Eno Sarris

Saves and Steals

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The Heat is (Back) On

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Tier 5: Rollercoaster rides (6) (AKA: The "Insta-Hangover" Tier.)


Tom Wilhelmsen (first chair), Brandon League (second chair), Seattle Mariners
Brett Myers (first chair) Brandon Lyon (second chair), Wesley Wright (third chair), Houston Astros
Jose Valverde (first chair), Joaquin Benoit (second chair), Phil Coke (third chair), Detroit Tigers
Tyler Clippard (first chair), Sean Burnett (second chair), Washington Nationals
Carlos Marmol (first chair), Shawn Camp (second chair), Chicago Cubs
Casey Janssen (first chair), Francisco Cordero (second chair), Jason Frasor (third chair), Toronto Blue Jays


Adult beverages dehydrate. Sometimes, you're so dehydrated that just touching the bottle brings on the headache. It might be the most tragic of all summer phenomenons.


Tom Wilhelmsen used to be a bartender, so he knows all about the instant hangover. He's been dealing them to opposing batters -- a Kimbrel Tuesday night, and an unblemished record since he was made the closer. The team brass made some noise about returning Brandon League to the role, but he's blown up a few times and pitched in the seventh inning in Tuesday's close game. League is an okay guy to keep around, but Wilhelmsen is the guy right now.


Brett Myers has to drop a tier for his five-run blow-up of a blown game on Monday. He gave up eight hits on the way to getting two outs. Otherwise, he's taken to the closing role. He's not striking out guys like you'd want, but his velocity is up two ticks (now over 91 mph) and his swinging strike rate is back into above-average territory. He's probably attractive to the right contender, but he's also not a slam-dunk closer in Boston, as an example. The combo of his so-so strikeout rate and trade rumors makes him a guy you keep for now, trade if you can, and don't trade for.


We've been waiting all along for Jose Valverde to realize he's got a hangover, and it took a wrist injury to point it out. He couldn't throw enough warmup tosses to go into the game in a save chance, and Phil Coke got the job. If the injury continues, though, it will be Joaquin Benoit -- who came in in the eighth inning to get a hold -- getting most of the saves chances going forward. He deserves them, and is the rare multi-year reliever contract to work out. So far.


Hey who looks like he's the Chicago closer after the carousel has stopped. Carlos Marmol still has seven walks against nine strikeouts in his eight appearances since he was recalled… Yuck. Guess that must mean Shawn Camp is really a middle innings guy (he is) and the other guys were terrible (they were). Marmol it is for now, at least until he's traded or implodes again.


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Andrew Bailey (thumb), Boston Red Sox
Kyle Farnsworth (elbow), Tampa Bay Rays
Drew Storen (elbow), Washington Nationals
Sergio Santos (shoulder), Toronto Blue Jays


Kyle Farnsworth made his third rehab appearance Monday night, but he's probably headed for setup duty once he returns. Drew Storen is throwing three times a week, but is not yet cleared for rehab. He wants to be back in a month or less. Sergio Santos is still shut down and Andrew Bailey is still hoping for the All-Star break.


The Deposed


Jordan Walden, Los Angeles Angels
Hector Santiago, Chicago White Sox
Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics
Javy Guerra, Los Angeles Dodgers
Sean Marshall, Cincinnati Reds  
Henry Rodriguez, Washington Nationals
Brandon League, Seattle Mariners
Rafael Dolis, Chicago Cubs


We took Carlos Marmol off this list this week. There probably won't be another resurrection on this list.


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The Steals Department


We profiled the San Diego middle infield three weeks back, and then mentioned them again two weeks ago, but it's probably worth pointing out that Everth Cabrera is fourth in baseball with six steals in the past two weeks, and is probably rosterable in deeper mixed leagues where owners can stomach his bad batting average. Rajai Davis is owned in twice as many leagues and won't necessarily have a better batting average. Ditto S&S favorite Tony Campana, who is back to playing every day and is capable of dropping a three-steal day at a moment's notice. Michael Saunders, last week's deep league rec, is also close to relevant in mixed leagues. He can probably hit about .260+ going forward, and has power and speed. It's better if you can leave him on the bench and platoon him though. Alexei Ramirez is perking up if he's available in your league, by the way. The only thing missing from his overall line is his power, and that takes the longest to stabilize. He's still close to a .270 10/10 guy over the rest of the season. We've talked about Norichika Aoki in this space, too, and he can equal those projections (with a better batting average), if you need an outfielder to do that for you. Corey Hart looks comfortable at first base.


On at least one fantasy platform, Brian Bixler is owned in 0% of leagues. He should probably be owned in the deeper National League only leagues out there, though. He really strikes out too much, and won't have a good batting average, but he does have a little speed and is playing all over the diamond with the Astros right now. .230+ with 20-SB type speed? It's ugly, but the waiver wire in those kinds of leagues is pretty ugly right now. With Jed Lowrie's injury history, and the Astros' contenders at third base and in the outfield, Bixler should get some semi-regular time. At least against lefties. Hey, this is the bed you made by joining a league like this. You get to dream on Brian Bixler, a 29-year-old super utility guy with fewer than 300 plate appearances in his career (and a hefty strikeout rate to boot).

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.
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