Eno Sarris

Saves and Steals

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Parnell Throws Gas, Will Close

Wednesday, August 17, 2011



Tier 5: Rollercoaster rides (5) (AKA: The "Ryan Howard, 5th round, Pick #141" Tier.)



1st Chair: Chris Perez, 2nd Chair: Vinnie Pestano, Cleveland Indians
1st Chair: Neftali Feliz, 2nd Chair: Mike Adams, Texas Rangers
1st Chair: Frank Francisco, 2nd Chair: Casey Janssen, Toronto Blue Jays
1st Chair: Bobby Parnell, 2nd Chair: Jason Isringhausen, New York Mets
1st Chair: Rafael Betancourt, 2nd Chair: Rex Brothers, Colorado Rockies

Comment:
  • Ryan Howard is a beast, but if you take away points for his glove, position and baserunning -- as you should when thinking about him from a real-life baseball perspective -- then he's not as exciting a player. And, in the fifth round, he had the highest price here. Hopefully you didn't pay a fifth round fantasy pick on any of the closers in this tier!

  • Chris Perez has righted the ship somewhat with four straight scoreless outings. He struck out two in those four-plus innings, though, against one walk, so he's still not showing good ratios. We cannot forget his rough stretch, nor can we forget his bad strikeout-to-walk ratio. Maybe a nice home stretch will set him right and keep Vinnie Pestano from being a hot pickup.

  • Don't drop Mike Adams just yet. Neftali Feliz has been better recently, with four straight scoreless outings, but he's still walking guys (two in his last four). On the other hand, he also has five strikeouts in those four innings, so that's a better ratio then he's shown all year. His manager claims he's solid in the role, but now there are two great options behind him.

  • It took an appendix issue, but Frank Francisco is back in the closer's seat in Toronto. Frankie Frank has secretly been good for the last month: He's only given up one run (on a home run, yes), with 11 strikeouts against one walk in twelve appearances. He could even take the role and keep it depending on how long Jon Rauch is out.

  • A new closer is being minted in New York. We said here after the Francisco Rodriguez trade that it would probably be Jason Isringhausen first, as a bridge to Bobby Parnell, but that Parnell was the team's best long-term option. We even suggested that Izzy's quest for 300 saves would mark a possible transition period. We never thought the team would announce, the day after Isringhausen managed his to reach his milestone, that the team was going to move towards Parnell as the closer. No matter, here we are, and it makes a lot of sense for the team to do this. They have to look to next year, and Parnell does have the upside to be a long-term closer. He throws triple-digit gas and has an excellent slider. The problem is that both his control and command -- his ability to hit the strike zone as well as his ability to hit his spots -- are iffy. He's been better this year, though, and his current walk rate actually would be sustainable as long as he can avoid getting hit around. We know that triple-digit gas is not enough, but give me a head-case gas-thrower with iffy control over a heady pitcher trying to get by on slop and guile any day. Parnell is a must-get if there are no other closers on you wire, but it's probably unsafe to drop any other established closer for him.

  • Oh, and while Huston Street is out with his lat issue, the Rockies will go with Rafael Betancourt most likely. If they want to look to the future, though, Rex Brothers has been showing an excellent strikeout rate has had the Closer of the Future handle slapped on him before. I'm happy to discuss these situations on twitter any time.


  • * * * * * * * * * *



    Injured


    Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers (elbow)
    Jon Rauch, Toronto Blue Jays (appendicitis)
    Huston Street, Colorado Rockies (strained lat)

    Comment:
  • Huston Street was put on the DL, but it was backdated. If his lat issue cooperates, he could be back in a week. Jon Rauch should also be out the minimum. Jonathan Broxton is throwing, but can he get back quick enough to even get into some minor league games before the season is over? Set his upside cap at about three saves in the final two weeks.


  • 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

  • We'll leave Jason Isringhausen off until Parnell saves a game or two, but our question from last week was answered with a resounding "yes."


  • * * * * * * * * * *


    The Steals Department

  • Johnny Giavotella was our deep league recommendation last week, and he's in the midst of a two-week stretch where he's stolen four bags. Now, for our mixed league steals guy, we'll recommend his keystone partner. Alcides Escobar has no power or patience, but it's really only the patience that's a shame for those looking for steals. If he walked more, he'd have more chances to steal. No matter, he still has some batted ball luck coming his way, and he should steal another six-to-ten bases over the rest of the season. A .260 batting average is not as bad as it used to be, either. There are many worse ways to get your steals.


  • The biggest winner in the Delmon Young trade was Ben Revere, who gets a starting job back. Revere is another slap hitter who could walk more, but he strikes out even less than Escobar and has better batted ball luck coming his way. In fact, if position is no concern, Revere is the better bet for a .270+ batting average going forward, and more steals. It's actually surprising that he's owned in so many fewer leagues than the KC shortstop. He's a burner and has a regular job. He could be a better option than Juan Pierre, who has fewer steals in way more plate appearances and the same flaws.


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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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