The 2009 baseball season is only 10 days old. Already, 34 different relief pitchers have logged a save for their team. Do you own the right guys to maximize your save totals?
A lot of websites and fantasy baseball experts recommend not “paying for saves” during your fantasy draft because many closers are given a short leash. While we can’t argue with that, one fantasy baseball tip we highly recommend is carrying one more closer than your league minimum (get 3 if your league has 2 RP spots, for example) so you can lock down saves each week in head-to-head matchups.
We will try to help you make sense of some of the most confusing closer situations each week this season. See below for this week’s tips and insight.
Tampa Bay Rays:
- Opening Day Closer: Troy Percival? Grant Balfour?
- Pitchers To Watch: Grant Balfour, Troy Percival
Insight: These two guys are probably going to be sharing the closer role all season for the Rays, so if you own one and not the other, prepare to be frustrated a couple nights each week by the box score. Right now, neither guy looks awesome, but Percival has a much lower ERA (9.00 to Balfour’s 20.25) and a better track record as a closer, historically. Both guys have saved one game for Tampa Bay to start the year. If one of them gets injured we might get some clarity, but this is likely going to be a season-long time share.
St. Louis Cardinals:
- Opening Day Closer: Jason Motte
- Pitchers To Watch: Ryan Franklin, Dennys Reyes, Kyle McClellan
Insight: Chris Perez pitched well for the Cardinals as their closer down the stretch, so why did they option him to AAA out of spring training? Since blowing a save on Opening Day against the Pirates, Motte has been moved back to middle relief. Franklin made the save on Monday – Reyes and McClellan have also logged saves over the last week. With his “success” as Cards closer last season (he logged 17 saves), Franklin would seem to have the inside line. Personally, we’d like to see Perez called up to take on the role.
- Opening Day Closer: Kevin Gregg
- Pitcher To Watch: Carlos Marmol
Insight: Gregg and Marmol are likely to flip flop for save opportunities all season. Marmol took the SV on Saturday, but Lou Pinella said that’s because he was already warming up. For now, the word is that Gregg is still the man. Fantasy owners who are banking on Gregg in leagues with daily lineup changes might want to handcuff Marmol as well.
- Opening Day Closer: Mike Gonzalez
- Pitcher To Watch: Rafael Soriano
Insight: While it isn’t very difficult, Soriano logged two holds and a save over the weekend against the Nationals and has yet to give up an earned run in 5 innings. We’re guessing this save opportunity was given to him because Gonzalez saved Saturday game against Washington after blowing the save in Friday’s game. Gonzo seems to have a hold on the position for now, but if Soriano stays hott things could get interesting. Keep an eye on this situation a little closer.
- Opening Day Closer: Brandon Morrow
- Pitcher To Watch: David Aardsma
Insight: Morrow got rocked in his first outing, giving up 3 runs in 1 inning. He still saved two games last week and we like the idea of him staying in the bullpen. Aardsma picked up two saves over the weekend as the Mariners continue to monitor Morrow’s pitch count. For now, Morrow seems to be the man in Seattle with Aardsma nothing more than a fill-in. Continue to hold on to Morrow and leave Aardsma on the waiver wire.