Tier 5: Rollercoaster rides (4) (AKA: The ""There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977. " Tier.)
Sergio Romo (first chair), Javier Lopez (second chair), San Francisco Giants
Ernesto Frieri (first chair), Scott Downs (second chair), Los Angeles Angels
Jon Rauch (first chair), Bobby Parnell (second chair), New York Mets
Glen Perkins (first chair), Jared Burton (second chair), Minnesota Twins
How I'd do my job without a computer is beyond me. I'm pretty much addicted to the internet.
There are some misses here. I thought Santiago Casilla would be a fine closer. Turns out a couple of back-to-back-to-backs, coupled with a blister problem, were enough to sink him. Too bad. He's still got nice rates, but no saves. The two-headed monster of Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez have been great to the Giants but not super to fantasy owners.
We'll drop Ernesto Frieri to this tier, but you shouldn't drop him, and if he's out there, pick him up. This was supposedly a committee, but the team never turned to anyone but Frieri. I love the deception on his fastball, and was out in front on him as soon as the Angels got him, but it's also obvious that his walk rate doesn't make him the surest of bets, or the best keeper closer. But fun to watch!
The Mets? They disappointed this Mets fan some this year, even with middling expectations. But even though I thought Frank Francisco would keep the job through the year, I knew he'd go on the DL (he averages about 50 innings a year), and that he'd blow some saves (he has a homer problem). Still don't know why the Mets just don't hand Captain Fastball Bobby Parnell the job, but Jon Rauch has been fine, and has the experience.
The Twins have just been awful, and I thought Matt Capps wouldn't last through the year and wouldn't be a closer for even half the year. It gives me no pleasure to have been right here.
Verdict: About as right as one can be once a bullpen goes FUBAR.
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Sergio Santos (shoulder), Toronto Blue Jays
Frank Francisco (elbow), New York Mets
Everyone's finally off the DL except for sad young Sergio Santos. Frank Francisco joins as a late addition, and at least one network had him out for all of 2013, too, before retracting their tweet. But New York sources say no surgery is planned and he's probably fine for next year. He's shut down for this year either way.
Jordan Walden, Los Angeles Angels
Hector Santiago, Chicago White Sox
Brian Fuentes, St. Louis Cardinals
Javy Guerra, Los Angeles Dodgers
Sean Marshall, Cincinnati Reds
Henry Rodriguez, Washington Nationals
Brandon League, Los Angeles Dodgers
Rafael Dolis, Chicago Cubs
Ryan Cook, Oakland Athletics.
Santiago Casilla, San Francisco Giants
Jonathan Broxton, Cincinnati Reds
I liked Jordan Walden, Sean Marshall, Santiago Casilla and Ryan Cook at different points this season. I hated Hector Santiago, Brian Fuentes, Javy Guerra, Brandon League, Rafael Dolis, and Jonathan Broxton from the first moment they were in the mix for saves. That tilts the scale in my direction.
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The Steals Department
Streaming for steals is a tough deal, but just watch the Pittsburgh box scores, or see which teams Norichika Aoki has stolen bases against (four each against Pittsburg and Houston, both season-highs, and both teams are bad against the stolen base), and you'll see some value in it. We've tried many different angles in the Steals Department -- from straight up playing-time pickups early in the season, to statistical projections for the second half, to streaming in the final weeks -- and hopefully they've helped.
For those of you still in it, Pittsburgh gets the Reds this weekend, which is tricky because the Reds have clinched, and you don't know who will play every day. Drew Stubbs is a little gimpy, too. Xavier Paul is playing a lot and has some speed, but he's a deep league guy. You could take a shot on Zack Cozart, but he's not an obvious threat on the 'paths. Washington gets St. Louis, which is full of slower, older guys, and Minnesota gets Detroit, which is full of slower, older guys. But the Rangers get the Angels and there is some opportunity there. Erick Aybar is on some waiver wires, and hitting well recently. Howie Kendrick may not have power, and only has decent wheels, but he's a good shallow-league pickup. Maybe Torii Hunter will grab his tenth bag. Deeper leagues have Maicer Izturis to think about, but good luck knowing when he's going to play. Cleveland is bad against the run and gets the White Sox, who are rife with stolen-base talent. Alejandro De Aza is available in many leagues, Alexei Ramirez too. Deeper leaguers can try to guess a Dewayne Wise start, or hope that Gordon Beckham decides to run again (he does have two stolen bases in the last week). Good luck!