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Roto Riteup: May 18th, 2012

Today’s Roto Riteup is going to be the key that leads you to the top of the saves standings. At least for a brief period.

Casey Janssen has proved himself to be a very solid closer so far. Last night he threw a perfect ninth inning to nail down his third save in as many chances. With Sergio Santos still on the disabled list for probably another week, pick up Janssen if you’re looking for some saves on the cheap. He is averaging better than a strikeout per inning and is walking almost no one. He is prone to the gopher ball a bit, but if you’ve got a hankerin’ some cheap saves then you’re in luck; he is still available in 69% of Yahoo! and 66% of ESPN leagues.

• You would think that the closer in Boston would have a 95% or higher ownership mark, but that isn’t the case. In fact, Alfredo Aceves is owned in less than 70% of both Yahoo! and ESPN formats. Sure, his 5.29 ERA is ugly, but eight of his 10 earned runs were allowed in two freak outings, three verses Detroit and five against the Yankees. His K/9 is above 10.0 and his SwStr% is a fantastic 14.4%. Aceves has also been relatively unlucky, at least his .341 BABIP this year compared to a career mark of .241 would suggest. Taken all together, I think Aceves will be just fine. He even nailed down his first multi-inning save last night, just four outs, but it’s another encouraging sign. Aceves figures to be the guy to own for 2012. How he is still available in 30% of leagues I will never know. Pick him up before the rest of your league gets wise.

• According to Tigers skipper Jim Leyland, Joaquin Benoit will receive the majority of save opportunities with Jose Valverde day to day with an injury. Though a DL stint isn’t likely for Valverde, he is suffering from a back strain. Benoit has outstanding career numbers as a reliever and figures to be the best choice in the Tigers bullpen. Benoit has a 9.28 K/9 as a reliever and just a 1.14 WHIP. Even when Valverde is fully recovered, those kind of numbers are useful. I’d look to pickup Benoit if he is available and keep him on the roster all year. He is currently owned in 17% of Yahoo! leagues but just 4% of ESPN.

• With all the closer injuries and shuffling, it is easy to forget that Dale Thayer is now four for four in all of his save attempts. Thayer still maintains a perfect 0.00 ERA and a 0.00 BB/9 innings. Neither of those are sustainable, but until Huston Street returns from his strained shoulder, expect Thayer to the man of the bullpen. He’s throwing his slider more than ever before and his career high SwStr% of 11.8% reflects that. Thayer is owned in 50% of ESPN leagues but not even 40% of Yahoo!. I don’t expect that to continue. He has a firm grip on the job and the trust of his manager. That’s more than you can say for probably half of the closers out there right now. Thayer is worthy of a roster spot.

For those of you who play daily fantasy games like FanGraphs: The Game, or just like to stream players, here are a couple matchups you may be able to exploit.

A Pitcher for Today: Justin Verlander vs PIT
This seems like cheating, but mix Verlander’s strikeout ability with the Pirates penchant for chasing, and baby, you’ve got a stew going!

A Pitcher for Tomorrow: Christian Freidrich vs SEA
The rookie has shown dominating stuff so far in his two starts in the majors and I suspect that his numbers will look even better after facing the Mariners. Almost everyone else’s does.

A Hitter for Today: Nick Swisher vs CIN (Bronson Arroyo)
Swish has hit six of his seven homers and nine of 11 doubles off of RHP. I think Swisher will continue his hot start to the season.