Weâ€™re half-way through June. Chris Perez and Jim Johnson are battling for the league lead in saves with 20 and 19, respectively. These are two guys who everyone was predicting would be replaced before May. The lesson learned? Donâ€™t bother trying to predict what relievers will do from year to year. Itâ€™s an exercise in futility. It’s almost as ridiculous as starting a t-shirt business that only sold “Free Vinnie” t-shirts. Almost. Itâ€™s too bad it took a crazy year like this for everyone to finally learn this lesson. Saves have been overvalued in fantasy drafts for decades. Weâ€™re probably going to see a huge correction next off-season.
Itâ€™s far too early to discuss next off-season. Most of us still have league titles to play for. Some relievers make the best of chances and others donâ€™t. Letâ€™s see who did what in this weekâ€™s Blown Opportunities…
Boston’s Alfredo Aceves nailed down his first save in ten days on Tuesday. Andrew Bailey is still almost a month away from getting activated. It really canâ€™t come fast enough.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Ernesto Frieri and Scott Downs are still in a time share. Frieri has two of the last three Angels saves and Scott Downs has one. Both guys are worthy of a roster spot until the Angels brain trust settles on a closer. Scott Downs is nursing a rib cage strain of some sort and will likely miss a couple of days. The fantasy impact will be minimal.
David Robertson is still pitching in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Heâ€™ll likely return to the Yankees bullpen over the weekend, but heâ€™s a long way away from regaining the closer job from Rafael Soriano. Heâ€™ll be back in a setup role and is a worthy add in any league that counts holds.
Aâ€™s manager Bob Melvin has announced that heâ€™ll go with the dreaded closer by committee for the foreseeable future. Brian Fuentes, Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour figure to be in the mix for saves. Cook has been the best pitcher this year with a 0.64 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP in 26 appearances. Heâ€™s rocking a 27:16 K:BB ratio and could be a rollercoaster in the ninth inning. Cook is 2-2 in save chances already and heâ€™s probably the guy to own at this point Balfour is a close second and Fuentes is a distant third.
It appears to be simply a matter of time before Brandon League gets the closer job back in Seattle. League was tagged for a couple of runs on Monday as soon as the announcement was made. League will probably get the ninth inning job back at some point. Heâ€™s worth a stash in a deep league if youâ€™re desperate and heâ€™s available.
Kyle Farnsworth is planning on returning to the Tampa Bay bullpen on June 28th. Sadly, the olâ€™ Professor is going to be setting up Fernando Rodney for a while. Speaking of Rodney, heâ€™s only been one of the best relievers in baseball so far. Rodney has 18 saves with a 0.94 ERA in 28 2/3 innings with a 26:5 K:BB ratio. Heâ€™s been body snatched. There is no other answer.
Sidelined Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos continues to feel discomfort in his shoulder when he ramps up his rehab. Heâ€™s still not ready to start throwing in minor league games. Casey Janssen is still the guy in Toronto and heâ€™s pitched well enough to hold the spot when Santos returns.
Shawn Camp earned the most recent save for the Cubs. Donâ€™t all rush and add him now. Heâ€™s a league average reliever who happened to luck his way into a save. James Russell is the guy to own if you absolutely have to own a Cubs reliever. This bullpen is still a mess and fantasy GMs should probably look elsewhere.
Heath Bell notched his 13th save for the Marlins this week. That seems unbelievable for a guy who was awful, lost his job and then got his job back because the team didnâ€™t have anyone else. Welcome to 2012 fantasy baseball!
Santiago Casilla owns 17 saves this year. Thereâ€™s no way to know exactly(other than looking), but 16 team of them are the one-out, vulture variety. That may or may not be an actual stat. Casilla actually has decent numbers for a guy who always seems like heâ€™s a bad outing away from losing his job. Casilla owns a 1.42 ERA with a 21:8 K:BB in 28 games. Sergio Romo is the better pitcher and the must handcuff for those with Casilla on their roster.
Cardinals closer Jason Motte may be on thin ice. Motte has had a few high-profile blowups in the past few weeks. Mitchell Boggs has been quietly competent in a set-up role and should be next in line should the ice finally shatter in St. Louis. Boggs has posted a 2.63 ERA with a 24:9 K:BB ratio in 27 games so far this year.
Tyler Clippard is doing all he can do to lock down the Washington Nationals closer job. Clippard racked up nine saves with a K:BB of 34:12. Meanwhile in extended spring training, Drew Storen threw off a mound for the first time since March. Storen is on pace for an all-star breakish return. Henry Rodriguez has been DLed with a â€œstrained right index finger.â€ He was also pitching like a guy who needed a break.