Eno Sarris

Saves and Steals

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Saves for America's Birthday

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


Tier 5: Rollercoaster rides (5) (AKA: The "Working" Tier.)


Brett Myers (first chair) Brandon Lyon (second chair), Wesley Wright (third chair), Houston Astros
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
Glen Perkins (first chair), Jared Burton (second chair), Minnesota Twins
Bobby Parnell (first chair), Jon Rauch (second chair), Miguel Batista (third chair), New York Mets


There's nothing worse than working on a holiday, eh?


We'll switch Jared Burton and Glen Perkins here -- Perkins got the second save in a row -- but both should be owned in the short term. Two of the three Tigers Perkins faced Tuesday night had worse numbers against lefties than righties. The same was true in Perkins' last save before that. Burton got the two before. And lefty closers are twice as rare as they should be in the history of baseball. Still, Perkins is an exciting young pitcher and he could keep the job until Matt Capps returns next week, and might take it from him later in the season, too.


With each save Casey Janssen records, and each setback Sergio Santos endures, it becomes more likely that Janssen keeps the job all year. He's more likely than any of the group behind him to keep the job all year, at least. Janssen's been successful so far, and he's been a good pitcher his whole career. It could happen.


After all, Carlos Marmol was resurrected and now looks like the no-doubt closer in Chicago. If that can happen, anything can happen.


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Andrew Bailey (thumb), Boston Red Sox
Drew Storen (elbow), Washington Nationals
Sergio Santos (shoulder), Toronto Blue Jays
Matt Capps (shoulder), Minnesota Twins
Frank Francisco (oblique), New York Mets


Kyle Farnsworth got up off this list. Andrew Bailey might be next -- he's throwing from 150 feet -- but now his manager says he might not close when he returns. Bailey is better than Alfredo Aceves, though … once healthy. Drew Storen is in the same position -- he's going to head out on rehab on Thursday and might not have a closer's job waiting for him -- but he's less clearly better than the incumbent. Matt Capps is worse than the guys behind him, but he's going to make a rehab assignment this week and should be the closer when he gets back. Frank Francisco got a vote of confidence but isn't throwing yet.


The Deposed


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


Andrew Bailey and Drew Storen or Sergio Santos could end up here. We just have to see what happens once they are healthy.


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The Steals Department


Last week's rest-of-season steals leaderboard was created by a projection system that does have some input about depth charts, but doesn't know everything about a team's situation. So when it said that Tony Campana would steal 25 more bases this year, it didn't take into account that Alfonso Soriano, Bryan LaHair, and David DeJesus are all ahead of him on that Cubs depth chart. Campana will get into games as the defensive replacement, but as a lefty with some platoon split issues, he's not going to play ahead of lefties LaHair and DeJesus. Maybe he can platoon with Soriano, but Soriano is playing every day in order to build trade value. Same thing with the third guy on the list -- Eric Young. If you need steals and Dee Gordon is not out there, Ben Revere is your best bet.


If you want a deeper league pickup option, you might have to go with a platoon outfielder. In that case, a guy like Craig Gentry or Carlos Gomez or Nyjer Morgan becomes very interesting. They are all part of your traditional platoon situation. Where Campana doesn't have an obvious pattern to his playing time, you know that Gomez will play against lefties and Nyjer Morgan will play against righties. That's how you make sure that the guy you pick up is actually playing, especially when you decide to set your lineups for the weekend before you leave. Projections are useful -- they let you know what a player would do given a set amount of plate appearances -- but make sure you add your own thinking on top of them.

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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