Tag Archives: Closer

NL Roundup (4/28)

By nichols33

NL East:

Atlanta: Jo-Jo Reyes is struggling and Tommy Hanson has 29 Ks in 20.6 innings in AAA. If Hanson is available in your league, go get him. He could be a two start pitcher in week 5 if the Braves call him up.

Florida: Hanley Ramirez dodged a HUGE bullet on Monday night. He was hit in right hand by a John Maine pitch. At first I thought for sure it was broken but he was back on te bench, all smiles, a few innings later. X-Rays were negative and Ramirez will be back to mashing soon enough.

Matt Lindstrom has be horrendous and the WBC curse may be the cause. Lindstrom was injured during the WBC and has not been the same since. Leo Nunez would be the Marlins closer should Lindstrom lose the job. Neither warrant consideration in leagues of 12 teams and under.

New York: David Wright is struggling. He is striking out at an alarming rate. But there are signs he is about to bust out of his slump. He is starting to go the other way a bit more, hitting deep line drives to center. He just missing some pitches as well, fouling them off instead of putting them in play. Expect week 5 to be the start of this notorious slow starter’s MVP runner up season (Pujols might win the next 5 MVPs).

Philadelphia: Brad Lidge has a bum knee and Ryan Madsen got the save on Monday night. Watch this situation closely. The Phillies win a ton of games and will provide ample save opportunities for any closer.

Washington: Joe Beimel is going to be the closer when he comes off the DL next week. Joel Hanrahan has been the worst closer in baseball in this young season. The Nationals won’t get too many save opportunities for Beimel, but he’s worth a look in large leagues.

Don’t look now, but Adam Dunn has hit HRs in back-to-back games. This could be the start of a hot streak for Mr. Dunn where he hits 4 to 5 HRs in a week.

NL Central:

Cincinnati: Going into the season, the Reds looked to have one of the better starting rotations in the league. But so far they’ve been pretty erratic. Up until tonight’s start, Harang was the only one putting up consistent solid starts. Edison Volquez, Jonny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo and Micah Owings has all had flashes of brilliance but also some flashes of Oliver Perez.

Chicago: Derrek Lee is done. He had a great career but he is done. He’s hit 8 HRs since last May. He has no power and is hitting .209 this year. If you own him, see if his name can get you anything for him. I don’t think you can name a starting 1B I would not trade him straight up for.

Houston: Jose Valverde is going on the DL and manager Cecil Cooper has said he’ll play the match-up game when choosing who will close games out while Valverde is out. LaTroy Hawkins may get some saves in the interim.

Milwaukee: Mike Cameron is on fire. Cameron is hitting .328 with 5 HRs and probably most telling 12 BBs to 13 Ks. Don’t expect this to last but see if you can ride him until he goes back to hitting .250 and striking out 3 times for every walk.

Pittsburgh: Did you know Freddy Sanchez was hitting .359?!?! Neither did I, that hasn’t to be the quietest .359 month I’ve ever seen. Sanchez is capable of winning a batting title so if you need average and runs and have plenty of power already in your lineup, Sanchez may be a nice fit.

St. Louis: Quick, who leads the NL in wins? Some of you might have guessed Chad Billingsly and you’d be correct, but how many of you said Joel Pineiro? Both Pineiro and Billingsly have started the season 4 and 0. Expect Billingsly to continue his dominance of the NL while Joel Pineiro should come back down to earth.

NL West:

Arizona: Ouch….Stephen Drew just hit the DL and news came out that Brandon Webb will not be ready for another 6 weeks. Drew is an early candidate for bust of the year. If you got him this year you got him early, let’s hope he gets healthy and continues to develop into one of the top offensive shortstops in baseball. As for Webb, MRIs have revealed no structural damage, just fluid in the shoulder. If you are a gambling fantasy player see if a frustrated owner will give you Webb for $0.25 on the dollar. 3 and 1/2 months of Webb could propel you to a championship.

Colorado: Ian Stewart has played 5 games at 2B. In some leagues that makes him 2B eligible and if Stewart can stay in the lineup day after day he could be a top 10 2B in mixed leagues.

Los Angeles: Andre Either is an on-base machine. He has a .429 OBP and is on pace to drive in 154 runs. Obviously he’ll cool down, but this 27 year old is taking the step!!

San Deigo: I’ve read a number of reports where people are alarmed at Chris Young’s radar gun readings. Last night he was consistently in the mid 80s topping out around 87 mph. News flash, that’s Chris Young. Yes he’s 6’10” but he’s never thrown hard. Young is a spot specialist and has 3 real good games this year and 2 blow ups including last nights 5 BB, 7 ER loss in Colorado. His two bad games have been in Philly and Denver. Young may be this year’s Wandy Rodriguez where you start him at home and avoid him on the road.

San Francisco: Pablo Sandoval has been behind the plate in Barry Zito’s last two starts. His bat is going to play much better at C when compared to 1B or 3B if he can get catcher eligibility.

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Filed under Injuries, NL News, Observations, Pickups, Prospects

Closing Time (3/30)

rick-vaughn1By nichols33

A look at who is going to be getting save opportunities division by division. Average Draft Position courtesy of CBSSportsline.com.

AL East:

Boston: Jonathan Papelbon is downplaying concerns over his arm.  (ADP: 53.74) New York: Mariano Rivera is locked and ready to go. (ADP: 82.57) Tampa Bay: Troy Percival has looked very strong this spring coming off an injury shortened season. Take him late, but expect a trip or two to the DL. (ADP: 209.87) Toronto: B.J. Ryan is the man in for the Blue Jays. His poor spring might be a bit concerning but he is a very solid 2nd closer, not so much as your one. (ADP: 141.78) Baltimore: George Sherrill (ADP: 222.29) has looked horrible this spring and has even been quoted as saying he wouldn’t mind if Chris Ray (ADP: 231.02) started the season as the closer. Avoid both unless you are really digging for saves.

AL Central:

Chicago: Bobby Jenks is the big man for Ozzie. Lower end #1 closer, great #2. (ADP: 135.99) Cleveland: Kerry Wood is going one closer after Jenks in most drafts. I might take him ahead of Jenks but wouldn’t fault anybody for going the other way. Be sure to have a good back-up, Wood already has been injured. (ADP: 137.08) Kansas City: Joakim Soria is a top 5 closer. If Kansas City is as improved as Peter Gammons is saying…..more save opps! (ADP: 119.16) Detroit: Joel Zumaya is on his way to the DL. Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon (ADP: 230.60) are stinking it up…..avoid everybody in Detroit. Minnesota: Joe Nathan is money. Has a case to be the first closer taken. (ADP: 76.12)

AL West:

Los Angeles: I like Brian Fuentes this year, I like him a lot. Yahoo.com has concerns with his low velocity this spring, but I’m not. The Angels’ style of play is condusive to close games and lots of save opps for Fuentes. (ADP: 129.22) Texas: Frank Francisco is a sleeper, draft him as your 2nd closer and watch him outperform the 10 closers taken right before him. He’s going far too late. (ADP: 197.58) Seattle: Brandon Morrow is being moved to the bullpen and immediately jumps up to a top 15 closer. Only injuries are holding him back from being a top 6 closer. (ADP: 146.11) Oakland: Joey Devine (ADP: 199.10) and Brad Ziegler (ADP: 219.04) are going to split closer duties to start the season. Devine has the better stuff and will most likely be the one to take the job full-time at some point this season.

NL East:

New York: KRod is ready to take the big apple by storm. His celebratory style is going to win the fans over so long he converts the majority of his early season save attempts. The Phillies fans are going to HATE Rodriguez. (ADP: 47.53) Philadelphia: Brad Lidge is closing in on the consective save record after converting every save last season. Should be the 5th or 6th closer taken. (ADP: 85.55) Atlanta: Mike Gonzalez (ADP: 183.81) appears to have the job over Rafeal Soriano. But his velocity issues this spring are concerning. Nothing more than a back-up closer or a 2nd closer in a deep league. Florida: Matt Lindstrom (ADP: 203.30) still hopes to be ready by opening day after his WBC injury. Leo Nunez will get any save opps if Lindstorm is not ready but Lindstrom is the man when he is back. Washington: Joel Hanrahan is going after guys on the DL, guys who are pushing 50 years young….don’t make that mistake. He has no competition and the Nationals improved offense may keep them in more games this year….if their pitching hasn’t yet give up 10 runs. (ADP: 217.17)

NL Central:

Chicago: The Cubs have named Kevin Gregg (ADP: 199.92) the team’s closer over Carlos Marmol (ADP: 128.70) ruining a number of Fantasy team’s draft. You had to see this coming….Sweet Lou loves the veterans. Marmol will be the closer by July 1st…..mark it dude. Cincinnati: Francisco Cordero is a quality #1 closer. Nothing else to say. (ADP: 159.70) Pittsuburgh: Matt Capps is underrated. He is going after Chad Qualls, Trevor Hoffman and Huston Street in some drafts….why I do not know. (ADP: 188.72) Houston: Jose Valverde is one of the last #1 closers on the board. He, along with Broxton, should close out the run of top end closers. (ADP: 132.66) Milwaukee: Trevor Hoffman (ADP: 186.38) is going to start the year on the DL. Carlos Villanueva will get the saves to start the season. St. Louis: Chris Perez (ADP: 229.78) was sent down to AAA earlier today leaving Jason Motte (ADP: 225.44) appears to have won the job but Ryan Franklin could get some save opps.

NL West:

Los Angeles: Jonathan Broxton should be one of the top closers in the game for the next 5 years. Feel comfortable with him as your first closer. (ADP: 122.75) San Francisco: Brian Wilson has a near 5 ERA last season but is getting plenty of love from the fantasy world. The Giants are improved this year which may open up some vital save opps for Wilson. (ADP: 140.00) Colorado: The Rockies look to be playing it smart and showcasing Huston Street (ADP: 188.01) for trade bait later in the season. Street will start the year as the closer over Manny Corpas (ADP: 242.97). San Diego: Heath Bell is the closer but how many save opps is he going to get in San Diego. They’ll be lucky to win 60 games this year. (ADP: 201.40) Arizona: Chad Qualls excelled in the closer role late last season and will be the closer in the desert to start the season. Be careful though…he is one of those guys who was underrated in February but has swung to the overrated category rather quickly. (ADP: 183.36)

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NL Round Up

By nichols33

A quick trip around the National League team by team.

Oliver Perez (SP, NYM) Ollie is in the Mets doghouse after returning to the team from the WBC where he pitched horrible for Team Mexico. Mets coaches commented that he is “overweight” and did not do his conditioning during his time away froris m the team. Hopefully that explains his 6 BBs and 6 ERs yesterday.

Kenshin Kawakami (SP, ATL) The Japanese import got back on the mound yesterday and threw 5 innings of 1 hit, 1 ER ball. The injury scare appears to be behind him and Kawakami could be a very useful fantasy pitcher this season. Don’ t draft him as a starter but take a flyer on him for your bench.

Cameron Maybin (OF, FLA) Maybin is hitting .313 this spring and will hit leadoff for the Marlins. Spring stats normally are not indicative to how well a player is going to perform during the season but it is nice to see a kid of this talent having success against major league pitchers. A very nice sleeper in all leagues, but don’t be counting on him as a starter.

Jayson Werth (OF, PHI) It looks like Charlie Manuel likes Werth in the 5 spot in the lineup breaking up the left handed bats (Utley, Howard & Ibanez). This should create more RBI opportunities for Werth but also allow him to hit quasi-leadoff at least 50 times a game (after Howard homers) where he can get on and steal a bag.

Nick Johnson (1B, WAS) It appears as Nick Johnson will be starting regularly at 1B for the Nationals. He may be a nice pick up during the season but he should not be drafted in any league outside a NL only league. Dunn, Milledge and Dukes appear to be the OF with Willingham & Kearns on the outside looking in.

Ryan Braun (OF, MIL) The apparent minor injury Bruan suffered in the WBC looks like it could be something of concern. Braun is headed in for an MRI today after being pulled in the 4th inning yesterday for a pinch hitter. Bruan insists it’s nothing but the Brewers staff seems very concerned. Perhaps that is why Braunfell to me at pick #11 in a 5×5 league this past weekend. He should be a top 8 pick in all drafts even with this injury.

Jason Motte (RP, STL) Looks like Motte has a leg up on the competition for the closer role in St. Louis. Chris Perez has been injury and Motte has outperformed veteran Ryan Franklin thus far. If you take Motte in a draft take him after nearly all other closers are off the board. He may open the season as the closer but Perez will be given an opportunity at some point this season.

Andy LaRoche (3B, PIT) LaRoche will be the starting 3B for the Pirates this season and he is having a fine spring. The former Dodgers prospect is hitting .375 albeit mostly singles (13 singles, 2 HRs). He is a breakout candidate and should be stashed away on a bench in every league that has benches. Perhaps he is this year’s Carlos Quentin.

Kevin Gregg / Carlos Marmol (RP, CHC) The Cubs have yet to name a closer but are said to be close to a decision. Kevin Gregg has out pitched Marmol this year but it’s hard to ignore Gregg’s failures last season in Florida. If Gregg wins the job, it won’t be long before Marmol is given a shot. Fantasy wise, I would take Marmol but I’m seeing him go far to early in nearly every draft. He should be the 16th or 17th closer off the board, not the 10th.

Jonny Cueto (SP, CIN) Cueto threw 6 innings yesterday with 5 Ks and 0 ERs against a number of Red Sox starters. Cueto had an excellent spring last year andtook his lumps during the season. With a full year under his belt, expect better numbers from Cueto and draft him as your 4th starter at the earliest. He’d be a better gamble as your 5th.

Ivan Rodriguez (C, HOU) Don’t let Pudge’s torrid spring fool you. He had an outstanding spring last year hitting 6 HRs in the spring only to hit 7 HRs during the season. Rodriguez is nothing more than a backup catcher in the fantasy world and even then, you have better options (Napoli, Pierzynski, Navarro, Suzuki).

Kyle Blanks (1B/OF, SD) Did I read that right?!? The Padres are trying Kyle Blanks in the OF? This is a very large man who scouts have said may not even be able to play 1B and the Padres are trying him in the OF due to Adrian Gonzalez being comfortably set at 1B. While he may be relatively fast for a big man, don’t expect Blanks to find a permanent home in the OF. He may be San Diego’s 1B in the near future if the cost-cutting franchise decides to move Gonzalez. Blanks will probably have no fantasy value in 2009 but keep an eye on him for 2010.

Manny Ramirez (OF, LAD) Manny played the OF yesterday with no complications, he even man a slick play cutting off a ball before going to the wall holding the runner to a double rather than a would be triple. Manny will be ready when the season starts and will be an absolute monster when in the lineup. Manny should go late in the 2nd round or early in the 3rd in most drafts.

Ryan Spilborghs (OF, COL) Spilborghs appears to have the CF job in Colorado andis hitting .386 this spring with 5 SBs. He does not strike out and provides some speed that could be very useful to a fantasy team. Take a flyer on him late in the draft if you have a bench or a number of OF spots to fill in your starting lineup.

Matt Cain (SP, SF) Cain is really struggling this spring giving up 9 runs and 12 hits in his last 2 starts. Not that spring stats matter all that much to a guy that has a job but as you get closer to the start of the season you like to see young pitchers put together some solid starts especially when they disappointed as much as Cain did last year. Cain would be a solid 4th starter in most leagues but I’d be very nervous if he was my 3.

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Filed under Injuries, NL News