• Greg Holland saved his fourth consecutive game since the Royals dealt Jonathan Broxton to the Reds. Holland needed 18 pitches, but gave up just one hit and fanned two en route to the save against the Athletics. Since taking over the closer’s gig, Holland has appeared in seven games, going 1-0, 4-for-4 in save chances with a 4.0 K/BB while improving his ERA from 3.54 to 3.21. Holland is available in 53 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
• The debacle that is the Milwaukee Brewers bullpen continue to do what they’ve done all season — disappoint. Tonight, it was Jim Henderson’s turn. Henderson blew his first save since his name was thrown into the “anyone else want a shot to save a game” discussion in Milwaukee. The right-hander has now taken losses in consecutive outings, allowing three earned runs on five hits with a 2.0 K/BB in 1 1/3 innings on the bump. Maybe Carlos Gomez gets the next shot? He’s done just about everything else this past month..
• Craig Kimbrel has put together a brilliant year — so brilliant, that his name is surfacing as a potential Cy Young Award candidate by numerous reputable baseball writers. In terms of achievements, the righty has converted 31-of-33 saves with a 1.23 ERA (1.11 xFIP) and a 15.7 K/9 (7.0 K/BB) in 44 innings on the hill.
Kimbrel has done nothing but shine when given the opportunity. But, exactly how often does he get that opportunity to trot out to the mound in a save situation? The obvious answer is each-and-every time the Braves are in position — as long he’s not running on fumes of course. The not-so-obvious answer is just once this August and only five times in the last thirty days. Mind you, in the last thirty days Kimbrel has been just as lights-out, going 4-for-5 in save opportunities with a 1.00 ERA and a 15.0 K/BB.
But that’s just it. Just four measly saves in that last thirty days.
In fantasy baseball leagues, we do our best to acquire closers with a high volume of saves in addition to colossal whiff rates and miniscule ratios. While Kimbrel provided each of those three over the course of the year, he’s given owners just two-of-three in the last month.
For those in leagues in which the trade deadline has yet to pass — either head-to-head or rotisserie, doesn’t it make sense to toss his name out to league mates to see what kind of haul you could get for him? I mean, maybe look into acquiring one of the 17 closers who have more saves than Kimbrel over the last thirty days, plus an additional piece? Or two of those aforementioned closers?
In roto leagues, your ERA and WHIP are just about set for the year but you still have time to tack on saves. In head-to-head leagues, especially come playoff time, it’s all about winning the saves category — you need bulk.
I’m not saying there are better closers in baseball than Kimbrel, but with all this Cy Young noise floating around, his value may not be higher and there may not be a better opportunity to put your team in position to make a late-season run.
For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here is a matchup you may be able to exploit.
A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Fernando Rodney (TB) vs. LAA
Rodney isn’t likely the cheapest closer to choose from in your daily leagues, but with a much needed day off on Wednesday, look for Rodney to overcome his recent blown save and stick it to his old mates. Rodney has nailed down 37-of-39 save opportunities with a 0.89 ERA (0.71 WHIP) this season.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]