Eno Sarris

Saves and Steals

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Texas Three Step?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Tier 5: Rollercoaster rides (7) (AKA: The "Carlos Beltran for Zack Wheeler" Tier.)

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

  • Carlos Beltran will help the San Francisco Giants offense. For two months. Zach Wheeler will, in all likelihood, help the Mets rotation for at least six years. That's a tough trade.

  • Ryan Madson is now saving games regularly and Antonio Bastardo has not had one since July 24th, so it looks like the transition has been made. Madson can move up when he's proven that he'll keep the job after blowing a save with Brad Lidge on the roster and healthy. Lidge has been okay since he's returned, with three strikeouts and two walks in 2 2/3 innings.

  • A lot was made when the Rays lost Rafael Soriano last year, but Kyle Farnsworth has filled in admirably. Is his run of luck coming to an end? He's only blown four saves and walked eight batters all year, but three of those blown saves and six of those walks have come in the past ten outings. That's sort of stark. Still, his strikeout rate has recovered recently (12 strikeouts in his last ten innings). And he's given up two earned runs in those three blown saves. This is not a huge blowup, but it's enough to keep him down here.

  • Maybe Javy Guerra and Mark Melancon keep their jobs all year! They are both mediocre relievers, but they are also both young, cheap, and in bullpens that don't have a clear alternative. You can trade away other closers if Guerra and Melancon represent a surplus, since they might just keep their jobs all year. Just don't consider keeping them over the offseason. Who knows what will happen next year.

  • Jason Isringhausen has been a nice story this year, and he's been gritting his way through all of his save chances since being made the closer in New York. He might just keep the job while pitching meh all year like the last two guys. The team might want to go young and has Bobby Parnell in throwing triple digits in the pen. And Izzy just blew a game in spectacular fashion by allowing three hits and a grand slam to Mike Stanton in extra innings, and then repeated that effort with a blown save Tuesday night. This pen could easily see some change. Soon.

  • Texas is one of the pens most likely to see roles change hands, though. Not only is Neftali Feliz struggling (he blew a save last week and has five strikeouts against four walks in his last ten outings), but his manager even questioned his competitive fire. Now his team has two relievers that have been better this year than him, too. Consider their strikeout-to-walk ratios: Feliz (27/20), Adams (49/9), and Uehara (64/8). Uehara might be a fly-ball dude, but he did just fine in another hitter's park in Baltimore. Mike Adams is a career setup man, but Koji Uehara has experience closing. Uehara is a must-own if you're looking for saves, and if you've been holding Adams for saves you might as well hold him a little bit longer to see what happens in Texas.

  • Jon Rauch has three straight saves! Before that, he blew two straight saves. He has eight strikeouts and one walk in his last ten appearances. Frank Francisco has 11 strikeouts and one walk in his last ten. This might keep going all season. I'm happy to discuss these situations on twitter any time.

  • * * * * * * * * * *


    Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers (elbow)

  • Jonathan Broxton news! The big boy is about a week away from beginning a throwing program. He says the discomfort is about 95% gone. There's still no timetable.

  • 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

  • Is Neftali Feliz on the way down to the deposed list?

  • * * * * * * * * * *

    The Steals Department

  • Dee Gordon is back in the major leagues, but we've written him up in this space before and you know about him, flaws and all. A newcomer to the mixed league paragraph is Jason Bourgeois, who we once recommended to shallow leaguers. With Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence out of town, Bourgeois should get all the starts he can handle. Of course, he didn't start Tuesday night, but no matter. He doesn't strike out at all, which helps him put the ball in play and use his best asset, his feet, to get on base. He's less interesting in OBP leagues, or perhaps points leagues, but in traditional root leagues, he'll be useful. Pencil him in for a .280+ batting average with at least double-digit steals going forward.

  • Will Venable is suffering through back spasms but he's a toolsy outfielder with speed. Over the last month, he's hit .250 with six steals and two home runs, and that's sustainable given his history. The best way to use Venable is to put him on your bench and play him against righties, as the lefty has a sizable platoon split. If you can only uses him against righties on the road, you're really put him in a position to succeed. PetCo suppresses home runs by lefties by 41%. Wow.

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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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