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Friday, June 5, 2015

Closer to Reality

I was asked by the fine folks at Fantasy Pros to give them one bold prediction for the rest of the year in MLB.  The last time they asked me this question I said that Joe Panik would be Top 10 in runs this year in the National League.  Pretty bold, right?  Currently #10 has 34 and Panik has 26, with #20 at just 29.  I figured it was very bold because a top 10 finish in their league in one of the primary fantasy stats would be amazing for a guy available in almost every league.  Panik is off the pace a bit, but it's not too shabby of a prediction in my opinion.

So, what was the call today?  I wanted to say something about Javier Baez or one of the other rookies, but nothing bold that I believed came to mind.  I almost pulled the trigger on a positive return for A.J. Griffin, which I do believe.  (Go get him, folks.)

What I decided to go with is a belief that every current closer will keep their job through the end of the season.  The obvious caveat is injury, but even so it's a pretty bold prediction and one with interesting fantasy implications.

If you look at the ESPN Closer Chart you'll quickly see what I'm talking about here...  Most of these jobs are either locked down by a proven guy or there isn't really any good competition for the guy with the gig.  The big exception is Toronto, where they still list Brett Cecil.  Not sure I buy that one.

Elsewhere?  The shakiest ones might be Brad Ziegler, Shawn Tolleson, A.J. Ramos, Jeurys Familia, and John Axford.  I did some research on Tolleson and Ramos and I really like what I see.  Plus, who's going to take the job from those guys?  Familia doesn't inspire much confidence in me, but I don't see anyone that will really take that job either.  Axford has a track record even though he doesn't blow people away and I just don't think Rafael Bettancourt is usurping the role.

You might see Fernando Rodney or Koji Uehara wear down this year and both have a strong setup guy behind them, so that is possible... but until they break down they own the job.  For the purposes of a bold prediction, I'm saying they hold on.

Okay, so is it likely?  Nah, you're most likely going to see some turnover... but could it happen?  Sure.  And what if it does?  That means you can't find mid-season sources of saves without completing a trade.  So if you have one of those teams that needs saves you might have to make a swap.

If you do need to make a trade my suggested target is Shawn Tolleson.  Dude has a pretty solid track record in the minors, even collecting 49 saves.  Plus, there's no one there to take the job from him.  I believe he will rack up at least 20 saves the rest of the way, maybe as many as 30 more.  Trade for him now before his value solidifies.

Another good target is Ramos, though I think his value is a little higher than Tolleson right now.  Ramos reminds me of Billy Wagner a bit since he's a shorter guy that generates a lot of K's.  You can see in his minor league numbers that he was always envisioned by the team as a closer, which is where he finds himself today.  I don't see him giving it back to (an injured) Steve Cishek.