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Waiver Wire What To Do's August 3rd 2016
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Baseball is a copycat game. Why wouldn’t something that works for one team work for another? Two years ago, seemingly out of nowhere, the Kansas City Royals went from perennial losers to one game away from World Series champions. The following year they captured that title. A big reason for that was their vaunted bullpen. If they had the lead entering the 7th inning the game was all but theirs. More emphasis has been put on relievers of late and that was evident as the MLB trade deadline passed. Quite a few faces are now in different places and that shakes things up from a closer perspective in the fantasy game. That’s why we’re all here isn’t it? Let’s take a look at some bullpen arms that need to be added if you are looking for saves.
Tony Watson, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates (42% owned standard ESPN leagues)
With Mark Melancon now pitching in the nation’s capital, someone needs to close things out in the ‘burgh. That man is Tony Watson. He picked up his first save of the season yesterday against the Atlanta Braves and should receive the lion’s share of opportunities from here on out. The former All-Star has been magnificent out of the pen sporting a 2.07 ERA and 0.97 WHIP since the start of 2013. He averages nearly a strikeout per inning and keeps the ball in the yard. Exactly the type of player you want on the mound late in a close game. He may not have been a household name, which is typical of setup guys, but that will change now that he is closing games. Add him now.
Ken Giles, RP, Houston Astros (36% owned)
When Houston acquired Giles from the Philadelphia Phillies during the offseason all signs pointed to him taking over as the closer. He posted a 1.56 ERA in Philly with 151 strikeouts in 115 2/3 innings while picking up 16 saves. Unfortunately for the Astros, Giles didn’t look anything like the pitcher they thought they were getting as he finished April with an ERA of 9.00. Since the calendar flipped to May, however, Giles has rounded into form compiling a 2.20 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings of work. Now the closer role is his to lose. After what happened with Luke Gregerson and Will Harris, the ‘stros will have to hope the third time’s the charm for them on their closer carousel.
Kelvin Herrera, RP, Kansas City Royals (32% owned)
Once again Wade Davis is on the disabled list, this time with his season in jeopardy. Once again that opens the door for Herrera to rack up the saves. An elite setup man in Kansas City the past few years, Herrera is now being counted on to close out games rather than bridge the gap to the ninth inning. He has been nothing short of excellent so far this year posting an elite 1.51 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 60 strikeouts to just 7 walks. Those numbers warranted fantasy ownership before he was earning saves and now that he adds that to his repertoire he has moved into must-own territory. Kansas City likes to win close games so expect the save chances to be aplenty and expect the rest of the elite numbers to continue for the two-time All-Star.
Edwin Diaz, RP, Seattle Mariners (30% owned)
Steve Cishek is out at closer. At least for now. If Edwin Diaz has anything to say about it though, it will be permanently. At least as long as Cishek is in Seattle. Diaz, like Watson, picked up his first save of the season Tuesday and did so by striking out three of the four batters he faced. He has a pristine 1.73 ERA and a whopping 52 strikeouts in just 26 innings. His 1.27 WHIP is high for a closer but he has only given up eight free passes (one intentional) in this, his rookie season. There may be some growing pains but the pressure level is low in Seattle where the Mariners look to finish no better than third in the American League West. If Diaz can limit the hits he gives up he has the stuff to be an elite game-stopper. If you owned Cishek it’s time to make the switch now while you still can.
Cam Bedrosian, RP, Los Angeles Angels (12% owned)
Closer Huston Street is on the disabled list. Backup closer Joe Smith was just traded to the Cubs. That means it’s time for someone else in LA’s bullpen to step up. That person appears to be Bedrosian. If the name sounds familiar his father Steve was an MLB pitcher from 1981 to 1995. So the pedigree is there. How about the stuff? So far, in 2016 at least, so good. So very, very good. Across 40 innings the younger of the Bedrosians has put up a miniscule 0.90 ERA and 0.97 WHIP while racking up 51 strikeouts. During his first two years he compiled an aggregate 5.81 ERA and 1.78 WHIP so something has clearly clicked for the youngster. The Angels aren’t very good so the save chances might be fewer and farther between than for some of the other closers, but if you can’t get any of them Bedrosian is worth an add.
Have questions about a player I didn’t mention? Feel free to leave comments or questions below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. Want to reach me in a more direct manner? Find me on Twitter @therichwhiteguy.