Eno Sarris

Saves and Steals

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Izzy? How Much Longer?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tier 5: Rollercoaster rides (7) (AKA: The "San Francisco vs Arizona" Tier.)

1st Chair: Chris Perez, 2nd Chair: Vinnie Pestano, Cleveland Indians
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: Neftali Feliz, 2nd Chair: Koji Uehara, Texas Rangers
1st Chair: Jon Rauch, 2nd Chair: Frank Francisco, Toronto Blue Jays
1st Chair: Jason Isringhausen, 2nd Chair: Bobby Parnell, New York Mets

  • This probably will go to the every end, and if that's the only way to judge excitement, then this ranking for the National League West might seem wonky. But it's not the only way to judge things. You want the challenger to be up to the task, and if there's any one unit on these two teams that's dominant, it's the Giants' pitching staff. The other major elements of these two teams are actually mediocre. So, the talent level overall has to be considered. Lastly, if the Giants are the favorite, and they seemingly are, incumbents are less exciting, in general, then underdogs or teams that could be relatively new to the postseason.

  • Chris Perez continues to free fall. We've been harping on his lack of strikeout stuff all year, and the chickens are coming home to roost recently. In his last ten outings, he's given up eight runs and three home runs. He's been lucky to only blow two saves, actually. And his six-to-five strikeout to walk ratio over that stretch is just as bad as his seasonal ratio. Who knows if the Indians would ever make the change in the middle of a playoff run, but Vinnie Pestano has twice the strikeouts as Perez… and fewer walks. He's got next.

  • The Professor, Kyle Farnsworth, has more strikeouts than Chris Perez and half as many walks. He's also on a team that could look to the future at the position at any time. Then again, Jake McGee has been wild lately (six walks in his last ten outings) and isn't demanding the job just yet.

  • Maybe Javy Guerra isn't as mediocre a pitcher as it at first seemed. he had control issues throughout the minor leagues, but has only walked seven in 26 2/3 in the major leagues this year, so he's fine there. He hasn't had a good strikeout rate for a closer so far this year, but he does have twelve strikeouts in his last ten appearances. Could Jonathon Broxton take the role back if he was healthy? Yes, but it doesn't look like he'll get back to the majors in time to take do so.

  • In Houston, the attention is turning next year in more ways than one. Could Melancon be a keeper closer? It's not a crazy question. He gets groundballs at an elite rate and has average control, so two parts of the equation are there. Right now, the strikeout rate is not. But he's only about twenty innings into his first stint as The Closer, and with the direction of the team, it makes more sense to open next year with M&M as the closer over Brandon Lyon. Still, he's not an elite guy, so he's not a keeper except in deep and dynasty leagues.

  • Jon Rauch has blown two of his last six save chances, so he's not on firm footing with Frank Francisco behind him. Frankie has two holds in last four appearances and hasn't walked a man in his last ten. Perhaps confidence in him is rising. This closer job could change hands once again.

  • Hey Neftali Feliz blew another save! Despite finding the plate a little better of late (three walks in his last ten outings), he's been hit around twice in his last six outings. Mike Adams owners, your wait might be over very soon!

  • Jason Isringhausen is one save away from 300. That might be relevant because he's blown two of his last four games and hasn't looked dominant in his return to the closer role. As the Mets fall further out of the race, the more likely they are to try fireballer Bobby Parnell in the role. Although, to be fair Parnell hasn't been great recently anyway, hung with two losses of his own in his last four appearances. Still, this is a pen to watch closely if looking for saves. I'm happy to discuss these situations on twitter any time.

  • * * * * * * * * * *


    Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers (elbow)

  • Big man Jonathan Broxton has thrown for two straight days, but is only 'beginning the process' according to his manager. Don Mattingly also said that he wouldn't likely be ready to start a rehab session before the minor league season ends. Ug.

  • 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

  • One more save until we see Jason Isringhausen?

  • * * * * * * * * * *

    The Steals Department

  • Recent Steals nominee Angel Pagan is finally turning it around, and last week's deep league pick, Will Venable, is on fire. What will we do this week? Maybe another Padre! Bad teams are often great breeding grounds for fantasy sleepers, and Bartlett is probably on your waiver wire. He's a stronger option for steals than Cliff Pennington, and he's not a bad fill in if you just lost Rafael Furcal. There's a little room left for him to improve his .256 batting average, and he should steal 30 this year, which is not nothing. Of course, if you're looking for help at the utility spot, there's probably a better option. But Bartlett might be the most Reyes-like of the fill-in options on your wire.

  • Johnny Giavotella is up with the Kansas City Royals and already has his first home run and first stolen base in his only four games. He's not really a volume base stealer, but he does have speed (22 stolen bases in 2010 and 2011 combined, 26 in 2009) and is playing daily. He could help your deep league at second base without hurting you in power. Baby steps are all you can manage on a deep league waiver wire anyway.

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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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