Francisco Rodriguez and his role on the Brewers. At least, a lot of people still own the artist formerly known as K-Rod. If you can get ahead of a trade, drop him. He's not the closer in Milwaukee. He might get another three to five saves just on days where Axford is sitting, but even that would be a stretch with the way Axford is dealing. Health is the only question mark and Axford has been healthy so far in his career.

  • * * * * * * * * * *

    The Steals Department

  • At least until the Red Sox trade for another outfielder, it looks like Josh Reddick is their starting left fielder. He's fully-formed and ready to go, at 24 and coming off of more than 700 Triple-A plate appearances. he hasn't always shown a good batting average in the minor leagues, but he's also had some surprisingly poor luck on batted balls down on the farm too. Usually poor defenses in the minors lead to higher batting averages on balls in play (BABIP) in the minors, but Reddick didn't see that benefit. Part of the problem is that he's a fly-ball hitter, and fly balls have lower BABIPs. Those fly balls also lead to more power, and Reddick certainly has lots of power. The reason he's listed here is that he also steals bases. He's averaged about 11 per 600 PAs in the minor leagues, so he could hit for a mediocre batting average with good power and handful of steals over the second half pretty easily.

  • Breaking news is happening all around us. It looks like, in an effort to look to the future, the White Sox will be sitting Alex Rios against righties and trying out 27-year-old lefty Alejandro De Aza. De Aza is hitting .322/.378/.494 with nine home runs and 22 stolen bases in Triple-A but he's 27 and trying out the level for the third time. If he can keep the strikeouts down, he has enough power and speed to put up a good batting average and steal some bases. He won't light the world on fire, but in deeper leagues you just need someone to play often and not hurt you anywhere. That describes the new (at least part-time) White Sox center fielder.

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    Eno Sarris is an editor and writer at FanGraphs.com. You can find his work gathered in one place at and enosarris.com. Follow his misadventures in writing on Twitter as well.
    Email :Eno Sarris

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