St. Louis Cardinals Manager Tony La Russa has had enough. In the middle of a division race in the NL Central, he needs to find a reliable ninth-inning stopper.
Unfortunately for you and your fantasy team, he’s rolling out a fantasy baseball player’s worst nightmare…
Can Fantasy Baseball Dugout offer any insider tips to you, so you can make sure you have the right guy in your lineup?
Here are the closer suspects:
Jason Isringhausen (38.7 innings, 1 win, 5 losses, 6.28 ERA, 12 saves): Izzy has had success for the Cardinals over the years, and as a closer in general since 2000. He’s picked up 32 or more saves in 8 straight seasons. He has struggled this year, picking up just 12 saves before losing his job back in May when he hit the DL. Following a good June after returning from the injury, posting a 1.74 ERA in 8 games, he has struggled. In 11 games in July and August, Izzy has 10.3 innings pitched, 12 hits allowed and 9 earned runs. Those numbers yield a 7.84 ERA and 2.03 WHIP.
Advice: With Isringhausen’s recent struggles, Jason isn’t the go-to-guy to add, or drop. The only move you want to make with this guy is a no-move, holding on to him, due to his career success as a closer.
Ryan Franklin (55.2 IP, 4-4, 3.56 ERA, 23 BB, 14 SV): Starter-converted-mop-up-converted-middle reliever-converted-closer. Franklin has had success since taking over the closers’ role since May, but was recently removed due to a horrible July. Last month, Ryan converted just 3 saves, posting a 6.59 ERA and 1.83 WHIP and allowing batters against him to bat .350 in 13.7 innings. Since being removed from the role, Franklin has pitched 5.7 innings, allowing just 4 hits and 4 walks, while striking out 4.
Advice: Franklin has shown that he will pitch well in middle relief or the set-up man role with his recent outings. He is worth an add if you have roster space and he is available; I recommend a hold.
Chris Perez (25.1 IP, 2-1, 3.91 ERA, 14 BB, 1 SV): Picking up the save Wednesday Night, Perez has stepped back onto the MLB scene and stole the spotlight. He saved 11 games in 25.3 innings in AAA, and has pitched brilliantly in 7 of 8 of his MLB appearances since July 12. His stats in that one bad game? 1 inning, 4 hits, 5 earned runs. His stats in the other 7 games? 6.7 innings, 2 hits, 0 earned runs, 14 strikeouts. Besides his one blow up, he has been solid. Many closers struggle in non-save opportunities due to the lack of pressure, intensity, and who knows what. After picking up the save Wednesday, this is the go-to-guy for now.
Advice: Pickup as he should be available in many leagues across fantasy baseball, for now. His stats in the minors show you his impressive strikeout capability. If Perez succeeds in the role, he may continue to be the closer down the stretch.
Adam Wainwright (DL): On the DL since June 8th with a sprained right middle finger, Wainwright is set to begin his rehab assignment with designs on returning to the bigs as the closer. Wainwright stepped in and flourished as the Cards closer in their 2006 run to the World Series Championship. In 9 games, Adam pitched in 9.7 innings, allowing no earned runs and striking out 15 while allowing just 7 hits and no earned runs. Wainwright went 1-0 during the World Series run with 4 saves.
Advice: Wainwright will begin his rehab assignment Friday with designs on returning to the bigs as the closer, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Try to trade for Wainwright. He should be owned in mostly all leagues. If he’s not – you better get him.
If Chris Perez is available in your fantasy league, add him, and propose a trade for Adam Wainwright without caution. If Chris Perez is owned by another GM, propose for Wainwright with caution because if Perez succeeds in the closers role, he may remain there.