• After splitting save chances with Jared Burton for a month or so, Glen Perkins has quietly taken over the ninth inning all to himself in the second half of the season. He finished off save number 16 on Friday, throwing a 1-2-3 inning as the Twins upset the Tigers. Perkins has been as steady as relievers come this year, not flashing elite numbers, but putting up monthly xFIPs between 3.02 (April) and 3.67 (July). While his K% has dropped from the high-20% area to the mid-20% realm (possible a result of a slight downtick in fastball velocity), his BB% has plunged from near 10% before the all-star break to a shockingly low 2.5% after. The move the Twins made to buy out a few years of Perkins post-arbitration free agency is looking especially shrewd and he seems to be a near-mortal lock to be the team’s closer come April 2013. He’s only owned in 36% of Yahoo! leagues so run and grab the stat geek if you need saves — keeper league owners would be wise to stash/hold him– a guy with a guaranteed closer job and a plummeting walk rate should sneak into the back end of the top 15 closers on draft boards next year.
• Well, well, well… Santiago Casilla is back in the boxscore with the all-important (at least in fantasy) (S) tied to the end of his name. Our favorite former Giants closer was tabbed to close out a 3-1 win in San Diego — he complied (after a couple of singles), and tallied save number 25 on the season. The immediate reaction is to check the other guy’s (in this case Sergio Romo) usage and see if he was unavailable. And the verdict is — unlikely; Romo did pitch an inning the previous evening, but that had been his first appearance in the five days prior. Meanwhile, Casilla was also used in that game. Before anyone thinks they might have a rock-solid San Francisco closer on their hand before the playoffs; don’t. Javier Lopez still got the first out of the ninth as the team played handedness against Yonder Alonso. Unfortunately, throwing Casilla’s name in there just muddies the waters — he didn’t look fantastic Friday night, so it’s possible Romo is still the right-handed half of the ninth inning. If you own Romo/Lopez and are absolutely desperate for saves over the last few days, snag Casilla and start all three when you can — but it’s a little like a game of closer roulette and there’s not enough time to build any confidence in one guy (for fantasy purposes) in 2012.
• Close to your innings limit? All the closers scrubbed free from the wire? Need a boost in strikeouts and/or WHIP? Here are a few names owned in less than 10% of Yahoo! leagues with sub 2.40 xFIPs and 13+ K/9 over the last month. Antonio Bastardo (-0.25 xFIP, 19.7 K/9), Bullpen Report favorite, Junichi Tazawa (1.27, 13.1), Jake McGee (1.36, 14.7), Mark Melancon (1.87, 13.0) and (perhaps most interestingly), converted starter Brian Matusz (2.15, 14.0). Also, we’re on the theme of deposed Oriole starters, Tommy Hunter has been clocked as high as 100 mph in a short-inning role and with a 30-day 2.38 xFIP and 10.1 K/9, is worth a shot.
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: Tommy Hunter (BAL) vs. BOS
Might as well put my money where my mouth is — Hunter has clearly dialed it up since moving to the pen (into Aroldis Chapman territory!) and would have no problem blowing away a few Red Sox hitters should he be called upon.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]